Entries Tagged as 'Historic Value'

Kawaiaha’o Church Finds Treasure

Kawaiahao Church at the end of the rainbow

That’s Kawaiaha’o Church at the end of the rainbow in this photo.  It’s all about the angle. It might be Queen’s hospital or Honolulu Hale  at the end of that rainbow, if you were coming from a different direction, but this worked for me! It worked even better when this story about finding the iwi (bones) hit the news.  This happens so very often when new construction happens.  My initial comment when I heard about this  was, “tell me a better place to have something like this happen?!?”  This is on the Church grounds.  They have indeed found treasure at the end of that rainbow! (Just for recognition’s sake, I have included a photo of Kawaiaha’o Church below that was taken from the angle that people are most accustomed to seeing.)

Most common view of Kawaiaha’o Church

Hawaiians have always believed that the power or mana of a person, their spiritual essence as it were, is in their bones (iwi).  Many Hawaiians still hold fast to this belief and many others, whether they believe it or not, recognize and respect it as a valuable part of our culture.  We will revisit this topic in a future post because I want to learn and share more about it.  I think it will help to explain some things that have puzzled me, and probably some things that have puzzled others.

Even if the traditional Hawaiian view of the significance of the iwi (bones) is not their view, most local people will take a step back, respect the significance of findings such as this, and send everything to a screeching halt!  I applaud the deference shown by our government offices and the businesses that honor this tradition.

Then I saw this and was aghast!  It was okay when they were widening Queen Street and relocated the remains of many.  Nobody complained then.  If they did, I never heard about it, or it escaped me completely.

Memorial stone commemorating unmarked graves at Kawaiaha’o ChurchI only know this grave stone that sits on the corner of the church property, at the intersection of Punchbowl and Queen Streets, that carries an inscription that reads:

“In memory of our beloved unknown friends of yesteryears found in unmarked graves during the excavation of Queen Street.  These 102 beloved souls are committed unto Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, and their remains tenderly laid to rest in peace in this place.”  November 20, 1988

A little church trying to enhance its ability to help and educate the community is now the target of this ugly publicity?  An article I read said that the remains of the family in question were not touched.  I’m not a party to any of this and I do not know all the details but, if this is the case and there was no damage done, all I can say is,Auwe!

For all of the times that something like this has happened, I can’t think of a better situation.  The families can rest assured that this matter will be handled with the greatest of care.  My heart goes out to this little church and its parishioners.  This is quite a quandary but I know that the iwi will be given the full focus and attention of the leaders and members of this historic institution.

Sending heartfelt wishes for a peaceful resolution and for God’s blessings for Kawaiaha’o Church and the treasured iwi entrusted to their loving care!

Preserving Hawaiian Language and Culture

Standing alongside a group of people supporting the perpetuation of the Hawaiian language and protecting the native culture of my home feels like such an honor to me.  It is so important and such a necessary part of our cultural preservation.  Hawai’i’s is a culture that could have very easily been lost.  We have to prevent that from ever happening!  The culture is alive and we have to keep it that way!

The best part is that we’re not alone in this and we’re not just grasping at straws.  The University of Hawaii has taken a position and sees it the same way!  I almost fell over when I saw this and, while bringing me close to tears, it reinforced my resolve to support this endeavor.  Besides, I want to learn the language too!  🙂

What follows is an excerpt from UH News that was actually published back in March.  I had not seen it until now but I was stunned as I read it — pleasantly stunned.  Check this out and be sure to focus on those bullet points:

A new paragraph, 4-1c(3), also was added to BOR [Board of Regents] policy. It states:

“The University of Hawai‘i is committed to diversity within and among all racial and ethnic groups served by public higher education in Hawai‘i. The President, working with the Chancellors, ensures the unique commitment to Native Hawaiians is fulfilled by:

  • providing positive system-wide executive support in the development, implementation, and improvement of programs and services for Native Hawaiians;
  • encouraging increased representation of Native Hawaiians at the University of Hawai‘i;
  • supporting full participation of Native Hawaiians in all initiatives and programs of the University;
  • actively soliciting consultation from the Native Hawaiian community and specifically P?ko‘a, the system-wide council of Native Hawaiian faculty, staff and students that serves as advisory to the President;
  • providing for and promoting the use of the Hawaiian language within the University of Hawai‘i system
  • providing a level of support for the study of Hawaiian language, culture and history within the University of Hawai‘i system that honors, perpetuates, and strengthens those disciplines into the future;
  • encouraging Native Hawaiians to practice their language, culture and other aspects of their traditional customary rights throughout all University of Hawai‘i campuses and providing Hawaiian environments and facilities for such activities; and
  • addressing the education needs of Native Hawaiians, the State of Hawai‘i, and the world at large, in the areas of Hawaiian language, culture and history through outreach.”

Linda Johnsrud, UH vice president for academic planning and policy said, “By clearly articulating UH’s commitment to Native Hawaiians in the mission statement, the BOR sends a message that we take our obligation seriously, and that we recognize the critical role of higher education to the quality of life of current and future generations of Hawaiians.”

OMG!  Sending a huge “Mahalo!” to the Board of Regents of the University of Hawaii for stepping up to the plate on this.  We couldn’t have asked for any better support for the continuance of such a significant undertaking.  This is such a crucial step for the restorative nature of this project.

Damn I’m proud to be a University of Hawaii alumnae!

H2'? - Hawai'i Bilingual o HonoluluNow we just need to work on the State of Hawaii officials to get them to recognize the need to carry this through on their end as well.

