Monthly Archives: July 2005

Congratulatory Remarks for Graduates of the University of Hawaii Health Careers Opportunity Program


Good Evening.

I am honored to be here to present congratulatory remarks to you for receiving certificates for completing the initial summer phase of the University of Hawaii Health Careers Opportunity Program. This is an important federally funded program that provides opportunities to individuals from educationally or economically disadvantaged backgrounds to bring diversity to the health profession. Congratulations on all your hard work and perseverance!

Just this Tuesday, I returned from a trip to China and Thailand. I traveled with the governor, colleagues in the State House, state department officials and Hawaii business leaders in China. I continued on my own to Hong Kong and Thailand with another state representative. In China and Thailand, my colleagues and I encouraged the exchange of education, technology, culture, and trade. One of the topics that came up was healthcare and how our respective states must help our aging communities. Right around the corner, Hawaii must be ready to take care of a big “Baby Boomer” generation. Therefore, you will be the leaders at the forefront addressing Hawaii's health issues.

In Thailand, I did not have a chance to visit the tsunami devastated areas, however, I did get a sense of the impact it had on the people and economy. I pray a natural disaster with that magnitude never hits Hawaii, but should something happen, your work in the health field will be critical.

In my line of work as a politician and businessperson, I am fortunate to experience many cultures and communities. Each of you have different traditions and cultures to share with others. By learning from each other, we become closer as a community. Your understanding of culture will be beneficial as you help people in need.

I really want to thank you for your dedication to the health field. My younger sister is a doctor, so I have an idea of the hard work and devotion it takes. Your kindness and re-assuring face is priceless for a person who needs your help.

Let me also extend my congratulations to the parents, family, friends and loved ones who have supported you to reach this point. For your accomplishment brings pride to your family and community.

In your desire to commit to a profession that cares for the health of others, you have already become a successful partner in the quality of life for the people of our State of Hawaii. Again, please accept my heartfelt congratulations and thank you for your participation in this important program.

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A Deeper Reflection on My China and Thailand Trip


In regards to China, I was a little nervous going there because of all the rhetoric I hear in the Western media by our leaders. My nervousness disappeared when I arrived in China. Shanghai is modernizing quickly. Tall skyscrapers with bright lights, factories on the outskirts, technology parks, and stores and cars everywhere. There were many areas in Shanghai where people could party and dance. Beijing seemed a lot more conservative. I was honored to have dinner in the Great Hall. Tianjin appeared more in the beginning stages of development. Their technology park was impressive. Hong Kong is a very modern city and the most liberal of the cities I visited, next to Shanghai. Macau is quickly growing their gambling industry with many big themed casinos.

Of all the Chinese leaders I met, I was very impressed with a Supreme Court Justice from one of the provinces I visited. This justice worked in the factories when he was young. He studied and worked hard and became the top justice of his province. When mentioned on China becoming a global power, he stated, “Sure, on the coasts of China, there is prosperity. But if you go to inland China, there is a lot of suffering. As long as there is that suffering, you don't have to worry about China becoming a world power.” I was so impressed with him because he was so humble. In my opinion, humbleness make great leaders as they know their strengths, but are open-minded to improve their country and help their people.

I am so used to hearing a number of our leaders and citizens boasting how we are the greatest. When I hear this, I just listen. That is why it was so refreshing to hear the Chinese Justice with his humble words. All the rhetoric and boasting by many politicians and citizens is too common. As an American politician and leader in the United States, I mention the good things about our country, but I also mention our faults and the things we need to improve on. I believe there is always room for improvement. In our country, there are many great and caring people, but there are also racists, people discriminating others based on their lifestyle, people forcing their religious beliefs on others, power-abusing people with no feelings who take advantage of less fortunate people in our country and overseas, etc. I think we need to respect each other. It is easy to boast, but it is very difficult to expose one's faults. Humbleness is a virtue, something I learned from my parents and grandparents.

Sure, there are many differences between China and the United States. However, I believe, we are on our way to a long and lasting relationship. Trade is developing better relationships between our people. As a politician, I will continue to strengthen our ties with China.

Pertaining to both China and Thailand, I learned about the good and bad things capitalism does, especially to less fortunate people. The good point is that it brings outside revenue into developing areas and as time goes on, life conditions improve. With more competition in the market, workers can choose the type of jobs they want and better working conditions. The bad point is that some companies are looking at workers as statistics, and may not be sure how much money is actually going to the workers, or if there is abuse. There is also the child labor, labor trafficking, and forced prostitution issues. Money is power, and with great power, comes great responsibility.

In Thailand, I was very impressed with the kindness of the people there. On the other hand, I saw how poverty affected people. Women utilized their beauty to survive or get ahead in life. I became friends with several Thais. When I left Thailand, my emotions for the Thai people were very strong.

When I was in Chiangmai, Thailand, I prayed at a Buddhist temple on the top of the mountain. There were two dragon heads at the entrance of steep stairs going up to the temple, and you couldn't see much because of a thick fog. At the temple, the fog was everywhere. I kneeled and prayed for my friends and the women of Thailand. When I finished praying, I heard our guide say, “Oh wow, look at that!” I looked up and there was a circle of blue in the sky. The clouds were quickly moving outward. When I looked around me, the fog was all gone. At the edge of the mountain, we could see the city of Chiangmai. It was so beautiful.

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