Monday, 13 February 2012

Katie Leung Wild Swans

The Trouble With Katie Leung...

Although British Born Chinese actress Katie Leung appeared in Leo Ku's 'Love Coming Home' Cantopop video for the Far East market, she is better known for her nettlesome role as Cho Chang for a western audience in Harry Potter. Cho Chang is British Born Chinese and the girlfriend of both Cedric Diggory (Robert Pattinson) and Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe). Cho Chang's jooksing White Fever fetish is so strong, she goes through the Harry Potter saga without ever dating a Chinese male nor having any Chinese friends. J.K. Rowling must be thanked for setting such a negative precedent for BBC's to follow...normalising relations between Chinese girls and White guys, normalising the invisibility and irrelevance of the Chinese male, normalising the severance of the Chinese female from her own ethnic Chinese community into joining the White community and hammering the nail into the coffin of the fragile BBC community, and why not - our BBC community doesn't have a future anyway, why not ethnically cleansed it? 

'Chinese female falling for the White Knight' is portrayed repeatedly on the western screen to the point of ad nauseum, we have an entire generation of BBC females growing up on Harry Potter wishing they could be in Cho Chang's shoes, they want have their own real life Daniel Radcliffe as their (White) lover. It gets worse...

Katie Leung now makes her UK stage debut as Er-Hong in an theatrical adaptation of Jung Chang's infamous 'Mao-Sino-male bashing' 'Wild Swans' at the Young Vic Theatre. Although the stage production of Wild Swans comprises a list of actors that predictably include non-ethnic Chinese BEA and Eurasians playing ethnic Chinese roles, this specific argument discussed previously on blog articles concerning 'correct representation' and accountability perhaps misses the point.

If the portrayal of 'Chinese' for a predominantly pro-western audience takes the form of institutional 'China bashing' or even worse 'Chinese female desire for White males,' then why should one care whether these Chinese roles are played by actors that are BBC, FOB, Eurasian or even a Caucasian female embellished in Yellowface makeup. It makes no difference to the outcome, they're not written with a Chinese audience in mind. Arguably, its bad enough when there are westerners promoting the anti-Chinese agenda, but when you have Chinese artists and writers also promoting the same agenda coupled with Chinese performers and actors eagerly queuing up to perform these roles, then frankly - that's unforgivable.

When East Asian female actresses complain about the scarcity of leading of roles within the western media for East Asian women, this form of alleged discrimination denying East Asian women the chance to play the leading love interest of leading White male actors is actually a positive thing, for the sake of ethnic Chinese diaspora, long may 'scarcity' continue.

As Katie Leung is just another Chinese actor looking for roles to play and has no qualms regarding the roles she plays even if it means promoting "Two White knights and Sino-bashing," then isn't the whole concept of promoting Chinese visibility within the context of the western UK media a waste of time?

By BBCZeitgeist


  1. And?

    For Chinese women there are 200,000 Chinese men, of which probably about 170,000 of them are older people like our parents.

    Vs 32 million natives. Guess what the odds favor? Portraying this as ooh terrifically bad is merely a storm in a tea cup when yet again it is a numbers game. As with political power, isms and work. Without the numbers you have nothing.

    This is merely a replay of the Hakka and Punti clan wars. the Hakka were vastly out numbered and lost. The out numbering here is on an all together different scale.

    The inverse is played out as well, in that Chinese men have a proportionally much higher chance of dating the natives than other Chinese women. Many of whom will not date Chinese men!

    1. Shall we BBC's just all implode and become white people then?

    2. Explain the Muslim, Asian (non Muslim) and black population then. The stats from the 2001 census (I have no doubt these numbers have since risen exponentially) show that Chinese women are the biggest demographic by far to intermarry. Something like 4 times as much (proportionately) than black women, and 10 times as much as asian women. Explain?

      And your last sentence is good reason to why things need to be changed, a British Chinese community has no right to be called Chinese if most of them aren't even Chinese. Your "solution" to this is that Chinese men get to date "the natives" as well... hardly helping the identity crisis much, is it? If Chinese women already do not want to have children with Chinese men, how will Chinese men looking elsewhere (in their view so they can "become" another race) encourage them that they should stay Chinese as well?


    'This is an opportunity for you to meet and work with the professional cast (a mix of American and British Chinese / East Asian actors), develop performance skills, meet new people and have fun!'

    Arguably 99% of BBCS, FOBS and east asian supporting artists applying for the above job in the UK dont know the politics behind Jung Chang's Wild swans and its anti-Sino male leanings. and dont care, cos its extra money in the pocket, esp if the job pays well.

    it's 'if noone else cares why should i' type attitude which inadvertantly encourages division within the british chinese community because without a positive counterbalance (which is probably what this blog provides at least via criticism) to each racist theatre or musical the community goes from fragile to eggshell thin to non existant. Until the next wave of ignorant FOBS immigrate and the cycle of ignorance reignites.

    BBCS are culture starved. if we dont watch anything that is on TV that is typically racist towards us, we have FOB viewing habits or facebook and online communties to choose from - a false sense of community with sanitised cliquey commenting, and no real meaning.

