PDA

View Full Version : Painful ukulele experience on Molokai



RyanMFT
09-12-2014, 05:20 PM
Toward the end of my vacation here on beautiful Molokai. Looked forward to attending a ukulele play along, and was told visitors were welcome.

When I arrived I was told I was not welcome to sit at the table with the ukulele players, even though there were open seats, and then was told it was about respecting the old people of Molokai, that I don't look like I know this instrument, and if I didn't know everything they were playing, I should sit and listen.

I feel really sad. I love this instrument and I am passionate about the history and community around the ukulele. I post here not to trash Hawaii or Molokai but to shake free the bad feelings and get back to the underground where I am always treated with the Aloha spirit.

coolkayaker1
09-12-2014, 05:42 PM
Ryan, Ryan, Ryan. What a sad story.

Curious:

Were you the only new player there, or did they treat all new players, that night, that way? Who told you visitors were welcome, please? Where was this gathering?

How many of the regulars were there? Were they playing a practiced piece that they were working on? Did you bring your Martin 3 mahogany or Koa? Lol.

It's not right how it went down, regardless. I'm just trying to flesh it out a bit to perhaps add some context to what, at first blush, seems unconscionable: their treating an island guest like an intruder.

Is this the Larry Ellison, nearby island owner and Oracle CEO, effect? I think he bought Lanaii, but then bought the airline that serviced Molokai and stopped flights there, no? I believe Molokai even shut it's biggest resort down a half dozen years ago. Is there something to all this reflected in the way you were treated? Educate us. Thanks, my friend.

RyanMFT
09-12-2014, 05:55 PM
Thanks man, they had songbooks on the table so I assumed I could play along pretty easily. There were about 8 people playing, along with one guy on mandolin and one on washboard!

I asked around the island several places and was told to go and I would be welcomed...

Maybe I would have been welcomed had I shown up with an ukulele made before the turn of the century? I'm just sad at being rejected here in Hawaii. I hoped to be welcomed the way I try to welcome new players to this instrument. I guess I will continue to play on my own.

coolkayaker1
09-12-2014, 06:08 PM
I suppose if you had turned up with a turn-of-the-century washboard, they'd have treated you like Eddie "Eddie Would Go" Aikau!

I'm sorry to hear about it. I think it might have to do with Larry Ellison being a louse to Hawaiian natives.

I'm going to say something personal about you here, Ryan. The way you've presented your story is meaningful. Most would have had a vitriolic post, scathing and upset. But, not you. Yours is calm, thoughtful and sincere. Rational, trying to find meaning, but genuine. I feel you with how you've come across.

You, Ryan, are Aloha. You, Ryan, are transcendent of the experience. Thank you.

boogie10
09-12-2014, 06:10 PM
Ryan sorry this happened to you. If you ever go to Maui, you can check out 808ukejams. The folks there are really awesome and really show the aloha spirit. I joined them for one of the sessions and the people were super cool since I'm not that good.

sukie
09-12-2014, 06:11 PM
Gee, I'm sorry to hear that. It wouldn't occur to me that an ukulele player wouldn't be welcome at an ukulele jam.

RyanMFT
09-12-2014, 06:35 PM
I suppose if you had turned up with a turn-of-the-century washboard, they'd have treated you like Eddie "Eddie Would Go" Aikau!

I'm sorry to hear about it. I think it might have to do with Larry Ellison being a louse to Hawaiian natives.

I'm going to say something personal about you here, Ryan. The way you've presented your story is meaningful. Most would have had a vitriolic post, scathing and upset. But, not you. Yours is calm, thoughtful and sincere. Rational, trying to find meaning, but genuine. I feel you with how you've come across.

You, Ryan, are Aloha. You, Ryan, are transcendent of the experience. Thank you.

You are too kind my friend. Thank you so much... I just wanted to share some music, but I know when I'm not wanted, so I just quietly left.

Roselynne
09-12-2014, 08:47 PM
Hawai'ians, like many native peoples, have had much stolen from them, and Moloka'i has always been a reclusive island (it was once a leper colony and has only fairly recently opened up in any way). Recent multi-billionaire antics could not have helped the opening-up process; in fact, it most assuredly re-opened wounds.

I have also run into situations on the Islands where hosts and long-timers make gestures of openness ... yet they expect visitors to know the unwritten rules in advance (but how?) and politely refrain from overly-active participation.

This is not to excuse or defend your treatment at the jam, which was, indeed, rude. You did not deserve such treatment, and your attitude does, indeed, do you much credit. Please also be assured that the mind-reading requirement is not a universal practice in the Islands.

Dan Uke
09-12-2014, 08:54 PM
I don't know the situation but there is Hawaiian culture we might not know about. Were there other other Haoles in the jam?

RyanMFT
09-12-2014, 09:21 PM
Thank you Roselynne, I suspect you are correct. Funny, just before the jam, I rode 1700 feet down to the colony. They still have seven resident patients. The island overall is very quiet, which I love.

Nongdam, there were mostly older people playing, several were haole.

I will play alone tomorrow, by the ocean. I will try to remember these people are my best teachers as they showed me exactly how to drive away and embarrass a ukulele player who has arrived in my home area, and is alone....which I will not repeat.

mds725
09-12-2014, 09:33 PM
I've heard that Moloka'i is kind of a reclusive island and the community is sort of closed. It reminds me a little of Boston neighborhoods back in the 70s, when everything was about turf. I once had an Irish friend who went to South Boston once for St. Patrick's Day and he was shunned not because of his ethnicity (he was Irish) but because he wasn't from the neighborhood. There's probably some dance you had to do where if you showed respect in whatever way they were expecting to be respected, they might have invited you to play, but these sorts of unwritten rules are archaic and rude, even among a reclusive group. I hope you have better experiences on the remainder of your visit.

Roselynne
09-12-2014, 10:05 PM
What you encountered was wrong. Period. No way to defend it -- only, perhaps, an explanation. The haoles present were most likely either long-time jammers with this group, or were introduced to the group by resident jammers in the approved (but unwritten) manner.

(It is also possible to be improperly introduced, which can be worse than walking in at random!)

Some folks have run into similar situations here on the Mainland. Insularity can exist anywhere. Thank The Force that it is not everywhere!

I hope your future experiences will be more fulfilling and rewarding. You deserve better!

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
09-13-2014, 02:29 AM
That sounds very strange to me. I lived on Moloka'i for 10 years and I have never
experienced such a thing. The residents usually value their visitors because they get so few of them. I've known the people to be especially loving unless they feel threatened in some way. I'd be interested in hearing the details of this incident. Never the less I am sorry this happened to you.

Icelander53
09-13-2014, 04:15 AM
Toward the end of my vacation here on beautiful Molokai. Looked forward to attending a ukulele play along, and was told visitors were welcome.

When I arrived I was told I was not welcome to sit at the table with the ukulele players, even though there were open seats, and then was told it was about respecting the old people of Molokai, that I don't look like I know this instrument, and if I didn't know everything they were playing, I should sit and listen.

I feel really sad. I love this instrument and I am passionate about the history and community around the ukulele. I post here not to trash Hawaii or Molokai but to shake free the bad feelings and get back to the underground where I am always treated with the Aloha spirit.

What a bummer. I'll tell you the effect this has on me. Not going on a uke vacation in Hawaii anytime soon and if I do go I'm going to HMS and call that my trip. I know I'll be treated well there no matter what. What a sad experience.

strumsilly
09-13-2014, 04:34 AM
What a bummer. I'll tell you the effect this has on me. Not going on a uke vacation in Hawaii anytime soon and if I do go I'm going to HMS and call that my trip. I know I'll be treated well there no matter what. What a sad experience.
It is a dream of mine to mak it to HI now that I live close [5 hours] to the west coast. I'm not going to let this incident stop me, but I might skip Molikai.

Jim Hanks
09-13-2014, 04:38 AM
. I'll tell you the effect this has on me. Not going on a uke vacation in Hawaii anytime soon and if I do go I'm going to HMS and call that my trip. I know I'll be treated well there no matter what. What a sad experience.
Wow, so you're going to brand an entire state from one related experience? Sounds like it wasn't even representative of that one island much less the whole state. I'm sure there are many great "uke vacation" experiences to be had HI and I would love to do that someday. Not likely for me, but I agree such a trip would probably start at HMS or maybe KoAloha.

