A ‘waha’ state of mind

My last “serious” column before going on vacation was about Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s tendency to orate over and over about the state’s problems without having new progress to report in solving them.

A reader wrote in using a word to describe the governor that I haven’t heard since my days in Hilo High — “waha.” It technically means “mouth,” but carries a broader meaning of all talk and no action.

I started to see a pattern when the word popped up again in another e-mail containing what the reader said was an old Hawaiian saying:

Hana ka hoe (Work the paddle),
pa‘a ka waha (close the mouth).

These struck me as very profound words whose applicability went well beyond the governor to everybody in public life from the local City Council to the U.S. Congress — and maybe even those of us who comment from the sidelines.

As we come out of Labor Day supposedly renewed for the rest of the year, we’d make more progress toward getting past our differences and solving our stubborn problems if we all paid more attention to working the paddles.

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5 Comments on “A ‘waha’ state of mind”

  1. nancylauer Says:

    Hana ka hoe (Work the paddle),
    pa‘a ka waha (close the mouth).

    i love it!


  2. Hugh Clark Says:

    “Waha” has been under way in Congress for nearly a decade. Guess that is where Neil learned it so well.

    Of course, our legislature may have fine tuned it.

  3. zzzzzing Says:

    Welcome back, Dave.

    Waha, indeed.

    ‘All talk & no action’ – Unfortunately an age-old issue with (many) politicians. Too bad they don’t know ‘actions speak louder than words.’

  4. Alana Says:

    Abercrombie is Obama cloned.

    Here are a couple more for you Dave…I included them in a “Dear Barry” letter I wrote to him regarding his visit here during the primaries.

    ‘A’ohe ola o ka ‘aina i ke ali’i haipule ‘ole
    Translation: The land cannot live under an irreligious chief

    Nana ka maka; ho’olohe ka pepeiao; pa’a ka waha.
    (Observe with the eyes, listen with the ears; shut the mouth.)

    Thus one learns.

  5. That’s why they call it Wahasington.

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