Yellow Peril by Tze Ming Mok

incidental non-incidents

Planting a book is not like planting a bomb

Of all obscure experiences nested within other obscure experiences, how fares the finding of a well-thumbed English language paperback of 'The Mind of Adolf Hitler' planted on a random shelf of the Chinese Language Bookstore in Balmoral?

I was with a friend who can read a substantial half-assful of fanti, whereas I can read rudimentary jianti. But at that point, thrown off by the sudden appearance of, not only the mind, but the face of Hitler, we were between us unable to quite figure out what section of the bookstore we were in. 'What the fuck is this doing here?' I wondered politely. 'I don't get it,' said my friend Al. The store clerk was also baffled: 'Uh... it's not ours...' he said redundantly. He took it and leafed through it for about five seconds, then put it under his desk like a confiscated porno.

Ever get the feeling you're being left clues to someone else's slow mental breakdown?

Morningside for rife!

While stuffing face at QQ Rice, Al and I watched real-life 13-year old replicas of the bro'Town boys mucking around with their basketballs in the forecourt, except with Jeff the Maori replaced by Jeff the Chinese (and he wasn't no Wong from Hong Kong). We watched them from the window, giggling, and they looked at us watching them, and giggled back. Then they took off towards Yummy Court.

Buddhist street-preachers really are less annoying than Christians or Hare Krishnas

'Excuse me, are you from Auckland? I was wondering where I could find..." It was a cute, cheeky little East or Southeast Asian guy wearing a cap, jeans, an orange polar-fleece Kathmandu jacket, with an armful of books and a kiwi accent. "...all the intelligent women wearing black raincoats and boots with short dark hair and wearing hats...'

I shook my head grinning and stalked onwards with a swish of my raincoat.

'Nah nah, hold up, just kidding, I'm not like that,' he protested, 'I'm a monk, see?' He lifted his cap to show his shaved head.

Ah. Orange. Kathmandu. It all seemed to make sense. Kind of.

'Do you do yoga or meditate?' he asked.
'Um, sure.'
'Are you a buddhist?'
'No, but my family is Chinese, so we use some traditional practices, but not in a religious way. You know, gong fu, qi gong, they have some overlap with Buddhism, but they're not 'religious'. But anyway, don't worry about me, I'm good.'

Oh but he hustled and bustled (so cheeky! so adorable!) and started spinning some charming line about the different guises of spirituality using clothing as a metaphor (Orange, Kathmandu, the joke just got better and better), trying to work the ethnic angle a little, and then said:

'If you want to have a look at this book, we're trying to hook people back into ancient Eastern thought and wisdom...'

He flipped open the cover of his book, and the end-papers were a busy pastel hippy-montage of the advancement of the human spirit to enlightenment, as represented by rosy-cheeked blondes rising out of the primordial sludge and replicating in ever-more-Aryan ways towards nirvana.

'But dude... those people are white.'
'Oh... you know, we're trying to appeal to a Western audience.'

I laughed some more, and he laughed too, and let me walk off into the rain.