So, to do just that, the next ILINA WAI prayer service (“a Spiritual and Artistic Vigil to End the Hawaiian Cultural Genocide”) will be at Mauna ‘Ala on Friday the 29th at 6:30 a.m.   This activity continues that same evening.

Ilina Wai logoDate: Friday, May 29, 2009
Time: 6:30am – 7:30am
Location: Mauna ‘Ala – Royal Mausoleum
2261 Nu’uanu Ave
Honolulu, Hawai’i

Here is a full description and more information:

What: ILINA WAI, an H2‘? – Hawai‘i Bilingual sponsored “Underground” Vigil to End Hawaiian Cultural Genocide until the Official Languages Act is adopted by the Hawai‘i State Legislature

When: May 29, 2009 6:30 a.m.

Where: ILINA WAI is a movable private gathering of Hawai’i Bilingual members and their friends, beginning with a 6:30 a.m. prayer & fasting vigil at Lili’uokalani’s Tomb in the Kal?kaua Crypt at Mauna ‘Ala (the Royal Mausoleum).

P? ILINA WAI, a classical chamber music ‘aha mele will be presented bilingually promptly at 7:30 p.m. ON THE SAME DAY, when members and their guests will gather beginning at 6:00 p.m. at 3810 Maunaloa St. in Kaimuk? (where free parking is available on 15th and 16th Avenues) bringing “potluck” p?p? food and drinks to share, plus a suggested $10 musicians’ honorarium (a donation is required for admission).

Please remember that ILINA WAI vigils are private, not public, events for Hawai’i Bilingual members and their friends.

Why: ILINA WAI (“underground stream”) is a Hawai‘i Bilingual sponsored monthly “underground” spiritual and artistic vigil that began on April 30, 2009 at Mauna ‘Ala (the Royal Mausoleum) and will be observed at the end of each month until an Official Languages Act similar to Canada’s and Ireland’s is adopted by the Hawai‘i State Legislature, effectively confirming an END of the era of Hawaiian cultural genocide. Cultivation of Honolulu’s bilingual creative culture is instrumental in articulating Hawai‘i Bilingual’s vision, and since members of the Honolulu Symphony (America’s oldest symphonic society west of the Mississippi River) have endured more than three months without pay, and several members have already quit, ILINA WAI will increase Hawaiian bilingual social & cultural awareness among and beyond the Hawaiian speaking community while supporting Honolulu’s professional musical society by holding monthly bilingually presented chamber music concerts.

All ILINA WAI programs will be presented bilingually in Hawai‘ian and English languages at private gatherings at the end of each month until the State Legislature adopts the Official Languages Act, confirming an end to the era of Hawaiian cultural genocide.

For more information: http://www.causes.com/h2o

It’s worth looking into and it’s a cause worth joining.  I will urge all readers who call Hawai’i home (either ethnically and/or culturally through birth) to look into this cause, take it seriously, and take it to heart!  The culture of our home is worth preserving and the language is the first treasure we need to protect.  All else will stem from that.

Come, join in, and share the aloha!  Here’s a link to RSVP your attendance! You may need to join Facebook, if you haven’t already.  I have found Facebook to be quite useful.  A lot of Twitter members and business people seem to have found it useful as well.  It’s amazing how much you can learn about what is going on around you so it will be worth joining if only just for that.  You will also be able to follow the progress of this project as it moves forward.

Discovery at Mauna ‘Ala

Here’s something different — I’ve noticed that when people are asked about their relationships they often say things like, “it’s complicated.”  Married, single, divorced?  Boy friend/girl friend?  “It’s complicated.”  If someone were to ask me about my “relationship” with my home and its people, I would have to say, “it’s complicated.” There is no question that I am very passionate about my home and there is no doubt that I love its people very deeply. But, just like we all do with members of our family, I get ticked off sometimes.  Whether it be with family or with others, we all have a tendency to fly off the handle about things before we know the full story.

Before sharing my internal grumblings with you guys, I will always try to be sure that I’m right or, as I am about to do now, I will tell you the whole story, all about how wrong I was, and how I corrected my internal strife.

Ho’oponopono is one of my favorite Hawaiian concepts. It is a way that families or groups get together to discuss their differences and resolve any issues they may be having between them. You could call it a healing process.  It’s a process that I’ve always admired and one that I took to heart many years ago.  More recently, I saw it labeled as, “mental cleansing.”  That definition certainly works for me on this one!

So, with all of that in mind, let me share a little story. Don’t “go off” until you’ve read the whole thing!  I already did that.

Torn and Reconciled

On April 20th, I finally got to walk on the grounds of the Royal Mausoleum. I was excited and a little scared. I walked across the lawn looking at things and something suddenly made me stop and think — I couldn’t believe it. Shock and dismay left me questioning my ability to judge character.  “Why? How could they do that to them?!? How could they be so cruel?”

Let me explain.  We need to back up a little to understand this faulty thought process of mine.  It all started with a small bit of knowledge — knowledge that Kamehameha Schools removed the “Bishop” name from their own. They didn’t want a “haole name” in the name of the school. Fine. That’s your choice. Whatever. To be honest, with all of the bad publicity surrounding Bishop Estate, I would have preferred to disassociate from that as well. I shook my head and left it at that. Then I read somewhere about the love between Princess Bernice Pauahi and Charles Reed Bishop and I started to feel badly and very sad about the name thing.

Now let’s get back to the Mausoleum. Stay with me now, this is where I mix things all up in my head.

