[In a cheesy cross-over gimmick designed to bolster our mutual readerships, I will be guest blogging on Yellow Peril this week. At this rate, it won't be long before we end up with a "Best of" blog. - Keith Ng]
Oh Winston, now that you've left us for the Muslims, what's a Chinese cus' got to do to get himself on the political radar?
That's what Labour's Chinese list candidate Steven Ching allegedly did, alleged Herald on Sunday earlier this year. The allegation was just retracted yesterday, after the man who was allegedly on the receiving end of the alleged offer came out and denied the link between the loan and the help with the application. Cruising slowly up shit-creek, the HoS ran the retraction and apology - presumably with the business-end of a lawyer pointed their way.
The Labour Party has said that they would only put Ching back on the list once he's cleared by a police investigation (which, conveniently, may or may not be completed before the election). But with no money ever changing hands and with the prime witness on Ching's side, it looks like it'll be difficult to pin anything on Ching.
Did he do it? Will he be cleared? I don't know, but either way, I - and I don't say this lightly - am personally insulted by the Labour Party's choice to have Ching on their list in the first place.
It's akin to putting the pre-reformed Jake the Muss on their list to represent urban Maori. With his dodgy business dealings, fisheries abuse, dubious grasp of English, perception as a walking wallet - are there any aspects of negative stereotyping of Chinese New Zealanders that Steven Ching *doesn't* represent?
He might as well be Mickey Rooney dressed up as Dr No with a Manchurian goatee smoking an opium pipe and eating a dog while hooning around with a fake licence and a bunch of Triad thugs in a souped-up Honda pumping out Canto-techno.
Some in the Labour hierarchy see themselves as the victim here - that they were trusting of Ching, and he betrayed their trust by not telling them about his dodgy dealings. Well, that's true, I don't hold Labour responsible for selecting someone with a dodgy past because they didn't know about it - but I do hold them responsible for selecting someone who doesn't really speak English, doesn't understand New Zealand politics, doesn't seem to care about either, and who was clearly never going to make any genuine contribution beyond raking in donations.
They can't plea ignorance on that one. You just have to meet the guy. He literally didn't know the meaning of the word "tokenism" - the word which best describes what his political career is built on. And as for his understanding of New Zealand politics... put it this way - if he was an international student in one of my first-year tutorials at Vic, I would have given him a C+ only out of sympathy.
I've met my fair share of skinheads from the National Front, but this gets me worked up much more than they do. The difference is that with the skinheads and Winston, it's all just a bunch of blowhard slogans and hollow rhetoric. They'd just as soon beat-up/scapegoat the next vulnerable group that comes their way - and they have. They're good like that, being so indiscriminating with their discrimination.
But Labour, by selecting someone who was obviously never going to be able to contribute anything as a representative, they have demonstrated a genuine commitment to the idea that Chinese New Zealanders are nothing more than passive participants who should have a token role in the democratic process because, really, they're just a bunch of rich, greedy foreigners who don't even speak English anyway.
Yeah - I take that personally.
On the other hand, I actually have a lot of respect for Pansy Wong (even though she didn't like my Listener article). She's capable and committed, and if nothing else, she's demonstrated the possibilities for becoming more than just the Token Asian.
That said, a vote for National is a vote for a National-NZ First government. Granted, Winston does a lot less yelling at people when he's in government (in fact, he arguably does less damage in government than in opposition), but do you really want to deliver Winston into power?
It'll be interesting, too, to see what Pansy would do in such a government. Can she work in a coalition with Winston? Or will she become the next Georgina Te HeuWho?
With all these MMP calculations, it's hard to find a safe place to park your protest vote. It's a sad, sad conclusion, and one that I never expected to make, but, er... this is kind of embarrassing... perhaps if you want to protest against Labour and National-NZ First, the best thing to do is to vote ACT. Chances are, it won't even count.
We can only hope.
(Ha ha, Tze Ming, I made your blog endorse ACT!)
Tze Ming time resumes:
Don't worry Keith, I know you're actually voting for Peter Dunne. It's of more concern to me that you've said that Pansy has demonstrated the possibilities of becoming more than just the Token Asian.
Nothing is in its right place today.
As I predicted, ethnic media monitors are picking up riceroots anger at the National Party immigration policy. Don't ask me about Stephen Ching, but just because people don't speak English, doesn't mean they're morons. The question I have for Pansy now is not 'Will you walk if National has to form a coalition with New Zealand First?' It's 'Why haven't you walked already over your party adopting New Zealand First policies?' If she wants to save her community reputation, the only possible answer is 'because I don't expect we'll win this election, so those policies will never be implemented.'
And it looks like everyone wants their own Chinese election-blogger now. Here's Movement subcommandante Alistair Kwun (aka Mr Asia) in the Herald Election blog lineup. Hmm, interesting format - ten blog-spots, a range of opinions, an assuredly non-token Asian... Familiar much? The Asian election-blogging crossover potential is spiralling out of control. By Asian, I mean Chinese. I worry that the media is just not getting that, in all this beatup about the burgeoning Asian population stats and potential voting bloc (as ennumerated in Keith's article), that around half of these Statistics NZ Asians are actually Indian.
Final role-swapping headfuck for your Monday morning: In this strangely vacant online Herald soft-profile, we discover that Winston Peters wants to one day work in a Chinese restaurant.