Wicked
09-13-2014, 05:17 AM
With the few details available, I would guess that these people are serious players who regularly play together. I doubt that their intent was to make you feel unwelcome, but they gather for their own enjoyment. In short, this was a “jam” and not a “strum along.”

Believe me, if you had tried to just hop up on the bandstand of a Jazz or Bluegrass jam, they would have been openly hostile to you.

The best way to approach a jam as a newcomer is as an audience member – but make it clear that you have your instrument with you, and are ready to join when asked. You will be asked.

SteveZ
09-13-2014, 05:50 AM
Wicked's post (#17) makes a number of good points and sense. Jams where there is a performer's section and a separate audience/sing-along section are often by-invitation-only for new musicians. The new musicians are expected to observe from the audience section for a while as how things work among the existing musicians before receiving an invitation to join. That keeps thing rolling without confusion amongst the musicians and lets the prospective musician to determine how s/he will fit in.

Being a short-time tourist at a locale often means not getting the "straight skinny" on how things are done, as advice often comes from folk not fully in the know, but just aware that events are happening. The hotel desk clerk or equivalent often has only newspaper-notice information, doesn't understand the protocols, and wants to be "helpful" even when not knowing.

I've shown up at jams where the information about it I got was one thing, but reality another thing altogether, and had to adjust accordingly. Most often I had to wait until a first set was over, then go to the performer's section during the break and "talk shop," and then find myself invited to join. It's just a matter of protocol.

Icelander53
09-13-2014, 06:26 AM
Jim Hanks

Yes that's my immediate reaction. Anger/sadness. I can just imagine that happening to me and how lousy I'd feel about making that effort. Now over time that will probably balance itself with some better rational but the seed has been planted and when I weigh my options of a vacation that might carry the day. However HMS is on my list. Andrew and I have a lunch date. I think I'd be satisfied with that.

Icelander53
09-13-2014, 06:30 AM
Wicked's post (#17) makes a number of good points and sense. Jams where there is a performer's section and a separate audience/sing-along section are often by-invitation-only for new musicians. The new musicians are expected to observe from the audience section for a while as how things work among the existing musicians before receiving an invitation to join. That keeps thing rolling without confusion amongst the musicians and lets the prospective musician to determine how s/he will fit in.

Being a short-time tourist at a locale often means not getting the "straight skinny" on how things are done, as advice often comes from folk not fully in the know, but just aware that events are happening. The hotel desk clerk or equivalent often has only newspaper-notice information, doesn't understand the protocols, and wants to be "helpful" even when not knowing.

I've shown up at jams where the information about it I got was one thing, but reality another thing altogether, and had to adjust accordingly. Most often I had to wait until a first set was over, then go to the performer's section during the break and "talk shop," and then find myself invited to join. It's just a matter of protocol.


You make a good point and I'd be just as pissed that I got bad information from people who should keep their mouths shut if they aren't sure of what they are talking about. I know that's a lot to ask. It's a let the buyer beware situation.

Oh well, live and learn..... some more. It's hard to know what really went down over there. I was taking the OP at his word and expecting his version to be the complete and accurate story. That's often not the case and I forgot that in the moment because he seemed reasonable and genuinely disappointed. I'm a sucker for the underdog. On the other hand he may be right on.

hawaii 50
09-13-2014, 06:47 AM
That sounds very strange to me. I lived on Moloka'i for 10 years and I have never
experienced such a thing. The residents usually value their visitors because they get so few of them. I've known the people to be especially loving unless they feel threatened in some way. I'd be interested in hearing the details of this incident. Never the less I am sorry this happened to you.

yes it sounds strange to me too Chuck...i know you lived on Molokai and loved the people there too.....
i would like to hear the details too..post # 17 makes sense to me.....sometimes when not invited to a get together of anykind means something to the folks that are all ready there in a group....we will only get one side of the story so hope we can get more info from the OP

but to not to visit the State of Hawaii is pretty strong.....i guess you can call that reverse Aloha....:)

my 2 cents

RyanMFT
09-13-2014, 06:52 AM
Let me be clear, no one should skip Hawaii, the beauty here is second to none.

Maybe I was too excited to join and should have done it differently in some way. I assumed from what I was told by people I asked on the island, and by a very nice person selling ukuleles at the event that anyone can go play. These people play together weekly, more than that I do not know.

I'm not sure what details to give. I walked in with a smile and a uke, asked if I could sit at one of the open seats and was told no, those were being saved. The event was half over, so to me that meant I was not welcome. I walked away and at the ukulele sales table, told the seller what happened. A Local woman standing there strumming a uke at the table said "this event isn't about playing ukulele but about people showing respect to the elders of the island. She said, you don't know how to play this instrument yet, do you. I replied that I play every day for many years, and she looked surprised and said, well, do you know every chord to every song this group plays (there were songbooks on the table), and that I should sit and listen because I don't know these songs."


I have been treated very well on Molokai, and this was just a very strange and hurtful incident I shared because I was hurt and hope to move past it...people will be people. I don't have a thick skin for this type of thing, maybe someone else would have brushed it off and hung around, but I felt so embarrassed and rejected that I just left.

Paul December
09-13-2014, 07:09 AM
Plot twist...
...This particular group all had leprosy, and actually was doing you a favor.

greenie44
09-13-2014, 07:39 AM
Sorry to hear this, but I would just mark it off as an anomaly, as many other posts seem to point to.

I had an experience a little like this, but with a better outcome. Two summers ago, I was talking story with some folks at Pua Pua in Waikiki, and they told me to come to the 'jam' behind the police station Sunday night. I went once and listened for a while, and thought I could play along.

The next week I went there, and only once the playing started did I realize this was a kanikapila (sp?), where folks play exclusively Hawaiian music. I actually don't know any Hawaiian music, but I did my best to play along. When it came my turn to pick a song, I figured I would take something out of my repertoire that was both easy and widely known, so I did I Shall Be Released by Dylan. Folks tried to play along and were polite, but it was obviously out of place.

Some there seemed to ignore me, some encouraged me, and some were probably a bit miffed at my presence, but this was on Waikiki, so I was probably not that odd.

Suffice it to say that I will learn some Hawaiian songs before I go back.

But my experience at the Ukulele Fest this summer was nothing short of awesome in terms of welcoming.

coolkayaker1
09-13-2014, 07:48 AM
Suffice it to say that I will learn some Hawaiian songs before I go back.

.

That's a good idea. Little Grass Shack, for instance.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HNpVs_QZkQ

VegasGeorge
09-13-2014, 08:03 AM
Were you told you'd be welcomed at the play along by someone who was in a position to know? If so, that person ought to be told just how badly mistaken he was. Otherwise, he'll be sending other unsuspecting visitors there to receive the same rude treatment. If you got the information from someone who wasn't in a position to know, then I guess you were just taking your own chances in going there. Either way, I'm sorry to hear about it. The Ukulele community I'm familiar with is better than that.

Dan Uke
09-13-2014, 10:02 AM
Learn a few Hawaiian songs and play quietly in the background...maybe one of them will hear you and ask you to lead it. I wonder if the people there actually like Molokai Slide?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qL58smK3FWE

Roselynne
09-13-2014, 11:00 AM
Let me be clear, no one should skip Hawaii, the beauty here is second to none.

Maybe I was too excited to join and should have done it differently in some way. I assumed from what I was told by people I asked on the island, and by a very nice person selling ukuleles at the event that anyone can go play. These people play together weekly, more than that I do not know.

I'm not sure what details to give. I walked in with a smile and a uke, asked if I could sit at one of the open seats and was told no, those were being saved. The event was half over, so to me that meant I was not welcome. I walked away and at the ukulele sales table, told the seller what happened. A Local woman standing there strumming a uke at the table said "this event isn't about playing ukulele but about people showing respect to the elders of the island. She said, you don't know how to play this instrument yet, do you. I replied that I play every day for many years, and she looked surprised and said, well, do you know every chord to every song this group plays (there were songbooks on the table), and that I should sit and listen because I don't know these songs."

