Posts Tagged ‘sacred animal’


• Sunday, June 20th, 2010

Glyph of the word 'ou'.


  • (phon.) glyph for the sequence ou
  • (n.) hawk
  • (n.) any bird of prey

Ou… Ou… Fuila katavaka… Fuila katavaka…
“Bird of prey… Bird of prey… Flying high… Flying high…”

Notes: Am I going to die…?

That’s the Doors“Bird of Prey”. The Doors are one of the least deservedly dismissed bands of the late 60s and early 70s. And even then, those who appreciate the Doors often fail to recognize that Ray Manzarek, John Densmore and Robby Krieger—you know, the Doors that weren’t named Jim Morrison—were excellent musicians. I think what they did with Jim Morrison’s spoken-word pieces in An American Prayer was outstanding, and well worthy of attention.

This post, though, was inspired by one of the silliest movies the 1980s ever produced: Iron Eagle. In this ridiculous movie, an airforce-brat’s father is captured by a wildly-stereotypical Middle Eastern nation, and when the US government is too “wimpy” to go in and save him (they want to engage in “negotiations”, a character playing a general says derisively), the man’s 18 year-old son goes in and save him himself. He and his friends manage to steal two airplanes off an airforce base, steal military intelligence reports, defraud the American government, and disobey direct orders—and, of course, the 18 year-old that isn’t even an airforce pilot goes into Stereotypistan and rescues his father, destroying an oil refinery and a whole lot of Middle Eastern soldiers in the process.

And what does he get for it? Jail? The death penalty? Nope. He’s accepted into the Airforce Academy—the college that had previously rejected him because his grades were so terrible—all in exchange for his silence about what he did.

Two words: Hi. Larious.

Back to Kamakawi, the ou is one of the three sacred animals of Kamakawi culture. It’s gone through a process of amelioration so that now it just means “hawk”, but originally it referred to a flying beast so powerful it could eat a bowl of habaneros and still feel cold. So it goes.

This is the second in my highly irregular three sacred animals of Kamakawi culture series. You can expect the third installment at an unexpected time (to be precise: five months prior to this, the last installment!).

Oh, and, of course, when it’s used as a phonological glyph, it doesn’t have the line determinative beneath it. I decided not to include both versions since I apparently forgot to do that on several other posts that have come recently. Oops.


• Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Glyph of the word 'ielou'.


  • (n.) whale

Foloto Imawawa: Pale li’Ielou Uili.
“Sunset Ford: Home of Willie the Whale.”

Notes: While I’m trying to figure what to do next here, I thought I’d share one of my favorite iku, one of my favorite words, and one of my favorite childhood memories all at the same time. Today’s word is ielou, whose iku I find rather fetching, and today’s sentences references an Orange County icon: Willie the Whale. The only picture I could find of him online is in black and white, which is unfortunate, but it’ll have to do:

Willie the Whale.

There he is! In my opinion, he’s a charmer.

Since at least the 70s, Willie the Whale is a blimp who has flown high above Sunset Ford, a local car dealership. You can see him right as you exit at Valley View on the 405 freeway, and he’s always there smiling. As a kid, whenever I went somewhere north of Garden Grove (like to visit relatives in San Pedro or to go to LA for some reason), Willie the Whale was the signal that let me know I’d returned home. He’s an ambassador for the cluster of cities around the area I grew up (Garden Grove, Cypress, Westminster, Los Alamitos, etc.), and has transcended his initial status as a marketing gimmick (indeed, it was quite awhile before I knew that Willie the Whale was maintained by a car dealership, rather than just a signpost for Garden Grove).

Now that I know there’s not a good color shot available of him on the web (or perhaps it’s just too difficult to find thanks to the movie Free Willy [copycats!]), I shall endeavor to take one of my own. It’ll be my tribute to the city and community that saw me through elementary, junior high and high school.

As for the Kamakawi, the whale is one of the three sacred animals. The other two will probably make an appearance here some day. For now, I’m content to go to sleep.


• Friday, January 1st, 2010

Glyph of the word 'molo'o'.


  • (n.) komodo dragon (or some like monitor lizard)

A huita molo’o i hoku ti toko.
“The komodo dragon is stronger than an elephant.”

Notes: The molo’o is a revered animal for the Kamakawi. Indeed: It is one of the three sacred animals of the Kamakawi. He’s kind of like a lion on the islands: the most feared and fearsome predator. I imagine them to be a bit larger than komodo dragons, and able to lift their heads a bit higher. Nevertheless, a komodo dragon is pretty close.