Mixed Plate: Hukilau Goes Home, Radio Host Gets Nasty

Editor Kenji Taguma emailed us with a reader’s feedback that he or she missed our column. We apologize for our absence from these pages. Bruddah Kyle is going home in a few weeks and he’ll write the next column after that visit. Bruddah Keet pens this week’s “mixed plate” of news and opinion.

I know most readers of this column prefer the lighter material we cover – food, places of interest, local customs, pidgin – but I have to share some thoughts about a recent racist remark by a radio show host in Honolulu.

Larry Price, a former head coach of the University of Hawai‘i football team, and Michael W. Perry host the number one rated morning radio show in Hawai‘i on Clear Channel-owned KSSK. Perry and Price dominate the morning airwaves like Fox-affiliate KHON anchor Joe Moore rules the evening news.

On their May 4 show, Price debated Kauai state Sen. Gary Hooser on the accomplishments of the state legislature, which recently wrapped up its five-month long session. The interview was testy.

At one point, Price asks Hooser the color of his eyes and where he was from. Hooser said he was born in California, went to Radford (a public high school on O‘ahu), lives in Kapa‘a.

“You got blue eyes?” asked Price. Hooser said yes and laughed thinking that Price was joking. Hooser asked: “Does that matter?”

“Yes, to us it does,” responded Price. “Because when local people hear somebody from the mainland talk about how honest everything is, that means that something’s wrong. You know when they say ‘frankly’ or ‘Honestly, we did a lot of things,’ you know, and stuff like that, that sounds suspicious.”

As a fourth-generation kama‘aina born and raised in Hawai‘i, I don’t know what the hell Larry Price meant by that. But it’s clear from looking at this through my racial lens that the radio host was telling the senator: “You’re haole (white) and not born here, so you have second-class opinions.”

Price’s comment was atrocious, especially since it was so thinly veiled. It exacerbated a long-running tension sometimes existing between Mainlanders and “locals” and between people of color and Caucasians. This racial dynamic is not unique to an island community, but for a state that prides itself on the “Aloha Spirit” we can do better on our airwaves.

So, the next time I’m back home, I will listen to anything else on the radio other than Perry & Price on KSSK. But I’ll definitely be visiting the new Hukilau in downtown Honolulu.

HUKILAU NUMBAH FOUR. The Hukilau is “going home” after three restaurants in the Bay Area. The new location, set to open on May 28 in the Executive Centre Hotel, will be called Hukilau Sports Bar & Grill.

One might think that it’s a little odd to open a Hukilau in Hawai‘i. What makes the Hukilau special in the Bay Area is the Hawaii oasis it creates. But the fourth incarnation will have a special focus on celebrating the accomplishments of Hawai‘i’s world-class athletes by featuring sports memorabilia and a sports theme.

The new Hukilau will also feature some impressive culinary credentials. Jason Takemura, formerly chef of Chai’s Island Bistro, will head the kitchen.

And as it does with its Bay Area venues, Hukilau’s new sports bar and grill will feature and promote live Hawaiian music with notable local entertainment performing at the new spot.

Chef Takemura was executive chef of Chai’s Island Bistro from July 2003 through the end of 2006. He was previously in the kitchens of several California restaurants, including Roy’s, San Luis Obispo’s Seven Hands on Higuera, Monterey’s Montrio Bistro and Pebble Beach’s Inn at Spanish Bay.

In its efforts to promote the aloha spirit, Hukilau has for the past five years hosted an annual poke festival and spam musubi eating contest at its San Francisco location. They will continue that tradition by sponsoring a poke contest in the Honolulu restaurant in which the winners from the Bay Area contest will challenge local contestants.

PAU HANA WITH (H)API HOUR. Bruddah Keet is throwing a (H)API Hour in support of the Chinese Progressive Association on Friday, May 18, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Hukilau on Masonic and Geary. $10 suggested donations will to support CPA’s efforts to educate and organize the low income and working class immigrant Chinese community in San Francisco to build collective power with other oppressed communities by demanding better living and working conditions and justice for all people. Visit hapihour.org for more information and to RSVP.

Keith Kamisugi and Kyle Tatsumoto are da Two Japanee Bruddahs. Read past articles on http://www.TwoJapaneeBruddahs.com.

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