I have been treated very well on Molokai, and this was just a very strange and hurtful incident I shared because I was hurt and hope to move past it...people will be people. I don't have a thick skin for this type of thing, maybe someone else would have brushed it off and hung around, but I felt so embarrassed and rejected that I just left.

That illuminates things somewhat. Yes, it sounds like a culture clash in part (though not everyone on the island would be quite so cliquish about it) ... but it also sounds like maybe the jam wasn't open to beginners at all. Some jams start out open to all levels, then a core group starts working together seriously, so they close ranks -- often without publicizing that fact (it happens here on the Mainland, too).

You also came in halfway through. If there were a beginner's portion, it might have come at the very beginning, while the second half was reserved for players to perfect songs they've already learned. They may even have been a performing group, using the last half for rehearsal.

Rude is still rude; the folks you talked to could've handled it better. For one thing, it's rude to assume deliberate disrespect, then react on that assumption.

The only suggestion I might make for similar "cold-calls" in the future - wherever they may happen to be -- is to seek out someone who's close to the door, then -- during a break -- ask them about the "house rules" (assuming none are posted, or listed on any handouts).

Icelander53
09-13-2014, 11:10 AM
Let me be clear, no one should skip Hawaii, the beauty here is second to none.

Maybe I was too excited to join and should have done it differently in some way. I assumed from what I was told by people I asked on the island, and by a very nice person selling ukuleles at the event that anyone can go play. These people play together weekly, more than that I do not know.

I'm not sure what details to give. I walked in with a smile and a uke, asked if I could sit at one of the open seats and was told no, those were being saved. The event was half over, so to me that meant I was not welcome. I walked away and at the ukulele sales table, told the seller what happened. A Local woman standing there strumming a uke at the table said "this event isn't about playing ukulele but about people showing respect to the elders of the island. She said, you don't know how to play this instrument yet, do you. I replied that I play every day for many years, and she looked surprised and said, well, do you know every chord to every song this group plays (there were songbooks on the table), and that I should sit and listen because I don't know these songs."


I have been treated very well on Molokai, and this was just a very strange and hurtful incident I shared because I was hurt and hope to move past it...people will be people. I don't have a thick skin for this type of thing, maybe someone else would have brushed it off and hung around, but I felt so embarrassed and rejected that I just left.

Well I would have left also. I've never bought into the idea that people here or there are just the friendliest people to be found. There are uptight people everywhere. And that includes the beautiful islands of romantic Hawaii. I just hope you found other fun things to make the rest of your trip worthwhile. There are no perfect vacations, just good ones. I can tell from what you write here that you'll get over this one fast and it was worth sharing your experience even if it was a negative one. As I've stated here in other discussions, there should be no taboo opinions.

uke4ia
09-13-2014, 11:24 AM
Ryan, I'm not sure why so many posters are quick to conclude that you didn't experience what you experienced. We like to think of the ukulele community as being open and welcoming, but it's not always so. I've been playing for 38 years and while the welcoming folks are the majority, I've also run into plenty of standoffish folks. Until recently, there weren't that many uke players, so some people got into the habit of seeing the ukulele as their own little personal area of control. The big fish in the little pond. Some haven't been able to let go of the attitude that they should get to be the gatekeepers and decide who gets to be a uke player. It's good that you enjoyed the rest of your vacation there.

coolkayaker1
09-13-2014, 01:25 PM
It could be that the uke group was a shell for an illegal craps game, which could only start after they got the undercover cop (Ryan) out of there.

I'm just trying to think of all the possibilities. :)

Okay, now back to the regularly scheduled evisceration of Molokai'i.

Tigeralum2001
09-13-2014, 02:01 PM
I hate to hear that! Molokai is the only populated island I haven't visited (well, besides Ni'ihau... I'll have to figure that one out one day), and I am looking forward to visiting. It is a shame when events like this occur, especially to someone like you, Ryan, who has so muh love for the uke and respect for the local culture.

I hope the rest of your vacation goes well and I look forward to hearing more about it.

Bill1
09-13-2014, 02:30 PM
There will be jams less than 20 minutes from where you live that have similar rules and cultural ideas, maybe different instruments. But that does not change the disappointment.
Making a post and creating discussion is a good way to share the experience and help everyone think about how their group interacts strangers. How does your group welcome strangers? Some strangers come and go others turn into acquaintances or friends. Some even learn to play well. Does you group like to turn strangers into friends, no matter how good they are at playing ukulele, or do strangers have to be good enough to join? If someone is not very good at playing does your group have a way of making their experience happy, even if you are a "serious" group?
In visiting groups where they are "serious" the dances steps and, exact strumming patterns, and exact chords are important, you might need to sit and pass a test before being allowed to join in. In other groups where they are leisurely they might just shuffle around so you can see the music and keep on playing, and just be nice to you.
But it is not only the group, I have seen "serious" players visit a group i am at, with their nice ukes and hip dress, obviously visitors from another country, and they stand and listen for a few tunes and decide we are too leisurely for them, and they don't join in. Maybe they were disappointed because our group was not what they were looking for?
This thread just makes the world of ukulele more interesting.

RyanMFT
09-13-2014, 02:34 PM
Thanks for the thoughtful support friends. I hope it doesn't sound like I am eviscerating Molokai. It is beautiful here and I have been treated well except for this one incident.

Roalynne, I am no expert, but far from a beginner.

Uke4ia, I think you nailed it. I'm over it, I went to town this morning and smiled at all the aunties, most smiled back and greeted me. Then went snorkeling and let a local girl, maybe six years old swimming with her dad shoot me with her water cannon. We all laughed and the dad thanked me for being kind to his child.

Roselynne
09-13-2014, 03:05 PM
Thanks for the thoughtful support friends. I hope it doesn't sound like I am eviscerating Molokai. It is beautiful here and I have been treated well except for this one incident.

Roalynne, I am no expert, but far from a beginner. Everywhere I go people assume I am a beginner. Maybe being a middle aged Jewish therapist doesn't scream ukulele competence but I've got a few chops!

Uke4ia, I think you nailed it. I'm over it, I went to town this morning and smiled at all the aunties, most smiled back and greeted me. Then went snorkeling and let a local girl, maybe six years old swimming with her dad shoot me with her water cannon. We all laughed and the dad thanked me for being kind to his child.

RE: the bolded. That's the picture I got from your posts, Ryan! Except for the religion and occupation bits, that is. I'm delighted, but not surprised, that the rest of your vacation is happening on friendlier notes.

Nickie
09-13-2014, 03:51 PM
There will be jams less than 20 minutes from where you live that have similar rules and cultural ideas, maybe different instruments. But that does not change the disappointment.
Making a post and creating discussion is a good way to share the experience and help everyone think about how their group interacts strangers. How does your group welcome strangers? Some strangers come and go others turn into acquaintances or friends. Some even learn to play well. Does you group like to turn strangers into friends, no matter how good they are at playing ukulele, or do strangers have to be good enough to join? If someone is not very good at playing does your group have a way of making their experience happy, even if you are a "serious" group?
In visiting groups where they are "serious" the dances steps and, exact strumming patterns, and exact chords are important, you might need to sit and pass a test before being allowed to join in. In other groups where they are leisurely they might just shuffle around so you can see the music and keep on playing, and just be nice to you.
But it is not only the group, I have seen "serious" players visit a group i am at, with their nice ukes and hip dress, obviously visitors from another country, and they stand and listen for a few tunes and decide we are too leisurely for them, and they don't join in. Maybe they were disappointed because our group was not what they were looking for?
This thread just makes the world of ukulele more interesting.

We had a new member show up at our Saturday afternoon jam today. The woman she sat down next to engaged her. Her son also showed up. I made sure that after the jam, I walked over and introduced myself, weclomed them, asked if they enjoyed it enough to come back, and they both said they would love to....that's what I do.....some of our members are very friendly, and great at making others feel welcome....

haole
09-13-2014, 03:58 PM
I'm sorry you had a crappy experience on your trip, but you handled the whole thing with humility and class and thoughtfulness. Glad to hear you're enjoying the trip otherwise!

coolkayaker1
09-13-2014, 04:29 PM
Your day playing with the little girl in the water reminded me of J.D. Salinger's most famous short story, "A Perfect Day For Bananafish". I thought I'd toss the pdf link of it, from his collection, Nine Stories, so that you can read it on your long flight home (since it's PDF, if you open it once on your iPad, Ryan, it'll not need wi-fi to read on the flight) if you are so moved. If you're reading something else, just forget about it; it's all good. Charming story, especially the part where Seymour plays with Sybil in the ocean and tickles her feet. :-)
http://materlakes.enschool.org/ourpages/auto/2013/2/25/50973306/Nine_Stories_by_J_D__Salinger.pdf

Hope you'll get to post some video or photos of Molokai'i. I can't picture it. Idyllic (with the exception of that covert craps parlor), I'm sure.

