There are some ructions amongst Chinese in
It's an issue that was voiced by Lincoln Tan, a journalist of Singaporean origin, who runs the bi-weekly English language iBall paper. Tan co-wrote an article on female Chinese students prostituting themselves in NZ. Instead of concern over the young students safety and future, Tan was accused of causing Chinese to "lose face" as he mentions in a follow-up column to the original story.
Checking on Tan's story with Chinese friends, it seems to be true and correct. If anything, he was perhaps a bit too kind in it. I'm told that many students in question aren't "cash strapped" but simply greedy: they have fat allowances, far more than Kiwi students often, but want expensive mobile phones, gadgets, clothes and cars.
But, Tan's story of human folly grates on some Chinese who feel that he should shut up instead.
There have been complaints that New Zealand media doesn't cover "Asian" news much - Tan cites that as one reason why he started up iBall. If there are "Asian" stories in media, they are often negative ones like kidnappings for ransom, drugs busts, and criminality in general.
And that's the irony really. Without anyone making the effort to be heard about a variety of things in the often lazy media, only negative "Asian" stories surface. Tan's figured that one out, but his Chinese detractors see him as a traitor against the nation. He is a disloyal banana for wanting to engage with the rest of
The keep-quiet, save face crowd don't seem to realise or care that disengaging with the others in the country will lead to distorted notions about the Chinese. For instance, Kiwis were stunned when fifty students demonstrated against the student magazine Chaff's Mao cover.
The students say Mao is like Jesus to the Chinese. Without Mao, there would be no
The tenor of the argument got quite ugly too with accusations of racism flying and even blustery threats that
Because there's so little engagement between the Kiwis and the Chinese, it's hard to know how serious the above is. How much of it is similar to say some Irish defending the IRA no matter what? Were some of the students just a rent-a-mob, or were they demonstrating to make themselves look better back home?
We need more people like Tan and Ng to stick their necks out to tell us, but it seems if you do, there's a heavy price to pay. Will anyone dare now to speak out?