Changing Hawaii

By Diane Yukihiro Chang

Monday, December 27, 1999

Prepare for the turn
of century by sharing

MY home looks like a glutton's abode. All of the brightly colored packages and baskets once hiding under the Christmas tree have been torn open, their contents lovingly and reverently transferred to the kitchen.

Talk about a junk-food junkie's fix.

Lining the counter tops are bags of taro chips, candy-coated popcorn, yogurt pretzels and dried apricots. Cookies of every genre. Rice crackers, cuttlefish and li hing everything, including "worms."

There are packages of Kona coffee and mac nuts. Jars of lilikoi-flavored butter and passion fruit jelly.

And from the kiddo, who knows my weakness for starch and sugar, two containers filled with decadent chocolate-covered potato chips from the state's most hoity-toity department store.

Alas, while I love each and every one of these holiday treats, and could decimate them myself before the new millennium, I'm not about to hoard. Beginning this week, I'll be bringing in my riches -- little by little, a new one every day -- to enjoy with my esteemed co-workers in the newsroom.

No, I am not trying to kill them with calories. Nor am I attempting to make nicey-nice.

Sharing my plethora of goodies is simply the best way to taste every food gift without going overboard. Moderation is the key for enjoying everything in life, ranging from alcohol to TV to tofu.

Especially when it comes to fireworks.

You wouldn't know it, though, by the way islanders (mostly males, or by females for the males in their lives) are buying huge quantities of firecrackers at neighborhood stores and stands.

According to a story in Saturday's Star-Bulletin, some folks are purchasing thousands of dollars worth of fireworks for their own personal use.

Some are worried this might be the last year these mini explosives will be legal in Hawaii, given their acknowledged health and safety risks.

Others just like to pop the darn things, despite the excessive noise, smoke, and resulting trauma to both man and beast.

Personally, I don't begrudge responsible people from celebrating with an occasional pop, pop, pop during the legal hours for playing with fireworks, particularly if they're doing so to ward away evil from the home, as many Asian cultures believe.

But to spend big bucks merely to show off or to hoard huge chunks of a limited supply is as bad as being Scrooge. Bah, humbug to such culprits.

IF you or someone you know has already plunked down a small fortune on firecrackers, it's not too late to repent! How about sharing the wealth, either by giving away or selling some of your stash to others?

Ideally, these recipients should reside far, far away, so the resulting concentration of pollutants can be spread more evenly throughout the community.

Or did you want the block to look and smell like L.A. during a smog alert? Can you live with the responsibility of triggering an asthmatic attack or breathing difficulties for some unfortunate soul nearby?

Is this the land of aloha or the land of Looney Tunes? Quit worshiping excessiveness. Practice some self-restraint. If not, the state Legislature will do it for us by banning fireworks entirely.

Eat too much stuff, there goes the diet. Light too many fuses, there goes the fun.

Diane Yukihiro Chang's column runs Monday and Friday.
She can be reached by phone at 525-8607, via e-mail at, or by fax at 523-7863.

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