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Public Address - Yellow Peril (Home)

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Winston Peters "Doing a lot of [unclear] in the Beijing [unclear] restaurant" | Oct 19, 2005 08:41

After being handed the giant lemon of a NZ First-appeasing National Party Immigration policy to squeeze into her Asian constituents' wounds during the election campaign, let us not begrudge Pansy Wong the last laugh - indeed, let us laugh with her in reading yesterday's Nine to Noon transcript:

PRESENTER: What sort of message does this send to the Asian community having Winston Peters in this very influential role?

WONG: I have to say even the most inscrutable Asian can't put a straight [sic] face on upon hearing that message. But Asian communities in New Zealand are intelligent; they see through that. I guess they recall also from 1997 when Mr Peters representing New Zealand in Hong Kong, he did champion the Asian values of family - hard working - that I guess Asians could look forward for him to repeat those complimentary statements.

PRESENTER: Do you think now that he's going to all these important forums overseas - the first one this weekend in Fiji, the South Pacific Forum - that he's likely to change his attitude slightly?

WONG: Well I think Mr Peters always would do a nice photograph in those occasions, certainly the Ministry of Foreign Affair would probably have their work cut out for them.

PRESENTER: Damage control, you mean.

WONG: [laughs] I think they'll find themselves quite a handful.[sic] [...The] Minister of Foreign Affair would actually be in charge of organisations such as Asia NZ. And the Labour Government have been trumpeting the Seriously Asia initiated Ministerial Task Force, which previously was in charge under the stewardship of the Minister of Foreign Affair, so that in itself would be some interesting development that we shall look forward…

PRESENTER: Well it might be quite good for him to have closer relationships with various Asian people because it might make him change his views, don't you think.

WONG: I think… we certainly would expect a Minister of Foreign Affair be very… making very considerate statements and well-researched facts. Yes, it's not all loss. I was just wondering about what sort of, you know, foreign affair initiative we might be looking forward to, under the minister, in something along the line that maybe New Zealand can look forward to a closer relationship with Highland Whisky Distiller of Scotland. [presenter laughs] And maybe Wellington's Green Parrot will find it a bit lonely because Mr Peters may…

PRESENTER: Be too busy overseas.

WONG: Maybe doing a lot of [unclear] in the Beijing [unclear] restaurant.

A quasi-Cantonese source who heard the interview live informed me that the first omitted word was cambai - which is, I assume, that crazy dialect's version of the Mandarin, ganbei or 干杯.

That is, Wong thinks Peters will be doing a lot of *cocaine* in Beijing *Triad* restaurants. Open to interpretation of course, suggestions welcome. On second thoughts send them to David Slack, I have a low threshold for Asian whore jokes.

But yes, it's funny. I'm laughing. It's pure absurdism, and therefore somehow harmless. Even certain unnamed sources within the Asia:NZ Foundation (which is a part of the MFAT stable) are amused that Winnie will be forced to straddle the Asian-loving learning curve.

Here's something I said about the now pretty-much irrelevant pre-election NZ First Immigration Policy launch in a previous post:

The worst thing about Winston Peters is that he doesn't mean anything he says, and we are wired for taking hypocrisy as the biggest sin, always. Can anyone really believe Peters cares about preserving traditional old white New Zealand life? He'd love it if Auckland transformed suddenly into Hong Kong! The booze! The clubs! The shoeshiners! The women! The cigarettes! You can smoke anywhere in China! Smoke in restaurants! In cinemas! In hospitals! He'd be in heaven.

And now it's come true, and suddenly it's not infuriating, it's funny. Funny funny funny! It may become less funny, but when it comes to Winston, you have to grab these precious moments when they come along.

Here's another one:

PRESENTER: Well he has said in the past he probably has Chinese blood in his veins, so I guess that's some cause for optimism.

WONG: I'm sure there might be an extensive research project being undertaken to further cement that relationship. Having a distant relative in the cabinet may have some, you know, something that we should try to look forward to.