Entrance to Mauna 'Ala, the Royal Mausoleum of Hawai'i

The gates are open at Mauna ‘Ala, the Royal Mausoleum, and I can go in! There’s the Queen’s burial site! There’s Queen Lili’uokalani’s resting place, the last sovereign of Hawaii. Wow, finally! Who’s next to her? John Dominis. (My mental wheels go screech!) “Huh?”

“Uh, excuse me, what’s more haole than that?”  Okay, there is Error #1.  This is also known as jumping to conclusions without thinking. Can we talk about a time line here? Hint: There is NO connection between these burials and the name of Kamehameha Schools! Moving on…

Charles Reed Bishop monument

They put Charles Reed Bishop out on the lawn all by himself! Enter in my Error #2.

Kamehameha Crypt frome the side with Charles Bishop's monument in the background

“Where’s his wife anyway? Probably down there with the Queen and everybody else and I just didn’t see her name,” grumble, grumble, grumble. As you can see from the picture above, this was Error #3. Bernice Pauahi’s name is with the rest of the Kamehameha family, right next to Charles out there on the lawn! (That’s the crypt that Charles built for them after she died, by the way.)

Yes there were errors but they accomplished something important — they sent me on a mission to understand what happened.  That mission has opened doors to so many things!

Elimination of the Errors

  • Error #1: I had the Kamehameha School thing stuck in my brain and that was recent. Queen Lili’uokalani and Governor Dominis were interred many, many years before that! I get one slap for that one.
  • Error #2: Charles Bishop was put there by his own design. One more slap for me! Kamehameha School might want to rethink the removal of the name of someone with so much caring, respect, and regard for the royal family!  Just a thought.
  • Error #3: She’s right there! Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop is not only right next to Mr. Bishop’s memorial stone, his ashes were actually interred with her in the Kamehameha Crypt before it was permanently sealed! Three slaps for me!

I could not have been more wrong!  My internal dismay and whining changed into something like this:

“OMG! There she is! Charles was put where? OMG! See?!? They didn’t. They couldn’t. They wouldn’t. They could never be cruel! I knew that.”

Research, patience, and understanding leads to an internal drama successfully reconciled.  The fact that Charles’ urn  was placed on Bernice Pauahi’s casket by Prince Kuhio was just wonderful frosting on the cake for me! (Source: Mauna ‘Ala Hawai’i’s Royal Mausoleum, Last Remnant of a Lost Kingdom by Don Chapman with William Kaihe’ekai Mai’oho)  Their love was not overlooked, it was highly respected.  Ponopono = setting it straight; setting me straight!

I’m not saying that Charles was an angel.  I don’t know enough about it all, but I’ll keep digging and I’ll let you know!

SPECIAL NOTE about Kamehameha Schools: Don’t take any of this the wrong way! If I had a child, right now, with Hawaiian blood, I would do everything in my power to enroll that child in the Kamehameha Schools system. They produce fine students! I have only the highest respect for the quality of education that they provide! (It’s not their fault that I’m a mush bucket who jumps to conclusions.)

There’s so much to uncover, so much to tell — I don’t even know where to start.  The stories all link together, the history all links together, my discoveries all link together. I want so much to share — it’s so fascinating. There is so much we don’t know! Did our education system let us down. In this department I’m afraid they did. I’ll share what I find, I promise!

In the mean time, Mauna ‘Ala is a beautiful place to visit and to just sit down for a while and think.  It’s so peaceful and there is such a feeling of safety and sanctity there.  If you have not been there, you need to be sure you add it to your list of places to visit!

In Search of Restoration

Crypt Entrance (photos inside are discouraged)As you step carefully down the narrow stairway, you well see a little plaque on your left next to the gate. You can see it in the picture to the right. On the plaque is written a short little blessing labeled the “Kawananakoa Gate Blessing.” (The Kawananakoa family is there with the Queen too!)

That little plaque reads as follows:

HARBINGERS OF ALOHA
THROUGH A BLACK LACE VEIL, SHIMMERING
UNLOCK OUR LOVE
LEST WE FORGET FROM WHENCE WE CAME

AND AS WE TOO SLIP THE SURLY BONDS OF EARTH
TO FLY WITH IWALANI
LET OUR CHILDREN JOIN HANDS HERE
TO TOUCH THE SOUL OF ALOHA

                                               August 29, 1986

It’s not all that old.  I don’t know who wrote it but it’s very beautiful, very touching, and very fitting. In a coming post, “In Search of Restoration,” I will tell you why I say it is so fitting.

For now, I just felt the need to share my little joyful moment of discovery with the World.  Readers know where my heart is. This is my home and this is our history.

Does Mended Trust Still Have Hairline Cracks?

Hawaiian yarn lei with koa embellishments Sometimes, patience is a virtue.  Sometimes falling behind in your blogging can be a blessing.  Check this out, back in January I started to write this post and then, for some reason, I thought better of it, saved it, and held off publishing it.

This is how I started:

“You have GOT to be kidding me!  What kind of a court master would recommend such a thing?  No, I’m not the only one who is reacting this way.   You’ve got to love the Honolulu Advertiser for letting people leave comments and share their opinion!

“For those who don’t know what all of the hollering is about, you might want to check out Samuel King and Randall Roth’s book, Broken Trust: Greed, Mismanagement, And Political Manipulation at America’s Largest Charitable Trust.  See, the corruption that all of us remember so vividly resurfaces whenever something as preposterous as this makes the headlines.  This horrible story made headlines across the Nation about ten or eleven years ago. 

“Let’s put it this way, Bernice Pauahi would have thrown up her hands in horror if she had witnessed these now-historical events.  Of course, she also would have thrown up her hands in horror when they removed the Bishop name from the name of the school.  So great a love should not have been dealt such a horrible blow.  Perhaps we’ll talk about that at a later date.”

