Molokai `Opio Receives National Honors in Essay Competition

By Léo Azambuja

One Molokai `opio has reached the national academic spotlight by earning a silver award in a national essay competition.

Molokai’s own, Sabryna Hauoli Corpuz, participated in the Trio Quest Awards 2007, submitting an essay about something she is very familiar about: cockfighting.

The annual competition is open to students from all over the United States. It’s run by the University of Washington, and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education.

The essay exposes the positive sides of cockfighting. Corpuz said she was very proud of her essay, and that it holds a lot of strong points.

Corpuz wrote the essay while participating in a summer program organized by Upward Bound, which she said prepares high-school students for college. The humble teenager said she did not even think she was a good writer; and that because cockfighting is such a controversial topic, it would be difficult for her essay to be chosen. How wrong was she!

Congratulations to Corpuz for going beyond and above, showing the nation that Molokai possesses diverse talents, despite being so isolated from the rest of the world.

Corpuz and other Upward Bound teenagers will be going on a trip to Washington D.C. soon. Monetary donations to help fund the trip are welcome.



By Sabryna Hauoli Corpuz

Cockfighting, more commonly known as chicken fighting, is recognized as a crime in the United States because of its violence and gambling. It has been here for centuries, way before it was ruled illegal. It has been said that even some of our founding fathers, Jefferson, Washington, and Lincoln, participated in this sport. How do you think Abraham Lincoln got his nickname, “Honest Abe?” He was actually a well-respected cockfighting referee. Cockfighting is fought worldwide, from the Philippines to Belgium and even France. In some places there are arenas with seats and a big pit. Some of these arenas hold such big events that people from all over the world attend it. It’s almost like a mini stadium.

Yes, cockfighting is illegal, but it also has its positives. First and foremost, chicken fighting has become a family affair for many. In countries where arenas still exist, there are families who attend the events during any time of the day. For many people, we may hear about a lot of the well-known old time chicken fighters, who developed their business or farms as a family. It was not the responsibility of only one person. It was the whole family who joined in to the progress of their rooster career. When you go to these events, it’ll amaze you how many people are interested in this type of sport.

Cockfighting also financially supports their owners. Yes, they gamble and bet on their game fowls, but they worked with them from the beginning. Fighters raise their chickens from when they are first born. Not only do they make their money from fighting their chickens, but they also earn money by breeding them. Owners breed the best they can possibly find, and look for the best out of the best in the batch. From there, they advertise and build a reputation for themselves. They keep fighting so that they get more wins and hopefully others will see. When they see the owner’s style of the bird fighting and the amount of times they win, they become future buyers. When other fighters see the potential within the birds, the news spreads quickly by word of mouth. Some breeders also advertise in monthly cockfighting magazines, such as “Gamecock,” “Grit and Steel,” and “Feathered Warrior.” Depending on the breeder or owner of the game fowls, two year old roosters are usually sold for three hundred dollars and up. The thing about customers is that they don’t just buy one or two chickens at a time; they buy them by the dozens. For big time breeders, they sell to customers all over the world, from the Philippines, Guam, Puerto Rico, and all the way to Asia.

Cockfighting is instinctual. Game fowls fight and compete in the wild. We, as humans, only help them reach their best in what is a natural instinct to them. We push them and encourage them to be at their best and fight for their survival just as people do in our society. Both human beings and animals fight. We, as individuals compete in society for our place in the world. Chickens fight for survival, respect, and just to earn their place. It’s the same way as when people fight in the streets. What everyone needs to understand is that whether you are a human or an animal, we all fight for our survival every single day of our lives. Humans and animals will still compete against each other, no matter what anyone says or does to prevent it. In the end, Nature cannot be avoided. It’s in our nature to aim for the best and to fight to survive.

Isn’t the result of cockfighting the same as sitting at your table and eating a chicken? In other words, the chicken needs to be killed in order to be prepared as food for humans. But as chicken fighters, they are giving them an opportunity to fight for their survival. If they win, they’ll live and for the ones that lose they will usually be eaten. When a chicken fighter obtains a winner or comes across a fowl that still has a chance to survive, they do all they can to help them to live. After reaching home, the fighter or owner will then see the injuries done to the fowl and try to save them from dying. They sew them up, give them antibiotics, and spray their cuts so they heal. To the owner of the fowls, the fowls are like their own children. The only difference is that they end up fighting them at the end and have a 50/50 chance of losing them.

There are more arrests because it is illegal. If it weren’t illegal, people wouldn’t be arrested. At an arena in Louisiana, Sunset Recreational Club, they had no problems whatsoever. They were so organized. There were people announcing the winners, losers, or if the fight was a draw, so that there were no betting problems. Then they have veterinarians sewing up birds for the fighters so they could survive. The club had strict rules there so they didn’t run into any problems. They had all the set up from the food and the chicken supplies. If they had an arena in Hawaii and it was legal, the government could help fighters and keep them out of any kind of trouble or problems. Law Enforcement could look on and help prevent anything from happening. There wouldn’t be any problems if it was legal and it had an organized arena that would let the fighters fight their roosters without looking over their shoulders all the time. They could focus on the fight and there would be less trouble for the police department.

In conclusion, cockfighting should be legal because of the experience it gives; it financially supports a family, the family affairs, and less trouble to worry about. It’ll be easier for everyone if they are able to continue to practice their culture.


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