I was going to congratulate Pansy for now being simultaneously the most left wing and the most right-wing Chinese Member of Parliament since the loss of Act's Kenneth Wang, but now I remember that Winston, and all the Maori and Pacific MPs need to be included in that range. Hmm. She's just the most right-wing now I guess. So instead I'll congratulate her for having dodged the bullet. I theorised last month that the reason Wong had not walked already over the Nats' immigration policy and prospects of a deal with NZ First, was that she was betting on losing the election. No wonder she's so cheery now! In fact, she sounds as if she's been doing a lot of [Nos] in The Beijing [(Riddiford Street, Newtown)] restaurant. Wellington's finest.

P.S. Contrary to what Russell claims on this typically mammoth Just Left comments thread I don't think I am 'inclined today to give Peters the benefit of the doubt' overall (although yes, I am somehow more annoyed by Peter Dunne being made a Minister on his fingernail of fundy party-votes). Just taking time to appreciate life's little absurdities I guess. Is the Immigration Act Review going to be terrifying? Will I be spitting tacks? Will the Embedded Asian Underground engineer a public sector revolt? Is the Labour Party leadership a bunch of predictable sellouts who I never voted for anyway? Entirely possible. But for now, cut me up a line and bring on the three courses of duck.

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Minister of what?? | Oct 18, 2005 09:59

Listening to the radio in the office at 5:30 yesterday... "blah blah blah Winston Peters will be Minister of Foreign Affairs"...yeah yeah, we knew that... "and Race"... What? What?? Minister of Race Relations?? "..ing." Ah, Minister of Racing - small mercies.

So - let the political blog onslaught begin. Personally, I'm not particularly concerned about Peters heading abroad and freaking out the coloured folk. He loves them in their own countries.

Seriously though, let's go on past experience. The only time Peters ever fronted up to the Chinese communities, he's told them that he IS Chinese. As far as I know, he's never fronted up to the Muslim community (and certainly not to the defamed Iraqis who turned up to Parliament seeking an apology), but if he's sent to the Emirates, I wouldn't be surprised to see him swapping Allah uh-Akbars for a few good rounds of the cocktail circuit. And let's not forget his desire to work in a Chinese restaurant when he's done with this term.

Peters only seems to know how to insult and slander people when they aren't right in front of him, buying him drinks. A stroke of genius then perhaps, to launch him directly into their midst. I'm perversely looking forward to it.

Here's a question: Has Labour's maneouvring put Winston and I on the same page at last? With trade and immigration struck from Peters' Ministerial menu, will his usual smogasbord of oppositional rhetoric to dealing with China be boiled away to - gasp! - a human rights approach?

Yes, let's see then, if he really does love us in our own countries.

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A Chinatown state of mind | Oct 17, 2005 08:22

Yellow Peril presents the preliminary results of a small Sunday night text-survey of young Chinese people, regarding an idea recently floated by Paul Spoonley. Question: "do you want the City to build you a Chinatown?"

Sample: Chinese, aged 21-34, ranging from 4th Generation to ex-International Student. Two in Wellington, the rest Auckland. Includes myself.

Responses:

CC: Who the fuck is this? Is this a joke? [maybe it wasn't CC after all]
KT: No
RC: No
RL: Um.. Yes but there are already little ones everywhere!
DT: Wouldn't that make it a beta country. :-)
THW: Yes [NB: poor THW lives in Wellington, no wonder she wants one.]
XTL: Can I say I don't care?
ML: No
DS: If they did I could start a nice extortion racket... In short. No.
HHC: No way man. Congregation. Segregation. Why don't they build a maori town or arabic town?
TC: Nah.. just places where u can buy stuf from h[o]m[e] is enuf 4 me : ) anyhow, NZ & d chinese community isnt ready 4 a chinatown & its consequences I reckon :)
AK: No, cos I believe Auckland should move towards being an intercultural city :)
DC: I'm an objective reporter and therefore devoid of potentially polarising opinions, which translates roughly as ... dunno
KN: [another starving Wellingtonian] Nah, but it'd be nice if they built a nice noodlebar or hong kong style cafe. Damn that japanese noodlebar next to Britomart is nice.
SC: lol...No.
KBC: Fuck yea, actually a project in the making. Choice Pagoda takes centre stage. With fortress and summer palace at the harbour. I am serious, gimme quality congee!
TMM: Only if it has cool robots.

