Yellow Peril by Tze Ming Mok

Hot Asian Politics

Promising feedback was received in response to my fundamentally important question: 'Where are all the hot Chinese guys at?' In Christchurch, said Roy Tan of Christchurch. In hell, said Winnie Chang of Bananaworks:

Migrants living off shore are captured in between time and space from where they left and where they wanted to go, and cannot evolve with the home folks nor along with the host country, holding onto a concept of cultural identity that was once true (decades ago). This is universal; we are seeing male migrants from Middle East and Africa struggling in NZ right now, and this is making lives of their females counterparts difficult. Men are territorial rulers. Losing their land and not [being] able to forge out a piece of territory in the new found heaven is hell for them.

Yes, in hell. That, I assume, is why they're so hot.

And a week later, Chris Cheung was still talking about identity. No, really.

Human Rights digression: Global voices has an interview with Shanghai blogger Isaac Mao, (whose blog is often overloaded these days) on the ins and outs of China's nationwide blog-registration crackdown. If you have a blog on your own server, please consider adopting a Chinese blog to do your bit for global democracy and free speech. I'd do it myself but am a technological incompetent and don't know how it works.

Which brings me to this: was anyone else feeling Asian shame at the Banana conference's tech-support the other week? A very nice old guy was taking care of it, but he seemed unfamiliar with the mysteries of the mouse. We younger folk were asking ourselves, what kind of Chinese conference is this? Are we so assimilated that we've lost our ingrained cultural mastery of Powerpoint? Blame my bro Dr Drasnor aka RIC1Er, who was scheduled to hook up the multimedia, but was off on an emergency white-chick-chasing weekend.

We caught up tonight at the Lim Chhour (菜林南) foodcourt, where he noted that, in my last entry, I sounded like I was "gagging for it." No, no, Dras, I protested in my own defense, it's all political. We need to make the wider world acknowledge that Asian guys are hot. Just as Asian women are encumbered with the stereotype of being meek and submissive (but hot), Asian men are subject to Western-culture-wide slander regarding their masculinity and general attractiveness. Which is very unfair. Because they are hot.

If people end up thinking I'm some kind of online slutty-ass ho'bag, I'm satisfied in the knowledge that it's all in the service of the Movement. I'm taking one for the team.

It's easier for Asian girls to overcome our stereotype. All you have to do is develop an attitude. Getting shitty is easy. Check out this little Chinese girl for instance. Story of my life. But suddenly acquiring masculine sexual-confidence is a bit trickier. Dras confirmed my perception that times are changing. He admitted that a few years ago he would have been too afraid to ask out a white girl - and he, like me, is first-generation New Zealand born, so it wouldn't have been for lack of English language competency. But now he knows it's a whole new world - "they all think we're hot!" he said. And added, "whenever I see an Asian guy with a white chick, I wanna give him props!" Drasnor doesn't speak without exclamation marks.

You go brothers. Show them 老外 the way of the Dragon. But save some of that action for your sisters in the struggle, if you can.

As I mentioned in a previous post, being a cool and sexy Asian in Auckland has a lot less baggage than in America. Witness this Giant Robot interview with Better Luck Tomorrow's Sung Kang, the hottest Asian-American alive, hotter even than John Cho (notice how in the American canon, man + motor vehicle = hot?), and just pipping Kalpen Modi at the post.

Getting the feel of a masculine self confident man [his character, Han, from Better Luck Tomorrow], it was difficult. My whole life, I was a second class citizen ...I think for us, as Asian Americans, I don't know speaking personally, it's been tough to understand to know what it means to be a sexual male, where's there's self-esteem. I grew up insecure.

Now that's depressing. The hesitancy even shows through in the syntax. I repeat, this from the hottest Asian-American alive. Still, this is the country that gave us Asian Pride Porn (worksafe; satire) - so at least sexual inferiority complexes can result in something positive.

Who has complexes like this in New Zealand? If anyone would, it would be the New Zealand-born Asians who have had similar experiences growing up as insecure minorities here, rather than sliding in, as fully fledged confident individuals. I've been thinking about these basic touchstones of personal strength and identity and their relationship to political engagement - how to some extent, migrants from all parts of post-colonial Asia - from India to Malaysia to Hong Kong - are more likely to openly speak their minds on migrant issues and multicultural politics, compared with either Mainland Chinese or Old Generation Chinese. It's almost as if total government repression on the Mainland, and total social assimilation of the 'Bad Old Days' here, have led to a similar kind of Chinese silence.

Following this parallel logic through, this would mean that Mainlanders and OGs are the least sexy of all the Asians in New Zealand, and Southeast Asians and Hongkies are the hottest. Though I am Southeast Asian, this really seems an unfair call. If anyone has done any rigorous quantitative or qualitative research on this, let me know.

For the record: Errol Kiong (Southeast Asian) notes that a 'Kacang-sweet buttercup glow' is the pungent cloud of pollen released from a fearsome, venomous, sensuous tropical plant found only in Borneo, that can digest entire Orangutans in under an hour. You don't mess with the kacang.

Extra special Human Rights digression: after emailing simoncollins(at)clear(dot)net(dot)nz to book your place at the Aung San Suu Kyi Birthday/Burmese IDP medical aid fundraising dinner this Sunday (did I mention my mother was born in Burma?), check out the Committee to Protect Bloggers, allied with Reporters sans Frontiers, and go back as often as possible. Iran and China are the perennial hotspots, with Malaysians also taking some serious heat. I haven't clarified yet whether Hong Kong blogs come under the new PRC blog-registration rules, but will be getting in touch with Glutter, as soon as I can get over how we seem to have had exactly the same thoughts for the last few weeks (regarding Ching Cheong, Tiananmen, and the progressive legacy of the Sun Yat-Sen era), and how she looks very much like me, but with more manageable hair. I was about to vote for her in the Freedom Blog awards last month, but got too freaked out at her author-photo.