I really liked being on the Debating Team. We would work
on our presentations for weeks at "our" conference room at
the Library of Hawaii. Charles Lum, Blodwyn Lim, and Ah
Quon Leong were also on the team.
Charles Lum was a big guy compared to my skinny torso.
His father had owned a number of taro fi elds in the Manoa
Valley and was called the "Poi King"( behind his back). The
University of Hawaii was expanding and paid him a lot of
money for all of his land. Charles posed an ethical problem
to us one day. Charles had one older sister, one older brother
and two younger sisters. His father was getting on in years,
had some health problems, and was making a new will.
The problem was this: Charles's father wanted to set some
money aside in a special trust for his wife when he died.
Then, according to Chinese practice, the eldest son would get
everything else and he would decide how much to give to
his younger brother (Charles) and how much (if anything) to
give to each of his sisters. The Chinese system is based on
the concept that girl children will get married and become
the responsibility of their new husband. The three daughters
were outraged. "We are not living in China, Father," they
said. "We are Americans. There are fi ve of us children. You
should divide it equally among us." I don't know how it
fi nally turned out but I think Charles's father decided that the
Chinese way was best! Charles himself didn't care. He was
grateful for his father helping him get a scholarship from the
Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association to get him through the
University of Hawaii. Charles ended up teaching Agriculture
at McKinley High School for many years. He did not become
rich but he enjoyed teaching.
Charles had an interesting hobby. The Sandwich Islands,
now renamed the Hawaiian Islands, were discovered by
Captain James Cook on January 18, 1778. Hawaii planned a
big celebration on January 18, 1978. Charles had a tailor make
him a costume of a British sailor of the 1778 time period. He
would go to elementary schools dressed in his costume and
give a lecture on the British discovery of the Sandwich Islands.