As luck would have it, my blogger muse held off pursuing this story, right at that moment.  Part of what held me back was a secret hope that the trustees would do something exactly like what they’ve done!

After the courts approved their raise, the trustees opted to take a 10% cut instead.  I’m serious — they cut their own pay!

In short, the answer to the question in the title of this post is, “No, there are no hairline cracks.  The Trust was mended some time ago and the trust of the people was restored.”

What did they say about it?

“The trustees are committed to the keiki our trust exists to serve, and to the careful management of resources that will allow Kamehameha Schools to educate native Hawaiians in perpetuity.”

A historical resource like this one needs to be protected and it sounds like the trustees are taking their fiscal and fiduciary responsibilities seriously.  Mahalo and kudos to the Kamehameha Schools trustees.  🙂

Kamehameha Schools is a fine institution that produces some very fine graduates.  The students learn the subjects that all the schools teach, of course, but they also learn the history and culture of Hawai’i to a greater degree than most.  The trustees protect and preserve the trust and its ability to educate while the students leave with the benefit and ability to protect and preserve the culture.

I have other stories that I’ve held back on and I’ll share my initial, knee-jerk reaction with you guys and then tell you why I’m glad that I held back.  Yeah, this one could have been two blog posts but I have no desire to cut people down — until I find out that I’m justified in doing so.  I did not say that I would stop being a b*tch if I’m pretty darn sure that I’m right.  🙂

Historical Firsts at Hanauma Bay

This wonderful tourist attraction has come a long way.  Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay is like swimming in a giant, salt-water aquarium.  There’s just something about snorkeling with all of those fish!

Hanauma Bay just before sunset

I remember the feeling, especially as a young child, of being in another world while swimming with those fish.  At that age you’re so taken by the underwater world that you forget you’re actually just floating at the surface of the water like a big fat jelly fish.   A kid’s imagination can fill volumes.

Of course, at that young age, we also thought we were immune to danger and we heeded few warnings.  We would make that trek around the rocky perimeter to get to the “toilet bowl.”  Do keep in mind that this is based on an approximately 35-year-old memory.

YouTube Preview Image

It wasn’t the flushing part we wanted so much, it was the fast rising to the top that was the fun part. The videos on YouTube seem to be mostly of teenagers and adults, or so it seems. I was about 8 or 9 years old (stop doing the math). Like I said, we were immune to the dangers and fearless. 🙂

This particular video had a comment with it that said, Old stomping grounds… Can’t wait to go back!!!” and I can certainly relate to that statement. Thank you mtnbiker04 for capturing this great memory.

It was great fun to have that natural bowl of lavarock and coral throw you back up. Maybe they should have called it the “vomit bowl” or something. Okay, that name would not have been quite so attractive; “toilet bowl” is not the most attractive name either. Over the years, it seems that the waves have made the rim of the bowl smoother than it was back then.

Other things have changed, too.  When we frequented Hanauma Bay all those years ago, there was no building with all of this great educational information.  Suddenly, okay maybe not so suddenly, there’s a whole meeting room with exhibits to see and share.

Tile wall at entrance

This building appeared out of nowhere, it seems, and they even took the time to install this lovely ceramic-tile mural.  This is the Hanauma Bay Education Center.  Where was I?  I’ll admit that the East side of O’ahu received little to no attention from me over the 80’s and 90’s but I was a little busy with college, growing up and figuring out how to earn a living, and other boring stuff like that.

Hanauma Bay TimelineA walk through this Education Center will give you a quick lesson about a portion of the history of Hawai’i while getting a detailed history of Hanauma Bay.  There is a tremendous amount of information here that I found quite amazing.  In 1950 the City & County of Honolulu set aside $150,000 to dig up three swimming holes (I thought these were natural occurrences) and make improvements to the park which quickly became one of Honolulu’s most popular places for residents and visitors.

The next to the last picture on the right-hand side of this photo of the timeline shows some kind of blast.  No, it’s not World War II!  If you get close enought to read the text you find that it’s actually a blast to put us in contact with the rest of the world.  In 1956 a channel was blasted through Hanauma Bay for the installation of the very first transpacific telephone cable reaching from Hawai’i to California!

It sounds so destructive but it created a wonderful place for us and a very welcome environment for the most colorful fish and other marine life!  Another important tidbit of information to be found here is that Hanauma Bay became Hawai’i’s first Marine Life Conservation District in 1967.  Based on these descriptions and my own time line, I would have to say that this is the Hanauma Bay of my past.  This is the one that was created for the enjoyment of the generation that would follow — my generation.

The educational material certainly does not stop with the time line.  There are exhibits of different cultural items related to life in Hawai’i and how the ocean is so much a part of that life.  There are displays of woven fishing baskets and the hooks that were used for fishing so very long ago.  Then we get to one of the most important aspects for this venue, a great amount of detailed information about what helps make Hanauma Bay the bay what it is — coral!

Coral exhibit

The education doesn’t stop here.  The best part is that efforts have been made to further educate the public with talks, films and guest speakers.  The UH Sea Grant Hanauma Bay Education Program, managed by the University of Hawaii’s Sea Grant College Program, has put together these educational films and quest speakers to share their knowledge and information about the jobs they do.  Here is a calendar of events to help you plan your Thursday evenings.

For more information, interested parties can either call (808) 397-5840, visit the Hanauma Bay Education Program website, or ask about being added to Shawn Carrier’s email notification list.  Shawn is an Outreach Education Specialist with the UH Sea Grant Hanauma Bay Education Program and he’s always willing to add you to the list.  My experience in this area has always been good.  He’s going to love me for doing this but I think he’ll get over it.  The more people we can educate the better.

