A New Way of Life
25 April 1990
I was surprised when I received a postcard with a picture of Mauna Kea's gigantic snow-capped peak. Do you know about Mauna Kea anyway? It is the highest mountain if measured from the ocean floor. It is also where advanced astronomy in the world is located in the pursuit of gazing the vast expanse of the universe.
I wondered where and who this postcard came from. I flipped it over and saw your name. What a coincidence! I was wishing upon a star that one day a friend of mine will send me a note to a lonely individual. My wish came true. Mayumi, thank you for your thoughtfulness. I really need that. I miss every friend that I had left at home.
Every day and night, the memories of our high school days are still vivid in my thoughts. Sometimes I drop tears and laugh as I remember the times. My past tells my future. Thank God I feel positive about myself. My skills and wisdom are being enhanced as I permeate into the American society. I learned a lot about myself here in a foreign land, where nobody is a minority. I'm talking about Hawaii, the place where I was born.
How long have you been in the islands, anyway? Did you have difficulty understanding Pidgin? Was it difficult for you to interact with the new kind of society you are now in?
Anyway, you know dakine? What dakine? Dakine! Dakine (da-kine), a phrase commonly used among Hawaiian locals. Tourists and locals have misunderstandings because of the existence of Pidgin in Hawaii. I believe that Pidgin is standard in Hawaii because it bridged the communication gap between the visitors of the islands and the native Hawaiians in the olden days and it's here to stay. Even if I don't speak Pidgin, I support it because this is the only way most people in Hawaii speak and express themselves in everyday language. It is tightly integrated into our Hawaiian society. However, the proper language used in Hawaii is American English in the business, education, and government sectors. That's why we must compromise our Pidgin in order to be accepted. Speaking the standard and proper language is one area has advantages and disadvantages.
Let's forget that already! Do you go to school? Probably not. I'm very sure that you are working, right? I guess I am wrong. Probably you are spending your early days cruising the countryside, and later on, dig deeper. Just make yourself familiar with the Big Island and then start a new way of life. That's what I did.
Any news recently from our friends back in the Philippines? Most or some of them have graduated already from two-year courses at Lorma College. What are your educational plans here? Yes, we got a lot of brain power in the Philippines but we are faced with unemployment and underemployment problems. Our qualifications doesn't meet our standards in the Philippines, that we have to struggle for our survival by turning to low-rate jobs or aim for an opportunity working abroad. You are lucky. I'm lucky. We are both here in the land teeming with milk and honey. A new way of life is at dawn. A new struggle. Anyway, as you go on, do you read me?
I got strong feelings of going back to the native land for emotional purposes. I want to let the gas of stress to escape from my mental vent. I'm preoccupied with many tasks here that sometimes I can't handle. I set aside these tasks here that sometimes I can't handle. I set aside these tasks for a while to relax, and find out that I have heavy burdens. I took a lot of meditative thinking to understand my life's course. Consequently, my strong feelings about going back to the Philippines have weakened because of the social unrest in the country. Also in Hawaii, I'm faced with a danger. The standards of living is becoming higher, jobs are always available, but the chance to have an affordable house is very rare. Excise taxes are becoming higher in order to fund Oahu's mass transit scheme. I guess, we will not benefit from it-for us in the neighbor islands. Also, the geothermal proposal, we'll not also benefit from it, but Oahu again will take advantage of that. Yes, it helps us reduce our fossil fuel consumption, but the consequences is far greater. If you're a native Hawaiian, would you let those exploiters (technology worshippers) exploit your secret tropical rainforest? It seems that technology is the only answer to our problems. We didn't look at our moral weaknesses that we could strengthen them.
At present, I'm enrolled at the University of Hawaii's Maui Community College. I'm going to my sophomore year and next semester and I hope I could jump the hurdles to achieve my A.A. Liberal Arts major by May 1991. After this, if I got luck, I'll be going to a major university and pursue a degree in one of these: business, law, medicine, or military science. I need to enhance all of my skills in order to be productive. I'm planning to buy a computer these summer to make my brain at hyperdrive.
To survive the economic threats in Hawaii, I work 8 hours a week on school days. By summertime, I work 45 to 50 hours a week with a respectable pay. The work is hard, though. I work for Jack In The Box, a fast food one, with multiple tasks. I work as a fryer person, cashier, dish washer, stockperson, and maintenance man. Sometimes, I perform all of these in a row within a day of work. You might think I can't handle my work, just because you've known me that I have lived in a large house doing nothing but books and interest in nature and carpentry through imagination as Einstein had gotten his e=mc2. You're wrong, I have great enthusiasm to work, even when I was still in the Philippines. In the Philippines, they are lacking jobs there and furthermore, I don't need no jobs because I was depending on my parents. Here, you have two choices: be alone or be with them. But most of us here live alone and depending on our jobs. What if the NYSE crashes? We'll be having a grievous version of the 1930 Depression. I know it's not familiar to you. I urge you to look for it in the book The coming 21st century is marked with what? Do we envision a coming utopia or a world in disaster? The answer lies upon humanity!
Mayumi, you're in a new way of life. Please don't loose your national identity as most of the Filipinos here have lost it already. I am a Filipino at heart and American in ways. The key to success is that you must have a thorough understanding of yourself first before knowing where are you are going.
To culminate my very complex missive, I'm going to tell you that I care about you. Anyway call me if you have time. I've enclosed my calling card. Give me your phone number and a picture of yours on your next mail. Thank you. I'll give you mine's upon receiving yours. Tumaba ka, di ba? Advice lang 'to, mag-diet ka. (Jokes lang). Still, I'm the same Lakandiwa that you've come to know before. Nandiyan na ba si Malamyos? Kumusta siya? I'm thanking you again for your thoughtfulness. I can't forget it for the rest of my life. You melted the ice of solitude, thank you. I don't feel alone now.
By the way my brother, Magiting is coming here with Nanay, but the problem is my Tatay and my other brother Matipuno will be left there for a year or so, unknowing of their future. I'm praying for their divine protection and I need them and they need me. They are the source of my hope and encouragement and above all is God.
My birthday is fast approaching. I don't have plans yet. But I hope it will coincide with the welcome party of my brother with a kaleidoscope of lights and sounds. So, how were your respective debuts last year?
I'm going to park my pen now and best wishes for your success in your newfound home. Regards to all of you there and I am waiting for your sizzling response. Aloha!
P.S. Huwag mong kakalimutan yung phone number at picture mo ha? My next letter, you are assured of receiving my photographs. Hemo your pen at once after you pau read. Mahalo.