Yellow Peril by Tze Ming Mok

Let us migrate to entertain you

The sheer scale of incipient fascism within the Immigration Act Review discussion document has bowled me for now. Maybe it's all my friends' fault for not being entertaining enough for The Man, or entertaining too much but in their own languages.

I'm going to Wellington tomorrow for a week or so, to catch up with some chilly friends in their lovely, conveniently-sized town. The specific impetus is to catch the brilliant Katlyn Wong Tsz Hung's solo show Mui which is on now at Bats. The show just had a great review from John Smythe at the NBR.

The most striking thing about Wong's performance is that by recreating the states of being some eight or nine people, many talking in Cantonese or bringing Cantonese cadences to their limited English, she offers brief yet penetrating insights that achieve an almost mystical coherence.

Is this the first time I've ever linked to NBR on this blog or what? You Wellingtonians should go check the show - closing night is this Thursday.

Kat's a 1.5er, and so are the DMP guys, who returned from their summers away in Korea and Japan for a triumphant Esteelo night in downtown Auckland the other week. The boys have been away for a bit, making a splash in the Korean and Japanese hip-hop scenes. Apparently Microdot is now huge. Both small and huge. The crew packed out float bar with Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese 1.5ers, and interestingly, a fair smattering of South Asians.

By now you're probably seen Jason Moon from Asian Downunder in Sione's Wedding, as the token Chinese in D-Rizzle's fia-Samoa Glenfield whiteboy crew. Here's something about DMP. They're not fia. This brilliant site 'Indians are Asian' points out that having a Western Diaspora Asian identity isn't about skin colour gradation or language; it's about acting like a thug when you're actually a rich kid from the suburbs. DMP know they're rich kids from the Eastern Suburbs and the North Shore. Even Dato, the Japanese teenager who homestayed in Mt Wellington from age ten and almost grew up into a Tongan Crip - well, even he has rich parents in Japan. I think that it's because of this obvious defining characteristic of the 1.5er Asian Invasion generation, that the kind of materialistic performative bragging California clubtrack style typical of bigthinking ghetto boys is not so apparent. It would be obnoxious to brag about being privileged already. But they're smart enough to know it would be dishonest to represent themselves as gangstas. Their DJ Jae-Whee spins it trueschool - even breaking out the Amerie mix is an identity statement (Amerie being half Korean and all). Dato, the standout performer of the evening, whipped up the crowd with articulations of our localised migrant identities. At times it's almost like DMP are conscious community-lovin' hiphoppers dressed as buff chigger blingboys. What more could you need?

My answer (as always): more Mandarin! The Float show confirmed my suspicion that the Taiwanese/Korean/Japanese 1.5er over-18 hip-hop scene has solidified. We'll be treated to regular Esteelo shows for the next few months at least. But DMP would do well to break out their Taiwanese affiliate David Tsai a little more, to not only give the ample Taiwanese in the audience a little more language to chew on, but also to extend the arms of local Asian hip-hop to the Mainland Chinese international students. Because, as me, David and Dato were bemoaning to a Metro reporter at the show, those international students are really really bored.

Another lesson for the evening: the only girls who can pull off the 'formal-shorts' craze of the last fashion season are tiny little East Asian hiphop chicks. And even then, yeah, they're pushing it.

More entertaining Immigrant news: a New Zealand Asian sketch comedy show is in development - A Thousand Apologies. Oh yes, Samoans aren't the only funny people around. Hopefully.

Well, Asians in America aren't bad:

John Cho helps Bobby Lee prepare for an audition. This had me cracking up my Chinese actor friend continually over the last week with exhortations to "Fur-REEEE-ZZHUH! ERRHL-AY-pee-DEEE!" (via poplicks)

Hapa documentary-maker Kip Fulbeck waxes predictable about his identity for a bit, but nails it three fifths of the way through with his 'Top 10 ethnically ambiguous Disney Characters who look like me!' list. Brilliant! (via Jeff Yang/Asian Pop)

18 Mighty Mountain Men do Memoirs of a Chinese Geisha: the sketch quickly tails off into Jap vs Chink slapstick, but deserves immortality for the introductory minute alone. (via angryasianman)