1977: Patrick Wong

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Patrick Wong was born in 1899 in Papaikou on the Big Island. His father came from China in the 1880s. After Wong’s birth, his parents moved to Waialua, where his father worked as an interpreter for W.W. Goodale, the first manager of the Waialua Sugar Company. Wong attended St. Louis  High School and attended college at the University of Dayton.

PW: In those days, a lot of Chinese work in the plantations, too, eh. And also, they have Chinese working in the sugar mill. I used to know those people very young.

But there were a lot of Japanese came right in. Lot of Japanese came in, and they were doing pretty good work. And the Chinese were I remember one Mr. Fung. He's a Chinese engineer. He took care of all the machinery in the mill. And then there was one old man who was real good engineer, by the name of Dickens, you see. A Mr. Dickens. And in those real old days, the Japanese gradually come in more and more. And then they even recruit Koreans. And whenever they had a batch of Koreans who come in, we were the ones in our shop—we have a big range, a Chinese wok, eh, to do the cooking and so forth. To prepare the first two meals for that men when they came into Waialua. And I remember those days. I think I come across some Koreans, they say, "Oh, yes, I remember when we were working there." (Laughs.)

VL: Why were the Chinese getting fewer and fewer?

PW: Because more Japanese come in. '

VL:And so the Chinese left?

PW: Yeah, Left. They found out that they can get a better wages some other place, eh. Then they left. They just started leaving, eh. Up to the time of 1914, '15, there was still a few hundred Chinese.

VL: In Waialua?

PW: In Waialua. And in Waialua at that time, on the Waialua side, not far from the Waialua School, there used to be a Chinatown there. There used to be a Chinatown when Chun Tim (owner of Yee Hop Store) was there, eh. When that Yee Hop store, was there. And then, further over, in Haleiwa, there's a Yee Chan. 'Hie store. But, I forgot what's the name now. That Sam Wong's I think he's around. The father used to have a dry good store in Chinatown. And there was even the Chinese drugstore. And Chinese restaurant and so forth around Waialua. And now all gone. All gone. They have even the Chinese druggist. They have one Chinese restaurant. I think we used to like to go there to buy one of the best coconut pies I ever tasted. You know, they chop up the roasted peanut and then they mix up with a shredded coconut, That taste so good! (Laughs) I wish somebody will make that.

VL: How much for one slice?

PW: Oh, that time 25 cents.

VL: For the whole pie?

PW: Of course. Even less...