Page 2 - MidWeek - Feb 17, 2021
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     2 MIDWEEK FEBRUARY 17, 2021
        Green Parakeets And A Forever Home
“Interdependence is a fundamental law of nature.” — Dalai Lama
      SBeware Of The Low-life
For the last 10 years, green parakeets have been harbingers of hope on two continents as my family and I looked to find our permanent home.
cammers, sleazebags, sociopaths, low-life snakes, miscreants, degenerates and criminals. Call them what you like, but this pandemic has brought all
We lived in Germany when our daughter was a baby. My husband worked at Univer- sity of Bonn as a professor of Celtic languages. For the first time since I was 13 years old, I did not have a paying job. Instead, I had the most important work of my life: watching over our baby. I loved it. And yet, often, the hours seemed endless, no matter how many songs I sang or books I read to her. I was filled with relief when my husband returned home and I could head down to the Rhine River.
a house in Mānoa where I’m serenaded daily by lime- green parakeets with red bills that love to play on our roof.
kinds of unsavory characters into focus — locally and na- tionally. People preying on other people or vital systems. People trying to wring money out of the unsuspecting at a time when many are scared, hurting, vulnerable and frus- trated. And the reprobates rarely get caught.
Green parakeets remind the writer that everyone is connected, no matter where they come from. PHOTOS COURTESY RUDIGER “RUDY” HERZING RUCKMANN
As I work from home, the parakeets remind me that even during a pandemic, na- ture reaches us in unexpected ways, that we are all inter- connected no matter where we live or where we come from, that we are never alone whether near the Rhine River or in the valleys of Nu‘uanu and Mānoa.
It’s happening nowadays when more people are more susceptible. These vermin try to beat you and the system. They try to get people to provide personal information over the phone. They try to get undeserved unemployment pay. They try to ply elderly or frail people into actually pay- ing for coronavirus vaccines. They steal information from people on social media (yes, good old social media) who show off their new COVID-19 vaccination cards, which might contain birthdate and/or insurance ID information. Counterfeit cards can then be produced, sold and used for air travel when vaccination proof might soon be required.
There, along its banks, I ran for miles. Boats, restau- rants, and the former resi- dence of West Germany’s chancellors reminded me there was a world outside where I—and soon, our daughter—would belong. I was especially inspired by
the flocks of green para- keets that welcomed me on my run. Originally brought to Bonn in the ’70s, their deafening noise was mu- sic to my ears, a reminder that you could fly and find a home almost anywhere.
time — but it wasn’t home. After a few years, we left Iowa to live in Hawai‘i. Now I could run year-round. I’ ll always remember one of my first runs in Nu‘uanu Valley — and who greeted me but familiar companions: green parakeets! It brought joy that both they and we had found
Scamming is not new. Societal problems cause deviant manipulators to look for new ways to take advantage of people and systems. At my workplace, we received an un- employment claim in the name of a former Hawai‘i Con- gressional representative. Yes, we caught it in time.
Our family left Bonn to move to a Quaker learning community in rural Iowa. Winters were frostbitingly bitter, too cold for tropical birds, and often necessitat- ing being housebound for months. It was an important
our way to the islands. During the pandemic, my family and I realized we had, indeed, found our forever home in Hawai‘i. Our daugh- ter is thriving, and we found
Rüdiger “Rudy” Herzing Rückmann is a Quaker, poet and director of advancement
Unemployment fraud has increased here since people have lost jobs and federal funds became more readily available. Thieves steal names and personal information. Investment fraud has been around a long time.
If anybody calls you up and asks for computer informa- tion, passwords, your mother’s maiden name — any kind of security information — quickly end the conversation. Hang up. There have been online examples where people’s information, once provided, is then used by others to get food. And then there’s the old, “Hey, you’ve just won a sweepstakes” scam, in which you’re simply asked to pay a fee and “we’ll send you the money!”
with Rüdiger “Rudy” Herzing Rückmann
at Hawai‘i Youth Symphony. Chasing The Light is pro- duced by Lynne Johnson and Robin Stephens Rohr. Edited
by Sharon Linnéa.
New Century Schoolbook bold (scaled H 73.6)
               The elderly are being targeted through email addresses nowadays versus the old method of dubious phone calls. People are being asked to buy gift or credit cards in stores, and then told to provide the card numbers to the caller for “activation.” Basically, if it sounds too good to be true, it is.
        If you’re asked for any personal information that you’re not comfortable giving out over the phone, don’t give. When in doubt, check it out. Stay wary and be smart. By the way, the COVID-19 vaccine, when it’s your turn, is free.
    Think about it ...

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