What’s in a word?
In regards to the letter “Haole’ derogatory?” (Your Views, Feb. 11), I humbly offer what I understand to be the true meaning of the word “haole” and why this word was actually created.
Haole is actually two words — “ha,” which means “breath” or “life,” and “ole,” which means “no.”
When the missionaries came to Hawaii in the 1800s to “convert the heathens,” one of the many Hawaiian customs that was shunned by the missionaries was the practice of honi (the touching of noses and the breathing in of each others ‘mana’ or life force) when greeting each other.
Because this practice was considered too intimate, the missionaries stressed what they thought was the more appropriate greeting — a simple hand shake.
Kanaka maoli saw this as a lack of their idea of an appropriate greeting, offering no “breath” or “life” to another person, hence the word haole.
A job well done
A letter appeared in this column a few weeks ago condemning the state for their work in clearing the brush along the median strip on the divided highway between Hilo and Keaau (Your Views, Jan. 15). I beg to differ with that writer: I commend the road crew for doing a great job so far in this project! I really appreciate that they are removing all the invasive strawberry guava (waiawi) and other weedy bushes and trees, carefully preserving the lovely native ohia and other large legacy trees.
I think when completed, hopefully with nicely mowed grass under those legacy trees, it will be a huge benefit to the community.
It will also provide more safety. Most people who travel that road regularly know that wild pigs are often seen on the median (attracted by the waiawi, no doubt), and this can be dangerous to cars which may not be able to avoid the pigs when they cross the road.
Also, it will be easier for emergency vehicles to see and get to any accidents along that road, as they’ll be able to see what’s going on from either side. Traffic signage, too, is now more visible with offending weeds removed. So kudos to the road crew, and imua!