A Few Wishes For 2014

A Babylonian carving of a new year celebration in about the year 5,000 B.C. | Image from Bob Jones

A Babylonian carving of a new year celebration in about the year 5,000 B.C. | Image from Bob Jones

Happy New Year. But it begins with 47 million Americans on food stamps. Nothing to be happy about there.

Ringing in the new year Jan. 1 is a recent construct. Celebrations in America only started around 1900.

Asians mostly celebrate on the basis of a lunar or lunisolar calendar. January or February Seollal in Korea, Tsagaan Sar in Mongolia and Tet in Vietnam.

The Burmese, Lao and Thai mark the new year in April.

Bhutan has its own calendar and celebrates for 15 days somewhere between February and March.

Here are my wishes for 2014:

For all the turtles and monk seals to leave Laniakea Beach so we can solve the gawker-traffic problem.

I wish the University of Hawaii would reconsider the whole Cancer Center concept, which was to draw rich patients from Asia. We could shed ourselves of controversial director Michele Carbone, his $412,000 salary and that ostentatious “Villa Carbone” sign on Black Point.

I wish billionaire Pierre Omidyar (founder of eBay and Civil Beat, Punahou boy, Kahala resident) would abandon that Hanalei Bay hillside development and donate the land to the people, and be a hero for the ages rather than a Darth Vader.

I wish Queen Emma Land Co. could have redone the International Market Place in its current tropical form. We don’t need 60 glass-and-concrete shops and 750 high-rise parking spaces. We need some breathable space and a sense of living in Hawaii rather than Bangkok or Manhattan.

I wish government would get more tough-minded on the “homeless” who take advantage of our compassion. You’re mentally and physically competent? Get out of our parks! The guy in the live-in truck is right back on Kalakaua at the natatorium (hello, HPD!) after being bounced out by the marathon.

I wish for our minimum wage to be raised to $9.50 an hour. Tips shouldn’t count.

Also reform of our tax system to include a non-food sales rather than the excise tax. We pay 4.5 percent excise tax on 1099 non-employee earnings and then state income tax on that same money.

I wish more merchants would do what the new female owner of Honolulu Tavern is doing – closing Christmas and New Year’s. She says she doesn’t want employees having to work on days she doesn’t want to work. * Here’s the New Year Harris Poll on America’s religion: Fewer than two in 10 adults describe themselves as very religious, four in 10 as somewhat religious, and 23 percent identify themselves as not at all religious, nearly double the 12 percent reported in 2007.

The survey finds 42 percent of adults saying they believe in ghosts, 36 percent believe in creationism and 26 percent say they believe in witches.