Hawaiʻi Creole English — called “pidgin” by its native speakers — dates back 100 years to the sugar plantation days. Immigrant workers, first from China, then Japan and other countries, needed a way to communicate with their fellow workers and with the people who lived among them, the Native Hawaiians. Pidgin is still spoken in Hawaiʻi, and being fluent is a source of great pride by its speakers. Pidgin is what makes us local.
One of the most popular videos we published at Pūpū was this little gem, Moke Action, an early film directed by the talented Native Hawaiian filmmaker ʻĀina Paikai. Not surprisingly, ʻĀina would go on to make many award-winning short films, including the wonderful Hawaiian Soul in 2020. Moke Action, starring Brutus LaBenz, Brahma Furtado, and Liona Arruda, is the tale of two young men who nearly get into an unfortunate scuffle. Happily, they are prevented from committing violence, thanks to their respect for their elder. Or, in pidgin:
Two guys like scrap til aunty wen scold dem.
Posted with permission by ʻĀina Paikai.