My Kind of Town

by Don Chapman

Wednesday, February 13, 2002

A nice ring to it

>> State Capitol

It was just bad luck, Machiavelli Yang mused, that grandparents on both sides of Sen. Donovan Matsuda-Yee-Dela Cruz-Bishop-Kamaka's family happened to be named Yee. Because if the senator was going to be elected governor in November, he needed one more hyphen. And as Machiavelli had previously counseled, Sen. Donovan Matsuda-Yee-Yee-Dela Cruz-Bishop-Kamaka would not cut it. Too obviously pandering.

The only way to get another hyphen now was from a wife, which he also needed. Bachelor governors need not apply. That's why one governor he knew didn't really split from his first wife until he was ready to move into Washington Place. That too was Machiavelli working behind the scenes. Machiavelli had an eye for talent, an even better eye for potential, which included the potential to be guided. After Greasy John and Streetfighter Ben, Suave Donovan would make it three in a row. On the surface he was certainly a more attractive candidate than those two.

But the name thing continued to bug Machiavelli. Donovan already had a broad constituency, of course. The Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Haole and Hawaiian blood that ran in his veins was reflected in his name. But something was missing, and that missing link had been bothering Machiavelli for weeks. Link was very much the right word -- a link to an even broader constituency, and thus a link to more votes in the senator's first statewide election.

He certainly didn't need another Chinese name, and that's why Machiavelli had been so opposed to Donovan dating Dr. Laurie Tang, who had everything they needed in a first lady candidate -- looks, charm, intelligence, a professional degree --except her last name. Sen. Donovan Matsuda-Yee-Dela Cruz-Bishop-Kamaka-Tang? No no no, it was practically redundant.

Something was missing, definitely. But what -- or who -- could it be? Then it hit him in yet another flash of brilliance: Portuguese! Of course! And Machiavelli knew just the girl.

Sen. Donovan Matsuda-Yee-Dela Cruz-Bishop-Kamaka-Gomes does have a nice ring, doesn't it?

>> State Library

Lily Ah Sun opened the golden-brown volume marked "Honolulu Star-Bulletin/Honolulu Advertiser -- 981." The year her father and her Uncle Mits quit speaking and tore the previously close family apart. Listings were alphabetical, and she was surprised to find so many references to Ah Sun. There aren't a lot of them in the phone book.

The first was Ah Sun, Clarence -- SB C5 9-27. Meaning Star-Bulletin, page three, Sept. 27th issue.

Clarence Ah Sun? Lily had never heard of him.

Don Chapman is editor of MidWeek.
His serialized novel runs daily in the Star-Bulletin
with weekly summaries on Sunday.
He can be emailed at

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