Some problems are easier to anticipate than others. In the design of our mail-order software program, it was deemed reasonable to allow only 25 character spaces for a person's last name. In the many years that we have been using this software, this never presented a problem until December 13, 1999 when we received an order from someone with the last name of Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele. We obviously should have left space for at least 35 characters for the last name.


When we wrote to our customer to request permission to use her name on our web site, this was her response:

Thank you for taking the time to write out my whole name. My last name is my husband's whole name; no first, middle, or last. A majority of people we attempt to do business with do not take the time to spell out the whole name and we do not do business with them again. We appreciate the respect you have shown us and will do business with you again.

You see, to some people in the world, your name is everything. If I say my name to an elder Hawaiian (kupuna), they know everything about my husband's family going back many generations... just from the name. When the name is sliced up, changed or altered it distorts the intention and meaning that the name represents. Unfortunately, many people have been shamed into hiding their real names because they don't fit in with the dominant culture's lack of respect for the name.

P.S. If bills or traffic citations are not correctly addressed, my husband refuses to pay and is under no obligation legally to pay.