Editor’s Page: Sharing Secrets

Make a difference.
Robbie Dingeman
Photo: Adam Jung 

Our Hidden Honolulu cover story gave us a good excuse to be extra nosy this summer as we dug into the lesser-known nooks of our town, from nearly forbidden hikes and museums you’ve never heard of to under-the-radar food and shopping hacks. 


We steered clear of writing about what we felt would be too risqué, life-threatening or likely to land us in jail. You know those websites that encourage visitors to go where no one has gone before, take death-defying risks and trample through fragile ecosystems? That’s not us. We’re from here and we want to have fun but not at the expense of others. We don’t want our neighbors or friends to get killed doing stupid stuff. We want to leave our community better.


But we’re all about exploring the mysterious, the lure of the unknown, hints of treasure. Hence, we offer our eclectic mix: indoors, outdoors, dawn to dusk. On a personal note, I was glad that our team got to peek into Chinatown’s venerable Lai Fong Department Store. My parents used to take me there as a child to visit the treasure trove, presided over by its elegant namesake. I was one of those little girls fascinated by horses, and my mother wisely steered me to collecting horses made of ceramic or jade, anything but the realistic plastic models that my friends were buying. These days, the store is open less frequently and run by Lai Fong’s grandson Bob Au, who kindly shared some of the secrets of his Chinatown childhood with us. And yes, behind the counter of the store, there was a tiny blanc de chine horse.  I take it as a sign we were on the right track in our quest for hidden treasures.


If you think we missed some worth sharing, let us know. We feel fortunate to share the stories of our community as the state’s best-selling monthly magazine, so we’re always interested in hearing from readers about what’s relevant and interesting.


We’re also pleased to share some bright spots in the changing agricultural community statewide. Our food and dining editor Catherine Toth Fox talks with the next generation of smaller-scale farmers trying different approaches including growing mushrooms from compost, goat farming and aquaponic microgreens.


August is also election time, with the primary election on Aug. 13. We’re glad to have political analyst Neal Milner back to try to make sense of what’s with the eye-popping antics of Hawai‘i Republicans this year. Check out The Elephant in the Room.


You’ve heard people say “no vote, no grumble”?  While there’s humor in the phrase, I’m hoping people get the message and vote in the primary election this month and again in November. If you’re reading this and haven’t yet registered to vote, you missed the primary but you’ve got until Oct. 10 to register for the Nov. 8 general election. We’re not going to tell you who to vote for, but we are telling you that you should vote. It’s easier than ever to register. You can do it online with just a Hawai‘i driver’s license or state ID.


This year, we’re voting in a presidential race that offers a very clear choice. There’s also a crowded contest for Honolulu mayor, with the future of rail in the mix. And there’s a host of other important choices as well: who should serve in the Legislature and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, proposed changes to the City Charter
and more.


I confess I’m a political junkie. So I have a hard time understanding how people don’t take time to vote. Seriously? Think of what the founders of our country went through to get the right to vote. And what others went through to expand the vote beyond white property-owning men to the rest of us. Add to that history how easy it now is to vote: by mail (request a primary ballot by Aug. 6 or Nov. 1 for the general election) or in person. We even have weeks to vote early walk-in if you like to duck behind that red, white and blue-striped curtain. 


It’s August! Let’s explore, have some fun and vote!


Vote! Register, request a ballot and more. elections.hawaii.gov