Sidelines and Sessions


No. No, no, no.

Filed under: Uncategorized — spsukaton @ 10:47 am

I can’t finish this research paper, because my backpack has up and left. With my research in it.

Why, God, why?


I’m really behind on news.

Filed under: Uncategorized — spsukaton @ 9:45 am

Twitter and Facebook told me something I already should have known. Some newspaperman I am!

More tomorrow. G’night.

I am trying to understand…

Filed under: Uncategorized — spsukaton @ 12:35 am

how some medical-business-biotech professional alumnus of Tufts, MIT, AND Cornell is “oppressed” while a debt-ridden undergraduate working his way through UCLA is “ignorant” and a sellout to the Man. Who is benefiting more from the system here?

How is race-consciousness any better than class-consciousness?

If you know what I’m talking about, then you know. If not, feel free to ask.


I never wanted to be a writer.

Filed under: Uncategorized — spsukaton @ 8:22 am

“1. I never really wanted to write poetry. I just really like coffee”

– Jason Bayani, “Twenty-One Lies Ending In A Statement of Truth.”

(The statements are lies, of course.)

I feel him on coffee. I didn’t touch the stuff until college. Starbucks runs as a callow youth were strictly for cream sodas and creme-base Frappucinos. The witche’s brew that stole its name from my father’s island was alien to me – a rare nod to my mother’s anti-stimulant heritage or simple common sense for parents with a rowdy son is anyone’s guess. I’m a sucker for Vietnamese iced coffee when I can get it nowadays, but my current misery is a confluence of eleven hours of sleep and a 7-11 French Vanilla mocha. Midterm review and miscalculation for the win.

I feel Jason on the first sentence too.

I think I always wanted to write, I just didn’t know it.

It seems almost unescapable, what with all the books in my life. I was notorious for reading. I’d ignore teachers, hide books under my desk, bring three to detention…you get the idea. My teachers still make fun of me. To this day, I’ll buy food and a book before I’ll buy clothes.

I wish UCLA had a creative writing minor. I don’t have enough time to double major and I refuse to give up on history  – it’s too fun.


I’m glad I’m 20

Filed under: Uncategorized — spsukaton @ 10:45 am

Elsewise, these “OMG I messed up” spells that come in the middle of the night would be much worse.

Depending on where I started over from, I’d change a lot of things. But, in general…

I’d write more, read more, and listen to more music.

I’d realize that government wasn’t my thing and stuck to my writing.

I never would have talked to that girl.

I would have spent more time at church.

I would have run more, ate more, fought more.

…I’m glad I’m 20. There’s hope for me yet.


Food, papers, and Mormons.

Filed under: Uncategorized — spsukaton @ 9:15 am

Yeah, I totally missed Friday’s HF blog, but none of you were paying attention anyway.  I was at the Polynesian Cultural Center in La’ie. It was kind of disconcerting being back in a Mormon town again, butI appreciated the slightly different pace from Honolulu. (Brigham Young University, Hawaii is located there, and PCC serves as a major work-study provider for the students. There’s an optional La’ie Temple visitor’s tour.)

However, aloha spirit + LDS hospitality = OMFG ridiculous. Best food coma moment of my life. I think I slept for 18 hours the next day.

I had an assignment at PCC, though. I’m in two classes – one on immigration and another fieldwork course. Professor Labrador/D-Rod told all of us to look carefully at how Polynesian cultures were being represented by the PCC, by its activities, and how those representations affected and were affected by visitors.

A lot of our classwork so far has been aimed at perceptions of Hawai’i (and by extension, perceptions of the American Pacific.)  Americans see Hawai’i as a multiethnic paradise, a floating military base, a place where the American Dream is working its magic among a majority non-white population, and an exotic getaway. Hawai’i sells itself on all these levels – no other state is so dependent on tourism – while downplaying other parts of its life.

Background: The place is a living museum showcasing the various cultures of Polynesia – Aotearoa/New Zealand, Tahiti/French Polynesia, the Marquesas, Rapa Nui/Easter Island, Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji. Each “village” has shows and activities throughout the day, usually run by guides from each culture, many of whom are BYUH students or recent alumni.

