As the story goes, my paternal great grandfather changed his surname from a single-syllable Cantonese name to a five-syllable riff on his Hawaiian mother's maiden name. He had been bullied by the Chinese for being a halfie, or so the story goes.

My name is an invention: I've gotten used to saying some form of this when people twist up their face and say they've never heard the name before. Which family? Which island?

And yet, here is ~21-year-old A. graduating from the University of Hawaii, already referring to himself in the language of the first people.