Ethnic hyphenations divide Americans
I, and many of my friends, object to the use of the term "Japanese American." To us, it is a divisive, racist term.
It is a term that differentiates Asian Americans and non-Asian Americans. Normally, you do not call white Americans "German American" or "Irish American" (except on St. Patrick's Day) or "Italian American." That is because one cannot see their ethnicity as easily as one can see the different skin color of people of Asian or African origin.
The correct term that should be used is American of Japanese (Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese) ancestry, if you feel that the ethnicity of a person or group of persons is significant.
I would suggest that you listen to John Wayne's short monologue "The Hyphen." It is on his CD "America, Why I Love Her." I think that you will agree that the hyphen is used to divide Americans, more than it unites us.
Those who train dogs to kill must be stopped
It is more than sad that in this glorious state the killing continues ("Rogue hunters shatter peace of pet sanctuary," "Gathering Place," Star-Bulletin, July 10
). These "brave" hunters who train dogs to maim and kill are probably the second or third generation of parents who trained their small children to shoot to kill. We are way too soft on all this, and need people who pass our laws to step up to the plate. Do the hunters who killed the pet pig have a license to kill? Trace them through the license bureau.
And the children who maim and kill must be held responsible by the law and their parents. Why do we give a second chance or a short term in jail? These people know they are doing wrong. Misbehaving children in school and at home are no longer held responsible. They come and go as they please and are passed on and then we wonder why this terror happens.Someone needs to take this mess seriously!
Owner of Helena's was kind, generous
Like many people, I was shocked and saddened by the unexpected passing of Helen Chock, founder of Helena's Hawaiian Foods in Kalihi (Star-Bulletin, July 4
Most people knew about her dedication to her restaurant and her family, but not too many people knew what a loving and generous person she was.
I was one of the recipients of her kindness and generosity. Without her, receiving a higher education and being able to live in this tropical paradise would forever be an impossible dream of mine. Helen made that dream become a reality for me when nobody else would. And for that, I felt immensely grateful.
She gave so much, yet asked for nothing in return; she certainly was one of the most caring and inspiring persons I have ever met.
Helen embraced her life with joy and enthusiasm, she treated people with kindness and generosity, and she faced death with grace and courage. Hawaii should be proud to have her as one of its model citizens, and I felt very fortunate to have her as a beloved relative of mine.
Participants made bon dance festive
On behalf of the board and members of Kaneohe Higashi Hongwanji, I would like to express our deep appreciation to the community for its support of our recent bon dance, on July 6. The many participants from the community who attended the bon dance made this year's event so special and festive. We would especially like to thank all of you for your support, and we look forward to seeing you at future events at Kaneohe Higashi Hongwanji.
Liane Kimura Briggs
Board of Directors
Kaneohe Higashi Hongwanji
Youth opera chorus' harmonies linger
I am writing to give my greatest thanks to the Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus and sponsors for the "Operatunities" program that made this the happiest summer ever.
I had a chance to be in the opera recently. In the three weeks that we had in the program, we learned music and choreography, but so much more. Great teachers shared their manao with us in Hawaiian storytelling and myths, hula, kapa-making, Polynesian tattooing, kahili-making and native birds.
We learned all about tempo, from adagio to andante, allegro, to vivace. We learned what upstage and downstage meant, and how to work with an amazing orchestra led by Aaron Mahi. The chorus is led by Auntie Nola Nahulu, who inspires us so much and makes sure that we are learning and growing all the time. It is managed by Malia Kaai-Barrett and a group of the best coaches and leaders in music and Hawaiiana.
I made really great friends, and I now have great role models in the older students. They all share in the hard work, celebration and long hours, and even though they are so advanced as singers and actors, they treat us all with respect.
A lyric from the opera will remind me of this summer and of Hawaii forever: The harmonies of your aina will make you whole. The harmonies of Operatunities made me whole and made my heart sing!
Stories minimized danger of fireworks
Three items in the July 6 Star-Bulletin downplayed the serious side of fireworks. The headline "Fewer fires are caused by fireworks this year
" seems to miss the bigger news about fires caused by fireworks. Those included one that burned 180 acres in Lahaina, a fairly large area. Another fire, one of 60 on Oahu, posed a danger to homes in Waialae Iki and needed five fire companies to respond.
