Browsing articles in "Hawaii"
Nov 19, 2012

Only Someone Who Really Loved UH

$2 million or I stay

Only someone who really loved UH would ask for a $2million severance in the event that they wanted her to go away.  Kudos to Marci Greenwood.  Isn’t that enough to fire her?

Given who we are as a collective (and sometimes exhaustiing) “WE,” I don’t understand why we always have a “search,” spend lots of $$ to get rid of someone and lots more $$$ to attract another.  I have lived in Hawai`i for forty years and exactly two of the UH Presidents fit our fancy, or fantasy — take your pick:  Fujio “Fudge” Matsuda and David “David” McClain.   McClain came here to sit in the First Hawaiian Bank Chair of something-or-other, but he spent enough time ‘getting Hawai`i,” when he was named President it was as if he was instant kanaka maoli (sorry Dr. Blaisdell, its just a literary flourish).

Somehow, we always think that if we bring in someone new, fresh blood and all that, that it will have some profound effect on UH governance.  Hello, University Regents! Wake up.  There are  the internal folk who never “feel” consulted (faculty that weren’t consulted) and then there is Honolulu-at-large, the hulking group of critics who have nothing better to do than weigh in.

Remember Evan Dobelle?  The man who would jump over the waly to retrieve the Irish hat?  The man who upset us because he didn’t wear socks?  OMG!  After worshipping at the alter of Evan and then realizing the President didn’t wear a Reyn’s shirt, we went on the attack.  Even after he took the Warrior to watch UH win the NCAA volleyball championship.  But we tired of hearing the rumors that he thought we were rubes (we are) and “Aloha for your usual kukai, Evan, take a hike.”

I think that in hiring future Presidents, we should have a rule that they have to have lived here for at least five years (ten better), not made any errant culutural faux pas, be willing to work for a reasonable salary and be able to speak pidgin.  This is not a joke.  Some of it is, of course, but the truth is this:  you have to make your bones in Hawai`i before we will give you an inch.

I am not saying the University shouldn’t reach or even overreach.  I just think they need to be realistic about what’s possible.   The drama is supposed to be in the study of things exciting and new … the Presidency should be boring, and ~ well ~ kama’aina.


Nov 18, 2012

Manti T’eo

Manti and his best friend Robbie Toma at Senior Day

Our local FOX affiliate has been running :  Manti T’eo:  The Making of a Legend.  In case you haven’t heard of him, Manti is a line backer for Notre Dame, number 5 on defense (for some crazy reason, there is a number 5 on offense, the quarterback).

Manti is a gracious giant.  He is his parent’s son.  He has a huge heart and the entire Notre Dame community counts him as theirs.  So do we in Hawai`i.  Manti played at Punahou to singular acclaim, he is a Heisman candidate and an honorable man.

Manti is a perfect example of how we herald our own in Hawai`i. He will forever be “Hawai`i boy” or “former Punahou defenseman” when he is a famous NFL player.  There is no doubt he will be.

Sometimes this seems a bit jingoistic of us.  We love sports in Hawai`i, so we always make sure we remind people:  Sid Fernandez was always “former Kaiser High School standout;”  Shane Victorino is always “Maui boy;” B.J. Penn is “Hilo boy.”  When Sid Fernandez departs this mortal coil, his obit will start   “Former Kaiser High School standout Sid Fernandez”.  He could be 110 and it will say that…  If you become famous and you have set foot in Hawai`i, you are ours:  Bette Middler . Tammy Duckworth.

Back to Manti : he is the most recruited athlete ever to come out of Hawai`i.  30 schools made him offers.  More than Mosi Tatupu.  More than Junior Tseu.  His GPA was 3.5.  He is an Eagle Scout.  He volunteered at the Foodbank and Special Olympics, to name just two.

Today is Senior Day at Notre Dame. Manti passed up the NFL draft as a junior so he could be here for Senior Day and the “Notre Dame experience.” In his freshman year, they lost big.  This year, they are leading Wake Forest 38-0 in the 4th.  There is one minute left to play.  Manti just showered his coach with gatorade.

The truth is we have so many talented people in and from Hawai`i.  Lucky we live here.   Looking forward to seeing “Punahou standout Manti T’eo” play in the NFL.

Even the leprechaun donned a lei for Manti


Nov 15, 2012

I Love This Man

Teaching So. African teachers to love math.

There is a man asleep next to me, snoring into my elbow. His ipad  (he was playing words with friends, getting beat ~ again~ by his friend Bruce) and his glasses are between us. I must remember to put them aside before I sleep.  He is exhausted.  Every day he rises at 5:30 a.m., showers, dresses, heads for Punahou where he teaches math to kids who hate math.  When he is done with them, a year or a semester later, they love math.  They understand that math is beautiful, and infinite and necessary to our understanding of the world.

He solved the problem of stragglers to his classes by beginning each one with a “Mathmagical Moment.”  Example: a discussion of prime numbers in the lives of cicadas who have life cycles of eleven, thirteen, or seventeen years to help them avoid predators who have lifecycles that are multiples of some period of years.

He teaches outsized football players  ~ so big, he says, that he only allows two of them to stand at any given time.  Any more, they block out the light.

He teaches musicians, singers and artists.  They love him because for him math is beauty and they love beauty.  One of them asked him to be the faculty sponsor for the Glee Club, invented by her, lasting one year, and modeled on the eponomous hit tv show.  Another painted a spectacular tomato horn worm at this request — one of the most wonderful works of art we own.  Still another drew a picture ~ pen and ink~of an Octopus on a card, signing it by his favorite name for her ~ wretched  child.