Maybe if I'd asked ""Do you want Paul Spoonley to build you a Chinatown?" or "Do you want Tze Ming to build you a sci-fi Chinatown that has cool robots?" or "Is Auckland turning into one giant Chinatown?" (as KBC seems to have interpreted the question), they might have responded more positively across the board.

The Spooner (can I call him the Spooner?) is generally on target, and what he was really talking about in context was ensuring strong regional and city council support for the regional migrant settlement strategies. Right On. So on one hand let's not get too excited.

On the other hand ...WTF?? "The result is a multicultural muddle," says Spoonley of the years of civic inattention to planned ethnic precincts. Come on man. I love my organic "multicultural muddle." It works a lot better with cultural flow than it does with traffic.

Auckland is too far gone for discrete 'ethnic precinct' projects. Re-imagining the city entire as architecturally Asia-Pacifican is well underway, be it George Chang's Parallel Skyways at the recent InvAsian show, or the ongoing student-driven Cultural Signals project of the (seriously Asianised) Architecture School of Auckland University. The expansive visions coming from this generation has left the old community ghetto-style approach in the dust.

You could say that everywhere we go, we always take the Chinatown with us. Auckland is a city of mini-Chinatowns. Downtown is Chinatown. Balmoral is Chinatown. Mt Albert is Chinatown. Howick is Chinatown. Northcote is Chinatown. Avondale is Chinatown.

So really, where would you even put another Chinatown? I vote Roskill. Dammit, something needs to go in Three Kings Mall...

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Normal service does not quite resume | Oct 16, 2005 19:18

Maori Party-Nats-UF-Act-NZF? Speaking of surreal coalitions, what were Graham Henry and Ahmed Zaoui doing watching Graham Brazier declare himself a narcotics user in front of a huge packed churchful of community scions on Saturday? And what was I doing there? Hallucinating?

'Who's Graham Henry?' I asked Mike Treen.

The funeral/memorial service was taking on epic dreamlike proportions, and it wasn't even an allegory for post-election coalition-negotiations.

So. Farewell
then
David Wakim.

"My homeland
isn't a
suitcase"

Darwish said,
but God packed
you well,

as an
elaborate joke
on The Man:

a dozen Epsom
dadsworth, five days
of 'drug dealers'

three golfers
a man of rugby,
cricket,

faith, and
questions,
an Aussie,

a Kiwi, a
real live
Arab

and an
army
of revolutionary

shit-kickers
in one
David; the catch

burst the lot
all over
St Benedicts.

The Funeral Directors' Association just put out a handy book on dealing with death in different cultures. The bloody thing isn't on the internet though, so I have no actual information to impart.

As it happens, a friend of mine who works on a *coughmedicalsoapoperacough* was asked not long ago by the scriptwriters about Mainland Chinese traditions around death and funerals for *splutterplotpurposesahem*. How the hell is she supposed to know? She only plays a Mainland Chinese on TV - she's NZ-born Southeast Asian Chinese, she don't know jack. So she asked me, and I was like 'dude, I'm NZ-born Southeast Asian Chinese too, I don't know jack either.' We both guessed that the answer was something along the lines of: Pretend nothing happened, laugh in painful embarrassment a lot, lock yourself in your office and work extremely hard for a few weeks, not even pausing to blog.

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How to talk to people | Oct 10, 2005 11:19

I can't make the Ethnic Communities and the Media forum this Wednesday, but all you real media people should turn up and say: 'yeah, I know what ethnic people want from the media, I read Yellow Peril - it's all about more hot Asian guys, right?'