Ukejenny
09-13-2014, 04:34 PM
I vote zombies. Gotta be zombies. Be glad you are still alive, man.


Seriously, whatever vibe they were putting out is not the vibe for you, so you did right in leaving. I hope that is not going to be your only ukulele experience on the Island(s). If possible, I hope you can find some other event, or store, or experience that will clean your musical and emotional palette and allow you to leave the Aloha state with a good taste in your mouth.

I would also get word to those who encouraged you to go (everyone is welcome) and let them know they are putting out the wrong information.

I have a friend in my hometown visiting Oahu and she was taking a hike and heard someone playing ukulele along the trail - they were playing the National Anthem. It was Sept. 11th. She spoke of it like a magical moment. I hope you can make a memory like that before you fly home.

hilot.h.
09-13-2014, 07:59 PM
That's life in the Islands.Sometimes it's cool .Sometimes not.Just walk away,and say F**K 'EM.

Icelander53
09-13-2014, 08:45 PM
I think that would apply everywhere. ;)

igorthebarbarian
09-13-2014, 09:17 PM
Never having been popular or cool growing up, I think I know the feeling that Ryan got. The unspoken uncomfortableness / awkwardness of the situation. Yep. And yeah it sucks and you can sense it. Sorry you had a crap time there. But at least you got a story out of it... not a good one, but it sounds like you made some better memories and better stories after that!
Also, post some pics of this magical leprosy-filled place that most of us will never get to experience if you have a chance. And maybe throw your uke in there too so we can have all of our senses blown.

Roselynne
09-13-2014, 09:59 PM
That's life in the Islands.Sometimes it's cool .Sometimes not.Just walk away,and say F**K 'EM.


I think that would apply everywhere. ;)

Yeah, it can happen anywhere. I can remember a few threads like this, both on this forum and on guitar forums. When it happens on the Islands, however, it tends to have its own, unique additional flavor.

That said ... like anywhere else, most Island jams would either be truly open, or state their rules up-front.

kohanmike
09-13-2014, 10:34 PM
I completely understand where you're coming from Ryan, I'm also very sensitive to how I'm treated, especially in a new situation. (I'm a photographer, graphic designer, ex-studio prop man, and son of Jewish Holocaust survivors, so sensitivity certainly runs in my tribe). My recent experience was with a group I joined shortly after starting to play ukulele a year ago.

They're pretty advanced, way beyond me, and I certainly was intimidated all the time, but I hoped being part of it would help me improve, so I kept on. At first I was welcomed, but after a while, one of the guys started giving me the cold shoulder (I manage my parents apartments and over the last 30 years I really learned how to read people) and another harped on me about learning theory. I know I was way behind them, but during a rehearsal he called me out for not keeping up when we went into a new song in a much quicker tempo than we had done before, even though most everyone else also had flubs.

It really hurt and embarrassed me to be singled out like that in front of everybody. For the next few days I really had to evaluate the situation and I realized that I bit off more than I could chew and dropped out. I'm also a member of basic strum and hum group that is all about camaraderie and acceptance, I really enjoy being a part of that.

SteveZ
09-14-2014, 03:31 AM
Just a stray thought about the Molokai incident.

I live in an area which has a seasonal influx adding 40% to the population. Most of the snowbirds are pleasant folk and good seasonal neighbors. However, a significant percentage are downright boors who think of the locale as a "land-locked cruise ship" with everyone as their servants. Makes me appreciate reruns of "Upstairs, Downstairs."

When tourists visit an area there sometimes is an expectation that everyone who lives there full-time loves having tourists around. Just because tourism may be a major industry in a locale doesn't mean everybody loves tourists, especially those tourists who force their way into local events with the expectation that the event and participants are there solely for the tourist's pleasure. While many tourists are pleasant folk, not all are , but instead are demanding, superior-attitude persons who expect everyone who lives in a locale are "hotel staff" there for their convenience. If a couple of folk like that were recent visitors to the jam, it can tend to sour the full-timers on being tourist-tolerant.

When visiting a locale as a tourist, it's important to remember that while you are there for fun, the locals are there working full-time and what little free-time they have they may not want to spend entertaining tourists. On their free time, especially those who deal full-time with tourists for a living, they may not want to "work" with tourists 24/7.

So, when one finds out about unpublicized local events, it's wise to check if it's an intended-for-locals-only (visitors accepted by invitation) or an open tourist event. After all, there's probably a good reason why the event isn't advertised as a tourist-centric event, because even the locals need a break from work, and catering to tourists is work.

peanuts56
09-14-2014, 06:18 AM
Hawaii like any other place in the world has it's good folks and real jerks. I spend 5-6 weeks in Hawaii every summer and have met real hostile locals and also super friendly people. My wife is kamaaina and grew up in the Kalihi area.
I swim at Ala Moana Beach Park and know a few of the older guys who swim there. Some I have known for 15 years. I was sitting on the wall along the beach talking to one of the guys I know. There was Native Hawaiian man sitting nearby playing his uke. We struck up a conversation and he even let me play his instrument. He was really nice and we talked for quite awhile. He actually thought I was a local. I mentioned that we visit every summer to see my wife's family and would be leaving in a few days. He shook my hand and told me to be sure and come by next summer when we visit. He couldn't have been nicer, even complimented me on my playing. I also wandered into an ukulele class at the Asian Market Place and was invited to grab an instrument and sit in.
I also have had situations where I was treated with hostility by locals. Hawaii doesn't own the patent on that. My wife and I moved in 96 to a smaller town not too far from the town I grew up in. I grew up in a very racially diverse city and played with kids of all colors and ethnicities as a youth. The town we moved to is primarily white Yankee/Redneck. My wife's ancestry is Chinese and I'm Italian/Irish. We walked into the local Dairy Bar for lunch shortly after moving there. It was painfully obvious that we were not welcome when we sat down, we were actually given the stink eye from a couple of guys. They were the kind of guys who wear John Deere baseball hats and never remove them when entering an establishment.
What happened to you in Molokai could have happened anywhere. Small communities tend to not want outsiders invading their hangouts. Ignorant people tend to remain that way from cradle to grave. Move on, plenty of other good, friendly people in Hawaii.

Skinny Money McGee
09-14-2014, 09:29 AM
I don't believe the OP was thinking about or mentioned anything about race, or income class.

coolkayaker1
09-14-2014, 10:08 AM
Hawaii like any other place in the world has it's good folks and real jerks. I spend 5-6 weeks in Hawaii every summer and have met real hostile locals and also super friendly people.

In the movie, Blue Crush, the locals wouldn't let actress Kate Bosworth surf on their waves. Even beat up that actor--I forget his name, but he was the boyfriend in Legally Blonde; he always gets the good boyfriend parts because he has dimples--just because he was on "their" beach, necking with Kate Bosworth. So I know what you write about, peanuts56, really exists over there.

ricdoug
09-14-2014, 10:55 AM
Sorry about the pilikea, Ryan. Musicians like Aldrine Guerrero have received the same treatment on the islands. It's not just associated with Hawai'i, there are many musical jam sessions that have bad feelings toward outsiders. Don't let this stop you from having fun with the 'ukulele. Ric

blue_knight_usa
09-14-2014, 03:56 PM
Bruddah! I just got back from the houseboat and saw this. I told you that you have to wear clothes when you do that! ;-)

Pueo
09-14-2014, 06:46 PM
So sorry you had that experience! Most ukulele groups I encounter I find I am the shy one so I only join in when asked, and I am always asked. I love Hawaiian music, and know many songs, so they are usually surprised when I bust out some Hawaiian songs. I think perhaps if you had arrived at the beginning your experience may have been different.
Don't be discouraged! Glad you took it well. I am sure I would have felt the same way in your position, especially since I probably did know many of the songs they play!

