Letters - September



Published:

Letters to the Editor may be e-mailed to: letters_honmag@pacificbasin.net, faxed: 537-6455 or sent to: Honolulu Magazine, 1000 Bishop St., Suite 405, Honolulu, HI, 96813.

“Food of Kings,” July 2006
Food editor Joan Namkoong profiled two asparagus farmers at Twin Bridge Farms.

Although it adds drama to think that Milton Agader and Al Medrano are taking a chance growing asparagus in a tropical climate, this vegetable has been grown in other tropical climates. I had the opportunity more than 10 years ago to visit a tropical location with a large operation, operated by Dole in the Cotabato Region, Central Mindanao, Philippines.

Michael Mercado, Mo‘ili‘ili

“Grading the Public Schools,” May 2006
Our annual look at the public school system included a ranking of 259 schools statewide, based on data from the Department of Education.

In response to Bryan Yamashita’s letter in your August 2006 issue, to my knowledge, this survey was not conducted to measure the quality of the students in these failing schools. Its sole purpose was to measure the quality of their education, which, frankly, is sadly below par.

The quality of a child’s education is the job of their instructors, who, by placing blame on such factors as socioeconomic standing, continue to overlook the needs of the students. There is something wrong with our system, not our students. Yamashita writes, “Do not think you can attack and pit individual schools against each other,” before writing, “Would you like to know what I believe really undermines the public school system? It is the private schools.” Who is pitting schools against each other now? He claims that parents who send their children to private schools are abandoning our public schools, leading to economic segregation and ultimately the deterioration of the “democratic fabric of our society.”

But shouldn’t the question be, “Why are so many parents choosing private school?” The answer is simple: It is their last resort. This isn’t a new development; the schools have been struggling for years now, and parents have had enough. Instead of crying abandonment, see that the system has truly abandoned its students.

It is the duty of our schools to ensure that our students will be prepared to stand up to the rest of the world. When they discover that the world’s competition leaves them in the dust, what new scapegoat will our flailing system find next?

Kristen Hara, Honolulu

“New York Turned My Poi Dog Mean,” Afterthoughts, July 2006

I found Dan Kois’ article to perpetuate typical false stereotypes of what many Islanders perceive of New York City. I also lived in the author’s Manhattan neighborhood as an owner of a rottweiler poi dog—also intimidating to some. But contrary to Kois’ experience, my dog and I have also found our waddayawant? neighbors to be warm and effusively friendly, especially when shown proper respect for local culture.

I’ve found New Yorkers’ sense of community and shared responsibility—even before Sept. 11—to have much in common with the spirit of aloha. Ultimately, living on an island (whether Manhattan or O‘ahu) means practicing kuleana as well as aloha in learning to live with each others’ families, cultures, and yes, even dogs.

The value of aloha is to spread it unconditionally to our neighbors wherever we live, not to expect it unconditionally from them. If this concept of aloha is limited only to our Island home, I fear a difficult time ahead for this island planet we live on.

Kevin Miyamura, Honolulu

AHANA KOKOLELE
• The cover photograph for our August 2006 Restaurant Guide was taken by Monte Costa, at Indigo restaurant. Special Thanks to Glenn Chu, chef at Indigo.

• The photography in the August Homes feature, “Beautiful Imperfection,” was taken by David Franzen, of Franzen Photography.

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