I dare you.

Anyhow, real media people, if you don't go my Embedded Asian Underground and Rice-Roots spies will tell me.

Ethnic Communities and the Media forum: a belonging initiative
Wednesday 12 October, 9 am - 4 pm
Council Chambers, Auckland Town Hall

Featuring such luminaries as Paul Spoonley (natch), Jeremy Rees - for 'the media' - and Lincoln Tan - for 'the community'. Or maybe for 'the media'. He hasn't decided yet. I would have had the same problem if I'd been able to attend.

See, so if you should be there but don't turn up, you'll either be on the front page of the Herald, or an ethnic street-march will turn up at your door.

There will also be some wicked demographic whizz-bangery at the beginning, for all you burgeoning ethno-geeks who really want to prove dat you down wid'it.

Preliminary bouquet to the Herald for sending their Head of News. Preliminary brickbat to Radio NZ for only sending their ethnic-media-ghetto-slot person who already knows how to engage with ethnic communities. If they haven't been listening to her up til now, I don't know what a forum's gonna do.

Honestly, MSM-types please do go along, if only to meet ethnic minority people who aren't me, giving you someone else to call when you want to find out what the so-called 'community' thinks. Talking to people is not so hard.

Some preliminary reading if you're going: Engaging Asian Communities from the Asia:NZ foundation. Although the news coverage when it was released the other month was entertainingly absurd ('Newsflash! Asians experience racism!') the key focus of this report was largely missed - how to include migrant communities into host societies in practical ways.

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Salient afternoon update[s] | Oct 05, 2005 16:39

It's 4 pm Wednesday, with Victoria University in agreement to release their 6000 newsprint hostages... and suddenly they 'can't find them'. They'd never make the grade in the Iraqi insurgency.

Where could they have 'lost' an entire print run of Salient? Up their litigious asses? I mean let me get this straight. They stole the Salients because the Salients, like bombs, like weapons of mass distraction, were too dangerous to unleash upon the world. They needed to be stored away under lock and key in a secret bat-cavern where no-one could find them. Which is why they now they can't find them.

Now if the VUW administration were in fact a bunch of drinking-horning, desk-pissing, crashing-through-quad-skylighting, student-mag-abducting student politicians (see my previous post), I wouldn't be batting an eyelid.

But they are meant to be responsible adults, and this is just utter bullshit. I'm incredulous. Kudos to the Salient team for taking on the role of grownups here.

After Keith washes the blood off his hands, he'll probably be ready to take donations.

Further running updates throughout the afternoon...
on NRT, fightingtalk, and finally and comprehensively on the Nip, including the text of the settlement and the original story.

Lyndon Hood notes:

This lapse of collective memory on Vic's part was apparently cured about 5:15 by the application of two TV crews and a Dom Post cameraman.

Matt Nippert opines:

Terri Schiavo died with more dignity.

Hard to argue.

Yeah okay, why is this on Yellow Peril?
a) Keith is Chinese (sshhh, it's a secret)
b) I am as pissed off about this as I am about any race relations issue (tenuous at best)
c) This 'ex-student media blog mafia' thing Russell referred to kind of puts me in mind of a friendly neighbourhood triad gang (yeah, nice try)
c) I'm supposed to be on a blog-holiday so have no need to be thematically relevant (that'll do).

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Even memory is not what it was | Oct 04, 2005 08:43

Brilliant of Victoria University to sneakily serve that injunction before Salient returned from the ASPA awards. Not so brilliant of them to forget the point of ASPA is to enable simultaneous publication of student media news stories.

Victoria University: you got served.

Hint to Salient: During my lengthy on-again off-again relationship with Craccum magazine last century, abducted print-runs have variously turned up: in the crater of Mt Eden; scorched and sodden in a huge campus dumpster; and/or wedged between the buttocks of a litigious student executive election/VSM referendum.

