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“Micronesian in Hawaii,” August 2011

Writer Michael Keany profiled three women who moved from Chuuk to make new lives in Hawaii.

Aloha. My name is Keitani Graham. I am a Micronesian from the islands of Chuuk. I just read your article “Micronesian in Hawaii” and wanted to thank you for writing it. It was nice to see an article that showed a positive side of the Micronesian experience in Hawaii. We have had so many negative stories put out there, rightly so in some cases, but it was wonderful to see an article that exposed some of the good things going on.

 I was raised in Chuuk, but spent a great deal of time in Hawaii. I attended Punahou for three years of high school, and, upon completing my college studies in 2003, I spent another year in Honolulu working as a part-time teacher at Central Middle School. I worked in the ESL program and most of my students were Micronesians and Polynesians. It has been interesting to see the unfolding of the Micronesian situation in Hawaii. During my time at Punahou, very few people knew what a Micronesian or a Chuukese was. When I returned in 2003, it was a whole different story. More and more people knew about the new wave of immigrants who wore different-looking skirts and muumuu. I also noticed that there was an undercurrent of resentment/anger toward Micronesians from a lot of people. As with any new migrant group, this is the norm, and I understood that, especially considering that many Micronesians and especially my fellow Chuukese were taking advantage of the system and doing negative things. But there were also people, like many of my co-workers at Central Middle School, who didn’t brand all Micronesians (Chuukese) as parasitic, freeloading troublemakers, but simply as people looking for better lives.

 Although I now reside and make my living back home in Chuuk, I still have family and friends in Hawaii. I still spend time in Honolulu every now and then and still feel a great connection to the place. Mahalo and kinisou chapur [thank you].
—KEITANI GRAHAM; CHUUK, FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA

 

“9 Things Chefs Wish You Knew,” August 2011

Writer Lesa Griffith talked to local chefs about their biggest pet peeves. Among the complaints? Food-truck owner Camille Komine said she doesn’t like it when Yelp users act like food critics.

Camille’s comment that Yelp writers are not qualified to critique food is elitist. I am part of the Yelp community and I have never alleged to be a food critic. However, I am human and I do have a brain and, as such, I have opinions. Yelp is a great way to share experiences and opinions. Her comment shows that she has a higher respect for “professionals.” Let’s hope there are enough professional food critics out there to keep her in business, as they are the only customers she apparently values.
—CELISE NAKAKURA, HAWAII KAI

 

Editor’s note:

In addition to letters to us, Griffith’s piece stirred up discussion over at yelp.com—quite a bit! Check it out!

 

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