    As far as Katie Leung, being a Chinese woman in the cesspit called the entertainment biz, if her agent says she has to get raped by 400 white men , if it's in the contract shes probably obliged to do it.

    The only difference between her and the rest of the BBCS is that she gets paid well to destroy our community whilst we do it for free

  3. Here's another one, just through random browsing on the Guardian

    Nice to see the Chinese guy (family?) is so approving of it. Maybe he has no idea of the bigger picture re: the race's future in Britain.

    And Taurus... seriously

  4. Taurus O'Rourke - Great 'Chinese' name! She's well on her ethnic cleansing journey.

  5. A very topical example from America. Chinese American actress Lisa Chan doing some stereotypical advert in a coolie hat about China stealing American jobs in a dodgy Asian accent...for a anti-China advertising campaign for White American politician Pete-Hoekstra.

    After complaints from Asian American community, she apologized, 'I am deeply sorry for any pain that the character I portrayed brought to my communities.'

    Yeah right, she knew what the script was about when she auditioned for it, they just don't care - sell outs.

    1. heres a comedy skit arguing against what you are saying - ie blame the makers, not the actress

      i guess the argument is , if any Chinese dont have any integrity for their image, then anythings game because at end of the day money talks. its a vicious circle, they only want to pay to see us a certain way, and theres no money in creating our own media, so on it goes

    2. That advert makes me sooooooo mad, she was stupid to do it and the advert makers are assholes too, reminds me of that time when that fat USA female comedian made that awful racist skit I wanted to kick her face in when I saw that. Asian people are easy targets, i think its to do with years of oppression from the government and also of course within the family from parents etc. Not allowed to stand up to authority!

  6. Its as you say, if the representation is going to be shit, then why bother? We should just create our own. Thing is we all know why we do it. Its because of the $$$ or in our case £££.

    In smaller cases, background extras dont really know what they are getting into. I mean in that Heineken advert if those extras knew, would they still do it? Because if they did, then once again its the sellout age we live in.

    Ironically in a sellout age and decline of western civilisation, Chinese as the supposed superpower should be setting an example of truth and leadership. Unfortunately Chinese are still are scratching our own heads as to our own cultural values.

  7. I think Lisa Chan will probably get away with it in UK because there no strong vocal "BBC" community acting for the interests for BBCs other than this one for the most part. If there was an equivalent chinese thinktank etc in the UK, then Banzai, Gokwan chinky remarks etc won't have taken off for starters.
    However Katie is very pretty though, clever she hasn't caught the attention of Mr Edison Chen, because you fans know he loves hair and teabags.

    1. It's a shame this is a British Chinese blog, you might have heard of Jeremy Lin in the NBA right now, the first Asian American there... it show up A LOT of double standards regarding treatment of different races in America (where something isn't racist if he's East Asian, but obviously is if black or latino)... and also the puns (chink in armor) and terms media folk still use (chinaman) as if it were the norm... also how the media there seem to be allowing it freely to grow without resistance. And remember, there's a far more significant Chinese community over there (many of whom are vocal and not whitewashed), so if they can't stop the hatred... what hope do we have?

      "25-year-old Eric Yang of San Francisco said that racism is something all Asians face daily.

      "We see and hear all the racism every day," Yang said. "This is why I never read the newspaper or go on CNN anymore."

      "They love to discriminate against us and make us feel bad. It just makes me stronger and more proud of my culture and heritage."

      You see? Hope isn't lost, there are plenty like us... it just seems that most BBCs are comparatively apathetic to it all.

    2. Anti-Chineseness is obviously a western media influenced thing, they dont call it the Anglo-american alliance for nothing.

      Yeah not sure why most BBCs are apathetic to racism. Thats why i keep calling for a BBC cultural development that is uniquely BBC for BBCs starring BBCs. Like self education as well as entertainment.

      That way it doesnt matter what the mass media does or the hatred it incites, because we can focus on our own culture to first empower ourselves and then unite and confidently speak out against the anti-Chinese crap, when it does happen knowing that we are backing our own.

      But as far as being British Born Chinese is, we just need to do it for ourselves. At least theres a couple of youtubers starting out, but it needs to be scaled up, massively. Again, for OURSELVES no-one else.

    3. Edison has just been involved in another scandal- cheating at a charity marathon - enjoy

    4. In keeping with the high standard of stand-up jokes here in this blog, knowing what I know now, if I was to be reborn again, I like to be Edison Chen's tongue and fingertips.

    5. Ahem... today, I saw none other than Mr Edison Chen at Macdonalds, whilst I ordered a flake log ice cream, he went for whole hog and ordered a Macfurry.

      :D dats a pwn.crckr

    6. Haha trying not to visualise him digging into a hair-covered icecream

  8. What a nightmare. Poor Katie Leung has sold-out if she appears in Wild Swans, yet when a Eurasion appears, it's equally annoying because they're pinching ethnic Chinese of their parts. It's as if BBCs want to see no representation, and if there is, it has to be politically correct for the soul. Not all actors/actresses are politically motivated. Why should the Chinese be? That would mean that we are born into situations that forces us to make adjustments throughout life for the host country. It's ironic that we are already having to do that anyway. SF.

