100 years of progress
for Korean Americans


Korean Americans are celebrating the centennial of their arrival in Hawaii.

THE arrival in Honolulu of 56 men, 21 women and 25 children aboard the SS Gaelic a century ago was the first significant infusion of Korean immigrants to what is now the United States. Within three years, more than 7,000 others from the peninsula would make the journey. Korean Americans are celebrating the centennial this week and should be recognized for their important role in maintaining the American dream.

The Hawaiian Star noted that the first arrivals were "the first large party of immigrants to ever leave Korea for the Western Hemisphere" and forecast that "Koreans should do well in these islands." A few weeks later, the Evening Bulletin observed, "They appear to be hard workers, yet they are paid the least," toiling in the sugar fields "from dawn to dusk for 69 cents a day." Our ancestral newspapers could recognize when a people had entered the road to success.

"They brought a very, very good work ethic," says Hawaii Chief Justice Ronald Tae Yang Moon, one of eight prominent Korean Americans chosen to ride in a centennial float in the Rose Bowl Parade on New Year's Day. In addition, Moon recalls, his family legacy included involvement in the church and community. Such voluntarism is recognized worldwide as an American institution.

While a small number of Koreans had begun to arrive on U.S. shores in 1888, two years after the U.S. approved immigration from Korea, they numbered fewer than 60 at the beginning of the 20th century. The Korean emperor's recognition in 1902 of that U.S. approval produced the first wave of immigrants. Subsequent waves would result from Korean men bringing "picture brides" from their native land to join them, the reopening of U.S. immigration following World War II and the Korean War, and the 1965 elimination of discriminatory immigration quotas based on national origin.

Annual U.S. immigration from Korea reached its peak of 36,000 in 1987 but has dropped drastically because of improved economic and political conditions in South Korea. Today, more than 1.2 million Americans -- 23,000 in Hawaii -- can trace their ancestry to the Korean peninsula.


Show pets the light
at end of quarantine


Republican state legislators are sponsoring a bill that would eliminate the quarantine for incoming pets.

LAST year's Legislature may be regarded as cautious in its decision not to end Hawaii's quarantine for pets entering the state. Further refusal would be the equivalent of Luddite intransigence, apparently aimed at saving jobs at quarantine facilities. Legislative inaction should prompt Governor Lingle to take executive steps if necessary to eliminate the outmoded requirement, a drag on the state's largest economic resources -- tourism and the military.

Republican legislators have taken up the cause while the state Department of Agriculture considers a measure to reduce the quarantine from 30 days to five days for incoming pets that are vaccinated four months before their arrival and are embedded with identifiable microchips. A five-day quarantine may satisfy most military personnel reluctant to part with their pets, but it won't be acceptable to tourists.

"We want to get rid of a very archaic and useless program," says state Sen. Fred Hemmings, joined by fellow Republicans William Stonebraker and David Pendleton in the House in calling for an end to the quarantine. "Technology exists now where quarantine is obsolete and no longer needed."

Indeed, the United Kingdom relaxed its six-month quarantine for pets arriving from Europe three years ago and extended the freedom last month to dogs and cats arriving from Canada and the U.S. mainland. Thus, a family can bring its pet on vacation to Britain without having to put it in a cage on arrival.

In Hawaii, which had a four-month quarantine until 1997, the pet still faces 30 days of incarceration. That would be reduced to five days under a proposal given preliminary approval by the state Board of Agriculture in September but which has yet to be even scheduled for public hearings.

James J. Nakatani, the board's chairman during the Cayetano administration, was adamant that a quarantine is needed to protect the islands against rabies. He credits the quarantine for Hawaii's 90 years without a rabies case. That conclusion can be taken to absurd lengths, discounting scientific findings indicating that required vaccinations and microchip IDs are adequate to keep Hawaii rabies-free.

Sandra Lee Kunimoto, appointed by Lingle to replace Nakatani, says she will press for relaxing the quarantine restriction. Legislators should act more quickly by enacting "Ruby's Law," named after a 3-year-old pinscher who died in quarantine last month.


Published by Oahu Publications Inc., a subsidiary of Black Press.

Don Kendall, Publisher

Frank Bridgewater, Editor 529-4791;
Michael Rovner, Assistant Editor 529-4768;
Lucy Young-Oda, Assistant Editor 529-4762;

Mary Poole, Editorial Page Editor, 529-4748;
John Flanagan, Contributing Editor 294-3533;

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