The headline "Fireworks vex Rex but chips bring him home" sounds like a good-news story, and for the dogs and owners reunited, it is. However, the first paragraph states that whenever there are fireworks, "there is an explosion of frightened and lost pets at the Hawaiian Humane Society." The society spokeswoman also says the numbers of lost pets on days after fireworks are overwhelming.
Finally, the editorial "Residents opt for safety over risk of fireworks" highlights the reduced number of fires from last year and the "common sense that has spread like wildfire."
However, there is no way to measure the discomfort caused by fireworks to both humans and our pets.
Maybe it's time our legislators finally realize why the Honolulu Police Department, Honolulu Fire Department and the American Lung Association, among others, for years have called for a ban on nonprofessional fireworks.
Xenophobia killed immigration reform
Immigration reform legislation is dead for now. America has become the land of the fearful, not the home of the brave. The tone and substance of the opposition to immigration reform was unquestionably xenophobic and arguably racist. Even Sens. Jeff Sessions (R, Alabama) and John Thune (R, N.D), who should know better, expressed sentiments close to those of the nativist Know-Nothing Party of the mid-19th century.
America's talk show hosts echoed the fear and hatred, adding their own colorful vulgarity. The essence of the opposition is simple: fear and hatred of those who are not "like us." The "us" is those of us already (legally) here.
These folks have forgotten where they came from. The only ones who can claim a native right to be in the United States are those with pure Native American, Native Hawaiian or Native Alaskan heritage. All the rest of us got here because our ancestors immigrated.
My ancestors came to America seeking better lives for themselves and their children. The people immigrating to America now are coming for exactly the same reasons, a better life for themselves and their children. I, for one, do not see the harm in that. That is what built America.
Thomas Graham Gans
Don't rule out military strike against N. Korea
Aggressive new sanctions against North Korea, including measures to limit trade in military and luxury items, are called for in the wake of Pyongyang's claim to have conducted a successful nuclear weapons test. A blockade of its ports on all shipping in and out also should be considered.
North Korea must never be permitted to attain nuclear weapons and it cannot be trusted to comply with any resolutions from the United Nations.
A pre-emptive military strike against North Korea should not be ruled out if North Korea does not cease in its development and testing of nuclear weapons.
The North Korean regime has proved over and over that it cannot be trusted. Never forget its aggression in 1950 against South Korea and the bloody and costly three-year war that followed.
As a Korean War veteran, I say a military strike against North Korea is definitely an option that is open now.
Korean War and Vietnam War veteran
Frequent Hawaii visitor
DOE bureaucrats kill students' potential
Talk about a two-fer! On the same day the Star-Bulletin reminded readers that our state is perfectly situated to be at the cutting edge of OUTER space astronomical discovery ("Pluto not largest of dwarf planets," July 5
), another story described an astonishing INNER space discovery arising from the vast deep ("Curious creature caught off Keahole Point"
A newly arrived stranger might logically conclude public school children in our state must surely be beneficiaries of world-class math and science curricula that they, too, might one day position themselves as leaders on the exciting van of both unfolding frontiers of human knowledge.
Well, a newbie might be forgiven for thinking so until discovering the awful truth: These bright, capable, eminently teachable public school children are trapped in an obscenely expensive, Stalinist-era, top-down, hideously convoluted, bureaucratically stultified state level department of "education" that steadfastly refuses to establish ANY curriculum for ANY subject at ANY grade level. Given the chaos thus deliberately manufactured by legions of resolutely risk-averse bureaucrats for the sole purpose of distancing themselves from even a hint of accountability for academic results, students in Third World schools -- albeit mired in the most desperate poverty imaginable -- routinely outperform the innocent youthful victims of our DOE.
There is a word to describe those responsible for so massive a theft of an intellectual birthright in order that these favored few might continue to ride easy at the expense of others. (Hint: How do you spell C-H-E-A-T-E-R-S?)
Thomas E. Stuart
Kohala Middle School
Rail guarantees union vote for mayor
In all the letters you've received regarding the proposed rail system, it surprises me that the real reason why the mayor is so hot on the subject has never been brought up.
Think about it for a moment. Why would he favor a system that will spend billions in taxpayer monies, foul up our present traffic situation for 10 to 15 years while it's being built, and in the end not even ease traffic congestion?
