Hawai’i’s Own

Now that I am finally able to reclaim my U.S. citizenship, in my first official act I am adding “Barack” and “Obama” to my spell checker.

I can’t believe no one has put a picture of it on the web (at least not one that I can locate), but the best bumper sticker we saw in Hawai’i looked something like this:

and then the Honolulu Advertiser spun it this way:

On the night of the 4th, we were in a sports bar on the main drag in Hilo, knocking back margs and eating “Lava Wings” as we watched the election results. Suddenly, he made it look so easy. Me ka pilikia ‘ole, no ho’i?

This is only the second time in my entire life that I’ve voted for a presidential candidate who actually won, and the first time I’ve ever voted for a presidential candidate because I wanted him and not because I didn‘t want the other guy.

When Obama appeared for his victory speech, a woman at the next table started weeping into her balled-up napkin. I certainly wasn’t going to cry in a sports bar in Hilo, but I winked at her when she turned around, and I thought: “Wheee! Here we go!”


Posted on 17 November 2008, in Tales from the Road and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. And this is the first time in my life I believe in a US president! Can you believe me when I say that it was 7:00 in the morning when he spoke, and this stupid Italian+wife were actually starting to weep?.Then… what the hell does it mean, “Malama Obama”? Please explain or I’ll start blogging in strict Sicilian.

  2. Oh. The translator in me just couldn’t wait:Malama: “To take care of, care for, preserve; to keep or observe, as a taboo; to conduct, as a service; to serve, honor, as God; care, preservation, support; fidelity, loyalty; custodian, caretaker.” Is that right?

  3. Yak: You got it. It’s a great word because, like many Hawai’ian verbs, it covers a lot of territory! Basically you could understand it as “Get behind Obama,” but I love all the other sfumature: care for/honor/serve/keep safe. In Haw’n you could say “malama pono” at the end of a letter, which is a little like “stammi bene,” but if I were to translate “Do the right thing” into Hawai’ian, it would also be “malama pono” (so perhaps more like “mi raccomando). An environmental group in Hawai’i might have “malama pono o ka ‘aina” as its slogan, which means something like “show respect for the land” or “take care of the land.” You get the idea. W.

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