On Saturday, November 24, 2007, I attended the United Filipino Council of Hawaii awards dinner at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. It was nice to see old friends and meet new friends. I was happy to see all the significant leaders in the Filipino community receive their recognition and awards.
Monthly Archives: November 2007
I am very thankful for the blessings in my life.
I am facing one of the biggest challenges in my life. A month ago, I crashed my car. I called the police and waited near my car. I was later charged with DUI. I take full responsibility for my mistake. I am thankful I didn't hurt anyone or myself. I remember seeing the cement divider before crashing. I thought that was my last moment of life. When I opened my eyes, I thought I was dead. Then I felt a little pain in my palms, chest, head, and a from a cut on my elbow where I was bleeding so I knew I was alive. I am happy I am still here with you in the physical world, and I can still play a small role in helping others and bettering our world.
I am thankful for my mom, dad, sisters Mia, Lara, and all my relatives. I am so lucky to have such a close family. Mia and Lara are in Hawaii for the Thanksgiving holiday. Mia is a medical doctor, a pediatrician in Southern California and Lara is a civil engineer in the Department of Transportation for Washington State. My mom is still enjoying teaching at Salt Lake Elementary School and my dad is topping off his career as a electrical engineer at Pearl Harbor. I realize how lucky I am to have them as my family. When you are physically injured or emotionally down, you feel all alone, but realize your family is always there for you. My DUI incident reminds me of the time when I broke my ankle and of the time when I broke my leg. You are on your own. You want to be strong and be able to take on any challenge, but sometimes it is difficult. I don't want to be a burden on anyone. It is difficult for me to ask people for favors. Despite the inconvenience, my family has always been there to help me. These are life lessons I will always remember. I am so lucky to have them. As many prominent leaders tell me, you can count on one hand who will be there for you when life gets rough.
I am thankful for all my ancestors and teachers before me. I thank my grandparents for everything they taught me. I will make the most of my life and someday I will join them.
I am thankful for all my friends, past and present. Many of you have contacted me recently from all over the country and even abroad. I was touched by those of you who shared how I helped you in some way.
I am thankful for my mentors. I want to learn all I can to better myself and someday pass the knowledge I receive to the generations following me.
I am thankful for all the constituents that approached me at the shopping mall, University of Hawaii Football games, events, and in the community. I am going to continue to go all-out for you.
I am thankful for the support from some of you who I may have only met once, but somehow you felt touched by my words.
I am thankful for my opponents. I have learned to be stronger and disciplined in my quest to be more compassionate.
I love life. I look forward to everyday. I enjoy the white clouds in the blue sky, the ocean, sunset, everything. I still can enjoy my family and friends. I still get to strategize my goals for Hawaii and my country. I still have the opportunity to strive for my personal goals and take on challenges. I still can reach out to help others. I am very grateful.
On Tuesday, November 20, 2007, I coordinated the planting of a Peace Tree on the the most Ewa side of the State Capitol grounds near the sidewalk a few feet West of the Korean War Memorial. The Peace Day committee, which I am a co-chair of, decided to plant a Kukui tree as our Peace Tree because it is our state tree and it is native to the Hawaiian islands. The University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources through Dale Uno provided us with a baby Kukui tree. Office of Hawaiian Affairs through Trustee John Waihe'e provided the O'o sticks made of Koa to push the dirt on the base of the tree, a fish to be buried at the roots of the tree, and a Hawaiian kahuna to perform the blessing. Members of the Peace Day Committee and media from KITV and Starbulletin were present for the ceremony.
The Peace Tree will remind us and future generations to do kind acts everyday and strive to reduce violence domestically and internationally. Through love and compassion, we can all play a role in making our community and world more peaceful.
On Monday, November 19, 2007, I attended the grand opening of the Waipahu Festival Marketplace. I helped secure the state's grant of $750,000 to help build the marketplace. The federal government and City and County of Honolulu also appropriated funds for this important project. The marketplace sells seafood, vegetables, crafts, and many other retail products.
I presented a House certificate and gave a speech. In my speech, I explained how former executive director Darrlyn Bunda of the Waipahu Community Association (WCA) would come and visit us legislators at the State Capitol tirelessly for the past several years presenting us the WCA's vision of the Waipahu Festival Marketplace. I spoke further, “I closed my eyes and tried to imagine what the Waipahu Festival Marketplace would look like? I imagined a lot of people. I imagined a lot of produce and products. But look at this (the marketplace). This beats my imagination. Congratulation to the Waipahu Community Association for all their work!” I also thanked the many legislators not in the Waipahu area that supported this project.
It is wonderful to see the revitalization of the Waipahu community. I will continue to do my best to support economic and community development in Waipahu for everyone to enjoy.
Peace Day helped to unite many religious organizations with the common goal of peace. Through Peace Day, I met many wonderful people of different religions. For example, I met a couple of people involved in Christian Science where they pray to heal people who have illnesses. I also met members of Shinnyo-en where they meditate and get advice from the spiritual world. I enjoy learning from different religions. Throughout my life, I have been fortunate to have practiced Christianity, Buddhism, and Shintoism. I am very open to the many possibilities of the unknown.
Siddhartha Gautama Buddha or otherwise known as Shakyamuni Buddha, is the founder of Buddhism. He said that there were thousands of Buddhas before him and there will be thousands more Buddhas after him. He said that everyone must bring out the good nature within them and strive to become a Buddha. It doesn’t matter if you are athiest, agnostic, or from another religion. If you are a good person, you are a good person. For a Buddhist, the ultimate goal is to become a Buddha in which one becomes enlightened by attaining pure compassion and understanding his or her existence. I believe, very few individuals will ever achieve this level.
For many Buddhists, attaining the level of a Bodhisattva, one level below that of a Buddha, is a difficult task in itself. A Bodhisattva aims towards the goal of becoming a Buddha to help all beings, but feels the limitation of attaining enlightenment. This is because they too, like any other beings are prone to suffering and mistakes. A Bodhisattva is a person who is dedicated to assisting or helping others achieve happiness and hopefully Buddha-hood even if he or she cannot attain it or postpones from attaining it.
My favorite Bodhisattva is Achala “The immovable one.” Shingon and Shinnyo-en Buddhist sects perform a periodic fire ritual to honor Achala and to rid ourselves of negative energy. Achala is shown in pictures and statues as fearsome and often carrying a sword in one hand. Despite his fearsome look, his role is to aid all beings by showing them the teachings of the Buddha, leading them into self-control. He is willing to face evil to try and save others.
I will do my best to play a small role in helping others find happiness and achieving a more peaceful world.