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The Reverse of Aloha

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Old 05-20-2006, 07:05 AM
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The Reverse of Aloha


When I tell people I love Hawaii, I always feel like I should add a disclaimer to clarify what I mean. I love the place, not island society.

The place demonstrates how beautiful nature, God or whatever you believe in can make the earth. There are remote spots so heavenly in appearance they take your breath away. Hawaii is evidence that the Garden of Eden may not be a myth after all.

Island society is an entirely different matter. Hawaii is advertised as the land of aloha and a melting pot of the races, but nothing could be further from the truth. It's much more of a boiling pot of the races with the lid ready to blow off at any moment. And aloha is as scarce as snow.

The vast majority of local people carry a perpetual grudge against haoles or white people. By locals I don't mean only native Hawaiians. Japanese, Filipinos, Samoans, Tongans, Micronesians, Melanesians, Portuguese and Koreans who were born or raised in the islands and survived our God-awful public schools consider themselves local and they don't like haoles. It's part of the politically-correct "all white people are evil" syndrome so prevalent today.

(I omitted the Chinese on purpose since they are the most hospitable ethnic group in Hawaii, as they were in other places where I have lived. I'm proud to say I've had Chinese friends ever since I was 8 years old.)

Hawaiians are the only ehtnic group that has a legitimate gripe since the islands were a sovereign country for a thousand years before the U.S. annexed Hawaii at gunpoint. The rest of us are intruders, whether we were born and raised here or not.

But even native Hawaiians misdirect their anger. Three of them beat the hell out of an old haole man I knew because they knew they could get away with it. If they had targeted the upper-class descendents of missionary families who got rich by stealing land a century ago, they would have gone to prison.

Gary Montgomery was a haole friend of mine on the Big Island. He was married to a local woman and he worked hard for everything he had, which wasn't all that much. After single-handedly completing the hurculean task of jack-hammering a swimming pool through solid lava in his front yard, he held a party to celebrate. His in-laws brought some uninvited local trouble makers to the party and they made it very clear they resented a haole having a swimming pool.

Gary was fed up because he had run into the same attitude time and again. "Where's the goddamn aloha?" he shouted at the locals. "I haven't seen any aloha since I came to Hawaii."

Paul Theroux, the most famous travel writer of the past few decades, retired in Hawaii because he loves the beauty of the place like me. In all of his travels he was treated worse by Pacific islanders than by local people anywhere else in the world.

Among local people in Hawaii, I have known a few exceptions to the "hate haoles" rule, but too few to make a real difference. And they get fewer with the passage of time.

If you visit Hawaii as a tourist, you'll be safe if you don't venture too far away from your hotel and the popular beaches. The tourist industry tries to protect Hawaii's image as a peaceful paradise because it's good for business. But if you move here expecting to find aloha, the reality will break your heart.

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Old 05-20-2006, 08:01 PM
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That was very well written starr. A sorry reality I'm sure.. I've just been speaking to a friend who lives in hawaii, and now I feel so confused by the two states of mind...
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Old 05-20-2006, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by kalibantre
That was very well written starr. A sorry reality I'm sure.. I've just been speaking to a friend who lives in hawaii, and now I feel so confused by the two states of mind...
Most haoles try to ignore the situation because it's the only way they can remain in such a beautiful place. But it's discouraging and they can only stand so much. Ninety percent of the haoles I have known in Hawaii left eventually because they got sick of it.

I'm stubborn. This has been my home for 34 years and I'm not going anywhere because of the misguided attitude of local people. I intend to be planted in the islands when I give up the ghost. Then we can argue about it in hell.
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Old 05-20-2006, 09:30 PM
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haha... I like that attitude. From what I know of his history in hawaii I think he's a local but I know his wife wasn't. So I guess he can't have too much of an issue with it, I also cant imagine that guy having an issue with much..

I'm stubborn too, the uk is going to the dogs in certain aspects but fuck it no ones getting rid of me, i'll travel, I may even move away fro a few years but i'll be back and i will always be proud to be british no matter what connotations it may hold.

we made maps pink don't you know (of all the bloody colours in the world our empire was pink!)
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Old 05-21-2006, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by kalibantre
I'm stubborn too, the uk is going to the dogs in certain aspects but fuck it no ones getting rid of me, i'll travel, I may even move away fro a few years but i'll be back and i will always be proud to be british no matter what connotations it may hold.
Although I love to tease you Brits for the fun of it, I actually have a great deal of respect for England. Why shouldn't you be proud? Compared to other colonial powers, the British Empire was downright benign to the foreign people it ruled and England produced some of the greatest writers in the world.

Some of my ancestors were from England. And the first close friend I made when I got into journalism was a Brit named Jack Taylor. A very witty guy, he moved to Florida so he could afford an apartment with hot water and an MG car (both of which were beyond his financial reach in England at the time.) Jack still lives in Palm Beach, where he runs a magazine aimed at the very rich.
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