Yellow Peril by Tze Ming Mok

A rush of blood to the stomach

New Year's dilemma: a) respond to weak little 'toot' of Brash immigration dogwhistle at Orewa 3; b) respond to Che Tibby's misguided attempt at finding Vietnamese food in the CBD, or c) lapse back into dumpling coma.


Zzzzzzzz (snort, cough) whuh?

First things first: thanks to Sunil, Matt and Rik for their offers of banana trees, and to Rik for conveniently being at home during the middle of the day with a machete. The Moh Hin Gha was awesome - here's the recipe for all of you people with barren banana trees in the back and a hankering for Burmese. My hankering may return; I shall keep your addresses on file. Note: the accompaniments referred to in the recipe page are: sliced spring onion, chopped coriander, crispy fried slices of onion/shallot, crispy fried slices of garlic, lemon wedges (you need to squeeze a lot of lemon on each serving as it's so rich), finely sliced raw onion, pounded roasted chickpeas, dried chilies, chilli powder.

And thanks to Phil for offering his extra copy of Charmaine Solomon's 'Complete Asian Cookbook' - it's coming to a good home.

Okay then:

a) Brash.

If Russell had not sounded the alarm, I probably wouldn't have even noticed this bit tucked down the back of the speech.

New Zealand is a liberal, tolerant and secular society, a society that embraces the Western Enlightenment ideals of personal liberty, private property and rationality as the basis of decision-making. ...Immigration can add greatly to our society, but it also has the potential to undermine the glue that holds our society together.

Sorry, was in a dumpling coma - didn't notice the race-riots going on. Whoops, looks like the Exclusive Brethren have knocked over my secular rubbish bin and have set my car on fire. Oh well, live and let live. Hmm, I'm still a little hungry. Mmmm, dumplings... not only eating, but making dumplings on Chuxi is the perfect embodiment of Eastern ideals of harmony, community, and irrationality/intuitiveness as the basis of decision-making. I mean, thirty-five dumplings for each person? How is any one person going to be able to eat thirty-five dumplings? Bloody hell, that much xianr for just one dumpling-skin? What do you think you're trying to do mum, undermine the fragile glue that holds the dumpling-edges together? How much water do I put in the rice? What do you mean 'just put your hand in it''?? AAAAARGH, Western Civilisation is Collapsing!!!

Pretty lame effort Dr Brash. One sad little irrational feint hidden deep in the speech so hopefully his wife and his electorate-office buddy Pansy don't notice. One might wonder why he even bothered. This is the bit that made me laugh though:

Our current immigration policies have evolved without serious public discussion or debate...

That's true. They've evolved through constant employment of dogwhistle politics like the example above, and the whipping up of racist hysteria and scapegoating of visible minorities during election-campaigns.

If we had a real 'debate', who would be debating, and what would the questions be? Here are a couple of possibilities:

Do we want immigrants to be whiter (shorthand for 'increasingly from traditional sources of immigration such as the UK and Australia'), and if so, how do we say that without sounding really racist?

Will making immigrants whiter (while trying not to sound racist about it) produce better social cohesion than reducing racism and socio-economic inequality?

b) Tibby
Aside from trying to provoke me with some absurd musings on restaurants in the CBD, Che has broadly divided Auckland into four parts: North=rich whites hiding; East=Asians; West=poor whites & Maori; South=Polynesian, each incubating their own kind of interesting New Zealand culture. To some degree, sure, these are 'heartlands' - but there's a little more going on here than meets the eye. Take for example Auckland's Axis of Asian: Otahuhu; Roskill; Mt Albert; Avondale; Balmoral; CBD; Howick; Northcote. From South to North, West to East, and Central is key. You could make a similar axis for Pacific Islanders: Southside to Northcote at least, Roskill, Mt Albert and old Grey Lynn and even Kingsland holding it down for Central. Pacific Roskill is invading the CBD with 'Cafe a la Raskil' on K Road, run by Toa Fraser's cousin Gareth, who is played by Taungaroa Emile in No.2. There is no Central Auckland in Che's equation, which is a bit strange, because a lot of us live here and it's where those separate-looking worlds collide.

c) Back to dumpling coma.