Yellow Peril by Tze Ming Mok

Threats, violence, scones and laughter

Were you expecting me to say something about the New Zealand First immigration policy? Do I really have to? Can't I just crawl inside a bowl of noodles and not come out until all the old ladies who hate me die off?

It's no fun when your enemies are old ladies. It's not like you can beat them up and feel good about it. But they can beat you up. It has happened to me. That's right, a racist old lady once tried to beat me up.

It was 14 August, 2004. A bunch of local activists had organised a packed meeting at the Newtown Community Centre in Wellington, following the desecration of several Jewish cemeteries. I was called outside to talk to a journalist. Waiting on the pavement was the National Front (all six of them). Offended that they hadn't been welcomed into the meeting, a seemingly insane little old lady who happened to be the wife of the National Front's Secretary, started ranting at me and boob-bashing me, trying to shove me onto the street with the full strength of her rotund body. This was actually rather funny. A little old lady was trying to beat me up. I kept trying to dance around her, but she didn't let up, she just came and came at me. It was like being repeatedly buffeted by a giant, stodgy, poisonous scone. I was laughing in shock, unsure what to do. In the end, a policeman intervened and warned her off.

I didn't press charges.

Taking this anecdote as analogy for the New Zealand First onslaught, I have a range of options:

a) Be angry
b) Be upset
c) Be afraid
d) Laugh
e) Ignore
f) Calmly and rationally expose all falacious, cynical and divisive propaganda for what it is.

Sorry, have to strike out f). As mentioned in a previous post, commonly experienced physical reactions to Winston Peters often delay any articulate response on my part. What with the haemorrhaging and all. And it's very tiring to recycle the same old responses to the same old election-cycle bullshit. Other people with more energy are doing that already.

So let's consider a)-c). The first period, starting around 1993 or so and capped by the '96 election, was bad, real bad. I don't want to talk about it. I don't even want to think about it. If you were there, if you were one of us, if you were just a kid like I was, you'll know what I mean. Then in 1999 it was a dormant issue, given the wipe-out New Zealand First caused itself by actually getting into government and being useless at it. Then in 2002 it was merely familiar and dull, and Peters' billboards were way too easy to deface. And finally, now, I think I could happily sleepwalk through, if it wasn't for the refugee witchhunts.

Because who gives a shit what he says about 'Asians' these days? There are enough of us, with enough socio-economic and cultural clout (in Auckland anyway) that it doesn't even matter. So what if a bunch of old folk in Orewa think Auckland is too Asian? What's it got to do with them? And it's quite flattering really, for Peters to compare Queen Street to Hong Kong. I mean, which is a more interesting walk: this street, this street, or ...this street?

I think that covers d).

We 'Asians' have our foothold and we're climbing. I wish Peters would just focus on 'Asians' this election, and leave refugees - the most vulnerable people in the country, and technically, the world - the hell alone. But that would mean shunning cowardice.

The worst thing about Winston Peters is that he doesn't mean anything he says, and we are wired for taking hypocrisy as the biggest sin, always. Can anyone really believe Peters cares about preserving traditional old white New Zealand life? He'd love it if Auckland transformed suddenly into Hong Kong! The booze! The clubs! The shoeshiners! The women! The cigarettes! You can smoke anywhere in China! Smoke in restaurants! In cinemas! In hospitals.* He'd be in heaven.

As for e), it is my firm belief that by the time I plough through this 800 page review-copy of Jung Chang's Mao: the Unknown Story, the entire membership of New Zealand First will have succumbed to generational turnover.

Let's go back again though, to everyone's favourite option: d). Now, who doesn't have at least one racist grandparent? When we brought my paternal grandmother over from Malaysia late last century, the wee Somali kids from the neighbourhood would sometimes trot into our front yard to fetch their ball and she'd practically dive for cover exclaiming 'the black people are coming to steal things!'

Here are two ways to deal with your racist grandparents:
1. Let them all go off together to a semi-rural locale, to be locked in a hall with a political demagogue; or
2. Keep them on site so you can laugh at their ignorant comments and say 'Come on Gran, don't be dumb.'

Option 2 is the one I've always employed, and I have a fair bit of hope for it. If you are a Pakeha reader, and would like to help me personally in some way, I request that you indulge in Option 2 as often as possible. Old people don't like to be laughed at. It reminds them they're old and out of touch, and still have to keep learning things. When people get a certain amount of living out of the way, they naturally think they're entitled to shut down their brains and not let in anything new. It might well happen to you soon, or maybe it has already. Just hope like hell that when it does, that you're still in meaningful contact with the rest of society.

Speaking of rebuilding connections with reality, it's nice to see that the SIS has come clean. They really do fantasise that they are the Mukhabarat. Is this surprising? I wonder if they call themselves the Gestapo when they question Germans.

Which segways perfectly into this. I managed to pick up from Fightdemback before hackers crashed their site once more tonight, that in the wake of Kyle Chapman throwing in the towel there has been a spate of lesser members jumping ship, some to the New Zealand Nazi Movement, some to a peaceful, apolitical life. Fightdemback bids them good luck with good grace.

I also mentioned earlier that the National Front had been ineffectually flaming the comments page of a Landfall essay of mine republished by The Big Idea. Last week, a (Pakeha) Herald journalist was enraged enough to complain to the site, demanding that the comments be removed, which they duly were. I was a bit dismayed, as the comments so neatly summed up everything that needs to be said about the National Front. Aside from the awesome comment I quoted in my earlier post, about how I shouldn't be taking essay-prize money away from hard-working illiterate white men, I only managed to save this gem, signed by Kerry Bolton himself, long-serving senior member of the National Front, lover of the giant poison scone:

"That she should be lauded as some kind of writer of repute is typical of the kind of society NZ has become, rotten form[sic] the top downwards; a reflection of the West's cycle of decline."

Shucks, the guy knows how to swell a girl's head.

I don't think it's really fair or entirely relevant to make fun of mad right-wingers and neo-nazis based on the inadequacy of their spelling, grammar and punctuation. So I will note that Kerry can use a semicolon very nicely, that he believes the Holocaust to be a "blood libel" against the German race, and that he is a Satanist. The last minority. Sigh. Gold, all of it, and all gone.

However, there has been one new comment which I've grabbed before The Big Idea moderators pull it off the site. A girl always needs to remember the first threat of violence she receives on the internet. The anonymous commenter took exception to my description of "a little slow-moving qi gong", and possibly not just because it was a clear tautology (shame on Landfall for giving a prize to such a solecism-packed tract).

Anonymous comment May 28, 2005 - 02:19 AM
"How about i try a little fast-moving fist on your face[?]"

If it was a little old lady making this comment, it would be okay of course. Anyone here have a grandmother who surfs the net at 2:19 in the morning? No? Oh. Well in that case, maybe this is illegal, I'm not sure.

I'm not losing any sleep over it.

Given the aforementioned Mao tome, the Banana conference, and a bunch (ho ho) of other stuff, I'm taking a short break (unless I really can't help it). Until then, I've started a rudimentary website - the Emergency Invasion Kit - for you to browse if you're really bored. It's a place to keep resources and writings that people have suggested I make more readily available, such as the tip-sheets Tessie Chen and I prepared for our recent session with the Herald on 'Asian' stuff. Have a good week. And on Saturday, spare a thought, if you can, for the fallen of Tiananmen.

It's not generally allowed, but yes, I have lit up in a hospital in China. This bus-driver insisted. He'd hit me with his bus, and kind of felt bad.