Letters

June



Published:

Letters to the Editor may be sent to: Honolulu Magazine, P.O. Box 913, Honolulu, HI, 96808-0913, faxed: 537-6455 or e-mailed: letters_honmag@pacificbasin.net

"THE SEVEN DEADLY LOCAL SINS," APRIL 2004
Lee Tonouchi's winning short story in the 21st annual HONOLULU Magazine Starbucks Coffee Hawai'i Fiction Contest

Congratulations to the author and to the judges for having selected Mr. Tonouchi's short story. Normally I don't enjoy reading anything that is done in any sort of patois. However, in this case, it's eloquent.

I don't agree that someone in another state would understand it, especially if she or he has not lived in Hawai'i and experienced the "local" culture.

What had me "rolling in the aisles" was the mention of the unfortunate Mainland deaths of some transplanted locals due to a lack of real kine rice. How many of us have had friends or relatives move to the East Coast, for example, and the first cry for help was for Hinode rice and Aloha brand shoyu? Do you know how much it costs to send a 25-pound bag of rice via Priority mail?

Great pick! Insightful author! Riotous sense of humor.

Lillian Lubag, via e-mail

I was delighted to see Lee Tonouchi's masterful and hilarious pidgin work win first place in your contest. But I was quite taken aback to read that he won despite his story being written in pidgin. As HONOLULU Magazine states, "a couple of our judges do not in general like reading pidgin prose." I say, throw those judges out! How can HONOLULU Magazine run a fiction contest, where the stories are required to be about Hawai'i, and then purposefully use judges who are biased against the predominant and most expressive language of Hawai'i? I urge you to select only judges for this contest who are equally open to English and pidgin. This ain't New York, y'know, and thank heavens for it!

Joel Fischer, Honolulu

I tried to read the winner's entry but couldn't. It was written in pidgin, so is destined to a tiny and vanishing audience. It's too bad that one can't write pidgin and make it intelligible to a general English audience. But it will probably never happen unless it is introduced by a continuing character or characters and captivates the reader. Written pidgin always sounds phony to me; worse than a haole who speaks really bad affected pidgin.

Gordon McCullough, via e-mail

"WHO MAKES WHAT," APRIL 2004
Ronna Bolante and Michael Keany's roundup of Hawai'i salaries

I have just read "Who Makes What" and am quite offended. Why did you compare the salary of American Savings Bank president] Constance Lau (a female executive) to that of 45 tellers? Why did you not compare it to that of Walter Dods? Does he not make more than 45 tellers? I am a female working in a man's realm and I find it reprehensible that you should make her seem like the "greedy woman" by personifying her to 45 positions that are mostly held by women.

Joan Greco Hiranaka, maxillofacial surgeon, Big Island

Editor's note: Our intent was to compare a bank CEO salary to that of tellers in the trenches, just as we compared the salary of Roger Drue, president of the healthcare group that includes Straub, Wilcox and Kapi'olani hospitals, to the salaries of 13 nurses. American Savings Bank was simply the only bank to release teller salaries. We're grateful for ASB's openness.

"CONSTITUTION ABUSE," APRIL 2004
A. Kam Napier's Afterthoughts on President George Bush's attempt to ban gay marriage through a constitutional amendment.

"Constitution Abuse" was an excellent example of good, balanced, socially conscious journalism. The manner in which Napier educated readers about the purpose and spirit of the Constitution and Bill of Rights and how that was juxtaposed over the issue of same-sex marriage was well written, thought provoking and accessible. Most people can understand female suffrage, and using that as a means to shed some light on the issue of defining "marriage" will hopefully open up some readers' eyes.

It's really too bad that a few moral elitists in positions of influence and power have the ability to create policy that limits the civil liberties and freedoms that everyone is entitled to enjoy.

Aina Akamu, via e-mail

[If Napier is] presenting an argument that under the Bill of Rights, "we are literally born free," then why do we have laws that restrict behavior? The answer is because the behavior is believed by society to be morally wrong. Just as laws prevent an adult from marrying a minor (regardless if the minor loves the adult), having sex with someone below 14 (regardless if the act is consensual), marrying more than one person, marrying your sister, etc. The point is, we don't believe that a man should be allowed to marry another man simply because we believe it is morally wrong. It's not an issue of not being free. If [Napier is] not going to talk about the moral and social aspect of allowing two men to marry, then he will only interest those who share his point of view. He won't be changing anyone's mind on the issue as he will be missing the key ingredient of the issue … morality.

Gary Wayne, via e-mail

"HELP WANTED," MARCH 2004
A. Kam Napier's article on what Honolulu's next mayor needs to accomplish
.

Your comprehensive "Help Wanted" message to our next mayor sent a clear message to me: Government of the people in the City and County of Honolulu and the state of Hawai'i will continue to benefit our governing elite so long as their actions are not governed by the people. Honolulu Hale sugarcoats the decay of paradise lost with million-dollar traffic roundabouts, at T-intersections, where three stop signs will do, while the mayor threatens further reduction of services if we do not urge the City Council to endorse the spending spree, unabated.

This "go along and get along" code is rooted in our contract laborer history, and is especially frightening to the 1-in-3 unionized Hawai'i residents who work in the public sector. These voters, who traditionally accept the slate of candidates endorsed by the Democrat and Republican Parties, because they fear the personal consequences, will ask all of us to tolerate: mounds of trash dumped on our curbs, potholes in our streets and sidewalks, leaky water mains and sewers, dirty public park bathrooms, homeless people on parade, unenforceable laws that encourage the police to look the other way, illegal vehicles that occupy our limited supply of on-street parking spaces and assault our ears with their loud noises and graffiti, graffiti, graffiti.

Voters can] call the shots; [yet] almost 55 percent stayed at home on Election Day in 2000. Rather than "abstain" this year, I believe we should support well-known insurgent candidates in our neighborhoods, and urge them to replace the party hacks.

Dennis Egge, Salt Lake

AHANA Ko-Ko - LELE

The salary range for public school librarians in our April "Who Makes What" story was incorrect. That range, $34,632 to $53,376, applies to public library librarians. Public school librarians are on the same salary schedule as public school teachers.

We failed to credit photographer Rae Huo for the April 2004 cover shot. For our May 2004 issue, the correct spelling for one of our public schools package photographers is Mark Nomura.

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