Yellow Peril by Tze Ming Mok


Been busy. Facilitating vengeance.

A week after Deborah Coddington called critics of her 'Asian Angst' article 'insane bloggers' with no audience, the Head Vulcan Mr Ng has mind-melded with the Listener, myself and Kumanan Rasanathan had a column in the Herald on Sunday (not online), and Kim Hill surprised me on NatRad with an extended questioning on the article and 'Asian stuff' when I was expecting her to ask me about poetry or bluebells or something.

(Note: The Kim Hill interview is pretty long and embarrassingly self-indulgent by the way - I think the North & South stuff is about two thirds of the way through. Meanwhile the Listener's Media column this week also gives Keith a plug, and has some internal dish from ACP)

There are other moves afoot. Suffice it to say that interested parties are mobilising as individuals and collectively - like the many tentacled octopoid Peril of yore, or an anarchic Hive Mind - and are more interested in the editorial accountability of North & South than trading insults with Debs.

At the most inspiring grassroots direct-action level, we have this story on good authority: 'Editor of North & South in cafe confrontation shock!' ACP Media have in their office building, a little lunch shop or cafeteria, with a mainly young East Asian staff - thought by ACP insiders to be Mainland Chinese international students or ex-international students. After Robyn Langwell had some brusque words with the girl on the counter about a food order, the staunch kid retorted: 'If you've got a problem with Asians, you can take it up with my manager!'

Anonymous ACP cafe worker = New People's Hero.

On that note, I'm always trying to make the point that getting society to acknowledge the rights and contributions of minorities by overemphasising the model minority 'high achievers' who get awards and prizes and are well integrated, is problematic. The student cafe workers, streetcorner newspaper sellers, the factory workers, the grocery stackers, the toilet cleaners, the fruit-pickers, the construction workers, none of whom have a mainstream voice (in 'Kiwi' English on the radio, or in weekend op-eds), who might be ghettoised, who might have poor English, who may not even be residents - these are the people we most urgently need to acknowledge as making important contributions to this country.

I'm reminded of this scene in Dirty Pretty Things as the dastardly exploiter gets outmaneouvred by Nigerian/Turkish/Chinese/Black refugee and migrant coalition:

Dastardly exploiter:
How come I've never seen you people before?

Nigerian doctor turned bellhop:
Because we are the people you do not see.
We are the ones who drive your cabs.
We clean your rooms.
And suck your cocks.

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