Welcome to Toisan Pride

Toisanese (Hoisanese is the REAL pronunciation; and Mandarin speakers call it "Taishan" or Taishanese") were among the first Chinese-Cantonese immigrants to hail to the United States from the Guangdong/Guangzhou Province of Southern China in the Pearl River Delta, west of Hong Kong.

Many Hoisanese immigrants came to the U.S. starting in the 19th century to help build railroads, and eventually stayed to establish laundromats, restaurants, etc. and worked hard to build a better future for their families. Some famous Hoisan folks include: U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Chef Martin Yan (Yan Can Cook); Hawaii Senator Hiram Fong, Hong Kong Martial Artist Donnie Yen (star of IP MAN), Actor James Hong, Former California Treasurer Matt Fong; Actress Anna May Wong. For more Toisan/Taishan background history, click on Wikipedia.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Some day, I plan on updating it but Blogger isn't the greatest with blog templates so I appreciate your patience! I welcome comments, stories, photos, Toisanese/Say-Yip history, anything about our wonderful people to toisangirl@yahoo.com.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Ugly Side of Paradise

The Homeless: I used to see several homeless people everyday during my morning walk from Kukui Parking Plaza along Fort Street Mall - the disheveled old lady in the wheelchair, or the two drunkards sitting on a fire hydrant bantering loudly.  I'd hold my breath to avoid inhaling the reeking odor of urine in the corner near Hawaii Pacific University, as I passed Radoski's Piroskis. 

I've changed my route since then, but now when I drive down Nuuanu towards King Street, I see the dirty bare feet of an old homeless man peeking out from under his cardboard blanket, nestled between the daycare center and the now-defunct Hawaii Small Business Center.

It surely was a depressing way to start each day, and I'd think "That person is someone's mother, sister, brother, daughter, son or father."

Recently, one of my friends got hit on by a homeless guy, here's how it went:
Homeless guy: "Can you spare some change?"
My friend:   "No, sorry."
H. Guy:       "Well, can I get your number? 
My friend:  "Uhh, NO." (she's thinking, how can you take me out if you don't have any $$, or a place to live?)

I've seen homeless men and women in Los Angeles' skid row (a very FRIGHTENING and SOBERING sight), the streets of Westwood, on the UCLA campus, in trendy Santa Monica, and now the streets of Honolulu.  Whoever would've thought homelessness would be so rampant in Hawaii - "Paradise"?

But they're here, even if you try to ignore them as a blight on the streets of Waikiki and Honolulu, Chinatown. Other U.S. states purportedly send their homeless with a 1-way ticket to our island, where they won't freeze to death; but we're paying a huge price for it now.

Solutions need to be developed, people's mental health needs must be addressed, rehabilitation has to begin so the ones who want help -- can actually get help. I don't have any answers; I'm just as scared of them as the next person.  And yet my heart breaks whenever I see a familiar disheveled woman lying in the street, with dirt on her face, messy matted hair and that empty, glazed look in her eyes.

Check out these articles:
Life's a Beach for Homeless in Hawaii:

Homeless but enjoying Hawaii on $3 a Day - NPR

1 comment:

  1. I think I once heard that homeless have habitually been sent with a one-way ticket to warmer climates, which may help understand the homeless here in L.A. When Jesus said "the poor you will always have with you," does it mean we simply accept there will always be homeless no matter what we do, or does it mean we need to do something to respond and aid the poor? I'd like to think I believe the latter, but in reality, do I embrace or avoid a homeless person? Something requiring pondering and re-pondering...