Yes, Hanauma Bay is on the map for travel guides and yes there is much to learn, protect and admire about this natural treasure.  But for life-time residents it’s part of the history of our home and, for some of us, the history of our lives.  We’ve lived part of the history of our home.  You don’t realize the significance of this kind of thing until, well, until it becomes historical.  Man, I feel old.  I told you guys to stop doing the math!  🙂

Bells Will Be Ringing

Alexander & Baldwin rang the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) this morning.  From what I could gather, this was to recognize the movement of their stock from the Nasdaq to the NYSE.  Now when you go to look for their stock, you’ll be looking for them under the ticker symbol, AXB.  I didn’t even know they were traded on the Nasdaq.  Consequently I didn’t know about, or pay attention to, the news that they were moving over. 

That bell on the news this morning triggered this post.  This is now a perfect time for me to talk about Matson!  I’ve been wondering for several days just how I would start talking about Matson.  I have mentioned them before, I have realized how important they are to the State of Hawaii and I have apparently added them to my internal list of companies to watch, endorse and respect.  Their owner?  You got it — Alexander & Baldwin!  I had no idea A&B owned Matson, until I did a little research.  Boy did I feel dumb!  I should have known that.

Let me give you a short recap.  First, I was so concerned about the Falls of Clyde being sunk and then I got excited when I heard that the Friends of the Falls of Clyde was stepping forward to keep the ship from going to a briny grave.  The next worry was money.  I wrote a post about sending emails to Matson, appealing, suggesting, okay begging, for their help.  Of course the Alexander & Baldwin Foundation is their charitable arm.  Like I said, I felt pretty stupid.     

Anyway, a very nice gentleman in Matson’s mainland office not only took the time to forward my emails to A&B, but he actually took the time to call me on the phone and let me know they were not ignoring me.  Suffice it to say, I was amazed and pleasantly surprised to find that an officer of such a large corporation was so patient and quite personable!

Matson barge as seen from the front.

The sound of the horn on this Matson ship was so loud it made me jump right out of my skin!  It also made me jump up and grab my camera!  Just to give you some idea of the physical size of this thing, those little figures just off to the left of the middle of the ship’s deck are people.  This thing is huge!

Matson barge and its containers

My groceries are on that boat — maybe even Thanksgiving dinner!  🙂    I did remind the gentleman from Matson to not forget our Christmas trees this year.  He chuckled and said they wouldn’t forget.  So every time you hear bells ringing this holiday season, think of Matson and the Falls of Clyde. 

Soon they will be moving the Falls of Clyde from her current location (next to the Hawaii Maritime Center adjacent to Aloha Tower) and taking her to dry land.  The intent is to repair the ship and eventually restore her back to the water for all to enjoy.  Maybe our Matson giant above will welcome the Falls of Clyde back into the water with a blast of its large horn.  Wouldn’t that be fun?!?  It wouldn’t exactly be bells but it would certainly leave our ears ringing!   

Commemorative Art in Public Places

fountain1.jpgThere are so many things that we all walk by each and every day without noticing them or ever noting their significance. The other day, while I was visiting the State tax office, I paused to gaze at the plaque attached to this large piece of art.  I I was quite surprised.  Realizing that I must have lost a large piece of royal genealogy, I was left scratching my head. Hats off to this artist for being moved to create such a tribute and mahalo to the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts for making sure that there is a description mounted securely to the artwork’s base.

STATE FOUNDATION ON CULTURE AND THE ARTS

Artist: Donald Harvey
Ka Ho’oilina Mau Loa
(The Eternal Legacy)
Granite and cast bronze 1993

In a nut shell and almost verbatim, the description on the plaque explains the sculpture as follows:

  “Symbolically represents the interrelationships among Kamehameha I, Ruth Ke’elikolani, Bernice Pauahi Bishop and their legacy to the people of Hawai’i.  The water represents the wealth of benefits that have flowed from these people.   The personal interaction between Ke’elikolani and Pauahi is symbolized by the cast bronze centerpiece.  The design of the cultural forms is inspired by ancient Hawaiian double-hulled canoes.”

Ka Ho'oilina Mau LoaWe all know the signficance of King Kamehameha and most people are quite familiar with the name of Bernice Pauahi Bishop but I had to ask myself, “who is Ruth Ke’elikolani?”  As I berate myself and try to read why I didn’t know more, I have found that there is no surprise since she did not share the notoriety of her other royal family members.  I still should have known.

Anyway, Princess Ruth was the great grand daughter of Kamehameha I and upon her death she left most of her estate to Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, her cousin.  Therein lies the connection.  Suddenly this shapely granite figure and its alluring draw of cool cascading water has real significance.  Such is the impact of artistic endeavors and the unexpected influence of art in public places!

For more on Princess Ruth you can visit this link to Wikipedia.

The Falls of Clyde Has Friends!

Before I knew the historic significance of the Falls of Clyde, I just thought of it as an old pirate ship, if I even thought about it at all.  A year and a half ago, the emotional and intellectual impact made on me by the Hawaii Maritime Center started my adoration of this ship.  I bought a copy of Bob Krauss’ book that he wrote about the Falls of Clyde and came to understand and appreciate its significance even more.  In fact, one of my favorite posts was the one I wrote about just that — the Hawaii Maritime Center adjacent to Aloha Tower.

Front decoration on the Falls of Clyde and its leading lady.

