After being handed the giant lemon of a NZ First-appeasing National Party Immigration policy to squeeze into her Asian constituents' wounds during the election campaign, let us not begrudge Pansy Wong the last laugh - indeed, let us laugh with her in reading yesterday's Nine to Noon transcript:
PRESENTER: What sort of message does this send to the Asian community having Winston Peters in this very influential role?
WONG: I have to say even the most inscrutable Asian can’t put a straight [sic] face on upon hearing that message. But Asian communities in New Zealand are intelligent; they see through that. I guess they recall also from 1997 when Mr Peters representing New Zealand in Hong Kong, he did champion the Asian values of family – hard working – that I guess Asians could look forward for him to repeat those complimentary statements.
PRESENTER: Do you think now that he’s going to all these important forums overseas – the first one this weekend in Fiji, the South Pacific Forum – that he’s likely to change his attitude slightly?
WONG: Well I think Mr Peters always would do a nice photograph in those occasions, certainly the Ministry of Foreign Affair would probably have their work cut out for them.
PRESENTER: Damage control, you mean.
WONG: [laughs] I think they’ll find themselves quite a handful.[sic] [...The] Minister of Foreign Affair would actually be in charge of organisations such as Asia NZ. And the Labour Government have been trumpeting the Seriously Asia initiated Ministerial Task Force, which previously was in charge under the stewardship of the Minister of Foreign Affair, so that in itself would be some interesting development that we shall look forward…
PRESENTER: Well it might be quite good for him to have closer relationships with various Asian people because it might make him change his views, don’t you think.
WONG: I think… we certainly would expect a Minister of Foreign Affair be very… making very considerate statements and well-researched facts. Yes, it’s not all loss. I was just wondering about what sort of, you know, foreign affair initiative we might be looking forward to, under the minister, in something along the line that maybe New Zealand can look forward to a closer relationship with Highland Whisky Distiller of Scotland. [presenter laughs] And maybe Wellington’s Green Parrot will find it a bit lonely because Mr Peters may…
PRESENTER: Be too busy overseas.
WONG: Maybe doing a lot of [unclear] in the Beijing [unclear] restaurant.
A quasi-Cantonese source who heard the interview live informed me that the first omitted word was cambai - which is, I assume, that crazy dialect's version of the Mandarin, ganbei or 干杯.
That is, Wong thinks Peters will be doing a lot of *cocaine* in Beijing *Triad* restaurants. Open to interpretation of course, suggestions welcome. On second thoughts send them to David Slack, I have a low threshold for Asian whore jokes.
But yes, it's funny. I'm laughing. It's pure absurdism, and therefore somehow harmless. Even certain unnamed sources within the Asia:NZ Foundation (which is a part of the MFAT stable) are amused that Winnie will be forced to straddle the Asian-loving learning curve.
Here's something I said about the now pretty-much irrelevant pre-election NZ First Immigration Policy launch in a previous post:
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.
And now it's come true, and suddenly it's not infuriating, it's funny. Funny funny funny! It may become less funny, but when it comes to Winston, you have to grab these precious moments when they come along.
Here's another one:
PRESENTER: Well he has said in the past he probably has Chinese blood in his veins, so I guess that’s some cause for optimism.
WONG: I’m sure there might be an extensive research project being undertaken to further cement that relationship. Having a distant relative in the cabinet may have some, you know, something that we should try to look forward to.
I was going to congratulate Pansy for now being simultaneously the most left wing and the most right-wing Chinese Member of Parliament since the loss of Act's Kenneth Wang, but now I remember that Winston, and all the Maori and Pacific MPs need to be included in that range. Hmm. She's just the most right-wing now I guess. So instead I'll congratulate her for having dodged the bullet. I theorised last month that the reason Wong had not walked already over the Nats' immigration policy and prospects of a deal with NZ First, was that she was betting on losing the election. No wonder she's so cheery now! In fact, she sounds as if she's been doing a lot of [Nos] in The Beijing [(Riddiford Street, Newtown)] restaurant. Wellington's finest.
P.S. Contrary to what Russell claims on this typically mammoth Just Left comments thread I don't think I am 'inclined today to give Peters the benefit of the doubt' overall (although yes, I am somehow more annoyed by Peter Dunne being made a Minister on his fingernail of fundy party-votes). Just taking time to appreciate life's little absurdities I guess. Is the Immigration Act Review going to be terrifying? Will I be spitting tacks? Will the Embedded Asian Underground engineer a public sector revolt? Is the Labour Party leadership a bunch of predictable sellouts who I never voted for anyway? Entirely possible. But for now, cut me up a line and bring on the three courses of duck.