Center for Labor Education & Research, University of Hawaii - West Oahu: Honolulu Record Digitization Project

Honolulu Record, Volume 10 No. 9, Thursday, September 26, 1957 p. 1


Local Sharpies Journey to Mainland, Use Long "Knives" To Clip Suckers
By Staff Writer

A different and novel type of export from Hawaii to the Mainland has been disclosed to the RECORD by sources that know, but this one isn't the type you'll read about in one of James Shoemaker's reports on Hawaii's economy, courtesy of the Bank of Hawaii.

This export is—sharpies who track down the gullible haole in his rustic lair on the Mainland and take him for whatever the traffic will bear. The past season, according to the latest crew of local sharpies to report back in, was pretty profitable. Each of the crew, numbering five or six, is reported to have cleared something like $10,000 on his trip, and plans are being laid already for the next season.

The crew which went out this time expects to extend its operations above the Canadian border next time, according to a reliable source.

The members of this crew, all Oriental, are experts in the gentle art of cockfighting, though they don't attempt to give that impression to residents of the rural centers they visit. Nor do they travel in a group. Instead, they operate singly by preference, or perhaps in pairs if the occasion demands.

First Buys Chicken

When one of the local sharpies goes into a rural town on the Mainland, his first move is to let the cockfighting gentry there know he's interested in the game and would like to become a participant In fact, he would like so much to get into the game that he wants to Buy a chicken. Somebody sells him one. Naturally, nobody sells him a very good chicken but he doesn't seem to know the difference and he doesn't quibble about the price. He pays and gets ready to fight his chicken in the next "main."

By the time the fight conies around, the word has gone out about the wealthy sucker from Hawaii who's aboard.

So when the fights are ready, the rural gentry are all set to take the sucker front the Islands for plenty. He has one little peculiarity, but they don't pay much attention to that. He wants to use the "knife" he's brought from Hawaii, instead of those available on the spot. His "knife" is perhaps an inch and a half longer than the ones they know, but they don't figure that intakes much difference. After all, they know he's been sold a chicken that's no great scrapper.

What the rural gentry doesn't know—the length of the "knife" makes a lot of difference.

It makes no much, according to a local authority on such matters, that a very mediocre scrapper has every chance to kill an excellent fighter if he's equipped with a longer "knife."

Know their “Knives”

So almost 10 times out of 10 the local sharpie comes out winner and moves on to the next rural town to try all over again. There is an advantage, he may reason, in growing up in Hawaii where all chickens are fought with "knives," instead of "gaffs," which are better known on the Mainland, and his background of education can now be put to good profit.

The "knife," of course, is the single-edge blade attached to the roster's left spur in fights The "gaffs," virtually unknown here, are out needle-pointed spurs, without blades, that are attached to each of the rooster's spurs in fights where they are used.

For many years, cockfighters with a Latin background, those from Cuba, Mexico, Latin-America and the Philippines, have used the "knife," while those of Anglo-Saxon background here used "gaffs," though in recent years the lore of the "knife" has invaded areas where the "gaff" formerly reigned supreme—aided by operators like the astute sharpies of Hawaii, no doubt, who have made their good will tours to the Mainland profitable as well as instructive.

Undoubtedly, they have left numbers of rural gamesters up and down the West Coast convinced that Hawaii is ready for statehood —or something.

p /> I do not say that at odd hours a patient must be given the regular hot dinner or supper. Few people would expect this.
But what is so complicated about opening and heating a can of soup, making some toast, or preparing instant coffee or tea? Why cannot a night nurse do these simple things after the kitchen to closed? Is it just too much trouble?

It is only common humanity to feed the hungry. If our hospitals are too big, too complex, too impersonal to do these small kindnesses for the sick, something is very wrong.