Find joy in tears of Olympic parents
Years ago, on our trip to China, we climbed the Great Wall, marveled at the clay soldiers of Xian and were inspired by the remarkably rich history of this country, but far, far more memorable and moving was the love we saw in the faces of new parents, who had come from the U.S. and Europe, proudly cradling and kissing their newly adopted infants. People in our group and others who were presented with this sight applauded and shed our own tears of joy.
Today we watch the future of our country compete in the 2008 Olympics and we puff our chests with pride as we witness the hope of America strive to be the very best they can. In their performances, we are offered a glimpse of America's future, a whisper to parents that after they have passed, their children, their children's children will continue to enjoy the fruits of this country.
In the stands or at the end of a cell-phone call, almost unnoticed and uncelebrated, was the most powerful force behind the Olympic movement, a force so powerful that without it no country can exist or claim a medal, the love of a father and a mother. There is nothing more beautiful, more moving, than to see the boundless love and soaring joy in a mother's tears.
Nelson S.W. Chang
Official or not, English will flourish
In response to Toshio Chinen's letter ("Olympics show need for universal language," Star-Bulletin, Aug. 17),
I would like to point out three things.
First, a language helps define a culture more than anything else. The French, the Germans, the Spaniards, the Russians, the Chinese and countless others readily accept English as the lingua franca in the global world of business and international affairs. Just don't expect them to abandon their native tongues within their borders whether they deal with politics, arts or any other socio-economic subject.
Second, the Olympics have two official languages: English and French. The former for practical reasons, the latter more as a tradition to honor Pierre de Coubertin who revived the Olympic movement at the end of the 19th century. Of course the host country can always add its official language to the event. It just cannot do so to the detriment of the two official languages.
And finally, if you travel outside the U.S., you learn that school curriculums everywhere on the planet include the learning of English, often starting in grade school. If kids do not drop out of school for whatever reasons, they usually graduate from high school bilingual.
Chinen should not worry about people from other countries not knowing English. Time and the current tide of young people learning it will make English the de facto international language of choice everywhere before long, something I see as positive as Chinen probably does.
That said, I would still prefer to live in a world in which great minds like Leonardo DaVinci, Marie Curie and Miguel de Cervantes can enrich our lives in the language of their choice.
Superferry offers great, friendly service
On our recent visit to the islands, we had the opportunity to use the Hawaii Superferry between Oahu and Maui. We were extremely pleased with the entire experience.
The employees of the Superferry were very pleasant and helpful. You could tell that they wanted to make our trip a comfortable and enjoyable one. The ship was so clean and nice and had all of the things that anyone would ever need - enclosed seating with either comfortable chairs or booths with tables, a gift shop, snack bars, televisions and so on. It is obvious that the team that developed this business model has its goals set for the future success of the state of Hawaii.
We will continue to use this service every time we are in the islands and will inform anyone who is considering interisland travel that the Hawaii Superferry is definitely the way to go.
Mike and Pam Kelleher
President must have ability to reason
Will John McCain get the sympathy vote? I sure hope not. That's no way to select a president. But McCain seems to think so. He takes every opportunity to remind us of the hardships he endured as a POW. "Anecdotes" he calls them. And they are, truly, tear jerkers.
I admire McCain for the way he handled physical abuse at the hands of his captors. He has my sympathy. But I want to vote for someone who can think, reason and understand the increasing complexities of our world. Someone who does not charge ahead blindly on principle. Someone who doesn't have all the answers (like President Bush) and who can draw on a wide variety of perspectives to make informed decisions.
McCain thinks "evil" can be "defeated." Well, maybe, when all humans disappear from the face of the Earth. After all, the problem has been with us for as long as homo sapiens have been around. In the meantime we have to pick and choose our battles. In the words of the old Kenny Rogers song, "You got to know when to hold 'um, know when to fold 'um, know when to walk away, know when to run." I want a president who knows when.
Take bad with the good when you're in a union
If the majority of teachers had voted against random drug testing and decided to go on strike, the minority who voted for the contract would have to also go on strike, even if they did not want to strike.
Teachers selected one union, however ill served, to represent all of them in the collective bargaining process. Contracts are not negotiated individually. That's why it is called "collective" bargaining. As union members they are bound by the vote of the majority, however unpalatable it may be.
Their anger should be directed at the gutless Hawaii State Teachers Association leaders who refused to take a stand for or against the issue of random drug testing.
It would be interesting to know how many of those teachers who voted against the contract refused their pay raises.
Spend rail budget on Kapolei tax breaks
Whatever happened to the promise of a second city in Kapolei? Instead of spending billions getting more people to town, why not spend the money on tax incentives to businesses that build offices or retail stores and hire employees on the Leeward side?
If we could get the University of Hawaii-West Oahu campus built and relocate some government and private offices to Kapolei the benefits would be many. Contractors would have work building the second city, people would save time and money working closer to home, families would have more time together and we would reduce our impact on the planet.
This is not rocket science, folks! It's just politics as usual.