Yellow Peril by Tze Ming Mok

The kids are still geeky, but mostly alright. Kind of.

Asian pop-cultural high point of the week: screenshots of Volcano High in fellow 'Asian' ethnicity-geek Dr Kumanan Rasanathan's powerpoint presentation for the launch of his Youth2000 secondary school health survey report A Health Profile of Young Asian New Zealanders.

Yeah, these are the young Asians we wish we were...

And here's the Herald article by a Young-Looking Asian New Zealander.

So basically: the kids are alright. Kind of. They're healthy because they don't get up to much that's dangerous (smoking, drinking, speeding etc). They're also incipiently unhealthy because they also don't get up to much that's healthy - you know, like moving around at speed using only their bodies for propulsion (exercise). Having sex might fit into both of those categories - there's hardly any of that.

So the kids are kind of passively not un-alright. Oh yes, except for the comparatively high experiences of traumatic bullying, anxiety, feelings of being unsafe at school, depression and suicidality, with anxiety and lack of safety particularly marked among Chinese and suicidality particularly high for Indian girls. Moreover, far too many recent migrant Chinese students receive zero primary healthcare. (Note that the report doesn't include international students.)

From a New Zealand-born perspective, it's an interesting - or troubling - finding that no matter how long they'd been here, young Asians of school age experience the same elevated level of anxiety, depression, and traumatic bullying as each other. That is, it seems that it doesn't matter how long we've been around happily assimilating or acculturating, dumbass bullies are equal opportunity racists - they can't tell the difference between Old Generation and new migrant Asians.

Neither did New Zealand-born Asians get any more exercise than recent migrant kids. Geeky Asians of all diaspora generations experience the same pull of the PS2, and perhaps the same exclusion from sport teams for being geeky and Asian.

So is it really always going to be this bad? As you'd expect, all 'risky behaviours' (Dr Rasanathan pointed out that 'risky behaviours' are also known as "'fun' - but Public Health doctors don't believe in fun.") increased the longer the 'Asian' schoolkids had been in New Zealand - with the exception of getting laid!

Sadly enough, everything above pretty much coheres with my personal New Zealand-born Chinese experience of high school.

What this worryingly shows is that Asian kids will really be screwed when the pandemic hits or when powerlines go down, as they will be shut off from the traditional indoor emergency activities of playing board games (having long abandoned their scrabble sets for game consoles), recreational drug use, and having sex to keep warm - and will be just sitting around getting depressed and anxious. Time to join the Kendo team, I would say. It would take care of that bullying problem anyway.