Yellow Peril by Tze Ming Mok

banana battle!

王先生(还是黄先生)! 跟我来! 你让我问几个重要得问题: 我们香蕉人会不会用汉字blog? 如果一个香蕉人的blog用汉字, 她还是香蕉人吗? 那么,如果没人看一个香蕉人的用汉字得blog,它还是一个blog吗? Are you following me here? Just nod and smile.

If you can't read the above, never fear. Any fearfulness and uncertainty I may have caused among the non-Chinese Public Address readership will be nicely offset by Chinese people laughing their asses off at my low level of literacy. Keith, I'm waiting for you to 给我看the汉字 for 'you got served!'

Here's a translation.

Mr Ng! Come with me! You spur me to ask some important questions: Are we bananas capable of using Chinese to blog? If a banana uses Chinese to blog, is she still a banana? If no-one reads a blog written in Chinese by a banana, is it still a blog?

Bananas? What? Is she talking some foreign language? Ok then: 'Banana', (like 'Bounty Bar') is something I've always considered a derogatory term, and one restricted in usage to within our own ethnicity - and not in a fun way, like Chigger or Fob or anything else riding lower down on the classic 'What kind of Asian are you' jokesheet. (And I don't know what kind of Asian you are if you haven't seen that jokesheet)

'White on the inside' could, I suppose, be meant as a compliment in certain circles. But when I've seen my fellow local-born invaders admit to being a banana, it's done with an ineffable sadness, an air of defeat. Meanwhile, our first ever Chinese Identity conference, coming up in early June - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Banana - is taking a more cavalier approach to the word. I was signed up as a speaker before the conference's rather unfortunate name-change. It was originally titled 'Going Bananas' (still the name of the website), which signalled that we weren't all bananas, at least not yet. But hell, now it looks like they're branding the lot of us. Hey everybody, we're yellow! Humorously shaped! Slippery, hairless skin! Don't tread on me now, you'll be in for a... whoopsie!

Quibbles aside, it'll be a blast - and maybe even very important. Well, you know, for us Chinks. We're living in an eerie time of firsts - events like this inspire the sensation of flying in a plane for the first time to the 祖国, except these are excursions inward into new layers of this country, right here. Hopefully they'll put some actual Chinese characters on the conference website and publicity material... I mean, for god's sake, what kind of Asians are these people?