The place is (of course) a touristy place, in comparison to the kama’aina (literally “child of the land;” used as a synonym for “local”) exposure trips we had been on earlier – the ostentation jarred with the underdevelopment of Hawaiian homestead lands in Wai’anae and the Leeward side.

The food was the best part, but it brought up an interesting question.

How is food used to reaffirm the overarching narratives of Hawaii’s identities as multiethnic, sybaritic, fetishized paradise?
Damn, I’m starving.


A New Library.

Filed under: Uncategorized — spsukaton @ 9:04 am

I want to have read everything on this list before I graduate, and to own a copy of each before I’m 30.

…oh, and I when 2100 rolls around? I want Hersey’s spot for the 21st century.



Honolulu City Lights

Filed under: Uncategorized — spsukaton @ 7:43 am

This is a six. Go to to learn more.

Honolulu City Lights.

I have to concede that I have never seen anything as glorious as twilight over the Honolulu skyline – steel and glass spread like flames from Diamond Head, moving until they meet green again.

Turn around and you see houses nestled in Manoa beyond the UH campus, all covered in the looming rain clouds that mist the valley from here to Waikiki.

Look at it once, and you see the modern age peacefully nestled with a land that is beyond ancient.

Look at it twice, and you’ll see a true-blue American paradise – diverse, sustainable, exotic.

Look at it as many times as you want to, and you’ll still miss the most beautiful thing about this place – the fact that people are able to live with the world’s illusions foisted on them.

Let’s not forget that Diamond Head is part of a volcano, people.


If it is possible

Filed under: Uncategorized — spsukaton @ 7:37 am

To develop an affinity for someone or something on words alone, I am in trouble. I know that many people believe that a good piece of writing can change your life, but can it draw you to someone?

I hope not.

I Love Bulosan

Filed under: Uncategorized — spsukaton @ 4:49 am

I really do. He’s underrated in our day and age. He dropped out of the spotlight after World War II, and picked up again during the heyday of the Asian-American movement. This isn’t meant to speak to any political or ethnic or social position – I just love his work.

Here’s one he wrote for the Saturday Evening Post for their Four Freedoms series (Want, Fear, Religion, Speech – each piece was paired with one of the four famous Norman Rockwell paintings.)

Freedom from Want
By Carlos Bulosan
Published in the Saturday Evening Post Magazine, March 6, 1943
as one of the commissioned essays on the Four Freedoms in America

If you want to know what we are, look upon the farms or upon the hard pavements of the city. You usually see us working or waiting for work, and you think you know us, but our outward guise is more deceptive than our history.

Our history has many strands of fear and hope that snarl and converge at several points in time and space. We clear the forest and the mountains of the land. We cross the river and the wind. We harness wild beast and living steel. We celebrate labor, wisdom, peace of the soul.

When our crops are burned or plowed under, we are angry and confused. Sometimes we ask if this is the real America. Sometimes we watch our long shadows and doubt the future. But we have learned to emulate our ideals from these trials. We know there were men who came and stayed to build America. We know they came because there is something in America that they needed, and which needed them.

We march on, though sometimes strange moods fill our children. Our march toward security and peace is the march of freedom—the freedom that we should like to become a living part of. It is the dignity of the individual to live in a society of free men, where the spirit of understanding and belief exists; of understanding that all men, whatever their color, race, religion or estate, should be given equal opportunity to serve themselves and each other according to their needs and abilities.

But we are not really free unless we use what we produce. So long as the fruit of our labor is denied us, so long will want manifest itself in a world of slaves.

It is only when we have plenty to eat—plenty of everything— that we begin to understand what freedom means. To us, freedom is not an intangible thing. When we have enough to eat, then we are healthy enough to enjoy what we eat. Then we have the time and ability to read and think and discuss things. Then we are not merely living but also becoming a creative part of life. It is only then that we become a growing part of democracy.

