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What School did you Attend?

I have never been much good at speaking pidgin. My mother was a public school teacher, who raised my two brothers and me to speak standard English – to the point where when some of our relatives would visit, we kids would have to ask what certain pidgin words or phrases meant.

Still, it used to amuse me when people would ask me, “Oh, did you go to Punahou?” As a proud Roosevelt graduate (although after the English standard era), I wondered about the implication of the question. (You don’t speak pidgin well, therefore you must have gone to a private school?)

However, “What school you went?” or “What school did you attend?” is still one of the most valuable tools in your how-to-do-business in Hawaii repertoire. As David K. Choo shows us in this month’s cover story: “What School You Went?” combined with the incredible information provided in this annual Black Book collection of executive biographies makes for some potent ammunition to do business local style.

It’s all about making connections. While that obviously sounds like the business concept of networking, the “What school you went?” concept has many more subtleties related to the culture of Hawaii. It’s all about being genuine, both in the way you present yourself and in the ways you show interest in others. Whether malihini or kamaaina, you will want to read this article, to add to and refresh your connecting skills. Then, keep this issue on your desk, along with August’s listing of the Top 250 Hawaii companies, so you will have the information you need to do business in Hawaii at your fingertips.

Go chance ’um. In other words, go for it! We’ll see you back here in 2008, with useful, inspiring and entertaining local-style stories about Hawaii businesses and business people.


Kelli Abe Trifonovitch

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Hawaii Business,December