Story by Kathy Collins
Listen to this column read aloud in pidgin:
Dear Prezadent Obama,
Howzit, Cuz?! You no mind I call you dat, eh? I mean, I no like show no dis-raspeck. Jus’ dat I know you still one local boy at heart. Can take da bruddah outta da Aloha State, but no can take da aloha out from da bruddah, yeah?
So firs’ of all, I gotta tell you how proud all us guys ova heah stay, ‘cause a you. One keiki o ka ‘aina, our first hapa prezadent! What da Mainland guys call ‘em? Oh yeah, mix race. Funny, yeah, how da guys on da news, they only talk about how you da first African-American prezadent. But you not. You da first American prezadent with African blood. And you da first true multicultural prezadent, which to me is even mo’ big deal. One hapa kid, born an’ raise in da Melting Pot of da Pacific. Although I t’ink we mo’ like stir-fry; all da ingre-daments stay keep their own flava an’ tex-cha, but all dem go togedda fo’ make one onolicious meal.
We not perfeck, but still yet, I t’ink us guys in Hawai‘i can teach da res’ of da world how fo’ get along mo’ bettah. We been cookin’ up dis stir-fry long time now, all us different ingre-daments togedda on one small liddo bitta land, learnin’ how fo’ get along. We even wen’ make up our own language so all us guys could unda-stand each odda. Eh! Maybe dass what you should do . . . come up wit’ one new official language: American Pidgin! Can put Hawaiian Creole English plus Ebonics and East LA slang togedda wit’ New England sayings and one Southern drawl. No unda-estamate da powah of language fo’ unite.
I get couple, t’ree mo’ suggestions fo you. No worry, jus’ small kine advice, tita to bruddah. Dat language t’ing going take plenny time, but meantime, get stuffs you can do right away fo’ make da whole country mo’ local—and therefoah, mo’ betta.
Numbah One: Tell everybody take off their shoes when they come inside da White House. If you like, I send you one a dose “Please remove yo’ shoes” signs. Or jus’ go borrow from da TSA guys at da airport. About time da res’ of da country learn how fo’ respeck people’s house, or at least their carpet. No fo’get leave one pair rubbah slippahs outside da back door fo’ when you go check out da Rose Garden.
Numbah Two: You going have plenny tough choices fo’ make. Save yo’self plenny time; teach Joe Biden how fo jan ken po, so when you no can make up yo’ mind, you guys can jus’ jan ken po. (Excep’ he prob’ly going call ‘em “pepa, scissors, rock.”)
Numbah T’ree: Make sure da kitchen staff learn how fo’ make Spam musubi. Perfeck fo’ take on Air Force One. Easy fo’ carry, easy’ fo’ eat. No fo’get take extra fo’ da Secret Service guys.
OK, last t’ing is one small kine request. Maybe you already went pick out one poi dog fo’ Malia an’ Sasha. But if you nevah name da bugga yet, try t’ink about callin’ em Hapa. Betta dan Stir-fry.
Tita is the pidgin-speaking alter ego of local actress and Mana‘o Radio cofounder/DJ Kathy Collins. Both Tita and Ms. Collins grew up on Maui.