Pat Booth, the journalist who wrote and vigorously defended the original 'Asian Invasion' article of 1993, is to receive a Lifetime Achievement award for journalism this month. There are those among us who are baying for blood, but it might surprise you to know that I'm not so angry - honest!
I sent this email, dated 9 August:
Open letter to the Asian Invasion cc: Pat Booth
Dear Embedded Asian Underground, Wider Movement and Associate Movement members.
Oh... didn't you know you were in the Movement? Sorry, I'm sure I mentioned it at the last rally/yum cha/pearl tea/film festival/art show/civil service event/media shindig/cultural identity conference. Oh well. You know, there sure are a hell of a lot of you in my Bcc: address box there.
Well, you sure wouldn't be in the Movement if it wasn't for this guy: Many of you would have heard by now through the Aotearoa Ethnic Network, or through the Embedded Asian Underground, or both, that the old white dude responsible for bringing us all under one warlike banner to start with is being justly honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his services to Journalism. Yes, everyone's favourite curmudgeonly uncle, Pat Booth of 'Off Pat' fame, is getting a gong for his long and richly textured career, whose highlight was the famous Asian 'Inv-Asian' Howick and Pakuranga Times article of 1993! If it wasn't for Pat, we wouldn't know who the hell we were (Invaders! Hell yeah!), and many of you would never have met or worked together. To take the sucker down.
To refresh your memory, please click on this link to go to my convenient flickr set of images, 'Asian Invasion: Birth of a Movement' - The long struggle to establish our rightful place as victorious Invaders of this weak and vulnerable land - a ongoing history in print and art, with descriptions of each scan.
They are scans of the original article and [articles covering] the community fightback, courtesy of Manying Ip, and one extra special one that I'm loving (loving like we love the Alien InvAsian), that shows where we've got to now, courtesy of Leon Tan. Ignore those Ghost in the Shell screenshots at the end.
I suppose I will be blogging about this, but not just yet. Maybe I'll end up just using the text of this email [heh heh]. 1993 seems so long ago, and we've come so far, that I can't quite be angry about it anymore. As you can see from my commentary on the images, and from my blog, I love being an Invader. The Invasian art show that Leon and others are putting on, speaks for a generation that I'm a part of. ['Invasian' kicks off tomorrow 16 August at Galatos, 7pm, also showing 17th and 19th]
And Pat Booth - well, he was a good journalist on the whole, and what I'm really curious about, is what he thinks now. I really am very curious. Booth always seemed to me to be the quintessential representative of all that is good and bad about the 'Old' New Zealand. For every time he made me chortle or splutter while complaining about young people, or foreigners, or women, or those bloody Maoris chopping down that stupid tree on that stupid hill, he [made] me grateful for his well-places swipes at the New Right. Okay, maybe one out of four times. And... he's really really old. How much longer can he hang on? Would it be ungracious, in our ascendance, to not allow him an honourable exit?
Then again, should we be 'smoothing the pillow of his dying race'? (I don't mean actual 'race' by the way - it's just a figurative historical reference) Or should we be looking for signs of change and accomodation? Is there new sap in the old wood yet?
What do you think?
Tze Ming Mok
I have larger file-scans of the newspaper articles if anyone is interested in reading them. Pat never wrote back.
What was remarkable about this old scab being ripped off afresh, was the instantaneity of response, information transfer, phone-calls, media strategising, networking, solidarity, and tapping in to collective memory. There's a very silly question in the back of the Metro this month: 'Is Tze Ming Mok the new Manying Ip?' Manying was delighted. She thought that it would get her off the hook, and that she could take a holiday. It's a silly question, because the answer is: 'No - we are all the new Manying Ip.' Even Keith. He will be commenting further on his Asian Vote Listener article next week, and I am delighted, as this gets me off the hook and I can take a holiday.
The last time I saw David Lange was in Viet Hoa cafe in Otahuhu, in the later part of the 90s. It wasn't the first time my family had seen him in the Otahu-Vietnam axis of Sam Woo, Viet Hoa and Vietnam Cafe, nor Phil Goff. I shall not repeat what my mother said about the big guy in Mandarin, but suffice to say, it's what Chinese doctors in Asian restaurants tend to always slip into Chinese to say, when worrying about the health of large Westerners they see. At the time, we thought he should have known better than to inflict that on himself, being the son of a doctor. And at the time, we thought he should have known better than to inflict the economic hurt that he did on South Auckland, being from South Auckland. But today what really sticks out is this: I've never seen a National Party prime minister while out eating with my family in South Auckland. Or at least, not one that I've ever wanted to remember.