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Tony Apilado was born in 1940 and grew up in Hawai'i as one of nine children. His mom raised the kids while his dad worked on the sugar plantations in Wahiawa.

Through a combination of forces, Tony moved to New York City as a young adult. A story of homeboy makes good, he ended up working as a hot shot art director at NY ad agencies.

In 1988 Tony decided it was time to come back to Honolulu. With his credentials he landed a plum job at a big deal ad agency. He soon discovered that the scene in Honolulu was not quite the same as in NYC.

In short, the ONLY two 'products' his clients sold in Hawai'i were hotels and macadamia nuts. To make matters worse, the ONLY images his clients would approve for their ads, over and over again, were typical man/woman 'romance' shots in Waikiki or of a de-peopled 'nature'.

Bored beyond belief, Tony quit after three years. and started working for a crisis shelter with a branch in Waikiki.

Ironically, some of his clients might have ended up at the crisis shelter because of ads like those that Tony worked on earlier in his life.

The cheesy beach romance fantasy scense were aimed at filling up hotel rooms. But some folks actually believe that you could be lulled to sleep by the fragrant breeze under Waikiki palm trees after a free meal of fish and coconuts served up by scantily clad maidens.

So when certain US states on the continent connived to get people off their welfare rolls by buying one-way tickets to Hawai'i for impoverished people, there were no shortage of takers.

What the ads didn't show, of course, was that it is illegal to sleep on the beaches in Hawai'i, that the fishing ground in Waikiki was destroyed long ago by 'development' and that Hawaii's cost of living is amongst the highest in the US.

Forced into the growing ranks of homeless people in Waikiki, some of these people met Tony as a crisis shelter counselor.