Archive for September, 2009

Obama’s U.S. Ocean Policy Hui in Honolulu

Representatives from the Obama Administration are here in Honolulu, as we speak, to hear what we have to say as they prepare a proposal for a cohesive U.S. Ocean Policy. This “listening session” is today, Tuesday, September 29th, from 1:30 to 6:30 PM at Blaisdell Center.

Kahea logoKahea, the Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance, is urging everyone who is able, if time allows, to get down there and be heard about the protection and preservation of our oceans. Kahea has even gone so far as to provide child care for parents while they are making their concerns known to this Presidential committee.  Yes, this is very last minute but that is so typical of all offices of government.  The door is open and those in the know need to walk through it and share your knowledge!

While we always want to “maximize the economic and social benefits of what the ocean offers, while protecting our most fragile marine ecosystems,” it is important to remember that we cannot, and WILL NOT, tolerate anything less than doing so with aloha and not allowing our oceans to become the private property of a select few. 

Of particular interest and concern is the promotion of aquaculture and making this visiting group see that this can work!  Hawai’i, as usual these days, needs to set the example.  We have made it work and it is sustainable.  I strongly urge anyone specializing in aquaculture to hele on down to Blasidell and tell them what you know!  You can prove it!

The ocean is important to us.  It is part of our lifestyle and has always been a part of our culture.  We’re surrounded by it so we need to protect it and take a stand!  Those of you versed in the subject matter of the sea, please help them make the right choices and recommendations back in Washington!   They’re reasonable and the will listen if we make an effort to be heard.   

Moving Together for Cultural Restoration

Yellow HibiscusThis Friday evening (yes, tonight) at 6:30 pm join supporters of Hawaii Bilingual (H2O) for the evening, artistic portion of their monthly vigil that occurs at the end of each month.  This is an event that began back in April and will continue to be observed “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.”

Cultural genocide is a pretty strong term.  If you think about it, it’s not too far off the mark.  I was shocked to learn that people were not only forbidden to speak the language but were severely punished if they were caught doing so.  That is so, so wrong!  I don’t know all the horrific details and don’t want to know — it breaks my heart.  Take away a language and thus begins cultural disintegration.  Acknowledging that “cultural genocide” is a strong term, most will agree that it is quite accurate when you look at the bigger, historic picture.

I don’t understand this retarded occurrence in our history but I intend to support the movement to restore a very important part of our beloved culture — the language!  See the flyer here for a more detailed description of the event and the movement.

Tickets are $15 and are available at the door.  Pupu will be provided as people kick back and relax to the symphonic sounds of talented musicians hailing from our own Honolulu Symphony.  Come and share in the peace and aloha of this bilingual event.  If enough of us band together for this purpose, the State will eventually have to listen.  🙂

Bring a chair, and your drink(s) of choice to:

Fresh Cafe
831 Queen Street
Kaka’ako, Honolulu

From One Tropical Paradise to Another

Water fountain

I know I’ve talked about this place elsewhere, but not here.  Tsk!  This little post has been sitting in draft form for quite some time.

We were having lunch at Zippy’s in the Koko Marina Shopping Center and the name of this cute little store caught our attention. Of course the big “SALE” sign in red lettering was helpful too!

When we were done eating we decided to be nosy and go check it out.  I’m glad we did because I have a passion for wood grain and there was a lot of it inside!

Entrance to Bali Pacific Trading

Brian Ikeda, the store’s owner, is seen here sharing information about the store, telling visitors about the products, and talking about the numerous buying trips taken to Indonesia to purchase all of the merchandise that this little store has to offer.

A view of the inside of the Bali Pacific Trading store in Hawaii Kai

There were some unusual items that, while somewhat familiar, had a different overall ambiance to them than what we’re used to.  There was an uncanny similarity to what one might associate with the Philippines.  But then there was a sense of made in Hawaii there too.  The best part was that all items are made in Indonesia, hence the name Bali Pacific Trading.

Bali Pacific Trading's surfer While just simple wood is a definite draw for me, the quality of the wood furnishings we found was very apparent and the different pieces of furniture were very attractive.

