Yellow Peril by Tze Ming Mok

Quake the room.

The London Tube is not the only Big BadaBoom in the desi-repertoire, as I remembered Saturday night while checking in with my Nagis at Galatos, repping for the Nanyang. (What ethnic-lingo is she on about now, ask the white liberal masses?)

Something to do with South Asian earthquake relief?

Not yet. Great to see Mishul 'Lambuji' Prasad and my Big Beardy Bombay Bro Aru Sen tearing up Auckland with the Big BadaBoom Sound System - mainstays of the Wellington Asian Underground Sound who morphed out of Tu-Faan Express & Yardwise. Looking at this publicity site, I realise suddenly that I don't know which of these silly DJ/MC names are actually theirs. The club was packed, and the crew had to throw the crowd out at 5:30 am, so they could pack up and fly back to Wellington that morning for Diwali MC-ing duties. Such good boys isn't it.

It amused me to see this photo of their last Wellington gig, to confirm that in whatever city they play, there's always just one Chinese girl in sea of pure desi. She's probably Nanyang.

Aru and Mish are also part of The Untouchables, New Zealand's first (I think) South Asian theatre collective, ably fronted by the nagi girls of Toi Whakaari, Rina Patel and Rashmi Pilapitiya (together we three form the unstoppable guerrilla curry unit MOKPILPAT).

One of the distinct characteristics of Commonwealth Southeast Asian Chinese such as myself, is the South Asian influence. The other distinct characteristic - the Malay influence - meets the South Asian influence in the form of double-curry-obsession within the starved Chinese soul. There's more to it than curry of course. It's about.. but wait... what's that approaching... is it? It is! Yet another anecdote about Tze Ming's mother!

On one occasion when I was about eleven, while being wrapped in a sari by my Keralan 'Aunty'in S'pore (childless, she'd dress me up like I was a doll) my mother became convinced that I should totally get my nose pierced. She said that when we got back to New Zealand I could tell my school authorities that I had a right to do it on cultural grounds of being Southeast Asian. 'Mum, wouldn't I have to be actually Indian for that?' 'Oh, they won't know. Would look very nice! So cute! And it's true!' Aunty Santha agreed. I knew they were getting carried away. My school was Church of England no less, stuffy enough to have regulation underpants, and I knew that there was no way they'd accept such specious logic. I think my mum and Aunty were rather disappointed. Little did I realise then, that a re-enactment of postcolonial solidarity in struggle against British imperialism was being played out over my little flarey nostril. They are probably rather happy that I'm the Rushdie go-to girl for the Listener these days.

Has anyone else noticed, but had the good taste to refrain from publicly saying, that this latest cavalcade of natural disasters is an uncanny combination of the setting of Rushdie's latest novel, combined with the mythic schema of his one-before-one-before last, the scale of his second, and the terribleness of his previous AND his first?

Whoever actually knows what I'm talking about wins the chance to donate to a South Asian Earthquake Relief fund of their choosing.


Well, may as well do it anyway. I heard last Wednesday through AEN (you know, like CNN) that the tally of New Zealand donations to the victims of the South Asian earthquake still hadn't reached the level that New Zealanders gave to American victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Ah - hmm.

Fighting... irresistable urge... to provide shameful statistics in hectoring tone...


Well, here's Oxfam who generally know what they're doing.
And here's FIANZ, who have lost their own.


'Desi' - of South Asian descent
'Nanyang' - 'South of the Yangtze River' i.e. Southeast Asian
'Nagis' - kind of like 'Niggaz' but for Desis. It's possible that I'm only allowed to say 'Nagi' because I'm Nanyang and a member of MOKPILPAT.