Rant & Rave

Tuesday, March 9, 1999

No home here for
Hawaii’s young people

By Cara Nakamura


T wo years ago I wrote about the meaning of "home." I convinced myself that I was lucky I live Hawaii, but also lucky to live New Jersey. In a few months, I will convince myself that my anxieties are unfounded, and I am lucky to live New York City. But while the opportunities ahead may seem fruitful, part of me feels like it is the start of a long goodbye to Hawaii.

Adults who have been through this say that what I am feeling for Hawaii is a natural part of growing up, yet I cannot help but wonder why this must be so. People always ask me if I want to live in Hawaii in the future. Duh. Wouldn't anybody? Sadly, though, the age at which I say I will return to Hawaii is becoming increasingly older. Now I answer, "Perhaps for retirement."

Info Box Hawaii is in a unique position, particularly as it finds itself vulnerable to economic instability and restructuring. Few states can boast like Hawaii can about a generation of excited and ambitious youth who want to remain in or return to the place in which they grew up. Few states have as much an opportunity as Hawaii to halt what has been labeled "The Brain Drain". Few states are admired as much as Hawaii for its strong familial nature and genuine Aloha spirit.

Ironically, all of this may be in danger of destruction as out-migration rates increase. If Hawaii remains at status quo, children will be forced to care for parents long distance. Furthermore, as slippahs become flip flops, and da beach becomes the shore, people like myself will wonder if we are still justified to call Hawaii "home."

Therefore, to the future economists, politicians, and leaders of Hawaii: We want to come home. I think I can speak for many and say that nothing would make us happier. But until someone wakes up and realizes the reality of the opportunity that Hawaii has to retain its generation of youth, we will probably choose the L.A.s, San Franciscos, and New York Cities over Honolulu. The job market has stagnated, and economic innovation is fairly nonexistent. Jobs to support our degrees and a high cost of living are simply not available.

I will not pretend to know the complicated intricacies of running a state. However, it is important to remind Hawaii that it has a deep, but fragile relationship with its youth that it has a legitimate chance to preserve. If it takes someone to say, "We want to come home!" with every ounce of vehemence in order for present and future leaders of Hawaii to go ahead with innovative legislation and/or economics, then let me speak for my generation.

Until change is made, we are in a Catch-22 predicament. Necessity will force us to defer our dreams of lychee tree backyards and rubber slippers year-round a little longer so that we can call somewhere else "home."

Cara Nakamura is a senior at Princeton University.

Rant & Rave is a Tuesday Star-Bulletin feature
allowing those 12 to 22 to serve up fresh perspectives.
Speak up by fax at 523-8509; by answering machine at 525-8666;
snail mail at P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802;
or e-mail,

E-mail to Features Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin