Saturday, August 29, 2009

Manoa Chinese Cemetery

Aloha & Nihau!
Welcome to Misty Manoa Valley
Here on Oahu

To forget one's ancestor's is to be a brook without a source, a tree without root.”
Chinese Proverb


"There were many such stories

he understood how important

they were

A life without stories

would be

no life at all

And stories bound us

did they not

one to another

the living to the dead

people to animals

people to the land."

Alexander McCall Smith

“One generation plants the trees, and another gets the shade”
Chinese Proverb

"A child's life is like a piece of paper on which every passerby leaves a mark."

Chinese Proverb

“Pleasure for one hour, a bottle of wine. Pleasure for one year a marriage;

but pleasure for a lifetime, a garden.”
Chinese Proverb

“He who seeks vengeance must dig two graves:

one for his enemy and one for himself”
Chinese Proverb

"The miracle is not to fly in the air, or to walk on the water,

but to walk on the earth."

Chinese Proverb

"I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day."

Elwyn Brooks White

"Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished. If you're alive, it isn't."

Richard Bach

Manoa Chinese Cemetery is the largest Chinese cemetery in Hawai'i, and her oldest.

In 1852, a Chinese immigrant named Lum Ching hiked Manoa Valley with a friend all the way to Akaka Peak at the back. There they turned to enjoy the beautiful view to Waikiki and the sea below. Lum was a practicioner of the traditional astronomy/geology-based discipline called "kuni yee hok" (Feng Shui). Performing calculations using his mirror and compass, he exclaimed to his friend, "We are at an extraordinary spot. It is the pulse of the watchful dragon of the valley. People from all directions will come from across the seas and gather here to pay homage. Birds, too, will come to sing and roost. It is a haven suitable for the living as well as the dead. The Chinese people must buy this area and keep it as sacred ground."

On May 11, 1889, a petition was filed for a perpetual Charter of Incorporation under the name of Lin Yee Chung. On June 7, 1889, the organization was granted its charter by the Kingdom of Hawaii's Minister of Interior. Lin Yee Chung means "We are buried together here with pride."

Honolulu's United Chinese Society was formed in 1884. One of the organization's main purposes was to be the management of the cemetery.

One especially touching section of the cemetery is located near its entrance. All the graves here belong to children ranging in age from new-born to six years old. Chinese people bury their infants and young children close together so that their spirits may play together in perpetuity. Some folks claim to hear the voices of the children here at night, and even leave candy for them.

I had only a stick of gum, but left it atop the red stone, after taking the picture above.

Today, the cemetery encompasses thirty-four acres of Manoa Valley. It's one of my favorite places on the island. Generations of our neighbors rest here, including Honolulu Police Department veteran, Chang Apana, who was the real life inspiration for detective Charlie Chan.

Thanks for visiting today.

A L O H A! Cloudia

Bouslog, C., Chung, K. and the Manoa Valley Residents. (1998). Manoa, The Story of a Valley. Honolulu: Mutual Publishing.

Thom, W. C. (1985). The Story of Manoa Chinese Cemetery with a Discussion of Ancestor Worship. Honolulu: Lin Yee Chung Association.

Condos, Candy. The Dragon's Pulse. Student Paper, Kapiolani Community College. Honolulu

(Instructor: Carl Hefner, Ph.D. Anthropology 200)