Salient's current exposure has got to be the first time a student magazine wasn't even trying to make the national news. Who can remember all the student media scandals of yore? Um... let's see... the 'Dope Supermarket' in my first year, plus attendant death-threats ... How to shoplift/kill yourself/build a bomb/surf the net and publish what you find... Hmm, was there a repeat of 'how to kill yourself'? So at the ASPA awards on Saturday, when I called out "Dope Supermarket!" to Critic editor Holly Walker, who was touching ever so briefly on student media scandal and warning the audience to watch their drinks, her response was pretty much - "huh?" No-one at the ASPAs remembered that 'scandal' first-hand except for Martyn Bradbury, Tim Watkin and Tim Selwyn. We're all still here in various media incarnations, but the story itself? Meh.

Well, it was TEN YEARS AGO. When Martyn Bradbury still wore a bowler hat, had no tattoos or piercings, didn't know how to roll, and called himself a 'poet'. It would be a few years before Ben Thomas would turn up as one of my first-year Craccum news volunteers. He had a mohawk. And even after that, more than a year before before I stopped using a fake AIESEC card that said I was a 26-year old Malaysian international student to get into bars. It was a time before Public Address. BEFORE THE INTERNET. Google 'Dope Supermarket', and tellingly enough, this is the only thing that comes up.

Fucking hell, am I old or am I old?

Well, not as old as Russell Brown.

The ASPA awards were a lovely opportunity to catch up with my past generation of student media-hacks. It made me feel young again. Because they are all old now. And I am still younger than all of them. Starting university when you're sixteen is hard at the beginning, but boy does it pay off.

However, I was still older than everyone from this year's Salient, Critic and Craccum, with whom I crawled to a Korean Karaoke bar on Wyndham St. Maybe I was the only judge young enough to be allowed to 'hang with the kids.' Maybe I was the only one who knew the way to The Sixth Sense (which makes me not a 'token' Asian, but an Asian with specific cultural use-value). Maybe my blograde needed moral support after not coming top of the class (our people are not used to this sort of thing). Or maybe I just really really like Karaoke. It was not a
'seedy' establishment as some would have you believe, although it was above one of my favourite Canto-noodle bars 'Taller Park' (同乐园) which I like to call 'Trailer Park'.

Good ol' student media. Why, they're nearly as exciting to the mainstream media as bloggers these days.

But they work a lot harder.

****

I am still on blog-holiday by the way, but here are some links and stuff - that's all you come here for anyway, right?

Via angryasianman: Eva from America's Next Top Model (Executive Producer Ken Mok; no known relation) makes a racist crack during an improv-show celebrity MC-battle, and in the words of Steve Chow, gets OWNED by desi-girl Rasika. That's some big-ass ricetrack.

And from the same site, a cartoon, on the same big South-Asian Ass theme.

My two freedom-blogging cyberbuddies are in trouble as usual:
Amnesty International has launched an appeal for Martyn See, maker of Singapore Rebel, the documentary about Opposition Leader Chee Soon Juan which came here with the Human Rights Film Festival earlier this year. Martyn is still under police investigation, and it's not looking good. His thoughts on the Amnesty appeal here.

Why the latest uber-draconian Mainland Chinese crackdown on internet freedoms means that Glutter's own country is now a no-go zone for her.

How she and Reporters sans Frontieres will help me not be deported from China the next time I live there.

Glutter's Democracy Hardcore t-shirts: Support the Hong Kong Democracy Movement by ordering one, there are enough of you Hongkies out there.

From the 'Rockson goes to America' series, Rockson goes to San Francisco, the Asian Pride hub of America and finds the Chinese food to be all pian ang moh one.

The Other Mr Brown is tiring of the 'climate of fear: "Just once, for a change, I'd like to see news reports that state, "This incident contributed to a climate of a-little-bit-scared in the Singapore blogosphere." Not too likely...

...Given the likes of 'Blogopoly' - a board game for Singaporean bloggers.

Oh, and go to the Hip-Hop Summit this weekend. Just 'cos.

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