I Long For the Aloha Spirit



When people think of Hawaii, many imagine sunny, warm days spent lounging on a beach towel getting some sun.  Being in this beautiful paradise is intoxicating for those wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.  It’s idyllic to many but the reality is nothing like that for many of us who are born and raised here.  

My friends and family live completely different realities than those romanticized views of being in an island state.  The high cost of living forces many of us to be working to make a comfortable living.  I know of so many people who work 2 full time jobs to afford their rent or mortgage.  Many of my friends live with family to try to save on housing.  We have to shop in bulk to save on food costs.  We drive our second hand cars for years to avoid more debt.  

Many of us have cared for loved ones at home to preserve their resources since nursing home care runs $13k a month or more.  Very few of us can be stay at home moms to afford basic living costs.  Despite taking all of these measures, local folks are still struggling or throwing in the towel with living here.

My last blog post on this issue was posted on Civil Beat, a news media founded by a wealthy business person, Pierre Omidyar, at the request of one of the editors there who came across it.  I know how slanted Civil Beat is towards the activists but still agreed to share it.  Well, it is of no surprise that the commentary to follow was mostly activists once again.  They know my name well as I hate their ugly tactics against my dad’s farm and other ag folks.  I refuse to be intimidated by their hateful comments against me.

Sure enough, the uglies came out in force with that post.  There were accusations of me being part of the chemical cartel to supporting putting a gun to the queen’s head and wanting to revive plantations that were slave supported.  Others sent comments on my blog that agriculture ruined Hawaii and that big ag is the sole reason for our high cost of living.  Some commented that I must be living beyond my means which is why I can’t afford it here.  Some suggested that I turn off my circuit breaker to save on power which makes no sense and can cause more damage than good.  I even got a good share of Hawaiian Sovereignty folks wanting their old Hawaii back to the days of the queen.  The most detracting comments seemed to come from people who didn’t read or understand my message.  The comments are just mind boggling and saddening.

It’s disgusting to say the least and clear that these people know nothing about local style.  They never grew up here and can’t share the experience local folks know and cherish.  Some are still angry about events that happened a century ago.  I’m not wanting to go back to those days. The recent newcomers have no attachment to these memories that live in us.  However, it’s these media outlets and these kinds of people that are trying to shape Hawaii.   

We residents are leaving our homes and allowing neo-locals in changing every aspect of our state.  When Civil Beat continues to fuel slanted stories, it chips away bit by bit at the Hawaii home I grew up in.  We are seeing a Hawaii aloha when younger generations leave and don’t come back.

Who can help bring back that specialness to Hawaii? It’s those who know it the best, those born and raised here as well as those who come to learn about Hawaii and respect local ways instead of immediately trying change it.  Those are the folks our leaders need to listen to.  We need to demand policies that actually help people make a go here.  We need more diversity in high tech and diverse jobs here to attract our young people back.  We need affordable homes and goods so people aren’t going broke just to have a roof over their head.  We can’t turn back the hands of time, but we can restore that feeling of aloha back to our communities. 

We don’t need politicians seeking popularity wars and trendy legislation. Using catchy slogans to base laws upon like “protect the keiki” and “stop poisoning paradise” and so on.  We need restore facts and rational thinkers back to the table.  How can we make things better for everyone? What are the real issues that need to be addressed? How can we keep our local talents here and bring them back if they left? Where is that sense of people working together to solve the problems at hand? 

We need aloha restored in our islands.  That’s what I hope will happen.  That is what I long to see grow so that my children can live that feeling that I so miss.  It’s this feeling of aloha that heals communities and helps us all thrive as we live and grow together.  This the the Hawaii I want!

The Real Problem is not the Anti-GMO Club

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As I was talking to my husband tonight about the whole issue with agriculture and the divisiveness going on, he made a statement that really hit me.  I was complaining about how a local farmer, whose crops were getting stolen, did not want to go on television to share his story.  I explained to him that they were shy about it and didn’t want to be out there.  Then my husband said, “Well, then you guys will all lose.”  I wanted to fight back and say something but as I internalized it, he’s right.  “If the silent majority continues to not speak up, then they will ultimately lose and we all will lose.”

No one wants to be at the end of a losing battle but in reality, in some ways he’s right.  The local folks will sit back and complain about what’s going on and then do nothing about it but complain.  Where does that complaining get us?  Does it solve the problem?  No.

Whenever there is a problem, one must realize that by seeing it, we are all a part of the problem.  If we don’t recognize that, the problem can never be addressed.  While many local people are starting to become more vocal about how we are being taken over by these activists, we are not doing our part.  This loud, brazen minority has taken advantage of the culture of Hawaii and used it to their advantage.

Local style ways are pretty simple and learned from the good old plantation days where there were people from all over the world.  Koreans, Chinese, Hawaiians, Portuguese, Filipinos, and Japanese were all joined together to work on the sugar cane and pineapple fields.  There was a unique culture developed through this relationships, much of it a mixture of the cultures.  Even a special language was born through all of this called pidgin that can only be heard by local people.

The local culture was pretty simple and based in respect.  Don’t talk stink about others.  Do your work good.  Respect your kupuna or elders.  Don’t make waves or attract attention to yourself.  No make shame on your family.  Work hard.  It was laid back in its ways really.  No one wants to speak up to get others mad or gain attention to yourself, just be a part of the masses.  No make trouble, just leave it the way it is even if you don’t like it.  Over the years, a huge sense of complacency has been developing as a result.  It’s pretty evident when you see bumper stickers that state, “Ainokea.”  That says it all… I don’t care.

When you look at the low voter turn outs in our state, that just shows how people don’t even bother with the issues nowadays.  The same goes for agricultural issues here in Hawaii.  How many times have you heard a local farmer speaking out for an issue?  There are thousands of farmers here that were born and raised with long time family traditions rooted here.  Where are their voices in the whole issue?  I hardly hear or see of it but I do hear the complaints from others who don’t like what’s happening.  This really sends the message that no one wants to stick their head out about the best direction to take based on their expertise and experience.  The anti-aloha activists and their politicians have seized on this opportunity and are running the show now.  Is that what is best for Hawaii?  These are opportunists supported by ill-informed people supported by lots of outside monies?

So, if you don’t like what is happening to our agricultural industry in Hawaii, you the local born person, go walk in front of the mirror.  Don’t point your finger at the anti-GMO club and blame them.  Point that finger right at yourself and say, “Hey, you!  You are the problem.  Yep, I said it.  It’s you who don’t have the guts take a stand.  Don’t like what’s happening, eh?  Den you bettah speak up do something about it and stop wasting your energy complaining.  You da only one who going fo suffer.”

Wake up local people.  There is a new culture developing in our islands that if you don’t adapt to it, you’ll have to pay the price for your silence.  It’s time for the local folks who don’t say anything to speak up, vote, and say something to help your fellow long time local farmers.  If you don’t, who will?

One way to start is to sign the petition to speak up for farmers!

 

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