We do not take democracy for granted. We feel it grow in our working together—many millions of us working toward a common purpose. If it took us several decades of sacrifice to arrive at this faith, it is because it took us that long to know what part of America is ours.

Our faith has been shaken many times, and now it is put to question. Our faith is a living thing, and it can be crippled or chained. It can be killed by denying us enough food or clothing, by blasting away our personalities and keeping us in constant fear. Unless we are properly prepared the powers of darkness will have good reason to catch us unaware and trample our lives.

The totalitarian nations hate democracy. They hate us, because we ask for a definite guaranty of freedom of religion, freedom of expresson and freedom from fear and want. Our challenge to tyranny is the depth of our faith in a democracy worth defending, although they spread lies about us, the way of life we cherish is not dead. The American dream is only hidden away, and it will push its way up and grow again.

We have moved down the years steadily toward the practice of democracy. We become animate in the growth of Kansas wheat or in the ring of Mississippi rain. We tremble in the strong winds of the Great Lakes. We cut timbers in Oregon just as the wild flowers blossom in Maine. We are multitudes in Pennsylvania mines, in Alaskan canneries. We are millions from Puget Sound to Florida. In violent factories, crowded tenements, teeming cities. Our numbers increase as the war revolves into years and increases hunger, disease, death and fear.

But sometimes we wonder if we are really a part of America. We recognize the main springs of American democracy in our right to form unions and bargain through them collectively, our opportunity to sell our products at reasonable prices, and the privilege of our children to attend schools where they learn the truth about the world in which they live.  We also recognize the forces which have been trying to falsify American history—the forces which drive away many Americans to a corner of compromise with those who would distort the ideals of men that died for freedom.

Sometimes we walk across the land looking for something to hold on to. We cannot believe that the resources of this country are exhausted. Even when we see our children suffer humiliations, we cannot believe that America has no more place for us. We realize that what is wrong is not in our system of government, but in the ideals which were blasted away by a materialistic age. We know that we can truly find and identify ourselves with a living tradition if we walk proudly in familiar streets. It is a great honor to walk on the American earth.

If you want to know what we are, look at the men reading books, searching in the dark pages of history for the lost word, the key to the mystery of the living peace. We are factory hands, field hands, mill hands, searching, building and molding structures. We are doctors, scientists, chemists discovering and eliminating disease, hunger and antagonism. We are soldiers, Navy men, citizens, guarding the imperishable dreams of our fathers to live in freedom. We are the living dream of dead men. We are the living spirit of free men.

Everywhere we are on the march, passing through darkness into a sphere of economic peace. When we have the freedom to think and discuss things without fear, when peace and security are assured, when the futures of our children are ensured—then we have resurrected and cultivated the early beginnings of democracy. And America lives and becomes a growing part of our aspirations again.

We have been marching for the last one hundred and fifty years. We sacrifice our individual liberties, and sometimes we fail and suffer. Sometimes we divide into separate groups and our methods conflict, though we all aim at one common goal. The significant thing is that we march on without turning back. What we want is peace not violence, We know that we thrive and prosper only in peace.

We are bleeding where clubs are smashing heads, where bayonets are gleaming. We are fighting where the bullet is crashing upon armorless citizens, where the tear gas is choking unprotected children. Under the lynch trees, amidst hysterical mobs. Where the prisoner is beaten to confess a crime he did not commit. Where the honest man is hanged because he told the truth.

We are the sufferers who suffer for natural love of man for another man, who commemorate the humanities of every man. We are the creators of abundance.

We are the desires of anonymous men. We are the subways of suffering, the well of indignities. We are the living testament of a flowering race.

But our march to freedom is not complete unless want is annihilated. The America we hope to see is not merely a physical but also a spiritual and intellectual world. We are the mirror of what America is. If America wants us to be living and free, then we must be living and free. If we fail, then America fails.

What do we want? We want complete security and peace. We want to share the promise and fruits of American life. We want to be free from fear and hunger.

If you want to know what we are—We are Marching!

Older Posts »

Create a free website or blog at