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Letters 12|06


“Ready for Prime Time?” October 2006
John Heckathorn’s dining column explored Filipino cuisine.

Your article on Filipino food caught my attention as I am addicted to this unique cuisine. I am a 73-year-old “sugar baby” whose grandfather was in the Hawaiian sugar business for many years. He was general manager of Pioneer Sugar Mill in the early 1900s before being a partner in a large sugar plantation in the Philippines. I am an American Caucasian born on the Philippine plantation, who grew up with Filipino food.

As an adult, I lived in Hawai‘i for 19 years. I was always on a quest for the best chicken/pork adobo, sinigangs and the perfect lumpia. I love the spices, vinegars, seafood dishes and vegetables.

My business today takes me back to the Philippines once a year, where I revisit some favorite restaurants. I have found that preparations of different popular dishes have changed, the prewar recipes as opposed to the recipes of today. I prefer the prewar recipes without the influence of Maggi (packaged foods) and other “make-do” alterations. I am having fun as I continue to ferret out the best of Filipino foods.

Sascha Jean Jansen
Vacaville, Calif.

“Full Tanks and Empty Reefs,” and “Vacuuming the Reef,” September 2006
“Vacuuming the Reef” discussed extraordinary means taken when pollution and the removal of herbivorous fish result in algal overgrowth. “Full Tanks and Empty Reefs” revealed the extent of aquarium fishing, which targets small herbivores such as the yellow tang.

Overfishing is a major reason for the sad state of Hawai‘i reefs, and aquarium fishing is indeed a problem on Maui. I swim in different areas in South Maui several times a week, and the only place I see schools of yellow tangs is in the ‘Ahihi-Kinau Marine Reserve.

A healthy reef depends on a balance of organisms. Gill nets indiscriminately strip the reefs, and aquarium fishing selectively depletes reef populations. The fish belong on the reef, not in a hobby tank or tarting up a lobby. Commercial aquarium fishing should be banned statewide.

Diane Shepherd
Kihei, Maui

“Compassion’s New Face,” August 2006
Kathryn Drury Wagner’s Afterthoughts discussed the nationwide issue of homelessness and ways to fix the problem here in Hawai‘i.

Have any of Hawai‘i’s politicians ever discussed rent control laws to alleviate the homeless situation? We keep hearing about people being forced out of their living quarters due to unreasonable rental increases. Not everyone can afford to buy a home. Rent control laws have helped renters in the states of New York, California and New Jersey, as well as Washington, D.C. If housing rents and leases were affordable, and stable, there would be more people dwelling in safe, comfortable and humane homes rather than tent towns. Beach parks are recreational—not residential.

Clyde Yasuhara
Valley Village, Calif. and Makaha, Hawai‘i

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