My bush kanaka

Dad in Hawaii
My late father in Hawaii a few weeks before his passing.

My late father was technologically challenged. He was so hesitant about the latest technology that he would call me up for advice even when their department had IT personnel. Anyway a couple of days before his sudden passing, I actually branded him a ‘bush kanaka’. The term was used lightly and was intended as a joke.

Kanaka was the term used to describe Pacific laborers employed in British colonies and has become associated with those who are yet to be ‘Westernized’ or in this case, move with the times.

You see before his passing, on his last trip overseas to Hawaii, I asked him to purchase a laptop. He went to RadioShack in Honolulu and bought this 17” Toshiba Satellite L755 (which I am using to write this post). He had no concept that sleek and small would be a better option because it would be easy to carry around and it would look cool. He instead opted for a large screen because it would be easier to watch movies on. In a way, he was telling me that ‘I was thinking of you’ when I bought this because I loved watching movies.

Watching martial arts films was something we both shared. When I was younger and when VHS tapes were in fashion, dad had acquired a very large collection of tapes and among them was Roadshow’s Bruce Lee collection. This was a special edition contain all of the Lee films including Game of Death 2. It was also my inspiration to learn martial arts.

Anyway, he also bought a digital camera for the first time. He took it on his trip to Hawaii and when he returned I noticed that most of the pictures were not within the frame. I brought this to his attention and he said he did not know how to take pictures – even though he was a sports photojournalist with Wantoks (Word Publishing) in the 80s. This was the moment that had earned him the tag of bush kanaka.

Dad in Divari
Dad, when he visited mom’s village Divari in Milne Bay.

He would often comment on the type of phone I had. I have a Nokia 5230 touch smart phone which I use to check emails, Facebook and surf the net. His use of the phone was limited to texting (which was not very often) and calling. I had often urged him to get an email address but he always said he did not need it. I wonder how different it would have been for him if he had tried out these new technologies.

The last thing I tried getting him to do was watch a 3D film. The Journey 2 had just been released and I wanted to watch with the family. My sister bought tickets and we arranged for dad to drop us off and later pick us up. I tried to convince mom and dad to come with us but dad refused so they stayed back. Anyway, that night we did not get to watch Journey, instead we saw John Carter, because the seats were full.

I guess I’ve rambled on long enough but it because I’ve been thinking about him lately. The fun we had, the times we shared, laughs, tears and the fact that he passed on without even using email or watch a 3D film. I miss my bush kanaka.

Author: Bernard Nolan Sinai

I’m a writer, publisher, IT personnel and martial artist.

One thought on “My bush kanaka”

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