Honolulu Lite


Scream out for ethnic pride!

The recent flap about admitting a non-Hawaiian into Kamehameha Schools -- along with discovering that there is a beer hall and cabaret in Frankfurt, Germany, called the King Kamehameha Club -- has gotten me thinking about my own ethnic heritage.

I have to admit I'm a little jealous of Hawaiians. They are proud of their heritage and defend it with a passion and zeal non-Hawaiians sometimes don't understand. I'm don't even know what my ethnic makeup is. I know I'm half German, but the other side of the family came from Louisiana, which is a wild gumbo of races and cultures. There are a lot of French in Louisiana, so maybe I'm French/German. That would explain why I'm always attacking myself.

Discovering that there is a King Kamehameha Club in Germany made me realize how little I know about that half of my gene pool. I know the Germans are an odd bunch, but what would possess them to name a cabaret in Frankfurt after a Hawaiian king? Beer, bratwurst and frauleins in hiking gear don't exactly scream "Hawaii!"

So I started poking around on the Internet, conducting a high-tech exploration of my half-homeland and discovered it is a very noisy place.

SOME RECENT NEWS reports include one in which police in the town of Maintal were called to investigate screaming in the woods. A terrified 72-year-old woman thought someone was being killed. It turned out the moans were coming from two mating hedgehogs.

Then in Berlin, police were called to investigate reports by neighbors of screams coming from an apartment. There, cops found a 76-year-old woman (unrelated to the previous elderly specimen) practicing for a yodeling diploma.

"The officers weren't able to judge whether the neighbors were unfamiliar with Bavarian folk music or whether the lady still requires a lot of practice," police said, drolly.

Exploring further into German life, I found yet another news report about police in the western town of Aachen called to investigate a series of loud yells coming from a forest.

There they found "a 25-year-old man who said walking into the forest at night and screaming as loudly as he could was his way of dealing with the stress of everyday life."

Screeching hedgehogs, geriatric yodelers and guys who scare the sauerkraut out of their neighbors by yelling in the forest ... My people came from a heck of a country.

I'm sure there are more positive, not to mention, quieter, things I could learn about Germany if I really tried. But I think it's more important to appreciate where you are today, not where your relatives were a few hundred years ago.

So, it's cool that Hawaiians so fervently embrace their heritage and try keep their culture alive and thriving. But let's keep one thing in mind: If you go back in time far enough, we're all related. The world is one big, often noisy, ohana.

Charles Memminger, winner of National Society of Newspaper Columnists awards, appears Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. E-mail

E-mail to Features Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2002 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --