On August 8, a deadly wildfire destroyedAirportThe beautiful historic town of Lahaina on Maui. At least 115 people died in the fire, at least 338 went missing, more than 10,000 lost their homes, and at least 2,200 buildings were destroyed. Despite rapid help from all sides, the post-disaster reconstruction work is huge and time-consuming, and affected people are still trying to deal with the physical and mental trauma caused by the fire.
In this episode, we talk to a man who immigrated to Honolulu, Hawaii since childhood and participated in helping deliver relief supplies to Lahaina in the immediate aftermath of the disaster.SugarFeng Saiyuan (CY), and commentator Dr. Busaba Yip of the famous local Chinese museum “He Hing Hall” in Lahaina, tried to understand the impact of the fire on local Chinese from their perspective.
49-year-old Feng Saiyuan currently works at the University of Hawaii and the Hawaii Tourism Bureau, and is also the first vice president of the Hawaii Chinese Chamber of Commerce. He was in Honolulu the day the Maui fire broke out. Although he soon learned of the fire in Lahaina, the intensity of the fire was beyond his imagination. That day, Hurricane Dora swept across Lahaina with winds of 60–80 mph.
Feng Saiyuan learns from his friends that many famous historical sites in the small town of Lahaina have burned down. Lahaina has a deep historical heritage, and many buildings are over a hundred years old. The burning not only destroyed the buildings, but also destroyed the period significance behind the old buildings. Feng Saiyuan specifically mentioned that Wo Hsing Hui Hall, one of the Chinese history museums, “has been burned down.”
You might not think that Lahaina’s Beach Road was much bigger than it was a hundred years ago.Chinatown, because in today’s Lahaina there is no trace of the Chinatown of the past – the existence of the Heng Club has become almost the only trace of Lahaina’s Chinatown glory. Around 1852, groups of sugar laborers came to Maui, Hawaii to work on sugar plantations. After the contract expires, some people choose to stay in Hawaii. From the mid to late 19th century, more and more Chinese workers gradually established Chinatown in Linhai Street. The Hexing Guild Hall stood there and served important social functions – Chinese people held weddings and funerals, held meetings and festivals, and received and sent letters and conduct. Ye Guizhu said that Ho Hsing Hall provides a way for local Chinese to preserve and inherit Chinese culture in a foreign country; Today, Ho Hing Hall is not only a very important historical monument in Hawaii, but also a National Historic Monument of the United States.
Additionally, Dr. Sun Yat-sen visited Hawaii six times. In his journey to initiate the cause of democratic revolution, the Hexing Association, which was under the management of Zi Gong Tang, provided him with strong local support. That is why there is a statue of Sun Yat-sen donated by his descendants on the front of Hexing Hall.
After the 1940s, more Chinese people moved to Honolulu for development, and the Vo Hing Association gradually declined. In 1983, the Lahaina Restoration Foundation funded restoration; In 1984, Ho Hsing Hall was reopened as a museum.
Guide Ye Guizhou, 71, has been with the Ho Hing Association in Lahaina for more than 20 years and is well-liked by local Chinese and tourists. Ye Guizhu was born and raised in Thailand. She came to the United States 23 years ago for her doctoral project. Coincidentally, she came to Ho Hsing Association to do research. She started as a volunteer and gradually became a resident lecturer and researcher. , She was once unable to resolve the loneliness of being a “foreigner”, but in the process of understanding the ancestral history of the Wu Hsing Association, she felt that she heard the call of mission.
“During the research, I learned that Ah Rong, the last chef at Hexing Hall Kitchen, and I are both from Anping, Guangdong. I know I belong here. This is the call of my ancestors, and this is my home.”
Unfortunately, a sudden forest fire burned He Hsing Hall beyond recognition. When people were allowed to return to the disaster area, Jacqueline Santos, secretary of the Ho Hing Association, took a heart-wrenching photo of the scene – the former association hall no longer exists, and only the two steel structures of the porch and the gate remain intact. Can be seen from the form. The two stone lions are strong and the kitchen stove on the side has been preserved as originally intended, but other items have turned to ash.
When Ye Guizhou was interviewed, a month had passed since the fire, but she still couldn’t help but get emotional when talking about the day of the incident. She paused several times to wipe away her tears and took time to collect her emotions before continuing with the interview.
Ye Guizhu said that one thing she felt very lucky was that the day of the fire was a day when the museum was closed, otherwise she would have been in the museum. He remembered that there was a power failure at 4 am that day. A strong wind was blowing outside the apartment window, and power was never restored. He waited for several hours before he learned from his neighbors that a fire was about to occur and that he would have to evacuate. Ye Guizhou, who usually walks to work, does not own a car. A kind neighbor offered to give her a ride, so she was able to go. When we were on our way, the whole city was “in chaos”, the traffic was already very jammed, and the sky was filled with black smoke from forest fires. On the night of her escape, like most local residents, she had nowhere to go and could only sleep in her car.
Ye Guizhou only had her important identity documents at the time and left all her belongings at home. She thought she would be able to go home the next day, but she did not expect that the farewell would last forever – the fire burned down her own apartment and her beloved He Jing. The clubhouse, and Lahaina, which has long become a second home.
United States(to translate tags)Chinese(T)Hawaii(T)Chinatown(T)WorldOnAir