Recently, I was devastated to hear that they actually wanted to toss it, to dispose of it — to sink the Falls of Clyde!  First of all, I don’t know how they could bring themselves to do such a thing.  I understand that money is a huge issue and that neither the Maritime Center nor Bishop Museum can afford the needed repairs but the Falls of Clyde was declared a national historic landmark by the National Park Service of the United States Department of the Interior in 1989.  Doesn’t that mean anything?  Doesn’t that mean that it’s supposed to be “protected” and preserved?  Did they not seek funding assistance from the Federal government?

Falls of Clyde with its rigging still in tact.

It was a concern to me back in March of 2007, when it was already closed for safety reasons.  People were no longer allowed on board to check out the vessel’s design and make-up.  As you can see by the picture below, they had already removed most of the rigging.

The Falls of Clyde without its rigging.

Suddenly, a ray of hope came forward for this 125-year-old remnant of our history.  On September 30th, just last week, Bishop Museum made the news as it transferred ownership of the vessel to the Friends of the Falls of Clyde!  I’m not sure if the rigging was removed for the planned sinking or for the planned repairs that will be made to the vessel somewhere in dry dock.  It doesn’t matter.  What matters is that an organization has stepped forward to bring this ship back to its old, tourist-attracting self!

For the record, Bruce McEwan, the president of Friends of the Falls of Clyde, told the Honolulu Advertiser that the restoration may turn into a community project as people have already begun to step forward and join forces with the new organization.  As you can see, I am not the only crazy person around here!  Bob Krauss acknowledged in his book, The Indestructible Square-Rigger Falls of Clyde 324 Voyages Under Sail,” that he understood how people might scratch their heads and wonder about our seemingly-odd fascination with the Falls of Clyde.  Perhaps the following paragraph, written by another icon of our local history, can shed a little light on the emotions that push this conservation endeavor forward.

“First, on a global level, her iron hull and four towering masts mark the Falls of Clyde as an important step in the evolution of western sailing ship design, a culmination of refinement as sail gave way to steam. She is the only surviving full-rigged, four-masted ship in the world.  That’s not all.  This vessel represents a unique experiment in the global transportation of oil.  The Falls of Clyde is the only surviving sail-driven oil tanker.  Second, on a local level, she is as authentic a symbol of Hawaiian history as hula or surfing.  The ship is the only surviving original member of the century-old Matson fleet that still plays a vital role in Hawai’i’s economy.”

The Friends of the Falls of Clyde, has already applied for its non-profit status.  When I read that I started thinking.  I was grasping at straws and I thought of Matson.  I have mentioned Matson in this blog several times over the last several months.  It was Matson that brought this sea-going darling to our shores.  Yeah, I couldn’t help myself; I’ve already sent an email asking them about their corporate giving program.  Hey, you never know, maybe they can offer some support.  Maybe they will want to offer some support.

Sunset at the Falls of Clyde.

As the sun sets over Honolulu this October evening, Homespun Honolulu sends a huge “Mahalo!” to the Friends of the Falls of Clyde for stepping up to save a tangible piece of our maritime history!  Hopefully, in the not-too-distant future, the sun will rise again on the Falls of Clyde as it is returned to the water in all its historic glory.  You can bet this blogger will be there, with camera ready!

A Cultural Manifestation

There’s just something about a tropical island just before dusk, or just after dusk. For some of us, there’s a feeling of melancholy serenity coupled with an underlying tone of anxiety. Some people wait for the evening hours for rest while others wait for the nightlife. For some of us, there’s an ever-pervading feeling that the day’s almost gone and there must be something else that can be done.

Shoreline at Sunset

There’s something about the shoreline of the southern side of Oahu just before sunset. The calm, the quiet, and the subtle threat of rough water all add to the romantic, spiritual nature of this setting. Part of the beauty of our islands is the spiritual balance that calms the fears of those insidious pleasures that the nighttime brings.

On a Saturday afternoon, just before evening, there is nothing better than to be off the beaten path just a bit and enjoying this quiet time while being reminded of that spiritual balance that is intrinsically our own.

Jizo ShrineGuardian of the Sea

I thought about this as I stopped at this location. I’d heard about this place on the news some time back. I was quite fascinated to know there was an explanation for these rocks that just sit here — seemingly in the middle of nowhere.

Visiting tourists were there, taking pictures and trying to capture the last light before sunset as another day of their vacation came to an end. An older gentleman asked me if I knew anything about this little shrine that sits at one of the look-out points along the coastal drive between Hanauma Bay and Sea Life Park.

Jizo up close“Uh, yeah — a little,” I responded. This visitor was retired military who served here in 1961. “This is Jizo,” I continued, “he’s a Buddhist deity placed here by Japanese immigrants to protect them while they were fishing (casting for ulua) or swimming.”

I’m not sure who was more surprised, the gentleman actually getting an informative answer to his question or me for being able to give him one! I don’t know where it came from but there it was — I was a tour guide for five minutes.

In keeping with the Buddhist (or Japanese) tradition, at least one that I am familiar with, there were flowers and food gifts left at the feet of this deity. As we here at Homespun Honolulu were reminded recently by one of our Carnival of Aloha participants, it’s Obon Season and this may have heightened the leaving of these gifts for Jizo. Perhaps Japanese tourists left those mementos, maybe some fisherman — this part is unclear.

Little Altar by the SeaDo we have a conflict of religious beliefs? Not really. It’s more a harmonious commingling of the multi-cultural map of the islands and a grand example of religious tolerance.

