Chasing the American Dream
I gradually escaped the fate of my big brother Bill. I began to take things more seriously, to stay out of juvenile hall. I finished college, did well at amateur surfing tournaments, had some wonderful girlfriends, and somehow began to flourish in the grown-up world.
I was also making frequent visits to Hawaii and understanding more about what was going on there with my family on the Island. When I’d take some American friends, I felt caught and conflicted between two worlds, since some of my cousins weren’t too fond of the outsiders, the white tourists, whom they called Haole, which can be derogatory. I was split in the middle. I could feel the rage and frustration of my Hawaiian family deep in my soul. The land had been stolen, ripped off, exploited. The native Hawaiians lied to, cheated and forced into what amounted to forced labor in the Hawaiian fields for very little money. I understood the Hawaii for Hawaiians “sovereign” movement and respected the small gains they were making. I also appreciated the rich culture and history of my ancestors, with their many myths and stories, gods and goddesses, music, costumes, dance.
But at the same time I wanted to fulfill the American dream. I was becoming a businessman, an entrepreneur, a real estate wheeler and dealer. I got married and started my own family.