> It's like the foam of the sea, which forms unexpectedly and then disappears.
It's a matter that comes up for lengthy discussions and then is dropped without resolution or effect. Some things, like sea foam, drift on without settlement. Endless discussion without reaching agreement.
> Like coconut water, passing from darkness to darkness.
Water, drunk from a coconut, passes from the dark of the nut to the dark of the mouth. Some discussions, such as those of village leaders, are secretively passed from mouth to mouth without public discussion.
> Like the people of Ngerechelong, standing together on the base of the coconut tree.
The mound or hump that forms at the base of the coconut tree is said to represent the highest ranking village clan. The leader of that clan is spoken of as "standing on the mound." In the idiom, it is suggested that the people of Ngerechelong (northern Palau) would all like to be leaders-all standing on the mound at the same time. The idiom may be applied where too many people try to direct an operation; too many leaders.
> When the purple swamp hen appears, it brings remembrance
There is a song (Oumachas) from which this saying derives: Once there was a young couple who made love in a secluded spot in the taro garden. While they were lying together a purple swamp hen darted out of the brush startling the couple. Eventually love cooled, but thereafter whenever the girl saw a purple swamp hen while she worked in the gardens, she recalled her lover. Hence any occurrence that brings back fond memories.
> From the Metkul boundary point at Ngirair, Palau is yet huge up to Ngerechelong.
This saying is given two meanings, both negative, pertaining to the people of northern Palau and to Ngaraard particularly: (i) the people of northern Palau are so provincial that they still think Palau is a huge country; (2) the people of northern Palau are the biggest liars (a play on "to deceive," which sounds like Belau [Palau] ). The idiom may be shortened to "Men of the point" (Chad ra bkul), referring to a point of land at Ngirair marking the boundary of Ngaraard. Or the act of patting the elbow (bkul) may carry the same meaning. Actually, the idiom is of fairly recent vintage, pertaining in part to resistance on the part of some of the people of northern Palau to administrative programs instituted by the Japanese.