Oh, and I am haole too, but most folks know I live here.

consitter
09-15-2014, 12:11 AM
Totally different island and set of people, but Gabby Pahinui had a saying, "Come. Listen. Play." Usually, when he had his get togethers, which were on the weekends, the way he had the younger people learn to play slack key guitar was simply by listening. He gave them no books, or pointers. Just listen, and respect the regular players. But all were invited to attend, and play if they could keep up.

I have no idea if this is what applied here. I know he didn't tell people that they weren't welcome to sit in, but not telling anybody the secret key that he was playing in was part of the learning experience.

CeeJay
09-15-2014, 01:20 AM
Reading this thread immediately makes me think of what I have read about Bluegrass..and how fiercely that seems to be protected by it's exponents......sometimes less than pleasantly.....as for Hawaiians having things "stolen"....well is the Ukulele not a rip off (in the nicest possible meaning of the phrase) of the Portugeuse Machete ?

So why do some people get really precious about "their" music.......seems sad to me....music should be about fun,interaction and getting along......this bollox about "you can't play here ..you don't look as if you know what you are doing" is just that ...and I think that the OP has behaved with gravitas and dignity........

and what is a haole ?...and can you eat it ?

SteveZ
09-15-2014, 02:56 AM
...and what is a haole ?...and can you eat it ?

First question: It's the "H" word - cannot answer without being politically incorrect.

Second question: At one time it was common to do so there, but now it's illegal (but is it still practiced???)

CeeJay
09-15-2014, 04:13 AM
First question: It's the "H" word - cannot answer without being politically incorrect.

Second question: At one time it was common to do so there, but now it's illegal (but is it still practiced???)

UhOh ...stepped foot on landmine ...now cannot take it off....forgot about 2nd part of your answer ......Captain cook and all that (though that was supposed to be a misunderstanding...quite a large on though I would say , but still all forgive and forget eh what ?!!) Cool Beans and LOLs all round.......Mines a double Mr Potato

......yerssssssssssss.....I think may be getting the drift on the "H" word.....hmmmmmmmmm.......

hoosierhiver
09-15-2014, 04:17 AM
Reading this thread immediately makes me think of what I have read about Bluegrass..and how fiercely that seems to be protected by it's exponents......sometimes less than pleasantly

That is very true, some of the old timers can be jack-asses if you try anything they consider nontraditional. Even (and sometimes especially) from some of the more famous ones.

Rllink
09-15-2014, 04:25 AM
I think that it is common for people to think that other people who have the same interests are loving and inclusive. Kind of like we are all brothers and sisters in ukulele. I've seen it in other endeavors as well. But that isn't the case all the time. I found a local group that has made it pretty clear to me that they aren't interested in expanding. They actually call themselves and exclusive ukulele club. I do not take it personal and I don't think anyone who is not included in any group should. They are probably all friends and do it on a regular basis. They know each other. To me it is like you are sitting in a restaurant with a bunch of friends, and some stranger wants to sit down with you. Sometimes it is just an exclusive group. So I wouldn't feel bad about it. Just say, "that's cool", and enjoy the day.

Jon Moody
09-15-2014, 04:28 AM
Reading this thread immediately makes me think of what I have read about Bluegrass..and how fiercely that seems to be protected by it's exponents......sometimes less than pleasantly.....as for Hawaiians having things "stolen"....well is the Ukulele not a rip off (in the nicest possible meaning of the phrase) of the Portugeuse Machete ?

From my experience with bluegrass musicians, there is a lot of pride and tradition that goes into it. "True" bluegrass players stick with traditional instrumentation and style, and you have to prove yourself prior to even being allowed to sit in on a jam. So, for someone like myself that plays an electric-upright bass, while I could easily hang in a bluegrass setting, it would be completely out of place and frowned upon, maybe to the point of being seen as a sign of disrespect to their musical tradition. So, to approach something with respect for the genre first and foremost is needed.

And it's not just bluegrass. I regularly play with a folk singer, and brought my electric-upright to a folk festival. The amount of sneers and looks I got for even defiling the stage with that instrument was crazy. And yet, after hearing me play, they were all smiles. Go figure.

I'm assuming the same could be with this ukulele group that we're discussing. There is a difference here (I play a mean uke, but I know little to nothing on the Hawaiian aspects of the music) in terms of style and genre, and I'm sure the people in that group are very proud of the heritage and tradition of their music (esp since the OP mentioned showing up to the gathering was more as a sign of respect).

It happens, and the OP handled it amazingly well.

Roselynne
09-15-2014, 06:00 AM
Reading this thread immediately makes me think of what I have read about Bluegrass..and how fiercely that seems to be protected by it's exponents......sometimes less than pleasantly.....as for Hawaiians having things "stolen"....well is the Ukulele not a rip off (in the nicest possible meaning of the phrase) of the Portugeuse Machete ?

So why do some people get really precious about "their" music.......seems sad to me....music should be about fun,interaction and getting along......this bollox about "you can't play here ..you don't look as if you know what you are doing" is just that ...and I think that the OP has behaved with gravitas and dignity........

and what is a haole ?...and can you eat it ?

"Haole" means, literally, "foreigner." Now it's applied to Caucasians. Whether it's meant as derogatory depends on who's speaking, and how they are speaking. (Ethnic inter-relations are ... different there. Hard to describe.)

As for losses ... Hawai'ians also lost a large part of their population to Western diseases, and never quite recovered from that loss. At one point, all of their cultural traditions and language were criminalized. They lost their sovereignty and their land. No matter where you are, people tend not to LOL-and-forget such things.

Despite all of that, Hawai'i is far from being a hotbed of hostility and conflict. Still, like everywhere else where humans are found, all attitudes, positive and negative, are present.

Coconut Willie
09-15-2014, 06:05 AM
hmmm....too bad, as for me, I would just sit there and enjoy their playing. If they wanted me to join I would join.....no real biggie, you are in Hawaii!!!

CeeJay
09-15-2014, 07:36 AM
"Haole" means, literally, "foreigner." Now it's applied to Caucasians. Whether it's meant as derogatory depends on who's speaking, and how they are speaking. (Ethnic inter-relations are ... different there. Hard to describe.)

As for losses ... Hawai'ians also lost a large part of their population to Western diseases, and never quite recovered from that loss. At one point, all of their cultural traditions and language were criminalized. They lost their sovereignty and their land. No matter where you are, people tend not to LOL-and-forget such things.

Despite all of that, Hawai'i is far from being a hotbed of hostility and conflict. Still, like everywhere else where humans are found, all attitudes, positive and negative, are present.

IF the word "Haole" can be used in a derogatory manner then it should not be acceptable in any use ..if it can be used like a certain "N" word that most of europe ..well western europe at least has consigned to the bin of shame I see no good use for it .....

History is for the History Channel and this is a Ukelele Forum .

I made the off the cuff comments about Captain Cook lightly and tongue in cheek as a resident from near Whitby and not all wishing to fall out ...

I still maintain my point about Ukelele being a ripped off Machete... Braguina....

@One Bad Monkey .. your point is well made and to me illustrates the oddness of human beings who are like minded and yet so intransigent ....and bluegrass Tradition ...well ..again it is another rip off....U K, Irish (Eire) and a smidge of African -American music (if my source is correct !)...well rip off is a bit of an emotive phrase ....lets say adaptation .....good job those transplanted Brits were okay about mucking about with their tunes wasn't it .....? Wahay :music::nana:

RyanMFT
09-15-2014, 08:54 AM
All, I am home and I have left this experience behind. I very much appreciate all the thoughts and support. It seems the thread is now diverting and perhaps we can take from my experience that no matter what the "unwritten rules" "protocols" or norms are, that when given the chance, we can and should welcome newcomers, in some way, or to the best of our ability. No one owns this instrument, it is a decedent of the lute, which the Portuguese brought to Hawaii in the form of the machete, which quickly became the ukulele and was embraced by Hawaii, and then very quickly migrated to the mainland and was embraced here as well as many other places around the world.