It’s not unusual or unlikely for a “blessing” of a new business or building to be multi-cultural as well. I have heard of people having several different types of blessings or services for big events like that. Now that I think about it, I might do the same. Let’s see, I would look for a Hawaiian blessing for the land, a Chinese dragon or two as sentinels, and the blessing of my own Christian faith to wrap it all up and bless us all — dragons included. 🙂 Of course one might want to get a blessing from Jizo for your boat. I’ll never own a building or a boat so don’t worry about it.

There’s nothing quite like this type of cultural manifestation to calm your fears, quiet the soul and bring you back to the peaceful reality of our lives. It’s an intangible feeling but one that’s definitely there. It’s one of those feelings that is rarely spoken of or talked about — I’m just one of the few people crazy enough to talk about it.

Designated as the protector of fishermen and swimmers, having this Jizo memorial along the often-treacherous south shore is not such a bad idea. There are other statues of Jizo on the Northshore of Oahu and in several different seaside locations throughout the islands.  I’m sure I’ll find some one of these days and refer back to this post. If you’re a little curious, like I was, you can find John Clark’s book, Guardian of the Sea, Jizo in Hawaii, published by University of Hawaii Press, at local book stores and through Amazon.com.

My Country Lied To Me!

Remember when they covered the news with all of those stories about the ethnic cleansing of Albanians in Kosovo? Remember we bombed the heck out of what was once Yugoslavia because of those claims?

Pure fiction! They lied to us! There was no such ethnic cleansing. It was all propaganda and false media reporting. How can we now look away and ignore this? Has our entire country become so parochial that we’re comfortably oblivious to the atrocities that are done with (and sometimes without) our citizen’s oblivious stamp of approval?

I know the newsies are laughing at me. Yeah, I know, you news experts are chuckling and wondering why I’m so surprised. You’re thinking, “They always lie to us, didn’t you know that?” Yeah, okay, I know. But this, for me anyway, is way beyond anything I have experienced in the way of deception by my own government.

If our government officials had said to us that we needed to protect our interest in the oil, we would have understood that. The problem is, they know we would have NOT understood, or tolerated, our country backing drug-trafficking terrorists! That’s what they were doing.

Are you mad yet? Believe me, it took me a while to cool down enough so that this post wouldn’t sound like raving lunacy. So, why am I writing about this? What does this have to do with me? What does this have to do with Honolulu? Read on…

The United States is not without its share of Serbian Americans. Serbian Orthodox churches all over the United States held big demonstrations about our (the United States of America’s) condoning of the Kosovar Albanians claiming Kosovo as their own — declaring independence in a land that is not and never was theirs.

My friends and members of my Church family are deeply hurt by this — hurt from personal, historic, religious and ethnic standpoints. Comparatively speaking, the declaration of disgust expressed in Honolulu was very small, but just as sincere and heartfelt nonetheless.

Local Serbians Taking a Stand

They gathered a concerned few together and met in front of the Federal Building just outside of downtown Honolulu. What America has done, without the knowledge of its citizenry, is to create a stage for this mess to play out where the outcry is too soft to be heard. Nobody is talking about it. The media is disinterested because there is no mob and there is no violence in the street. The feeble cry of, “but Kosovo is Serbia!” falls on deaf ears.

Answering Questions

Yes, people were more than willing to talk it through — more than willing to explain their position and why it hurts them. I was able to get the full impact of those explanations. But, where do I go for a disinterested party?

At this point of discovery I am angry. I needed more information to make a case for seeing the Serbian side of this Kosovo conflict. I needed more to disagree so vehemently with my own government — the government that is supposed to be doing good throughout the World.

Increasingly frustrated and still in denial that my country could be so deceitfully secretive, and leave us with no access to news from the other side, I kept searching. You see, it’s not that we don’t care, it’s that we just don’t know and we don’t fully understand the degree of our involvement.

Other countries think our calm is because we’re wimps. That is not the case. We are seeking knowledge and trying to ascertain the truth. I don’t want to hear governmental rhetoric that is laced with “creative” truths, aka lies, that are designed to sway public opinion. Give me the facts and let me make my own decisions on the movements of the people we voted into office!

Bosa holds a sign kept in the family since WWIDo we have culture clashes going on here? Definitely. Hawaii, of all places, should be used to it! Well, for the bulk of the population, the Slavic nations haven’t made a large enough impact on Hawaii to keep us all paying attention to what’s going on with their cultures and their homelands. We keep track of China, Japan and the Philippines, but, for the most part, the European Union seems to be kind of off our radar.

The media (I refer here to mainland media — our local stations are exempt on this topic) is obviously hell-bent on lying to us. Either that or they’re being strong-armed or paid huge sums to rewrite the facts. So, we need news sources that come directly from the people — people who are in the middle of it all and know the truth. Fox News is already on my list of places not to listen to because they shoot their mouths off before verifying their information — anything for headlines and to be first with breaking news — even if it’s false!

I really don’t want to add CNN to that ugly place of distrust. Sigh. This is a classic reason why we need something like the blogosphere if we expect to get the truth. We’ll get particles of truth, but at least they’ll be just that — the truth! When I say blogosphere I mean real people, not spin-off blogs from the news channels — those are just the same thing we already get from the media with some added editorial comment. They’re not bad, they’re just not reliable when the honesty of their station(s) is being questioned.

The blogosphere I’m talking about is the actual people living in the neighborhoods they’re talking about. The real people that understand the culture and current events and are living and sharing their lives with the world through their blogs.

While our local media and blogs are quiet about the topic of Kosovo, the blogosphere as a whole is not without its opinion and voice on this matter. Nothing Against Serbia tells us about how Zurich has heard the pleas of its Serbian population.

So, Now What?

