By Rich Figel
Been really busy with shooting new segments for the December episode of Career Changers TV, which will premier next Saturday -- good stuff! I was also involved with human trafficking presentations the past two weeks. Our 808HALT.com project and coalition has expanded to include people from the East West Center, government agencies and non-profit groups who recognize that this issue affects us all directly or indirectly... the food you eat may be coming from farms that employ immigrant workers who can't read health warnings on pesticides they are told to use (which you then consume unknowingly)... young girls are being recruited by pimps in shopping malls with come-ons about "modeling" careers... we're hearing more reports about "domestic servants" being brought in from Micronesia, who are treated like modern day slaves... restaurants and construction companies may be exploiting immigrants, right under our noses. You can click here to see videos we've produced that have been translated into other languages as well.
Did you see the nice three-page feature on Robin Lung's "Finding Kukan" documentary work in progress, which ran in the Sunday Star-Advertiser? Here's that link if you missed it. Followers of my Career Changers show and this blog may recall we did a two-parter on her story last December. She's come a long way since then, tracking down more leads and raising money to continue the project. In Part One (click here) Robin tells how she became interested in the fascinating life of Li Ling-Ai. Part Two shows Robin's first trailer/preview. The film has evolved since then as her search for details on Li Ling-Ai turned inward, and has become much more personal to Robin. Anyway, I'm happy to say my show was first to put Robin and "Kukan" on local television!
As some of you know, my wife and I are old 'Bows fans. We had UH football season tickets for about 20 years, going back to 1988. At one point, we also had season tickets for men's basketball during the glory years of A.C. and Alika, NCAA tournament and NIT appearances; men's volleyball when Yuval and Sivan had fans dancing in the aisles; and women's volleyball, when the WAC tournament was played in Vegas (and we went)... so many great memories and experiences. Especially surrounding the football team. We'll always remember the big wins under Coach Wagner and Paul Johnson, and watching the 'Bows beat Illinois from the Big 10 at the Holiday Bowl in San Diego. We were at Aloha Stadium for great wins when June Jones was here too.
So it was sad for us when we went to the game against Boise State last Saturday and there were probably less than 20,000 fans in the stadium. A sizable chunk of that was wearing orange and blue to go with their bright red sunburns. I also noticed there were still a lot of old timers in the stands. Some -- like me -- still break out their faded Rainbows shirts and hats, because we take pride in what UH football and sports has stood for over the years. It seems like a lot of the younger "Warrior" fans are of the fair weather variety, who bail out when times get tough... You know, I thought June was a very good coach. But I never understood why he chose to alienate the true diehard fans, who wanted to keep the Rainbows logo and name alive. Look at every pro team and most major colleges, and you'll see they cultivate tradition -- and sell it! Retro team apparel is a revenue generator.
Yet when we walked around the stadium and stopped to look at UH "Warrior" merchandise, the only choices were: drab green and basic black. Sheesh, even the green they use in their uniforms these days is duller and boring compared to the bright shade of green the uniforms used to have. And don't get me started on those ridiculous butt stripes on the back of the current uniform pant legs. Who thought that was a good look for football players?
However, the latest UH Athletics email had a little bit of positive news for us older fans. They are now offering some retro 'Bows shirts again! They're calling them "Vintage" designs (click here). I call them cool. Like the Miami Hurricanes, the UH Rainbows was a truly unique nickname... and I'll never forget hearing 40,000 people in Aloha Stadium, chanting "RRRAINNN..." on one side, followed by "BOWWWS" from the other half of the crowd. Those days are gone though, and I am over the Rainbows. Once you kill a tradition, it's pretty hard to bring it back.