Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mahaʻoi

v. bold, impertinent, impudent, insolent, nervy, cheeky, rude, forward, presumptuous, saucy, brazen.

Anyone who has heard this word knows it is not a good thing. While boldness may be appreciated by some, it goes against the grain of the "Hawaiian way" (unless, of course, you are in battle). Mahaʻoi literally means "sharp temple" or in other words, you are sticking your head out, in a place it does not belong.

Being self-assertive and aggressive is mahaʻoi. Some examples of being mahaʻoi would be dominating a conversation, volunteering to do something in an attention seeking way (this one reason why you donʻt see a lot of Hawaiians volunteering to do things. Seriously. As a teacher, I know this to be true. But approach the parents directly asking them to help and they will be there in a split second), going through someoneʻs house, inspecting their rooms and possessions. These are all VERY mahaʻoi. Anytime you feel the urge to say "Mind your own business" itʻs because someone is being mahaʻoi. It is one of the reasons that assimilation of Hawaiian culture to Western culture can be so difficult, because not being mahaʻoi, at times, can leave you in the dust. Sometimes itʻs a difficult thing for us to weigh...should I be more forward, which goes against my grain, and push my way to the front of the line and make myself heard, which feels uncomfortable? Its a daily struggle for some.

Mai mahaʻoi - Do not be "so bold".
He kanaka mahaʻoi ʻo Kealoha - Kealoha is a brazen/nosey/forward person.

2 comments:

  1. Awesome post! My girlfriend asked me what it meant today but then I realized I wasn't totally sure. I thought it always meant to kind of over stay your welcome. I'm stoked to know now the true meaning! it's almost like Niele but worse yeah?lol.
    mahalo nui!
    Kaimana

    ReplyDelete
  2. Awesome post! My girlfriend asked me what it meant today but then I realized I wasn't totally sure. I thought it always meant to kind of over stay your welcome. I'm stoked to know now the true meaning! it's almost like Niele but worse yeah?lol.
    mahalo nui!
    Kaimana

    ReplyDelete