Barack Obama's Neighborhood
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About Obama's Neighborhood

The Purpose of the Web Site

In a few short years, Barack Hussein Obama has catapulted from near obscurity to President of the United States. From my vantage point in Honolulu, I've observed his meteoric rise with both admiration and wonder. I became involved as a "professional" observer while researching a story for the Wall Street Journal. (See articles section "Obama Slept Here").

The more I read about candidate Obama and the more spoke to his old classmates, teachers and friends the more intrigued about him I became. Simultaneously, the more research I soaked up, the more I realized how significant Hawaii was in shaping the intellect and psyche of this remarkable individual.

Nobody in Hawaii seemed surprised at his tolerance, humility and relaxed manner. After all, he's "local" and these are qualities all revered by Hawaii culture. However, this "local" understanding of Obama is not necessarily shared elsewhere.

Thus, shortly after the WSJ article was published, I decided to create a website dedicated to Obama's Hawaii experience. I think it's incredibly important that people understand where he came from. The spirit of place is no small thing and as Michelle Obama said, "You can't really understand Barack until you understand Hawaii."

Special thanks to those who helped with the site. They include Chris Leong, Dean Ando, Esther Arinaga, Bruce Arinaga, Kelli Furushima, Carlyn Otani, Jim Scott, Scott Power, Ian Brizdle of Brizdle Consulting, Mike Bates of, Joe Saturnia and Sara Lin. A special mahalo to Darren Miller, an intrepid photographer who can be found at and is responsible for a great shot of Barack Obama on the index page of this website and other shots of the Obama family in the gallery section.

About the Author

Hailing from San Francisco, Robert F. Kay has been a communicator since 1975. He began his journalism career with the San Francisco Chronicle Foreign Service and later worked as a radio journalist in Sonora, California for radio station KVML-KROG covering topics ranging from California's lingering drought to the local County Board of Supervisors. Seeking more adventure, he traveled to French Polynesia and Fiji, covering the islands for Pacific News Service, NBC Radio, New Pacific and the San Francisco Chronicle.

His two-year sojourn in the South Pacific led to penning travel guides on Fiji and Tahiti for the Lonely Planet series. In 1986 he was the recipient of the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award for his Fiji Travel Survival Kit. He also has authored a web site on Fiji -

He lives in Honolulu where he works as a writer and as a public relations practitioner representing renewable energy and biotech firms. He is a regular contributor to the Honolulu Advertiser, Pacific Business News, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and Mainland publications such as the San Francisco Chronicle and the Wall Street Journal.

More information on his public relations activities can be found at

Rob is a student of Jungian Psychology and Tibetan Buddhism. He swims regularly in the Pacific Ocean, tends to his backyard orchard, and practices yoga. For a published profile of Rob see October 4, 2004 feature in the Honolulu Advertiser.

©2008 Rob Kay | Terms of Use