“Hapa” is a Hawaiian word that means half Hawaiian, half white, but it has been adopted by most Asian-American cultures to just mean “half white, half Asian.” I happen to look super hapa, which was extremely helpful while growing up on Kauai. No one messed with me on “Kill Haole (white person)” Day. When I arrived as a freshman at UC Berkeley, before I learned to avoid Sproul Plaza, where all the campus organizations tabled all day, my hapa-ness afforded me only annoyance. Every day, as I innocently tried to walk to class (I was always alone because I had no friends yet), the people at the Hapa table would yell “Hapa! Come join the Hapa Club!” as I passed by. This happened for several weeks in a row. Eventually I went up to them and said “I’m not hapa.” “REALLY?” They asked. “What ARE you?” “A Russian and Hungarian Jew, full-blood,” I replied. “What is the hapa club, anyway?” “Oh, it’s just a place hapa people can come and hang out where they people won’t ask them what they are.” “You JUST asked me that,” I said and walked away from the idiots towards my zero friends.
In retrospect I should have just gone along with it and made an instant group of extremely good-looking friends. Alas.
The band HAPA is one of my favorite contemporary Hawaiian musical groups. It is made up of a Hawaiian dude and an Irish dude, both with some serious vocal abilities. Genius band name. They are playing a FREE show at the Stern Grove Festival, which Andrew posted about the other day and which I wrote about in my first ever Broke-Ass post!
Free HAPA Concert
Sunday, June 27, 2p.m.
Sigmund Stern Grove
19th Ave. @ Sloat