Author Archives: ChoonJames

About ChoonJames Choon James is a real estate broker in Hawaii and has a B.A. in English and TESL as a minor from Brigham Young University - Hawaii. She's the proud mother of four Eagle Scouts and one daughter. Choon is originally from Singapore. She comes from a family of ten children. Her mother was the second of her father's three wives. In the Chua household, they have Methodists, Catholics, Buddhists, Mormons, atheist and Taoist believers. "We're fortunate to grow up with diversity. My father’s best friend, Chandra, was a Hindu Indian who spoke Hokkien. My best childhood friends at school were Malay Muslims. We learned to focus on the merits and content very quickly and forget about the superficial exteriors. Like many in Hawaii, our immediate household is quite chop-suey as well. My husband is a Caucasian born in North Dakota and grew up in Massachusetts. In our immediate household, English, Mandarin, Fijian, Japanese, Hawaiian, Tahitian, French, and Spanish can be spoken. We love Hawaii. Its diversity and aloha represent the best in all of us!" Choon's past and present civic involvement includes the following: Defend Oahu Coalition - Founding member for Grassroots for smart planning Save Oahu Farmlands - Founding member Ko'olauloa Sustainable Communities Planning Advisory Committee Kahuku Hospital Board of Director Laie Point Community Association President & Board Member Laie Community Association Board BYU-Hawaii/CCH Alumni Association President Sierra Club Member Refugees Language Tutor Volunteer Amnesty International Freedom Writer Friends of "South Pass City", Wyoming, USA Boy Scouts of America Host - Country Talk Story - Olelo Public Television North Shore News columnist Huffington Post Hawaii Blogger

I ate a rubber-chicken once

I had a meeting in Honolulu and was hungry. I found myself in one of those Chinatown little shops.

I ordered a “chicken-rice” plate.

Out came a plate with white rice and half of a chicken that literally looked like a rubber chicken. The skin was an old yellow color that those who are familiar with chicken will understand what I’m talking about.

I took a bite and could not take a second. Those who know me know that I’m not a fussy eater at all. I pretty much eat anything. I love cafeteria food during my college years because I was happy I didn’t have to cook or wash dishes. So, this dish was really bad.

So, I quickly ordered another dish. This time, it was a noodle bowl.

I took the chicken dish home and threw it away.

Sometimes I think there is no need to make a fuss about everything. Everyone is trying to make a living. Food is not so important that it has to become a tit for tat.

When a waitress brings me a wrong dish. I’m ok with it too. Why create a fuss? There are more important things in life.

It’s still a beautiful world with lots of good people

We should all watch more Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood regularly. He will remind us to be consistent – – to hold basic respect for others and recognize the free-agency of each individual. Nobody has to think exactly like us. The world would be a more peaceful and reasonable place on all levels, if we’re fair and consistent to ourselves and to others.

Let’s be that helper. Let’s be good neighbors.

Personally, I recall a sage advice very early on in my youthful civic engagement from a community activist. She noticed me and took me under her wings to share her decades of experience in protecting the environment, open space, and community empowerment.

“Be careful. Avoid fanatics on all sides. They’ll support and love you when you don’t cross them. But when you don’t fit their mold of thinking or their causes, they’ll not hesitate to eat you, chew you good, and spit you out! “

A Facebook Share

 Facebook posts don’t have to be about just about food and events. I thought this was a very helpful share from a friend.

Hawaii has morphed into a very expensive place to live with the average price of a single family at $1M. There are more Hawaiians living out of Hawaii than here. There are a lot of frustrations and angst, and rightly so.

Perhaps the saddest thing I’ve heard from my years of community advocacy is this phrase from a Hawaiian: ” You can go home to your homeland but we have no place to return to. This is our homeland.”

” While looking for something else, I came across this law from 1850, prohibiting natives from leaving Hawai’i due to a concern of population loss. It puts into perspective the recent discussions on the exact same issue.” Jonathan Scheuer

Congress saves itself from further ridicule

On Wednesday September 27, 2023, Congress voted to clarify that politicians should wear “business attire” when they’re on the floor of the chamber.

