13 May 2006

Howdy Haole

Your friendly local Hawaiian god would like to comment on this article by Red Star Bulletin writer Bob Jones.

That's Bob Jones, breathless haole at large.

In a simply written and mildly interesting article about his trip to Guizhou Province, China, Jones refers to a group of "27 haole, Japanese, Chinese and Hawaiian" people on tour.

Why they haole in China? What's the cultural context there? What does the word haole mean to Chinese? Seems to me it means -- if those Guizhou locals are still relating to people as "us" and "them" -- that Hawaiians, Chinese and Japanese are just as haole as a salmon in the Sahara Desert. Or Bob Jones in Guizhou.

Jones is too casual with that word haole. A haole referring to his own kind as haoles is like a chicken-killing fox referring to his relatives as murderers. In fact, a haole referring to any category of ethnicity in a money-making article, whether technically right or wrong, leaves me as uncomfortable as a hungry shark in an empty sea.

And as you know, TikiPundit sometimes assumes the appearance of a shark. That's how I know what it means to be lonely. Never gonna go salmon-hunting in an empty sea again.

Unless I mistake: and Bob Jones is as Hawaiian as laulau. Maybe Kamehameha boy, if not maybe just "kama'aina haole." Maybe UH Manoa grad in Hawaiian Studies. Maybe native speaker. OHA benefits recipient. Grew up in Halawa Valley. Best test: has a sneaking suspicion of where I was born (but doesn't know, of course -- that's a mythical secret guarded by friendly patriotic locals on Molokai).

Was Jones trying to ingratiate himself to Hawaiians? Or his Hawaiian paymasters? Or worse, to me?

Bonus: Someday I get off my butt and down from my heiau and talk about brethren in Tonga and Samoa and their version of haole, palangi or papalangi. BTW, those words and concepts seem to come from Southeast Asia and maybe even trace back to India.

Which brings around to another point. Everyone's a haole, sooner or later.

3 Comments:

Blogger Grant Jones said...

Indeed, aren't all non-Hawaiians haole?

13:40  
Anonymous RONW said...

Jones' wife is Samoan I believe.

17:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you forget that haole is a hawaiian word. maybe he just meant it as that. simple.

23:17  

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