Your Views for August 27

‘A bad idea’

The Honua Ola project (formerly Hu Honua) and their supporters keep telling us what a good thing burning wood for power is.


If it’s so good, why did U.S. railroads abandon wood as a fuel for power by 1892?

Archaic is the only word I can think of for the Honua Ola project.

Give it up, guys. It’s a bad idea.

Don Rudny


Act of kindness

My coworker once shared that her father was a kind person. He would give a sandwich to a hungry homeless person without judgment or hesitation. Today, we have many homeless and other people in need of kindness, compassion and empathy in downtown Hilo.

Recently, as I drove into the parking lot of my workplace, I noticed a black slipper with a broken strap lying on the asphalt. I wondered what happened to the owner. I thought I should throw the slipper away, but after parking my car and strapping on a face mask, my thoughts turned to the busy workday ahead.

Our office closes for lunch at noon. Just a few minutes after 12 p.m., we had an unexpected visitor. A young man was standing outside holding the sole of the broken slipper in his hand. When asked if he needed any assistance, he requested some super-strength glue. His own pair of slippers were mismatched (he found them at the beach) and one side was so worn down that it had a large hole.

He angled his foot to show how sore and dirty his foot was from all the endless walking he does on hot summer pavement. Despite the mismatched, worn down and broken state of his found slippers, he seemed grateful to have his own footwear. His plan was to glue the found sole to the bottom of his puka slipper.

The office had only string and duct tape to offer. He gladly accepted a few strips of duct tape and patched his slipper. When told that his foot might get sticky from the duct tape he said that he planned to go back to the beach and let the sand take care of any stickiness.

One slipper was now higher than the other, and he joked that if he wanted to feel short he would lean on one side, and if he wanted to appear taller, he would lean on the other.

As I was driving home after work that day, I recalled my brief and unusual encounter with the man and his slippers. That led me to remember a similar incident that occurred over 10 years ago on Oahu.

My toddler and I were attending keiki story time and borrowing books at Waipahu Public Library. As we neared the checkout counter, my daughter exclaimed, “Yeh Yeh!” — which means paternal grandfather in Cantonese. Sure enough, it was her grandpa chatting with the library clerk.

The clerk was kindly helping grandpa patch his favorite, well-worn leather sandals with a staple gun. Here was a worldly, highly educated, typically well-heeled man, who just happened to have his weekend footwear malfunction while at the library.

This long-forgotten memory of Yeh Yeh and the story of my coworker’s kind father surely influenced my own actions. Additionally, growing up in Hawaii, most people can empathize with the predicament of a slipper malfunctioning at an inopportune time.

Ever hear of the paperclip patch? Sharing staples, paperclips or a length of duct tape to patch a fellow human being’s footwear is a small act of kindness, just a glimmer of true humanity in an ordinary day.


Sharon F. Wong


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