Issue 4: Commodity

Published October 2010

To disregard Hawai‘i as a commodity would be to our detriment, as commodities have the potential to benefit and to profit our islands. To say that the culture of Hawai‘i, our way of thinking and our way of life, is a commodity, is to say that our culture inherently has value.

The threat of commercialization and corporate takeover in Hawaii is constantly forboding. Big-box retailers like Walmart and Target have inundated our skylines. A massive Forever 21 looms in the distance. All kow-towing to the money-making giant known as tourism.

Tourism, to be sure, is what drives our economy, but what really defines our commodity as a place? Is it our white sandy beaches (now overwrought with plastic floaties and people) or our world-class skyline (soon to be desecrated with elevated rail)? What happens when all of what we know to be “Hawaii” looks no different than any other large metropolis? Where then do we find our commodity?

The question that often drives our editorial discussions is always the same: What can we do as a city do to ensure our young and talented are cultivated in Hawaii? What can we do to foster the arts, help artists, musicians, designers, filmmakers and small businesses to succeed?

It took a six hour plane ride to the mainland before we realized that it’s not what we can do as a magazine or what government should do in providing more funding, but it’s what you can do as the musician, the artist, the designer, the filmmaker, the small business. In examining the commodity of Hawaii — in attempting to decipher what makes our islands so bankable — we realized, it’s you. It’s YOU that is the commodity of Hawaii. You are what makes our islands so freaking awesome.

The phrase New Yorkers famously throw around, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere,” frequently comes to mind. I’d change that phrase to say, “If you can make it there, you can make it here,” and subsequently, “If you can’t make it here, you won’t make it anywhere. It isn’t place that determines success, it’s perseverance, hard work and a bit of collaboration.



Co-operation Makes It Happen

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Text by Margot Seeto Photo by Honozooloo Creative Research Co-op at the Chinatown Artists Lofts. The idea of communal living, the co-operative, the idea of sharing resources to advance a common goal, while only recently gaining a foothold in big cities like San Francisco and New York, has been an idea perpetuated by our ancient Hawaiian ancestors [...]

The Lost Land of ‘Ainalani

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Text by Samson Reiny [sidebar] [/sidebar] What do we do when our ‘ainalani, our heavenly land, looks no different than any other major metropolitan city? What do we tell the thousands of vacationers, who visit our islands for its inherent natural beauty, when our beaches are eroded upon and steel and concrete weigh down too heavily on our sa[...]

Save Our Schools

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Furloughs Fridays, protests, arrests and empty rhetoric mark a sad chapter in the history of Hawai‘i’s public school system. Photos by Greg Knudson [sidebar] The 2009-2010 school year had 17 fewer school days than originally scheduled, giving Hawai‘i the fewest number of instructional days of any state in the union. With enough blame to go aroun[...]

The Fresh Faces of Fashion

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More than rubbah slippahs and tank tops, Hawai‘i designers are showing how much we-kea about fashion. Here we talk to four of Hawaii's hottest up-and-coming local designers.

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