Here are excerpts from THE HILL:

The Senate voted Wednesday night to require that business attire be worn on the floor of the chamber, following backlash from both sides over Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) move to relax the dress code last week. 

The resolution, from centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), comes just over a week after Schumer announced he would loosen the Senate’s dress code, a move that was seen by some as a way to accommodate Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.), who is often spotted on Capitol Hill wearing shorts and hoodies instead of suits. 

Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike criticized Schumer’s decision, with some calling it disrespectful to the upper chamber. 

The vote came in the midst of both chambers racing to avert a shutdown at the end of the week.

The resolution seeks to “clarify the dress code” for the Senate floor. It requires men to wear a coat, tie, slacks and other long pants.

Speaking with The Hill last week, Fetterman denied he was the driving force behind the rule change. 

Manchin told The Hill last week he spoke with Fetterman directly and told the Pennsylvania lawmaker he thought he changes to the dress code were “wrong” and that not wearing a traditional suit and tie on the Senate floor “degrades” the chamber. 

“And I think it’s in keeping with that spirit that we say we want those who serve inside this room, in this hall, to show a level of dignity and respect which is consistent with the sacrifice they made and with the beauty of the surroundings,” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said on the floor Wednesday.”

Fetterman responded to the vote on X, formerly known as Twitter, with a meme photo of Kevin James.

Camouflaged Game Wardens sneaking into private land

Josh soon discovered who the camouflaged prowler was. Game wardens from the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources had sneaked onto his land to search for evidence of hunting violations.

This is quite a story from the Institute of Justice. If you ever have questions as to who to donate to, this is the group to support.


Josh Highlander bought 30 acres of land in Virginia at the end of a quiet residential street lined with single-family homes. He built a home there surrounded by woods. And he posted “no trespassing” signs around the perimeter of the property. Surely that was enough to secure his family’s right to privacy and seclusion on their own land, right? 

Wrong, at least according to game wardens in Virginia and around the country. Ironically, they see the very things that most people think of as sources of privacy—like living on a large piece of property surrounded by nature—as an invitation to snoop on private land without a warrant. The U.S. Supreme Court greenlit these intrusions almost 100 years ago during Prohibition, when it held that the Fourth Amendment does not protect “open fields.” Under this misguided theory, the woods and fields around your home are not sources of seclusion but opportunities for government surveillance.  

Watch the case video!

Josh found this out the hard way. His wife and young son were playing basketball in the yard when the ball rolled toward the woods. As Josh’s wife went to retrieve it, she noticed among the trees a stranger dressed in full camouflage. Alarmed, she rushed inside to alert Josh. By the time he got outside, the intruder was gone, but the violation of his family’s privacy remained. For weeks afterward, his son was afraid the stranger might be lurking in the woods again and wouldn’t go outside alone. 

Josh soon discovered who the camouflaged prowler was. Game wardens from the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources had sneaked onto his land to search for evidence of hunting violations. Earlier that day, game wardens had accused Josh’s brother of hunting over bait (an accusation he denies) miles away in a different county. Josh has never been cited for violating hunting regulations, but that day his family ties apparently cast suspicion on him, too. 

What happened to Josh and his family is no aberration. Around the country, game wardens and other law enforcement routinely trespass on private land without a warrant to hunt for evidence. A key goal of IJ’s Project on the Fourth Amendment is to put an end to these warrantless intrusions onto private land. Our suit protecting Josh’s privacy under the Virginia Constitution joins IJ’s growing body of work fighting similar warrantless searches of open fields under the Pennsylvania and Tennessee constitutions.  

As more state courts reject the misguided open fields doctrine, we hope to eventually persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to abandon the doctrine, too. But whether in federal court or state by state, we’ll continue this fight until all Americans regain their right to be secure against warrantless searches of their private land.

Joe Gay is an IJ attorney.