I met Raph, the young man that Ed calls his hanai son on a Saturday. I joined them at their favorite haven at the top of Wa’ahila Ridge. This park is maintained by the State of Hawaii and I am impressed on how beautiful it is. No wonder Raph calls it their Holy Ground.
“Aunty, I would like to tell you a story about Ed – my version”, Raph said with eagerness on his voice.
I sat down. “I am all ears”, I answered. I saw Raph being serious so I just smiled and looked at both of them.
Raph said, “here we go…The stars twinkled and danced in the heavens. While sitting on his golden throne, Lord Buddha awoke to a joyful bliss. And the flames of hell abated as much to the Angel of Death taking another vacation. Edward Y. J. Choy was born.”
The journey of Edward Y. J. Choy began in 1949 on the territorial islands of Hawaii. It was a time when traditions were questioned and often broken. The day after high school graduation Ed was on a plane headed to obtain his training in the United States Air Force. His body was still incapacitated from the effects of an all-night intoxicating celebration. He saw visions of torture, pain, mayhem and chaos. He experienced morbid emotions. It was clear in his mind where he was going – WAR.
“Soon Ed was in Cambodia fighting for his life and his country. Dodging enemy fires and avoiding land mines taught him that having a body is a misfortune, yet it is better to be alive than dead. In his half Korean-half Japanese eyes, he saw that war was very ugly. War is a living hell that we ourselves create. War gave him the opportunity to visit wild and exotic places such as Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. A few years later Ed was medically discharged.”
“Ed had a season in his life wandering aimlessly on a motorcycle in the continental United States where he realized an elusive endeavor. He came upon an Indian Reservation and met a remarkable medicine man named “Sky Walk”. Ed also befriended a woman named Rachaell, “Little Bear”. Time went on. He felt homesick so he came back home to Hawaii. As he continued searching for the meaning of life, in 1975 his long quest brought him to the art of Taijiquan which he explored, expounded, cultivated, mastered, disseminated and transcended.”
“At that point Ed accomplished liberating his mind and body. He now had to face the spiritual. In 1985 he received his PhD in Theology. He felt awe. However , being Reverend Edward Yong Ju Choy was not easy; being a minister proved to be a very intricate responsibility. “
Ed interrupted, “okay, now my turn”. And as Ed started his witty sense of humor, he went on,
“I met this young man when he was confused and is at the crossroad of where to go. During our first meeting I told him he has to do the things he does not want to do. I kept asking him all of the questions he never wanted to hear. I told him that if he lie, he is being dishonest to himself not to the other person.”
Ed continued, ”
“I know this young man very well. He and I had made a series of promises to each other. We speak of true friendship. When one of us is sad, we will help each other get drunk and plot revenge against the sorry bastard who made him sad. When he smiles, I will know he finally got laid or he is up to something devious.”
“I feel true warmth from Raph to me. Besides inheriting my wild imagination, this boy is now repeating some of my habits. I like the way he giggles at my description “smiling egg” when I order breakfast. There are times I feel gloomy for him because he is competing against himself. He has a never ending source of energy. I will be completely happy when I see him focused on what he has in his heart and in his mind. I will be forever praying that he focuses on his purpose in life. I offer to help him as long and as often as he needs my help. He has to find his destiny because God gave him a courageous journey. To you young man, ‘everyone needs a bouncing wall now and then. The only thing you should never do is hold back’.”
It was a hilarious day for me. Raphael Vidad is one of the young people that Ed had shared his ideals, his hopes and aspirations. As I spent more and more time with Ed, I met Chris, a ham radio enthusiast.
Footnote: The contents are from notes provided to me by Sifu Vidad and Rev. Choy dated 1998 to 2013.