Hawaii’s diverse ethnic culture all started when immigrants from China, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Portugal and Puerto Rico arrived here to work the plantations of what was once a thriving sugarcane and pineapple industry.
Through that intermingling, stereotypes developed, with Chinese — known here as “Pake”, pronouced “Pah’kay” — being tagged as VERY frugal folks, pinching every penny they’ve got. Of course out of necessity, as like all the immigrant laborers, “Pake” people were very poor back then, and had to be as resourceful as possible.
With that, to this day most local humor poking fun at various races, stereotype any act of being a penny-pinching cheapskate as being “Pake”. Same way on the mainland as “Jew” humor is inferred as.
Following are a few examples…
You know you’re “Pake” when:
• You wash and reuse every food container, including empty mayonnaise jars, plastic sour cream and cottage cheese tubs, right down to what are VERY disposable foam meat trays. Ack!
• You wash and reuse disposable plastic forks, knives and spoons utensils. Shoots, you probably even “wash” and reuse wooden disposable chopsticks! Paper plates too, for that matter!
• Every single ounce of product gets emptied out of its container, plate or tray for consumption, either by scraping, tapping or adding water to loosen it up and out. Or to the extreme, cutting the container open to get every last drop.
• Instead of using that unopened bottle of ketchup and mustard sitting in your pantry over a year, you’d rather use one of the MILLIONS of condiment packets you collected from the numerous fast food joints and convenience stores you dine and shop at.
• Instead of buying lunch at Costco’s food court (already cheap, right?), you save the money by making a meal out of free food samples in the store.
• All your meats and bread in your shopping cart are from the near expiration date closeout bin.
• You peel the skin off the onions and leaves off the celery and broccoli in the produce department bin before putting it the bag, just so you don’t spend not even a penny more for parts that aren’t useable. Shoots, you’d peel the skin off your fruits in the store if you could!
… I can go on and on, yet you get the idea. Now it’s YOUR turn! Let’s hear about the “Pake” ways you have or someone you know! It can be about anything, from shopping, to driving, eating. At work, school or home. Whatever. More the miser the better!
You know you’re “Pake” when…
P.S. A few of many Pake grindz faves!…
Fried Dace with Salted Black Beans (called Dau Si Laing Yiu in Chinese)
Libby Manapua Shop dim sum: Charsiu Manapua, Chicken Manapua, Pork Hash, Half Moon, Gon Lau Mein, Chow Fun and Spring Rolls