In his classroom, there is coffee, hot chocolate and tea for the making.  His favorite music blares from an ipod.  Posters of Mandelbrot sets hang on the wall.

When Punahou is not in session,he has worked in Siberia, South Africa and China.  He loves to create “Aha!” moments for his students, be they young or adult.  In Siberia, he worked with Russian teachers in Krasnoyarsk, a district the size of France, to develop “Civics Education In the Information Age.”  C.E.I.A. was funded by the Department of Defense; a seven year $750,000 program created to teach glasnostians how to teach civic behavior.

In South Africa, he worked with 900 teachers who came from towns near and far away to learn how to better instruct their students in math.  Pre-Apartheid  colored citizens, they were not allowed to take math.  Now they are charged with teaching it.

In China, he helped his old friend Victor Lee look for land for a school —  modeled on Punahou — to be built in honor of Victor’s mother, who led orphans out of China during the revolution.  Victor imagined Mark as head of school, but there was a big impediment:  me.

When we first met he was my son’s fourth grade teacher.  We were instantly crazy about each other, leaving marriages both short (mine) and long (his) to raise a family of six teenagers with three different surnames.

At home, he and my son work together on projects many and amazing.  Together they have built a magnificent aquaponic garden powered by golden talapia.  In the beds lined with cinders they’ve grown roma tomatoes, mint, thyme, rosemary, Manoa, butter and iceberg lettuce ~ even taro.  We have 99 solar panels on our roof and so my son installed ~ as described by my husband ~ the mother of all heat pumps.

In the evening, we float in our pool, 88 degrees and soft on our skin.  The Monkeypod tree we were married under twenty two years ago forms a canopy overhead.  Across the canal, a neighbor lets loose his homing pigeons and we watch them circle, over and over again, above us.  When they are tucked in for the night, we go inside and scare up some supper.  Now that we are, as he says, in transition to another phase in our life, we don’t sit down for dinner and we rarely eat the same thing or in the same place.

It doesn’t matter.  I know that the time he will be laying by my side, snoring in my elbow, is soon to come.

Nov 14, 2012

We Can Trust Him

We can trust President Obama to do what he thinks is right for us, especially now.  In a second term, he has nothing to lose.  This is his opportunity to stand up for what he believes is right, and I am confident he will do it.


1. Because we know his mother’s character and, 2. Because we know his grandmother’s character:  these are the people that raised him.  When he lived in Indonesia, his mother woke him up at 5 a.m. to teach him what he would have learned in the U.S.  When he said he didn’t like it, she responded “It’s not much fun for me either, buster.”  His grandmother was known for her success at Hawai`i’s Bank of Hawai`i and she was known for her straight-backed, straight-forward approach to life and business.

3. Absent his father’s presence in his life and the subsequent discovery that Barack Sr. was somewhat of a lout (to put it politely), he has something to prove.

4.  He is an intellectual and he thinks everything through thoroughly.  No rush to judgments, even though this makes some of us right-now-this-very-minute people nuts.

5. He doesn’t like to fight, but he will if he has to.

6.  He is not weak and has not failed to lead, despite what critics say.  His list of accomplishments for his first term is impressive ~ especially when you consider that his alleged “partners” in the Senate and House were dead set against his getting a second term.

7.  His values are clear.  This goes back to the influence of his Mom and his Grandmother.  The country re-elected a community organizer:  someone who believes he is his brother’s keeper.

8. He is a second term President.  He knows how things work, and he knows what to do.

9. He did most of his growing up in Hawai`i, where people will do anything not to outright insult another person.  But push him, and I can tell you there are plenty of insults floating around in his giant brain.

10. He is a great husband and a great Dad.  People say he is cold and doesn’t like to interact with congress folks especially.  First of all, why would he want to interact with them given the way they have treated him?

He is like my Dad  ~ his family is probably enough for him.  And what a great family they are.


Nov 14, 2012

Free Now Costs $19.99/month

Free used to cost $9.99 a month but recently we have been warned by FreeCreditReport’s new owner Experian that as of December will now cost $19.99.  And, unlike in the beginning (where you get all three major credit reports “free”) , you will get only Experian’s credit report and you will have to pay more for the other two.

Evidently this was’s exit strategy but it went right over my head.  I bought into (pun intended) the “free” idea a year or so ago when I was working to clean up some debt and I went for the bait and switch and opted in for $9.99 a month.  I said to myself that I would be dedicated, checking my credit report often, correcting inaccuracies etc.  Then, I promptly forgot my password.

It doesn’t matter anyway.  The only reason you need to know your credit score is so you won’t be humiliated when you are turned down for a loan, even though you have at least 10 times the amount you want to loan in assets.

Here is what it says on the front page of

 Free Credit Report Delivered in 2 Days

May take up to 2 days to see your Report

Credit Score not included in this offer   (ITALICS MINE)

No membership required

I am an idiot!  I thought a FreeCreditReport would be a) free (which evidently it is, once) and would include b) a credit score.  Raise your hand if you thought a credit report would include a credit score.


Gloria. Circa 1955.

Gloria. Circa 2012.

Other than working for the American Red Cross in Korea for two years, Gloria Garvey has lived in Hawai`i since 1971. Her opinion and other writing has appeared in: The American Philatelist. Honolulu Weekly, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, The Star Advertiser, Hawai`i Reporter, Pacific Business News, Island Scene, The Design Management Journal.

Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.