Letters To The Editor

Don Chapman
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June 28, 2006 - MidWeek
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Taro: It is Hawaiian

I wish to respond to Bob Jones’column “Taro: It’s Not Just a Hawaiian Thing,” but who am I to write anything about taro? I am a Caucasian transplant to the Hawaiian Islands and was introduced to taro, via its product poi, at a glitzy Waikiki luau. I remember the Vegas-style host freely ridiculing the untouched mauve-colored substance that graced the tables.

Who am I to talk about the Hawaiian culture, its affinity with the earth and deep respect for the taro plant? It’s not part of my oral history. I didn’t grow up eating taro, being taught by my elders that taro was the still-born child of Ho’ohokukalani and Wakea. Who gives a hoot about the genetic modification of taro by the University of Hawaii? I do, because taro is not corn or tomatoes, flowers or limes. It is part of the Hawaiian culture, and how can any non-Hawaiian, be they scientist or visitor, disrespect and adulterate yet another part of these Islands (need I mention hula and Elvis in the same sentence?).

Mr. Jones asks, “Should we care?” We should answer (remembering our place), “It is the least we can do.”

Sharyn Inzunza

Honolulu


Taro: a gift for all

Bob Jones is real champion when it comes to pouring gasoline on a blaze, but I commend his taro column for bringing logic and reason to a tremendously emotional issue. Yes, taro is special and symbolic to native Hawaiians, but they are neither the only people in the world to whom God has given this life-nourishing plant nor the only ones to be grateful for the gift.

Edith Lee

Honolulu

Racist rot

Regarding Yu Shing Ting’s On the Move column about “Body Fungus” - her case of tinea versicolor is probably a punishment from God, who knows all about her disgusting racist insensitivity. The term “haole rot” should never be published in any respectable newspaper, no matter what the “Hawaii folks” call it.

Her lofty position as MidWeek‘s Style Editor/Senior Writer notwithstanding, it is evident that she hasn’t acquired any good sense or judgment in her entire 27 years on earth. I’m amazed that MidWeek editors would allow such racist filth be delivered to every household on Oahu.

Rochelle Zap

Waipahu

Wie’s to-do list

Regarding Rick Hamada’s column “She’s Famous, But Can Wie Win?” - Michelle Wie has already won fame and fortune, and is having fun. What more can a teenager dream of?

Winning first place? That belongs to Tiger Woods. Always will. He was a team player in his high school days. Perhaps it makes a difference at winning in life.

Michelle Wie has one year left to be a team player at Punahou School - not at golf, but in public speaking, or drama, the gifts that school gives us: inflection, enunciation, grammar.

Michelle, you’re dynamite, until you open your mouth. (You can hire a specialist.) But this is a once-in-a-lifetime senior year. Why not take a recess after summer - for school at school?

Have your best year!

Ruth Friedman

Makiki


Sad fish story

We were horrified upon seeing the cover of the May 26 issue of MidWeek. The giant wrasse, also known as the humphead wrasse or Napoleon wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus), is listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the world body that evaluates the conservation status of all living organisms. This status designation means that the species is facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future.

This is the same status that the IUCN has assigned to the Hawaiian monk seal, which you would probably not show being killed by a “sportsman.”

Two dozen studies indicate that the humphead wrasse is declining in all parts of its range and is completely wiped out in several locations because they are normally long-lived (more than 30 years old), produce few young, and never before faced predators like spear fishermen.

What’s really sad is that Hawaii residents now spearfish in places like the Marshall Islands because all the big fish in the main Hawaiian Islands are depleted or gone.

Beth Flint, Ph.D., Biologist

Jim Maragos, Ph.D.,

Oceanaographer Editor’s note: As noted in response to a previous letter, the Napoleon wrasse is not yet listed on the federal endangered species list. We hope that publicity generated by our story will speed that process, and that fishermen

Send your letters to MidWeek Letters, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 500, Honolulu, HI. 96813; by fax to 585-6324, or by email to dchapman@midweek.com. Please include your name, address and daytime and evening phone numbers. We print only the letters that include this information, but only your name and area of residence will appear in print. Letters may be edited for clarity and space.
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