By Diane Ako
Olivia's preschool held a graduation ceremony very similar to the "real" thing that one associates with high schools and colleges- except much shorter, like the people being honored.
I could totally tell by looking at the program, with all the kids' full names listed, who was local and who wasn't. Sometimes the name is bigger than the child.
Ridiculously long local names featuring many vowels:
Name - Middle Name, Sometimes English or Sometimes Asian - Very Long 30 Characters Hawaiian Name - Last Name, Usually Ethnic
Kinda looks like this (which I obviously made up):
Mary Yick Lung Uamaukeeaokaainaikapono Souza
Shane Chun Wah Kam Kealaokalanianaole Abad
Mainland transplant names were standard stuff like:
John Jack Doe
Jane Mary Smith
This is totally normal to me, having spent six years of my life at Kamehameha Schools, the world's largest and best-known Native Hawaiian school. Even today, I get the alumni newsletter and in the classmate update section, if you don't have a long Hawaiian name, that's unusual. You could compose a standard-length hula chant by stringing together the people's names.
I have a Chinese and a Hawaiian middle name. My Hawaiian name is, at eight characters, relatively short.
We did the same for Olivia. As everyone living in Hawaii knows, the intent is to honor one's ancestry by taking names from each culture.
I actually did not set out to give her a long Hawaiian name, but the one we liked best (that incorporated a part of mine, handed down) is 13 characters + okina.
Seven syllables broken up by a glottal stop! She is SO set for Kamehameha! Now all she has to do is get in.