What will Hawai‘i be like in the future? That’s the question Kapi‘olani Community College instructor Lee Tonouchi put to his writing students. He was inspired to do so by an article we published in 2004, in which we noted that, by 2020, Hawai‘i residents who weren’t born here would outnumber those who were. The result of the assignment is this book, Bumbye, Hawai‘i. Consider it a cautionary tale. As Tonouchi describes the essays, “Imagine one Hawai‘i wea hula dancers are topless showgirls, wea Pele is enslaved for meet our Islands’ energy needs, wea get gang shootings on top da beaches of Waikiki, wea crystal meth in tropical flavors is targeted to our keiki, wea Hawai‘i’s native species is all make die dead.”
Even the design of the book is a commentary on Hawai‘i’s need to sell itself, often inauthentically. This collection of self-aware criticism is designed in imitation of those narrow tourist magazines seen all over Waikiki.
The news from the future is not all bad, however. Bumbye, Hawai‘i also features an exclusive interview with Gov. Linda Lingle, who seems sure that Hawai‘i will adapt to its changing demographics. Whew—for a moment there, we were getting worried.
The book is free. To get a copy and peer into our possible future, e-mail Tonouchi at email@example.com.
It takes guts to open a brick-and-mortar bookstore in the days of instant online gratification, but in da Shop, local publisher Bess Press has found a way to allow fickle/loyal readers to have their cake and eat it, too.