Dec 3, 2011

On Being Civil

It used to be that beginning with Thanksgiving and lasting through December 31st, we all let up on each other a bit. Things slowed down at work, people said thanks and smiled at one another, and acknowledged each other’s existence. Holiday cheer, we called it.

These days that doesn’t happen so often. The launchpad for Christmas greed is now some time in October, and by Thanksgiving, a fury of scarcity has been whipped up by toy makers, tech wizards and big box retailers everywhere. It makes it hard to say “good day” to your neighbor when you are stepping on their head in order to get something for half price that you will probably throw out in less than a year.

It’s not like we don’t know about good manners. George Washington, sometime before the age of 16, transcribed “Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation.” The first rule is: “ Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present.” There are 109 more. Continue reading »

Dec 2, 2011

Rail: Paradise Lost

Rail may stop traffic but not the kind of traffic we want to stop. A comparison to the arduous building of H-3 is apples and oranges. A ride across H-3 inspires awe and amazement. The building of heavy rail will provide construction jobs for a while. And it will stop traffic. Not the traffic it is meant to relieve, but tourism traffic. The “Neighbor Islands” will be the beneficiaries of O`ahu’s rail.

The scale of the rail is absolutely counterintuitive to Hawai`i’s “on earth” profile. Never mind the problems with our infrastructure that won’t get fixed because of rail. Let me be more specific: anyone who understands Hawai`i’ would never undertake to build rail in the first place.

Hawaii is a place the whole world knows and loves. A place of staggering beauty and extraordinary gentleness. A place that offers rest and restoration. A place of unique heritage and culture. A place of Aloha. Continue reading »

Oct 5, 2011

APEC needs aloha touch, not just high-tech feel

Honolulu Star-Advertiser
By Gloria Garvey

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jan 20, 2011

The announcement that Hawaii will host APEC in 2011 prompted talk about security: Are we prepared to handle an event with leaders of member countries as diverse and important as Russia, the People’s Republic of China and Japan, as well as 17 other member economies?

Pundits talk about what the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation can do for Hawaii — if we manage the conference successfully. This means mounting security tantamount to or better than that required by President Barack Obama’s visits, having ultra-nonfailing connectivity for Internet and all high-tech devices, including those that will be invented this year.

It means possible business opportunities for Hawaii with the country leaders and giant corporations in attendance; speculations about side-door meetings with deals concluded in 15 minutes. For Hawaii, already established as a tourist destination, APEC offers Hawaii the chance to establish itself as a place to do “serious” work. Continue reading »

May 3, 2011

American Ignorance and Immigration /Update


Now we have an Indian Miss American, An Asian runner up, a Black President, a Black Attorney General … oh, what is white American to do???

by Gloria Garvey
American Citizen since October 12, 1949

Several months ago, in an article entitled “How Dumb Are We?,” Newsweek reported that 38% of “real” Americans had failed the U.S. Citizenship test.

It is a well known fact that Americans are ignorant about their government: our general ignorance about anything that affects our lives in any substantial way has put this country in the precarious position it now finds itself.

It’s not hard to believe that the people who elected Eric Cantor and his ilk now give Congress some of its lowest marks in history. They’re surprised Congress wants to get their hands on their Medicare? And all of us who voted for Obama: did we really think he could make the changes he promised? We are not merely ignorant. We are willfully ignorant.

I have had some direct experience with the U.S. Citizenship test, and it is not difficult. My Canadian husband became a U.S. citizen in 2007 — prompting second-generation-me to read materials he printed off the INS part of the Federal Government website.

At that time, preparation for the test included 100 sentences that the citizen wannabe might be asked to speak or write down during their interview. None of them were hard. Instead, the sentences were shocking in their presumption that all immigrants are uneducated and poor. Maybe it’s preparation for becoming a real American. Continue reading »

Apr 29, 2009

Place Matters : Especially in the World’s Best Visitor Destination

Given that urban redesign and public/ private partnerships are allegedly becoming often used tools in Honolulu’s revitalization and restructuring, it is important for the city and state to examine best practices as it looks for places to save money and make deals.

Following best practice examples will also help us avoid undermining quality of life for our citizens and the millions of visitors who are so important to our economy. It is part of the reason for the call by the AIA to reexamine transit, considering light rail instead of heavy rail.

Likewise, the shortcomings the EPA identified, and which the city chooses to ignore — like the preservation of the Banana Patch — will have an adverse affect on this very important place. Continue reading »

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.

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