Where do you think the United States stands with Serbia now? Our applauding this illegal drama has made Russia mad at us too. Have we made enemies out of our friends?

The damage has been done, so what will Washington do now to keep the peace? Anything? Hmmm… I wonder what Barack Obama would do to fix the situation? I don’t know. Perhaps he will open the lines of communication and help mend the rift and discuss options with all involved. What would Hillary Clinton do? NOTHING! Her husband was president when it started! What will McCain do? Nothing — he and his party want to continue it all in their “business as usual” manner.

What can we do? Not much. As citizens we can acknowledge the injustice done to our brethren so far across the globe, we can send venom-filled letters to our representatives in Congress, or we can pray for them as seen here.

Prayers for Kosovo

Why does our Russian Orthodox Priest see this as important? Aside from the fact that Serbia gave refuge to the Russian Orthodox so many, many years ago, when so many were threatened by the communists, Father Anatole justifies his prayerful support in this way:

First of all, ANY immoral act, whether committed by an individual or by a government, must be condemned in no uncertain words. Let me just cite a few undisputed facts connected with the Kosovo debacle:

1. Kosovo is not only a territory which formed the heartland of Medieval Serbia, but by long standing tradition it is the seat of the Serbian Orthodox Patriarchate. In addition, there are (or were) many historically important churches and monasteries in Kosovo.

2. When NATO, led by the United States, was threatening to bomb Serbia and Kosovo, the Kosovar Terrorists (a.k.a. ‘freedom fighters’ in the United States) were demanding full independence from Yugoslavia. At that time Clinton’s girdle saleswoman, Madeline Albright, told the Kosovar Albanians that ‘unless you only ask for autonomy, NATO cannot bomb the Serbs.’ Well, since the Albanians wanted Serbs to be bombed they changed their demand to ‘autonomy’.

3. NATO was originally formed to defend Western Europe from aggression from the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact countries. Yugoslavia, at the time of the bombing was not allied with the Soviet Union, and the Warsaw Pact had disappeared. Thus, the bombing of Yugoslavia by NATO was not an act mandated to it – it was interference in the internal affairs of a country that had not attacked anyone.

4. During Miloshevich’s crackdown against the Albanian separatists in Kosovo it was the Serbian Orthodox Church that did its best to shelter and defend innocent Albanian civilians. And what thanks did it get after the Serbs were driven out of Kosovo? Churches, monasteries were burned and desecrated, and the NATO peacekeepers did little to stop the Kosovars from doing their ‘ethnic cleansing’.

5. There is so little law and order in Kosovo now that after NATO eventually pulls out, the remainder of the Serbs in Kosovo can only expect genocidal attacks against them. (And the Kosovars can be sure that they will be in no way punished by NATO and the United States for that.)

6. Finally, the Israelis, if not the United States government, have spotted the precedent, a very unfavorable precedent for them, in the Kosovo situation. If NATO can bomb a sovereign state because that state refuses to grant independence to one of its territories where a particular ethnic group is in the majority and even engages in terrorist acts against it, what is preventing the Palestinians from declaring independence in Gaza and the West Bank? After all, logically, NATO should be protecting them against Israel by bombing the Israelis. One may also add to this, the Kurdish separatists in Eastern Turkey, the Basque separatists in Spain, etc., etc.

Saint Lazar of SerbiaDoes he know what he’s talking about? You bet. A now retired linguistics professor from the University of Hawaii, Father Anatole has had his own ethnic reasons to follow the news of the Slavic regions all these years. He is Russian and he was born in Yugoslavia where his mother, like many other Russian people fleeing the Russian communist regime, was given sanctuary.

Peaceful by nature, with a strong and passionate Christian Faith, prayers over the icon of the Serbian saint, Saint Lazar, offer some peace to the distressed Serbs who continue to watch their ethnic homeland and the holy places of its national Church being desecrated. This is all the more hurtful when the land they now call home applauds these visual and mental horrors.

Why is America Being So Disagreeable?

Caution: The following is my paranoid opinion section based only on my own thoughts and observations.

Could all of this be the reason for the rise in the cost of gas? The new pipeline to transport the ever-coveted oil from one country to the next is an ongoing project. That pipeline runs right through Kosovo! Hello?!?

Okay, maybe that’s being just a little too paranoid but, $9 billion of oil revenue has suddenly vanished? (I was listening to Dianne Feinstein on CNN with Wolf Blitzer and had to go get the transcript just to confirm what I thought I heard.) Was that to fund the sending of more soldiers to “help” the citizens of Iraq or are we going there to distract the American public from the travesty in Kosovo? What ever they’re doing, it’s working.

Let’s think about it:

Tibetan Monks being persecuted by China, we say nothing. There’s no oil involved.

Darfur abuses are running rampant and we verbally condemn them, but nothing more. There’s no oil involved.

Yet phony genocide is retaliated with war with a country over it’s own property. That would be like Mexico taking over California or Cuba taking of Florida and calling it their own, with the help of the army from yet another country. What were we thinking? It’s all about the oil.

Okay, that’s the end of my paranoid opinion section.

I was almost ready to wrap this up and then I ran into this article about Russia, China, and India looking to revisit this very issue with Kosovo. The article opens with:

“The US administration rejected with derision Thursday’s joint call by Russia, China and India to resume talks on the future status of Kosovo.”

With “derision?” Who the hell do we think we are?!? I swear we have no diplomacy or shred of decency left! We have GOT to change what’s going on in the White House.

Still hungry for more? There are articles galore but here is just a bit more reading if you care to absorb more information about this fiasco. I just can’t stand this oil-based hypocrisy.