The way to welcome the New Year is through zest and zeal.
We need them both, this zest and this zeal to seize the opportunity and to forge a future that is better than this year.
The current year has been one of terror and surprise in many respects.
There is terror during the many long nights of the year.
The war in Iraq goes on.
The rehabilitation and reconstruction of communities and peoples in many devastated lands have just barely begun.
The zest to sell democracy in many parts of the world continues to fire the imagination of the gatekeepers of "Democracy According to the First World."
The zeal to make it sure that the democratic way of life will be had by those who had been visited by despotic regimes continues to inspire those who believe that they have received the mandate to police other peoples and societies precisely because they are mighty and powerful economically and militarily.
The next year will carryover the events of this year and will bear the burden of remembering what has happened.
The year has not been easy for many all over the world.
Numerous lives and limbs were offered in the altar of war and human destruction.
Numerous hopes vanished like thin air in the many calamities that were both by force of nature and by reason of the greed of men.
The year has not been easy for many of the Asian Pacific Americans. So much work has to be done by this group in order to hit it right in finding their voice as a group with a clear and united vision of who they are and what they can do as citizens of this country. We have yet to see an APA representing us in the chambers where power is distributed and exercised.
In Hawaii, however, the Filipino American and Filipino immigrant communities kicked off the centennial of the coming of the sacadas in the plantations of Hawaii. We welcome this celebration with delight and pride. It is a symbol, more than anything, of the resiliency of the spirit of immigrants in this nation of immigrants, plus or minus the political repercussions of the term "immigrant". For from this "immigrant experience" and "immigrant history" comes the experience of taking part in the life of the nation and in the task of nation building.
But there are a lot of surprises as well.
There is this re-birth being inaugurated even as we have watched from the sidelines the sufferings and joys of people all over the world, even if sometimes we have had our share of the reality and ugliness of terror itself.
We say with zest and zeal, C'est la vie. But we say it with high hopes--for grace and blessing for the coming year.