Ummmmm! Could it be that Mr. One Term is going to run for governor after Linda Lingle's term ends? What better way to lock up organized labor's backing than guaranteeing union workers steady jobs for 15 years? Come on Hawaii! Don't lock your children's and grandchildren's tax money into a boondoggle so one man's ego can be assuaged.
Hawaii workers would use airport rail link
Steven Fukunaga suggested in his July 4 letter
that Honolulu airport would be best served by a special-purpose rail transit line running nonstop to some central station and with accommodation for passenger baggage. He cites Kuala Lumpur as an example. Other such examples might include Hong Kong, Tokyo Narita, Shanghai Pudong, Beijing (under construction), Heathrow and Gatwick at London, several other European airports with heavy rail spurs, and in North America at Philadelphia, Newark and New York JFK.
"General purpose transit lines" like that envisioned for Honolulu, which Fukunaga disparages for airport use, are serving busy North American airports in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Portland, San Francisco, San Jose, St. Louis and Washington, D.C., some for many years. More such lines are being built or planned in Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Memphis, Phoenix, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.
These 20 North American communities understand that their airport environs are major employment hubs to which thousands of workers commute daily, and where allocations of space for staff parking come now at escalating costs. Many business fliers with hand luggage also find reliable, grade-separated rail service a welcome on-airport interchange option.
Honolulu airport is also unique in its proximity to another major employer and rail transit traffic source, the U.S. military at Hickam Air Force Base and at Pearl Harbor (the state's largest employer). This heavy potential traffic, like that of airport users and workers, is bi-directional: It will come from both east and west.
It doesn't make sense to consider an air passenger-oriented rail transit express service as part of Honolulu's mobility modernization. It's mainly for the workers, folks, but others will certainly benefit.
Goodbye, cocaine -- you weren't worth it
Dear cocaine: I am writing this letter to admit to myself that by knowing you I have nearly ruined my life.
When we started our relationship near 25 years ago, you were fun to be with, you always picked me up when I was down and using you never failed to chase away my worries.
Although you were an expensive date, up to a thousand dollars a day, I always enjoyed your company. You made me feel good, at least for a while.
Only I am responsible for my choice to use you; now I must pay further for that choice. You took away my business, my job, my health, my family and my self-respect.
I chased you, I needed you, I begged and I stole for you, I nearly died for you, and now I am in prison because of my love for you.
I have applied to several treatment programs. They tell me that if I work hard, I can break away from you.
There are no words to express how much I hate you, in spite of how much I love you; I despise you, I hope and pray to finally be rid of you. Goodbye, cocaine.
Inmate, Oahu Community Correctional Center
STUB OUT VIOLATORS
Smoking ban is useless without enforcement
Regarding "Smoking-ban rules, enforcement coming" (Star-Bulletin, June 30
), it is evident that the Legislature needs to adhere to the military acronym PPPPPP the next time it passes a law. PPPPPP stands for Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.
It appears that the Legislature passed a law with no thought on how to enforce it. The article says it's been eight months that the smoking ban has been in effect and some bar owners are ignoring the law and finding loopholes. Should we be surprised? Did the Legislature just expect all bar owners to comply without consequences and sanctions?
Obviously the Honolulu Police Department doesn't really care to enforce this law, either. The article states that "HPD asks for the complainant to wait for an officer to show up and identify the smoker or business not in compliance with the ban."
HPD responds to anonymous calls reporting domestic abuse and late night "disturbing the peace" calls. So why can't HPD respond to anonymous calls about smoking violations? If HPD can kick the homeless off the beaches who aren't really endangering anybody's health, why can't they respond to an anonymous call about a smoking violation?
Isn't it enough to note the "smoking guns" such as the smell of cigarettes, people smoking in the establishment or ashes in the ashtrays to realize that the law is being broken? Is anyone surprised why nobody is reporting violations if the complainant has to wait and identify the perpetrator?
Bar managers should be responsible for enforcing the ban in their establishments and should be fined heavily and closed down if they don't comply.
If managers are afraid of resistance from customers, they can follow the lead of the Nashville Waikiki: Hire some big, bad redneck dudes or the local equivalent to enforce the smoking ban. All they have to say is "Please smoke outside" and violators comply readily.