The Tourist Children

“…they justify destroying the reef with a dredged artificial beach and call it, ’for the keiki’ — the children. The tourist children, of course. It’s all a matter of perspective.”

— from “The Bluest Angel,” by Don Wallace, _Snaring New Suns: Speculative Works from Hawai’i and Beyond, edited by Tom Gammarino, Bryan Kamaoli Kuwada, D. Keali’i Mackenzie, and Lyz Soto


I have to admit, I read this story AFTER I visited Magic Island, which is probably the beach he’s referencing here, and I felt a stab of guilt. Because when I visited, walking over from my giant tourist hotel, I just thought, “Oh, how lovely, what a great, safe place to learn how to swim, this must be terrific for children, how nice that the government created this protected man made beach.”

It was also terrific for my injured ankle, and let me swim in the ocean, buoyed by salt water, without contending with serious waves. So on Thursday, I loved it.

Then on Friday, I read these lines, and I wondered what had been destroyed, in order to give me (and the children, and the scuba-training tourists), this gentle experience.

I wonder how many locals, and specifically, how many native Hawai’ians, use this beach? I’m guessing not many, given how expensive this area is.

That woman in the first (and last) photo looks like she might be wearing local clothing, but she’s too far away for me to be sure, and I have no idea if she’s local and/or native.

Sometimes it’s good to be made uncomfortable.

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