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« Shame about the collateral damage, Prime Minister | Main | Public service announcement »

Comments

WTF?

Ying tong? Since when is being racist a Christian value. Why not just say "Ching Chong Chinaman" and be honest about your bigotry?

ian

Get OVER yourself...sigh.

Matt L

Hey WTF - what are your thoughts on the information Ian posted?

Or do you just like scoring imaginary points...

peasant

WTF is one of the sheeple who have bought into the leftist narrative of pervasive racism and evil right-wing agendas. WTF drugs R U taking WTF?

Barnsley Bill

Matrix of the Matrons Making..
Ian you are a silvery tounged bastard. Fantastic expression which will surely enter the kiwi blog lexicon immediately. Hopefully Whale Oil and his trusty photo shop will give us some visual imagery of the new label for life in NZ 2007.

andrei

Oh yeah point out something unpalatable and immediately the racist card is played.

Is the Ying tong song racist?

Or is it merely a nonsense song. illustrating absurdity.

I think the later is true.

scrubone

Coming back to the point in question.

I was listening to the JT and watsit show on radio live this afternoon, and someone seriously suggested we need the breastfeeding law because people are ignoring the current law (that makes it illegal to stop women breastfeeding in public).

Seriously.

Edmund W

Actually, I'm Chinese and I sympathise in part with Ian's criticism of Clark. My father fled the Communists shortly after the 1949 civil war and I was brought up to see them for the totalitarian regime they are. I'm a supporter of any efforts to spotlight their shameful actions. Their repression of religious freedoms (e.g. Christians, Falun Gong) and general disdain for human rights is not something we hear much about in the rush to sign free trade agreements with them.

On the other hand, as a Chinese growing up in NZ, I was taunted by racist epithets all the time. "Ching Chong Chinaman" was the least of it. And it was always saddening to hear this kind of language from my friends, who just thought it was normal.

That's how racism can hide in the mainstream.

Whenever I pointed their racist language to my friends, they would invariably be surprised -- after all, I knew they weren't racist, and I was a Kiwi, right?

Well, I am a Kiwi, but I'm also Chinese, and yes, this sort of thing matters. It's not the sort of thing we "get OVER". And to read "Ying tong song" on the site of a responsible journalist in this day and age is just disappointing.

While being a blogger means you can skirt the line sometimes, I hope you'll consider changing the title of the post. It only detracts from what is otherwise a solid post.

Edmund W

I just want to make it clear I don't think Ian Wishart is a racist, unlike what WTF says. However, I do think he's mistakenly used racist language.

And, to address Andrei's point, "Ying tong song" is not just nonsense words; they are nonsense words that clearly evoke the sound of Cantonese to English ears. And by writing them, you evoke a whole field of racist taunts that do the same.

I don't think for one moment that Ian used the phrase out of spite or bigotry; he just made an unfortunate choice of words, and I hope he'll consider amending the post.

Ian

Apologies Edmund...until WTF posted the comment it hadn't occurred to me that it could possibly be construed as racist...the song as Andrei points out is an absurdity, which was more the flavour I was trying to inject.

A similar conundrum arises with the phrase 'banana republic'.

You do raise an interesting intellectual point in this however by illustrating that there are phrases and sayings in one language that speakers of another may (wrongly or rightly) assume have negative connotations or shades of meaning to them.

I guess the solution would be to try and trace the origin of some of these sayings, then trace modern usage to see if they are now being utilised differently to how they were originally intended.

FWIW, my first long-term paying job was packing fruit and veg for a Wellington fruit store, where the owners very kindly taught me some rudimentary Cantonese over a period of 18 months, beginning with the ubiquitous Ni hao ma.

So I'm going to do two things. Yes, I'll change the name on the post just to clearly remove any ambiguity...But in the interests of generating a further debating topic, I'll open up a separate debating thread asking the simple question, Is the Ying Tong song racist? That way, we can explore the purity of that particular argument...whilst not muddying the waters of the main point of this post.

Matt L

I think the new title is better - seems more on topic.

Hey - we are all learning...

Thanks for saying it how you saw it Edmund W. :-)

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