I thought this guy on the right was fun and Mr. Ikeda said that the kids love him too.  I’ve never seen a surfer quite like that one.  🙂

I got a kick out of it with the straw skirt and hair to match.  Like I said, you would think we would find something like that right here in Honolulu but I’ll be darned if this charming fellow wasn’t made in Indonesia as well!  What a crack up!  He looks a little ticked off — like he just missed his wave.

If you stop by the store on a Sunday, give my best to Brian and have fun checking out the textures of all of those home and garden products.  The prices are very reasonable and it’s safe to say that you will be pleasantly surprised.

Bali-Pacific Trading Co.
Koko Marina Shopping Center
Suite G-102A
Honolulu, Hawai’i
Phone: (808) 396-9959

Feeling it in Our Bones

The Mana

Mana is a Hawaiian word that is most often used to refer to a spiritual or divine power.  Sometimes it is used to define a miraculous or authoritative power.  “Mana makua” is parental authority.  You see, mana is one of those words that, like “aloha,” can mean several different things.  Mana has more of a spiritual essence to it than most of the English words we’re used to.


Aside from the fact that there are four or five different species of birds in this photo taken at Oahu Cemetery, the cemeteries do have a life all their own.  Could it be that “mana” that we sometimes feel when stepping onto the grounds of one of these burial places?  Each cemetery gives off its own “sense” when you visit.  Oahu Cemetery is, like its namesake, friendly.  There’s a sense of “thanks for coming to visit” when you go there — it’s peaceful and, yes, friendly.

If you follow the traditional way that Hawaiians always regarded the dead, the essence of a person resides in their bones.  I’ve touched on the spiritual significance of the iwi (bones) before.  With that in mind, there actually should be a “feeling” at all cemeteries, right?  What we don’t always know is just how many other hidden treasures a cemetery may be holding.

I do frequent the ones in the Nuuanu area, Mauna ‘Ala included, because I’m weird like that.  Unbeknownst to me, the maternal grandmother of a very dear friend from my high school years was buried right across the street from the burial ground pictured above.  I kind of found this out the hard way.

My darling girlfriend and her mother were there one day recently when I called them.  They were taking a lunch break in the midst of trying to deal with arrangements for their newly-deceased father and husband.  Sometimes when you lose track of the people you’re close to, you meet up with a few shocks in the process.

Grandma Gaughen

This was not something that I had planned to do but I was certainly at a loss for what the heck I should do!  So, I went to visit grandma, my newly-discovered neighbor, and took her some flowers.  What else could I do that would have meant anything to the ohana that I had been separated from for far too long?!?  Then I wanted to talk about all of this; I had to talk about all of this internal drama and I had nobody to share it with.  Wait!  “Hey, idiot, you have a blog!”   Oh yeah!


~ Herbert Walter DeCambra ~
October 21 1934 – August 24, 2009 

Late Saturday afternoon I listened while friends and family shared their feelings and stories of a much-loved man who left a definite mark on all who knew him.  This memorial service was a unique experience for me.  It was one that his family labeled “A Celebration of Life.”  Somewhere between the tears and the laughter I realized that this title was perfect.  I am very grateful that I was able to be there with so many people I grew up with, got into trouble with, pissed off Uncle Herbert with — you know the drill.

What touched me most was the joining together of long lost relationships —  friends, family members, and some that were a little of both.  Some of us may be on the opposite side of the island but that doesn’t stop the love or break up the treasured memories.  While holding on to some of the dearest friends from my youth, I realized that we cannot let this happen again!  We’re back in contact and we’ve got to keep it that way!

There was one more gift you gave us, Uncle Herbert.  You brought us back together!  Everyone will miss you but I will always be in your debt for making all of this happen for us!  You were “felt” there!  I’m going with “mana makua” — a parental authority that is now a spiritual, parental authority.  I will carry this revelation with me in my heart and all the way to the bone for many years to come.

Aloha and may God bless the DeCambra family in this time of loss and transition. He p?maika’i ‘ia mai ke Akua!  My heart and prayers are with you all!