If anyone is thinking of going to Moloka'i, it is a very special place and I highly recommend it.

Let's let this thread go now...

Jon Moody
09-15-2014, 09:03 AM
@One Bad Monkey .. your point is well made and to me illustrates the oddness of human beings who are like minded and yet so intransigent ....and bluegrass Tradition ...well ..again it is another rip off....U K, Irish (Eire) and a smidge of African -American music (if my source is correct !)...well rip off is a bit of an emotive phrase ....lets say adaptation .....good job those transplanted Brits were okay about mucking about with their tunes wasn't it .....? Wahay :music::nana:

With that logic, everything you play is ripped off, since music really is only 12 notes in Western pedagogy. At some point, all of these things broke free of just being ripped off of something and worthy of their own title and respect. Some people feel that respect needs to be given upfront more than others. It happens.

CeeJay
09-15-2014, 11:50 AM
Yes ...I'm not sure if I'm being chastised for a light hearted comment here ....?

Tell you what ...Thread ...snapped ...gone......

Dan Uke
09-15-2014, 11:54 AM
Yes ...I'm not sure if I'm being chastised for a light hearted comment here ....?

Tell you what ...Thread ...snapped ...gone......

CeeJay, did you get banned or does that mean you're banning yourself? :p

CeeJay
09-15-2014, 12:10 PM
CeeJay, did you get banned or does that mean you're banning yourself? :p

To be honest mate ..this place ...phurr....I can't crack wise without getting into bother ....so I may just sod off or at least stay back on the Seasons page ......This will please many ,no doubt LOL.
Cheers

CeeJay
09-15-2014, 12:19 PM
With that logic, everything you play is ripped off, since music really is only 12 notes in Western pedagogy. At some point, all of these things broke free of just being ripped off of something and worthy of their own title and respect. Some people feel that respect needs to be given upfront more than others. It happens.

Well of course all music is a rip off ...or a transmigration or a move forward from a given position ...or else we would all be banging small sticks on big tree stumps still.....why is it though that some genres want to ring fence and strangulate their music and some ain't bothered ....I hate "Purists" ...........they would stifle development .....and I offer them no respect ...oh balls ...I thought I'd snapped my participation from this thread .......

Dan Uke
09-15-2014, 12:23 PM
To be honest mate ..this place ...phurr....I can't crack wise without getting into bother ....so I may just sod off or at least stay back on the Seasons page ......This will please many ,no doubt LOL.
Cheers

Stick around. If this is your personality and sense of humor, then show it. We all play the uke but that doesn't mean we have to be vanilla too...and no, I wasn't calling you haole! hahaha

CeeJay
09-15-2014, 12:28 PM
Stick around. If this is your personality and sense of humor, then show it. We all play the uke but that doesn't mean we have to be vanilla too...and no, I wasn't calling you haole! hahaha
Nice one ,mate .....


You know with an e, r and an s that word could become a very naughty anagram.......................Ooops Matron ,pleeeease.

dirtmaster4
09-15-2014, 12:32 PM
That's too bad, Ryan.

Kamanaaloha
09-15-2014, 12:40 PM
To the OP...next time bring beer/wine ...if u do not drink, they will...or at least ask...leave and then come back...remember, you are asking to get in. the part about being embarrassed is probably somewhere around being mis-informed/disappointed...and I am sorry for your expectations not being met. the flamefest by others...threatening not to attend anything in Hawaii or only visiting HMS...is your choice. but really? [facepalm] "when in rome..." applies everywhere...especially in hawaii!

All I would recommend is checking your source...and finding out as much as you can about the gig/group. In absence of that, always be prepared not to play[manage your expectations]...and not be asked to play. in hawaii...it is like going to a native american reservation and expecting to participate in a ceremony. you may have done your homework, but expecting to be included if that is not part of the deal is on you not them. people are funny that way...especially in Hawaii...if you are not Hawaiian/local. I remember leaving a semi-sheltered school on one island only to go to a public k-12 school in kona...to be called haole by asians...[facepalm]...and even though i had blonde hair at the time...i am 25% kanaka! bottom line, check first and accept that you might not be able to play...keep the instrument in the car...assumptions can get people angry...just the way it is.

Hawaii is a wonderful place as long as you are sensitive...and not imposing...[not saying that you were]...there are places i would go and other places i would definitely not go...it is like that everywhere...based on the car you drive and your skin color and the jewelry you wear etc. being as nonthreatening as possible is a good start...dress down...visit first...ask the kupuna [elders/teachers] and maybe one will take you under their wing...

Icelander53
09-15-2014, 12:50 PM
I'll stick with the places I'd go then. And when culture gets in the way of openness there I do not go. I'll stick with Burning Man.

Kamanaaloha
09-15-2014, 01:08 PM
I'll stick with the places I'd go then. And when culture gets in the way of openness there I do not go. I'll stick with Burning Man. that is your choice, but you might be missing out on some things...that many do not see. I am definitely reluctant to stick my neck out as well. But I have also learned, that being safe and doing the "nothing ventured...nothing lost" thing also means "nothing gained" too. to each their own. :shaka:

ricdoug
09-15-2014, 01:37 PM
I guess it's a kupuna kanikapila:

http://media.gohawaii.com/molokai/press-room/story-ideas/-ideas-/2010/09/191086_1009140328-406

http://gohawaii.about.com/od/molokaiactivities/tp/free_things_on_molokai.htm

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/apr/19/travel/la-tr-molokai-20130324

This might be equated to a Senior Citizen's gathering on the mainland. Ric

Pueo
09-15-2014, 02:17 PM
Ahh, RicDoug I believe has found the answer. I can now see that that would be a pretty touchy subject if an outsider were to just step right up to that table and assume he could jam along using the songbooks.
Even the comments you received make more sense in this context.
Kupuna are elders. Hawaiian traditions are passed down by the elders. This function is all about the kupuna sharing their knowledge with others, so the proper thing to do is sit and listen. I imagine that whoever told you about this group was mistaken as to its intent.

I will be sure to check this out when I go to Molokai, but I will just sit and listen.

coolkayaker1
09-15-2014, 02:20 PM
So, let me see if I have this straight: Ryan, unintentionally, offended the Hawaiian elders by wanting to play ukulele with them, and then they treated him like a sub-human, with all the respect one would give a farm animal? Is that the excuse for them we're up to now?

Pueo
09-15-2014, 02:34 PM
So, let me see if I have this straight: Ryan, unintentionally, offended the Hawaiian elders by wanting to play ukulele with them, and then they treated him like a sub-human, with all the respect one would give a farm animal? Is that the excuse for them we're up to now?
I am not going to get sucked into this.
I am just saying I understand what happened.
Hawaiian culture respects their elders to a very high degree.
Ryan was told this was a uke jam, but it was not that at all, it was the kupuna sharing their knowledge with everyone.
For an outsider to just brazenly assume that he had just as much right to be up there performing as the kupuna is what set them off.
This has nothing to do with talent or hospitality. It has to do with respecting your elders.
I am not condoning anyone's actions, just saying that I understand WHY it happened.

SteveZ
09-15-2014, 02:40 PM
So, let me see if I have this straight: Ryan, unintentionally, offended the Hawaiian elders by wanting to play ukulele with them, and then they treated him like a sub-human, with all the respect one would give a farm animal? Is that the excuse for them we're up to now?

I don't think so. The OP got bad info that there was an open, loose format, ukulele jam that tourists could jump into. It turns out it wasn't an open jam, but a structured "ethnic heritage" gathering with a "pecking order" which controls all who attend. Some dialogue was dropped on the OP tourist which may or may not have been interpreted accurately about what was going on, and the OP tourist, anticipating a kumbaya experience with welcoming natives, has his bubble burst.

Could it have been handled better by all parties? Of course it could. However, a couple of good lessons come out if this. 1) be sure you really know as a tourist what you are getting into. 2) when walking into a new/strange jam, first sit, listen and learn before trying to jump in.

