Monthly Archives: April 2013

Day 30: Leaving China

Last one for the year. Until next year, aloha.

Leaving China

To say good-bye
Words sick at my heart
My tears would not drop out.
–Jia Hua Miao


Tuesday PD Opportunity: Girl Rising


What: Showing of the film Girl Rising on May 30, 2013; 5:30 pm at Prince Kuhio Theatres  reserve tickets here: ($10)

Write up from the producers:

From Academy Award-nominated director Richard E. Robbins and the award-winning producers of The Documentary Group and Vulcan Productions, strategic partner, Intel Corporation, and distribution partners CNN Films and Gathr, comes Girl Rising – an innovative new feature film about the power of education to change a girl – and the world. Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Liam Neeson, Cate Blanchett, Selena Gomez and other A-list actresses contribute voice performances to the film, which features original music from Academy Award winner Rachel Portman, in collaboration with Lorne Balfe. The film spotlights unforgettable girls like Sokha, an orphan who rises from the dumps of Cambodia to become a star student and an accomplished dancer; Suma, who composes music to help her endure forced servitude in Nepal and today crusades to free others; and Ruksana, an Indian “pavement-dweller” whose father sacrifices his own basic needs for his daughter’s dreams. Each girl is paired with a renowned writer from her native country. Edwidge Danticat, Sooni Taraporevala, Aminatta Forna, and others tell the girls’ stories, each with its own style, and all with profound resonance. These girls are each unique, but the obstacles they faced are ubiquitous. Like the 66 million girls around the world who dream of going to school, what Sokha, Suma, Ruksana and the rest want most is to be students: to learn. And now, by sharing their personal journeys, they have become teachers. Watch Girl Rising, and you will see: One girl with courage is a revolution.

Check out their trailer for Sundance, it is so powerful:

Inspiring Myself

My one word prompt of the day from had to do with enemies and really time and procrastination are my biggest enemies, so thatʻs what I wrote about, but now I need some inspiration so found this on Pinterest.


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Day 29: Flying in the Air

Flying in the Air

Words elude me,
hiding in spaces too far away
from my imagination.
All the things I used to know,
the little tricks I taught myself
to make poems out of blank spaces
and blinking cursors
betray me.

I find freedom in the restriction of 31 inches
of hard padding and a seat belt firm across my hip bones.
In this cage of aerodynamic steel
and fuel and cloud matter,
I find the words I need flying in the air,
trapped in canned air and five dollar snack boxes.
I tap them out on my iPad
void of tactile sensation.
I pay homage to the backlight of the screen,
write poems
in the limbo of neither here nor there
and like the caged bird
I find my voice again.

–Cathy I.

Gather Ye Rosebuds

Perks of a cohort for slow readers like me: others will find fabulous resources and let everyone know so that I don’t have to slog through endless reading in order to find a great article, book, etc. that will help to propel my research forward.

Yay for the voraciously fast skimmers in my cohort. Here’s my to read list:
coding manual The Coding Manual for Qualitative Researchers by Johnny Saldana is a reader-friendly guide to coding research into themes.

IMG_0015        Harvard Business Review’s 10 Must Reads On Leadership – my research is not specifically on leadership, but I like their articles and see how we can learn from business leaders, even though I don’t think education should be RUN by business leaders.

IMG_0022 Decolonizing Methodologies by Linda Tuhiwai Smith

I’d like to find a graphic novel version of any of these books or better yet, a podcast in one hour chunks – This Research Life. . .


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Day 28: The Slope

The Slope

“Who you again?”
Grandpa asks,
clear eyes,
the familiar crewcut
golfer tan.

“Me?” I ask, stifling the hurt.
“No, you’re Kanoe.”
He looks at Ken, brow creasing
searching for something right in front.
“I know you, yea? But ahhh, I cannot remember.”

“I’m Ikeda, Ken.”
My husband of 25 years.
I search Grandpa’s eyes
for some sort of recognition,
but it’s just a polite “oh, ok” then a nod
as his eyes shift over to the television
and we talk around Grandpa.

This is the man who could tell me
every baseball player he had ever coached,
every neighbor in the plantation camp,
and I know he knows
feels his memories slide down that slippery slope
and out of respect
and love
we both look away.

