Saturday, June 10, 2006

Waves (part 2)

"True generosity toward the future
Consists in giving everything to the present"

Albert Camus

Kamehameha made short work of the unfortunate souls who inhabited Hawai'i before him (see above from the Pali pass), and as a result probably was a bit occupied with matters warrior-like to really enjoy what the Hawai'ians are duly famous for: surfing.

However, the man they refer to as simply "the Duke," Kahanamoku was aptly referred to as a real "water man," and brought surfing to the world in the first half of the 20th century. Then came a steady stream of outstanding surfers and watermen in the late 50's and 60's that gained notoriety by conquering the monsterous surf of the North Shore. This group was led by some wild and talented haole (white boys) from California, but it gained the respect and mana of the local Hawai'ians when a youth by the name of Eddie Aikau began both taming the building-sized waves and rescuing the hapless souls at now famous beaches like Sunset and Waimea Bay. In his excellent book Eddie Would Go, author Stuart Coleman traces this the short life of this iconic figure in Hawai'ian history with detail and verve. He died as he lived, in the water, trying to save others, this time from a capsized boat rather than a surfing mishap. He did however, put alot of living into his 32 years, and for that he is remembered with great respect throughout the islands. He and his family represented the true mana and aloha spirit for which the islands are still regarded by many who love the sea and respect its power. A great read for anyone interested in Hawai'ian culture and history, as well as the story of a real hero.

These thoughts were swirling around my head as I waited for the next good set to roll in, not in any hurry to work my weary arms any more, and simply enjoying the beauty of the warm water. It is no accident the Islands were where surfing was born, and for those who ride waves, it is easy to see the reasons: great water temperature, coral reefs creating breaks of all kinds at countless beaches, the trade winds holding up surf for shape, and of course year round weather enticing one into the water, which is what most of the schoolkids do every afternoon, much like the mainland kids would go to baseball or soccer.

Speaking of which, "the beautiful game" of football's Big Bash called the World Cup is already showing signs of being a wide open tournament with plenty of surprises for all. Wearing yellow like favourites Brazil, Australia is fast making its way up the global ladder of international teams to note, with its thrilling 3-1 defeat of Japan.
I am not making any comparisons or predictions, but they are a fun team to watch, and coming from a New Zealander, that is sometimes a hard thing to say. England failed to impress, but got through their first match anyway, and of course their press was damning of them even in victory. Talk about high expectations! Yes, I know, it is hot, and yada yada..

Meanwhile, digital dilemmas continue to clog up the arteries of modern culture in ways we can only imagine from one day to the next. A friend of mine recently set up her site on the wildly popular, and after trolling through for a few minutes to find where it was, I was confronted by numerous offers to visit and "chat" with what is no doubt a growing number of (mainly) young people looking to meet others and announce their individuality in a way never before available. Your songs, videos, photos, blog, and indeed your self, for others to see. As only you can be. But, as this NYTimes article points out, get carried away (and why not?), you might find it showing up on a prospective employers screen, for better or worse. A new trend in reference checking now most definitely includes Googling job applicants to see what they have been up to online, which in many cases, is quite alot. I am not sure which generation this is mostly likely effecting, X, Y or Z, but in event, digital tracks are most certainly well, er, available. No doubt part of the wider trend (social epidemic?) of creating persona and identity that is individual and like no one else. This seems to be important, for reasons I will let the psychologists debate, but it is apparent in everything from playlists on iPods to cellphones to... whatever. Personal, digital, virtual and mobile are the key aspects, which seem to me more in line with setting up barriers rather than breaking them down. We shall see what the cultural microrythms bear out in the coming years.

I don't think I will be fronting up with suit and tie anytime or anywhere in the near future, so anyone (please!) can feel free to read what they want from my posts. This has particulaly hit home with the brilliant book I just read by Barbara Ehrenreich, called Bait and Switch - The Futile Pursuit of the American Dream. She has been called the "premier reporter on the underside of capitalism," a label I would agree with completely. Not seeking either the American Dream or the underside of capitalism, I nonetheless have had dealings with both, and find her style and substance in exposing the desperate measures unemployed corporate workers go to, and the industry waiting to serve them quite fascinating.

Now that the latest storm has passed over the island, I must dutifully encourage the "upside of capitalism," by providing some more services for currency, or in the local vernacular, push on.


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