Rllink
09-15-2014, 03:04 PM
So, let me see if I have this straight: Ryan, unintentionally, offended the Hawaiian elders by wanting to play ukulele with them, and then they treated him like a sub-human, with all the respect one would give a farm animal? Is that the excuse for them we're up to now?I don't see the sub human farm animal aspect of this whole encounter. Ryan went to a get together with some locals, because someone told him he could play his ukulele, and when he got there he was told that it was a closed group, and that he couldn't play with them, but he could listen. I just don't understand the indignation.

coolkayaker1
09-15-2014, 03:27 PM
This has nothing to do with talent or hospitality. It has to do with respecting your elders.
I am not condoning anyone's actions, just saying that I understand WHY it happened.


Pueo, although you (and a few others) may have an explanation for why Ryan got the reaction that he did, there is still no earthly explanation for how he was treated. Elders, hogwash. No one has given one iota to explain how he was treated; his treatment was, in any land, in any place, wrong. An explanation, helping him understand what we think we understand here, pulling him aside and discussing this with him one-on-one, etc., all reasonable. The way it was handled: unreasonable.

coolkayaker1
09-15-2014, 03:28 PM
I don't think so. The OP got bad info that there was an open, loose format, ukulele jam that tourists could jump into. It turns out it wasn't an open jam, but a structured "ethnic heritage" gathering with a "pecking order" which controls all who attend. Some dialogue was dropped on the OP tourist which may or may not have been interpreted accurately about what was going on, and the OP tourist, anticipating a kumbaya experience with welcoming natives, has his bubble burst.

Could it have been handled better by all parties? It could have been handled better by those wise "elders" at the gathering. I see no way that it could have been better handled by Ryan.

SteveZ
09-15-2014, 04:13 PM
It could have been handled better by those wise "elders" at the gathering. I see no way that it could have been better handled by Ryan.

With all due respect to tne OP, there's always another side to a story, and it's darned difficult to be 100% objective when you are in the middle of it all. What was said, how it was said, with what inflection, coupled with anticipation, excitement and disappointment make for misunderstanding by all.

Have seen dozens of comparable "closed society" functions ranging from religious discussions, fraternal organization meetings, civil discourse discussions and the like where a stranger (e.g., outsider) walks in, expecting to be warmly greeted only to have a "sergeant of arms" equivalent at the front door tell the stranger the event is not meant t be open to the general public and there are formal protocols in place. This doesn't sound like anything different, except some ukuleles were involved.

What happened to the OP happens every day when strangers, especially tourists, go somewhere expecting warm, open greetings and instead get the cold shoulder. While it may have been nice if the stranger gets a pleasant and stranger-centered detailed explanation concerning the event, its real purpose, the protocols, why the protocols exist and what going to occur, the reality is the sergeant-at-arms person never does that. At some point, the stranger needs to stop and say,"Oops, this is not what I expected" and exit, stage left.

What has expanded this into something more significant are two things: tourism and ukuleles. Tourists out of their element have expectations which are often inaccurate, and enjoying ukuleles (or anything else) does not invoke instant brotherhood in every circumstance.

I spent a large chunk of my life living in Metropolitan Orlando - a major tourist destination. Once in a while out-of-town/state/country tourists would show up at various social activities with the expectation that as tourists the locals would be happy to have them at the event, and would drop everything and involve them in the middle of stuff as honored guests. The reactions when that didn't happen ranged from the tourist realizing that not everything in Orlando was tourist-centric and bowing out gracefully to ranting, raving and generally boorish behavior. The bottom line is that the tourist bears some responsibility when in a strange locale to learn before doing, and when things don't appear as expected, then to adapt to the situation as opposed to the situation adapting to the tourist.

It all goes back to "when in Rome, do as......" as opposed to expecting the locals to change things just because a tourist stopped by.

ricdoug
09-15-2014, 05:06 PM
Went to a Kuana Torres Kahele Kanikapila (that's what it said on the flyer) last Saturday in Encinitas, California. After talking with several local musicians, we decided to leave our instruments in our cars and check it out, first. Wise we were. It was not traditional kanikapila, but a great performance with lots of local hula dancers:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cl9IlfFa_Qw

ricdoug
09-15-2014, 05:16 PM
This is an Elder's event sponsored by the hotel:

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/apr/19/travel/la-tr-molokai-20130324

"To keep alive the songs of Hawaii's past, Hotel Molokai invited kupuna to sing and dance together on a regular basis, offering them free food and drink. Now these elders are known all over the islands."

Traditional olelo Hawai'i kanikapila is slowly fading away with the youth of Hawai'i and being replaced with Jawaiian. I feel bad for Ryan, as he had no ill intent. When I hit the beach with my 'ukulele or guitar, I start playing and singing. Eventually, others join to sing and dance. Ric

consitter
09-15-2014, 08:05 PM
Pueo, although you (and a few others) may have an explanation for why Ryan got the reaction that he did, there is still no earthly explanation for how he was treated. Elders, hogwash. No one has given one iota to explain how he was treated; his treatment was, in any land, in any place, wrong. An explanation, helping him understand what we think we understand here, pulling him aside and discussing this with him one-on-one, etc., all reasonable. The way it was handled: unreasonable.

It might come down to one thing--local culture... There are many different types of cultures across this world of ours. What is right as rain to some is utterly wrong to others.

Small example (off the beaten path, but still an example): I, in my profession, when at my desk, put my feet up on it between rounds. Now, I have some clients that consider looking at the bottom of someone's shoes as a grave insult. Did I know that I was insulting them? No, but they take it that way regardless. And they KNOW they are in a different culture than where they came from, and that many things are going to be different. In essence, they try to force their culture, and what would insult them upon me, even though that no one from my own country/culture would even think of getting offended at seeing my feet propped up on my desk.

The few are wanting to change the many in this case, because trust me, where I work, we are a foot-propping-up bunch (at least when we get to sit down). We've been told by higher ups to respect these other cultures, but I can tell you right now, I'm NOT going to change my ways just to placate one or two people that I don't see very often.

Am I unreasonable here?

And does this make any sense at all??

hawaii 50
09-15-2014, 08:18 PM
Pueo, although you (and a few others) may have an explanation for why Ryan got the reaction that he did, there is still no earthly explanation for how he was treated. Elders, hogwash. No one has given one iota to explain how he was treated; his treatment was, in any land, in any place, wrong. An explanation, helping him understand what we think we understand here, pulling him aside and discussing this with him one-on-one, etc., all reasonable. The way it was handled: unreasonable.


come on Cool..how long is thread going on already...maybe if you come on time you can find out what is going on...but come half way through the session....in life this not cool....not only in the ukulele world....:)

RyanMFT
09-15-2014, 08:32 PM
Can we stop now? I'm the OP, and I never should have gone to the jam, or started this thread. I can't come to UU anymore without seeing this darn thread at the top.

It's getting painful....I screwed up, that has been clearly established. I'm the stupid tourist, and even dumber for posting about it. I guess this is what I get for opening the thread. I'm off to learn John Mayer's "My Stupid Mouth".

Roselynne
09-15-2014, 08:40 PM
I hope I haven't come off as calling you stupid. Obviously, you're no such thing! I did recognize some dynamics that no tourist can reasonably be expected to "just know," and pointed them out in an effort to shed some light on the situation -- without excusing the rudeness you encountered.

To go further, I appreciate the candor you've shown, and the grace with which you accepted a bad situation.

Coincidentally, there's a local kani ka pila coming up this month. I have been told that it's open, and all players and levels are welcome. We're in California, but even here "kani ka pila" can mean many things besides the literal "let's play music." For me, this was a much-needed reminder to go lightly. Many thanks!

consitter
09-15-2014, 08:47 PM
Can we stop now? I'm the OP, and I never should have gone to the jam, or started this thread. I can't come to UU anymore without seeing this darn thread at the top.

It's getting painful....I screwed up, that has been clearly established. I'm the stupid tourist, and even dumber for posting about it. I guess this is what I get for opening the thread. I'm off to learn John Mayer's "My Stupid Mouth".

I'll stop right after I say this...

Seeing your thread 'at the top' means it has generated great interest. There's a lot of people that are on your side here. Even though I've posted why they may have treated you the way they did, in no way means that I think you are wrong for feeling how you do. If nothing else, you've given other people a heads-up as to what they may or may not expect in a similar situation on Molokai. It may just depend on the group that you drop in on. Or it may not.