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Day 27: No Make Humbug

No Make Humbug

No make humbug
for other people,
shame you know,
you cannot bring shame to your family.
No act like you were raised by animals.
Somebody give you something,
make sure you give them something back,
and right away,
no wait too long
before you owe them
and make more humbug.
If you have to go to your friend’s house,
bring something for the family
and don’t go during their dinner time
before you make humbug
and they have to invite you eat with them.
If someone invites you out to eat,
order the cheapest, smallest thing
you can come home and eat later.
When you give koden, make sure you check with grandma,
she get the koden list.
Only give how much they wen give,
bumbye you make humbug,
no good be too uppity,
then they gotta give more next time
and you make humbug for the two families.
That’s how we were raised,
all of us sacrificing
our deepest cravings and desires,
sacrificing our American need to be
self-absorbed and frivolous
in order to fit into the bento box confines
of our Asian expectations,
unable to throw off the good Japanese girl yoke,
unable to cause any kind of “humbug” lest we
throw off the karmic balance
of the universe
and plunge our ancestors into the
eighteen levels of Buddhist hell.
 –Cathy I
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Day 26: San Antonio and other places

San Antonio, and other places

My brother is homeless again,
or houseless
living in a car somewhere in SoCal,
or a motel when my sister
finds him and finds the nearest
Holiday Inn.
He invites other houseless people to the motel,
a warm shower,  and semi-clean sheets.
He knows he could come home,
but he won’t.
At 35, his life continues to be one
short -term solution
after another,
all on his own terms
he carries his life in a bag,
the same way he did
when his mother put him on a one-way bus
to a Seoul orphanage with his sister.
I offer him jobs and a roof,
a ticket to Hilo,
but there are other adventures,
other jobs down the road,
around the corner.
He was a homeowner once,
perhaps that achievement
was a prison for him,
a heavy burden,
so instead I’ll dream of places
suitable to be houseless in,
where he can drive to,
or hop a freight,
live under bridges
or near the water he love so much,
I wish him San Antonio on the Riverwalk in fall,
riding the water cabs at night,
chasing ghosts at the Alamo
New York in the summer
lazy afternoons in Central Park
people watching in the subways.
I wish him Seattle in Spring,  San Diego in winter,
safety, shelter, warm hearts
and the soothing sound of the ocean
to calm his restless soul.
– Cathy I
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Day 25: The Kill

The Kill

Their 20 names and ages
were on cards as the singers
from The Voice
sang “Hallelujah.”
Simple, common, American names
Six-year old babies
their pictures on the latest People magazine
rascally smiles and missing teeth
they stare into the camera
with the promise of tomorrows
twinkling in their eyes.

The deaths at Sandy Hook are just the latest,
not the last,
not even the first time
adults have murdered children:
Hitler, Pol Pot, Bashar Al-Assad,
or worse, the children killed by their own family members,
unheralded, unknown,
insignificant outside of their own communities
20,000 American children in the past ten years
most of them killed by their mothers.
We are like animals
who eat their own young,
an instinctual mechanism to survive at any cost,
the mental illness,
the awkward loner,
the rage,
the accessible violence
the mechanism to kill
the pressure of a mother’s love,
“love never ends.”

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Day 24: Behind the Grin

Behind the GrinIMG_1368

Your father turned 97 the day this picture was taken
and when I posted it on Facebook,
my FB friends commented on how good he looked,
how precious his smile was,
and I want you to know
that I thought about you, dad,
and what you must see behind your father’s grin,
the father that you do not speak to,
will probably never speak to
until you are mumbling your anger
to the ocean outside of Mala Wharf
as we scatter his ashes
on the boat
you probably will not choose to board.
I know because I saw you once,
that day you came to school with me,
Back to School Day, Kamehameha Intermediate,
and my English teacher asked us to
write about ourselves.

She was so impressed with your writing,
she shared it out loud,
liked the way you used humor
to tease yourself,
make you seem more humble and charming
and you grinned the way your father grins,
with the eyes crinkling up and the head almost tilting.
But underneath, along the line of your hair,
I saw the edges of your mask –
was reassured somehow
that the monster that is you
still lurked under this rubber facade.

You see, daddy, I saw you
and I didn’t make it up
and mom didn’t blow it out of proportion
because I see the real you,
the one who forgets about our little family
because it’s convenient,
the one who throws our precious dish,
the one grandma sent from Lahaina,
across the tiny living room
trying to smash mom’s face with her mother’s gift,
the one whose eyes turn dark and red
spit flying into my face.

Perhaps you see that mask on your own father’s face,
the demon memories that cannot go away,
but you told me once that the grandfather I know
is not the same person as the father that you remember.

I believe the same relationship exists for us,
that you are a better grandfather than the father I had,
and that your grin is just a grin
for your other children,
and the edges of the mask
along the side of your jawline
are really just our edges,
my reality for you,
your reality for your father,
and we stay cordial for as long as possible
hold the edges of our world down
and ignore the darkness
that flaps in the corners.

— Cathy I

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