Monday, March 10, 2014


Today's stop in our mini-tour of Honolulu public art is T'Sung, on the pedestrian mall along Nu'uanu Stream, at the edge of Honolulu's Chinatown. It's a tall boxy structure with Chinese inscriptions around it; the overall effect was of a blend of traditional Chinese design and 1970s Logan's Run modernism. The city arts office describes it:

A Sculpture by Edward M. Brownlee. Five rectilinear slabs pierced by a massive column resting on a low horizontal base. Chinese calligraphy are inscribed into the surface, they translate as follows: one side "Forever Spring," another side "The eagle flies and reaches heaven; the fish leap in the deep," a third side "Myriad years of health and happiness," the last side "Within the four seas, all men are brothers." Each quote is from a separate historic Chinese poem. The River Street Mall borders both sides of the Nuuanu Stream and encompasses part of Chinatown. The sculpture reflects the history of the site, where immigrants from the Orient first entered Hawaii. Located at Sun Yat-Sen Mall.

It also gets a mention in an Esoteric Survey "Report from Honolulu". The post has lots of photos of interesting art and design stuff from all over the city, so it's definitely worth a look.


This stretch of the pedestrian mall includes quite a few picnic tables, and the tables near T'Sung have become a popular local gambling spot. There was a crowd of least several dozen people there, entirely male and Asian as far as I could tell, and I couldn't see what game they were playing. Hawaii is one of only two states with no legal gambling of any kind (the other being Utah), so I figured it would be considered rude to photograph the proceedings. This area is supposedly the rough part of town, and by Honolulu standards I imagine it is, but it's certainly no Old Town Portland, much less circa-1987 Philadelphia. Even aside from that, I had zero interest in being a mainland haole tourist who wanders around gawking at the exotic locals and their exotic folkways. I'm not that sort of photographer. Some would argue I'm no sort of photographer at all, but that's a discussion for some other day.

T'sung T'sung

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