> Like the oar of Ngerechemai, breaking on the down stroke
A rapid stroke technique in rowing, originated at Ngerechemai in northern Palau, consists of dipping the paddle deep with a strong, rapid stroke and bringing it forward with a smooth flip. The technique gives the appearance of considerable ease, while the canoe obtains great speed. The coxswain desiring more speed of his men may shout at them: "Besos Lechemai!" ("Oars Ngerechemai!"). The secret of the success of Ngerechemai racing canoes was not known until observers noted that the oarsmen frequently broke their paddles on the swift downstroke. Thus, when the secret of a successful leader-the leadership technique or magic that he uses-is revealed, this idiom may be applied.
> You're just like a lobster (flambuoyant in color but prone to hide under rocks.
You dress up fancy but never go anywhere. Applicable to a person who prides himself on great wealth but does not put it to work; or to one who dresses to the hilt, then stays home. It may once have been applied to villages that were well armed, but peaceful.
> Like the ilaot [coconut juice] of Ngetkib, mixing itself.
Probably of folk-tale derivation, the idiom may be applied to a man who has married too close to his own clan, thus not gaining the assistance of the wife's clan in food and services, since this would amount to the clan giving to itself. Also applied to a situation where a person expects to have some service performed for him but ends up doing it himself.
> Like coconut syrup.
A general reference to incestuous relations. That this is a recent idiom, probably first used during the period of Japanese administration, is suggested by the Japanese word "ameyu," used in Palau to mean coconut syrup. The incident from which the idiom derives is said to be one in which a Palauan coconut-syrup maker had relations with his wife's sister.
> Like receiving in Airai.
According to this saying, the people of Airai (central Palau) are likely to ask for those things they have in abundance. A wealthy man asking for financial help; a person asking for a cigarette when he has a pack in his pocket.