I truly want to go to Molokai one day myself. The ohana from KoAloha Ukulele goes there at least once, sometimes twice a year to build ukes with school children. Most of these kids are from families so poor that they can't even afford to buy a uke. With a little sweat equity, they get to own a K brand. I want to go with the folks from KoAloha to one of these builds, if nothing else, to do grunt work packing things back and forth for the crew.

mm stan
09-16-2014, 01:49 AM
Aloha Ryan....
so sorry this happened to you...it's shameful that happened to you and what has happened here.....you talk about bad aloha, and look at what this has turned into...
.... if you see bad, does that give you the right to be judgemental and act the same even if you really dont know the actual facts...sheesh no wonder I no come here no more
darn disgraceful
Hey Ryan, tell the mods to shut this thread already...

Wicked
09-16-2014, 02:54 AM
Stan, my friend, I don't really get the impression that anybody is being judgmental of Ryan. Most posts appear to attempt to put the events in some type of context - admittedly, with minimal facts.

I believe that this has been a good discussion with plenty of decent advice for members who may find themselves as a ukulele "stranger in a strange land," wishing to join in with an unfamiliar group.

I think that there is a broader discussion to be had (within its own thread) regarding the general expectation of every ukulele player being filled with the Aloha Spirit. THAT would be an interesting thread.

In short, Ryan, don't feel that people are judging you at all. You were the victim of a misunderstanding, plain and simple.

mm stan
09-16-2014, 03:04 AM
Aloha Wicked..
this is not about Ryan, I was not talking about him......I talking about the negative responses and comments on hawaii and what happened...
if you dont want to come to hawaii, dont from one response . how can one put things in context with minimum facts, and just assume? what is the sense?
You have a good idea, many ukers have the aloha spirit....just some bad grapes I suppose

coolkayaker1
09-16-2014, 03:15 AM
This is a meaningful and educational thread. It's had over three-thousand views in seventy-two hours! My ukulele marketplace listing has 90 views in as much time. lol There's something about seeing ourselves in everyman Ryan's pain at the sinister hands of the provincial-thinking elders of Molokai'i that makes for more intrigue than a Michael Crichton thriller. "Congo" meets "Rising Sun" meets "State of Fear".

Glad your home and safe, Ryan. Another day in the welcoming warmth of "paradise" and who knows your state of mind! lol

mm stan
09-16-2014, 03:31 AM
Steve My friend....come on you really believe that...meaningful and educational thread...???? and trash hawaii and it's people without all the facts and assume at what cost
shall I trash your state when I have the oppertunity....let me think...NO More people are looking at this thread not for the purposes you think my friend...they like the controversy between
comments I believe, Like what makes howard stern... seeing ryans pain or creating more pain at someones elses cost? I think you are off on this one Steve ... aole pilikia

coolkayaker1
09-16-2014, 03:37 AM
Stan, I learned what a kani ka pila is; that Molokai'i is a pretty island (and we all pray that Larry Ellison will leave it alone); that one cannot trust when people tell them "Oh, yeah, it's an open uke jam! Go over there, second door on the left, just go inside, it's good!"; that some human beings want respect, but give little in return; that Ryan is as kind-hearted a person as I thought him to be. So, yeah, I learned quite a bit.

You could be right, Stan, about the reason people look at this thread. But, eyeballs are eyeballs in the internet world; a good kind of traffic for websites.

Chicago, and it's people, are generally corrupt, lousy rats. There--I saved you the trouble, my friend. :) :D

mm stan
09-16-2014, 03:45 AM
Steve have you heard what monsanto did to molokai....bought 2000 acres and started to grow genetic altered crops that makes the people sick there....
I think the people there are cautious now and may distance themselves...esp the kanaka maioli
Yes I know ryan good and he is a good friend and a kind hearted person...sometimes people need to see the others side point of view too...
http://themindunleashed.org/2014/09/monsanto-annihilated-paradise-turned-island-death.html

RAB11
09-16-2014, 03:49 AM
Steve My friend....come on you really believe that...meaningful and educational thread...???? and trash hawaii and it's people without all the facts and assume at what cost
shall I trash your state when I have the oppertunity....let me think...NO More people are looking at this thread not for the purposes you think my friend...they like the controversy between
comments I believe, Like what makes howard stern... seeing ryans pain or creating more pain at someones elses cost? I think you are off on this one Steve ... aole pilikia

I saw one person outright say they wouldn't go to Hawai'i as a result of this thread, and people were fairly quick to point out that was a silly stance to take. I've seen many more people be supportive of Ryan, but also try and play devil's advocate. There's good and bad in everything Stan and it's worth pointing out every once in a while.

I went to Maui once when I was a kid, part of a big business vacation thing from my dad's company, something I was very fortunate to have the chance to do and it's a beautiful part of the word. But that doesn't mean absolutely everyone in Hawai'i or every ukulele player has to be the most welcoming person in the world. Ryan just got unlucky on this occasion.

N.B. This entire post has been weird for me because my name's also Ryan, and it's felt like I've been speaking in the third person the whole time.

kkimura
09-16-2014, 04:03 AM
Hi everyone! I've been following and thinking about this thread for a while now and am amazed to see that the social conventions for approaching a new group haven't changed and are basically the same from the dawn on time to the present. When approaching a new group we all in some way according to our background announce ourselves expecting some kind of invitation to approach closer and if we "pass the test" to join in. Even when entering our own homes we announce ourselves, "hi honey, I'm home" or something to that effect. Standing on the sidewalk my buddy driving by will honk and wave. Personally, if a stranger honks at me and makes deliberate eye contact, I get a little intimidated. But that's mostly because I don't recognize the stranger and culturally direct eye contact is aggressive behavior to me.

Lucky for me some people I worked with when I moved to New England commented about my reluctance to make eye contact. It really helped my career when I learned that in Western society making direct eye contact sends the message that you are trustworthy and are a "regular guy".

Some of the UU members here may be aware that in Hawaii direct and prolonged eye contact may be perceived as aggressive and disrespectful behavior. The people in the Molokai group may have been trying to help you understand that by verbalizing what they were seeing in your non-verbal behavior just like my friends did for me on the job in NE.

coolkayaker1
09-16-2014, 04:11 AM
kkimura's post reminded me of a friend of mine. He is a professor, and stayed for two years to teach in Chicago and central Illinois, before returning to Turkey, his home country. He said: "America is the only country to which I have travelled where two people can be walking toward one another, all alone on the sidewalk as if only they existed in the world, and pass without saying 'hello'."

mm stan
09-16-2014, 04:16 AM
I saw one person outright say they wouldn't go to Hawai'i as a result of this thread, and people were fairly quick to point out that was a silly stance to take. I've seen many more people be supportive of Ryan, but also try and play devil's advocate. There's good and bad in everything Stan and it's worth pointing out every once in a while.

I went to Maui once when I was a kid, part of a big business vacation thing from my dad's company, something I was very fortunate to have the chance to do and it's a beautiful part of the word. But that doesn't mean absolutely everyone in Hawai'i or every ukulele player has to be the most welcoming person in the world. Ryan just got unlucky on this occasion.

N.B. This entire post has been weird for me because my name's also Ryan, and it's felt like I've been speaking in the third person the whole time.

Aloha Rab11,
Yes I think Ryan may Have been unlucky or aware of the local customs we have here....he is a real nice guy I know.... While these discussions are generally not very
productive or educational, I see no pupose in them aside from being hurtful to carry on for the sole purpose of others to justify and assume... if you have something
factual and positive to say that would help, but to be on the soapbox and make statements without facts for your own self image and wittyness is un needed..
You are right, everywhere you go, there is a bad element or group of people....no need to trash hawaii, that is all I am saying... this is my home and I have big feeling here
PS I do Like your signature....

wickedwahine11
09-16-2014, 04:17 AM
Can we stop now? I'm the OP, and I never should have gone to the jam, or started this thread. I can't come to UU anymore without seeing this darn thread at the top.

It's getting painful....I screwed up, that has been clearly established. I'm the stupid tourist, and even dumber for posting about it. I guess this is what I get for opening the thread. I'm off to learn John Mayer's "My Stupid Mouth".

Whatever you think of this thread - or the underlying incident - the OP wants it to end so I am closing it down guys.