to the Editor

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Monday, June 2, 2003

Junket to Japan wastes our money

I read that Governor Lingle, legislators and tourism officials will go to Japan in July to lure Japanese tourists to Hawaii.

Past governors who went to Japan to bring tourists had no success. Let's face it. Japanese tourists don't want to come to Hawaii. They'd rather go to Guam, Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Why do state officials waste the taxpayers' money on this junket? Don't they know the Japanese economy is still bad and recovering slowly? Only the rich Japanese can afford the high prices in Hawaii.

With SARS, more so they won't come. They are told to stay home and not travel.

Governor, don't use our hard-earned tax dollars for this trip. Use the money for needed repairs on schools and highways.

William Lee

EWC builds friendships with cultural exchange

I heartily congratulate the East-West Center for its sponsorship of the Ho Chi Minh City Water Puppet Theater. This cultural exchange program with Vietnam is a strong indication of the EWC leadership's awareness of its role in the promotion of U.S. interest in Asia.

As it is almost three decades since the end of the Vietnam war, the United States is now looking at Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, as a zone of peace and economic cooperation for the well-being of people in the region and the American people.

For centuries, Vietnamese living in the Red River delta enjoyed the itinerant water puppet theater troupes even as the great river flooded their villages almost every year in the rainy season. I enjoyed this unusual form of rural theater twice in Hanoi, which gave me a meaningful picture of Vietnamese village life and sketches of Vietnamese history, especially stories of the people's struggle for independence before the European colonial era.

I hope that people in Hawaii will see this unique cultural performance representing an important aspect of the life of 70 million Vietnamese.

As a retired U.S. Foreign Service officer and a native of Indochina, I would like to thank the EWC for its good work and its robust vision of cooperation for peace and prosperity between the United States and all countries in Southeast Asia.

Thavanh Svengsouk
Hawaii Kai

EWC is carrying out its cross-cultural mission

As a Vietnamese-American, I congratulate the East-West Center for its sponsorship in bringing the Vietnamese Water Puppet Show to Hawaii.

This show is unique to Vietnam and is a 1,000-year-old tradition. It is not a show invented by any recent or current Vietnamese governments. I have seen the show myself and hope that the multiethnic people of Hawaii will, too.

The East-West Center is well-known and respected in the Asia-Pacific region for its nonpartisan leadership in promoting better understanding among nations and peoples through cultural and educational interchanges. As a proud member of the EWC's 50,000-plus alumni, I applaud the center for the role it continues to play in building the Asia-Pacific community. Our increasingly unstable world needs more cross-cultural understanding now than ever. The East-West Center deserves our praise and support for carrying out it founding mission.

Thanhlo Lekhac Sananikone

Economy has tanked since Bush took over

Regarding Brian K. Hazel's letter ("Bush's growth plan is vital to economy"):

May I point out the price of gold is way up, not down. It always goes up when the stock market is weak. Consumer spending is much better than small-business and corporate spending. It would be even better if so many millions of people hadn't lost their jobs since George W. Bush was appointed our president by a 5-to-4 vote of the Supreme Court.

Robert G. Devine
Ocean View, Hawaii

We'll all pay for Bush's unnecessary war

Suddenly, people are waking up to the fact that when our president decides to spend $80 billion to oust Saddam Hussein, on top of a homeland security budget of $20 billion and a $400 billion military defense budget, the taxpayer will experience the repercussions down to the state, city and household level.

Libraries will open later; police will do fewer patrols; social services will be cut; the homeless are on their own. Emergency workers, fire depart- ments and other services will be curtailed.

We face a $1 trillion federal fiscal debt. If American households spent money like the government, they'd go bankrupt.

When Americans wonder why junior can't read after graduating from high school, or when police take more than an hour to respond to a 911 call, thank the war-hungry among us who supported this administration and this stupid war.

Paul D'Argent
Kihei, Maui

This is the right time for president's tax cuts

The perennial detractors of tax cuts seem to ignore that the tax increases under the Clinton administration were just one component in the economic environment of the late 1990s. The most important component of course was confidence.

This confidence (some would say exuberance) was influenced by various factors, not the least of which was the surging bull stock market buoyed by new technologies.

Maintaining and renewing public confidence in future job and economic growth changes with the times. Right now national security issues dominate, along with job growth and arresting and reversing deflationary pressures on the net worth of individuals and households.

Transferring income from the public sector back into the hands of private individuals via tax cuts is certainly a proven method of confidence building.

Paul Mossman

Humans deserve more concern than animals

What is with the animal rights crusade lately?

First, the Star-Bulletin lets the Hawaiian Humane Society interject inane views into an otherwise entertaining article about hunting wild pigs (Star-Bulletin, May 4). Now, chimps shouldn't be trained to perform because they share a 99 percent DNA match with people?

Don't be misled by Cathy Goeggel's May 29 Gathering Place column ("Why boycott the 50th State Fair?") and her statistical evidence. According to a California Institute of Technology study, the DNA match between humans and chimps is only 95 percent. While this may seem trivial, consider that the human genome contains more than 3 billion base pairs. This reveals 150 million genetic mismatches, which doesn't sound too similar to me.

Many of the horrors endured by circus animals are perpetrated every day against human beings: beatings, malnutrition and brutal living conditions. I'll get excited about the degradation of animals as soon as all people are treated with dignity.

Raoul Gutenpfennigen


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