From The Asian Reporter, V30, #06 (May 4, 2020), pages
Kauai mayor imposes curfew, then entertains
fellow bored residents
By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher
The Associated Press
HONOLULU — When a curfew goes into effect each night for one
county in Hawai‘i, the mayor gets bored — and posts videos on
And his constituents? They’re entertained.
"Our mayor is bettah than yours!!" one woman commented,
responding to Kauai mayor Derek Kawakami’s stiff but earnest
version of the Renegade to the rap song "Lottery," one of the
most popular dances on social media.
In other videos, posted to his personal Facebook and
Instagram accounts, he creates a mask out of a t-shirt and makes
Even before Hawai‘i governor David Ige issued a statewide
stay-at-home order to curb the spread of the coronavirus,
Kawakami set a 9:00pm to 5:00am curfew for his county, which
includes the islands of Kauai and Niihau.
The videos, the 42-year-old mayor explains on Facebook, are
meant to "break the boredom together as a community." And they
seem to have succeeded.
A video he posted April 4 of him dancing generated thousands
of shares and hundreds of comments on Facebook.
"And if you’re wondering why I’m out of breath and why I’m
sweating," he says after his Renegade dance, "because that was
like take 1,022."
Kawakami also uses his videos for some serious commentary,
including demonstrating the proper way to remove disposable
gloves, which he’s seen left behind in shopping carts and
"And please folks throw your opala away," he says,
using the Hawaiian word for trash.
"We no leave our trash for somebody else pick up," he says in
Pidgin, Hawai‘i’s creole language that he slips in and out of
easily, reflecting his island roots.
He’s also garnered attention by publicly calling those who
defy quarantine orders "covidiots."
"I LOVE all your postings!" a woman commented on a video. "So
fun, so caring, so empathetic, and a blessing to us all, even us
who live on Oahu!!!"
Kauai resident Michael Miranda said the videos show a human
side to the mayor. "On the policy side, I appreciate all the
hard decisions he’s been making," Miranda said.
Miranda said Kawakami seemed to be "a couple steps ahead" of
Hawai‘i’s other counties — discouraging tourists from visiting
Kauai, even before a statewide 14-day quarantine for travellers
arriving in Hawai‘i went into effect.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate
symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three
weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with
existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness,
including pneumonia, and death. The vast majority of people
Popular Honolulu Star-Advertiser columnist Lee Cataluna wrote
in April that Kawakami "has emerged as one of the most decisive
and blunt political leaders in Hawai‘i" during the pandemic.
Many comments suggest he should be Hawai‘i’s next governor.
He said he’s not thinking about his political future.
"Throughout this whole challenging event, all that it’s done
for me is further solidified my heart where I belong," he said.
"And right now, it’s here on Kauai."
To view the video, visit <www.facebook.com/1258603938/videos/10222163546778497>.
While nonstop global news about the effects of the coronavirus
have become commonplace, so, too,
are the stories about the kindness of strangers and
individuals who have sacrificed for others. "One Good Thing" is
an AP continuing series reflecting these acts of kindness.