Tribute to the late “Uncle Bill”

After “Uncle Bill” — William Kauaiwiulaokalani Wallace III — passed away on March 2, 2009, I started digging through some of my old photos to put together a pictorial tribute, along with a few comments. Most of these photos center around the BYU-Hawaii sailing canoe, Iosepa, and either have never previously been published or haven’t been seen for some time:

Here’s the back-story: [Read more…]

Oz: Hitchhiking to Gympie

During my six-month East-West Center fellowship Pacific Islands field study in 1971 (which I’ve previously mentioned a couple of times), my wife and I arrived in Sydney, Australia, late one July night: It was freezing cold (especially for Hawaii people), and I remember there was ice in the gutters. In those days many places in Australia did not have central heating, and the small hotel we stayed at only had a little “glow-rod” above the door that didn’t do much to heat up the room. The window in the bathroom was permanently wedged open an inch or two, so that room was like a refrigerator; and the sheets on the bed were so cold that we tried not to move around once settled, hoping at least one spot would soon warm up.

Sydney’s a fascinating place, even in the cold, but I soon made a decision that would stretch our modest, diminishing funds and lead us to a warmer clime for a while: We would take a break from studies and hitchhike to Gympie: [Read more…]

Upu ‘afakasi: Samoan “half-caste” words

A few posts back I blogified about Samoan pronunciation and names. Now I’d like to do a little follow-up on ‘upu ‘afakasi — Samoan half-caste words. [Read more…]

Indonesia days: second-hand smoke

The part about Indonesia is coming up, but first a little intro:

As a devout Mormon all my life, just being around second-hand cigaret smoke has always literally been somewhat sickening to me…and for those of you too young to remember when smoking was allowed on commercial airlines, you can’t imagine: [Read more…]

Indonesia days: bargaining for rice

When I lived in Bandung, Indonesia, in the mid-1970s, it was the custom to bargain over the price of practically everything in the pasar [bazaar] and many other shops. This was something that most Europeans (which generically included all Americans; indeed, some Indonesians labeled all Europeans as orang Belanda — Dutchmen, based on 300-plus years of colonial rule in the Dutch East Indies) weren’t generally very good at.

Speaking more than enough Bahasa Indonesia to get by in the markets, I eventually did relatively well, at least to the the extent that Indonesian and the occasional East-Indian shop keepers would allow any European to drive a hard bargain. I’ll use bargaining for rice as an example: [Read more…]

Indonesia days: Bapak, our go-to guy

bapak_bandung75Bapak (sometimes also spelled bapa’ in those days, and sometimes shortened to Pak; the final consonant sound is “unreleased” or cut in half) is an Indonesian term of respect usually applied to all older men, or to show courtesy to any man, similar to using “sir” in English or “uncle” in Hawaiian English.

Soon after my wife, Sally Ann, our baby twin girls and I moved into our rented home on Jalan Karang Layung (yang lalu) near the gigantic Ikan Mas swimming pool in Bandung, West Java, in 1975, we met an old man who proved very helpful in many ways. If I ever knew his given name, I’ve forgotten it; but in any case, we always called him Bapak. [Read more…]

Selamat Pagi: My Indonesia connection

Many of you know, and I’ve certainly reminded everyone in earlier Nanilaie Blog entries, of my ties with Samoa . . . but most of you may not know about my Indonesia connection. [Read more…]


The first sign on Friday evening, December 26, was a little flicker of the lights. I remember saying to my wife, Sally, I wonder if someone hit a telephone pole somewhere down the highway. Then a few minutes later the lights went out — then soon enough all over Oahu. Yup, for the second time in two years the complete island of Oahu went dark as HECO totally shut down:

People were stuck in elevators, the airport was basically shut down, traffic lights were out, of course. Stores closed early, a lot of gas stations couldn’t operate. In short, it was a disaster.

[Read more…]

Some help with the Aborigines

In the early 1990s the management team at the Polynesian Cultural Center was trying to develop a series of “special events” to help overcome one of the periodic downturns in the visitor industry: The idea being to offer something new or different that would encourage people to visit, including some of those who have been before. Interestingly, the PCC’s Haunted Lagoon spooky canoe ride in October 2008 and the current A Gift for Sadie Christmas canoe ride are recent examples.

But I’m thinking of our earlier efforts, some of which are still going strong — the Samoan World Fire Knife Dance competition being the best example. Others were one-time hits… [Read more…]