    1. So what do you think about the large negative response from Asian-Americans to this advert then?

      Should they just have ignored it like the stereotypical submissive Asians that Hollywood ironically portrays them as? No, they protested, got the ad removed and so on. Its ironic how the women playing the stupid mocking Vietnamese farmer is born in the US whilst Pete Hoekstra is an immigrant from Holland.

      Pretty much all western-dominated media is done with a particular demographic in mind. Its the reason why I hardly ever watch TV or movies anymore.

      "It's as if BBCs want to see no representation" thats absurd and ludicrous, you can't judge every ethnic Chinese born in the UK based on one persons opinion.

      The general census on this blog is the constant negative portral you find of Chinese in the UK. The large majority of British people don't differentiate between FOBs, BBCs, or the Chinese government, thanks largely in whole to mainstream media.

      Though I don't know much about this Wild Swans play in particular, perhaps BBCz can elaborate. After reading the synopsis on Wiki the whole play is politically charged, so its pretty ignorant to ignore the political ramifications it has.

      Also not surprising to read that the writer of Wild Scans is married to a white male.

      Do you even know what political correctness is?

    2. Not all actors/actresses are politically motivated. Why should the Chinese be?

      Its nothing to do with politics. Its about societal depictions and its consequences.

      Pretty much all depictions of ethnic Chinese in British media is easily depicted in a few words: illegal immigrant, broken English, communist, obsessed with money, no heart, job stealers, take away owners, and so on.

      I'd ask you to find one depiction in any British TV show where it shows a normal British Chinese male who has normal interests like football (if you can't, try female). You can't.

      Why do you think a large majority of Asians-Americans and Asians all over the world watch kevjumba, Wong Fu, nigahiga etc? Because positive portrayals of Asians in the media is nadir.

    3. Not all actors/actresses are politically motivated. Why should the Chinese be?

      Because represented as "chinese" in the UK is political, it connotes how chinese are accepted and percieved and the undercurrents of hegemony.


    4. wongs good points conforms to Asian American discourse, common gripes relating to chinese stereotyping relate to physicalities, linguistics or their profession. For example, stereotyping with a 'herro' accent or playing an illegal immigrant selling dvds or a takeaway worker.

      My point is that if you want less stereotypical representation in the form of a normal chinese person that has a good professional job without a dodgy accent etc, you will end up with someone like Jing Lusi as Doctor Lo in Holby City. She has an normal English accent, normal junior doctor role.

      Now IMO that still fails because she is white washed to the point that her storylines do not reflect any aspect of her ethnic culture. Compare that with Elizabeth Tan in Corrie,

      In corrie, she played an illegal immigrant working in a chinese restaurant trying a scam marriage with a white lover. In Eastenders there was a character played Elaine Tang selling dvds, she was the girlfriend of Mickey Miller. IF they were not playing illegal immigrants and not selling DVDs but had 'normal' jobs and their storylines remained unaltered, would that be OK then? My answer is still NO.

      Why NO? because they are lusting after the white knight. Cho Chang in Harry Potter didn't work in a Chinese takeaway, she wasn't an illegal immigrant, she was a schoolgirl. yet her role is still unacceptable because her role was written for the benefit of the white audience. There was nothing about her race/ethnicity at all that was even referred to or mentioned would promote or empower the Chinese community. She had no Chinese friends, no Chinese boyfriend, no Chinese parents, just 2 white knight lovers, assimiliated into the white community with no interest in being a chinese person.

      IF its written for the benefit of a non-chinese audience or demographic, it will be constructed in such a way that will only be relevant to how the white or mainstream society perceives the chinese person to be relevant to them. For example, the writer will say.....well what use is a chinese girl in the storyline, - oh she can be the love interest for the white man! she can be someone selling dvds for the white people! its all constructed in a way that represents the interests of the hegemonic white or multicultural community. So therefore regardless if the Chinese character is an immigrant or a lawyer, selling dvds or selling mobile phones, working in a takeaway or working in a hospital, dodgy accent or normal british accent, eurasian or ethnic chinese actor, - it makes no difference, the outcome is still the same whatever you do. The Chinese coomunity, the chinese race remains dispowered because theyre not having their ethnic issues explored nor represented.

      Look at Takeaway the musical, its a good example of political correctness in terms of multicultural representation, it denied chinese the opportunity to write a play with an all chinese cast about chinese issues, it had to be a multicultural cast for the benefit of the white mainstream community, everything written has to benefit the white or mainstream multi-cultural community. You can't have a leading chinese guy with a chinese girl in love, because there is nothing in it for the white or multicultural audience to watch nor relate to. The main character in the role had multi-ethnic girlfriends - white + indian, thats political correctness.

    5. I don't know how you can even watch those types of TV soaps, they bore me to death a minute after I try and watch one episode haha.

      For one of the episodes I did watch from a TV series due to some who kept recommending I watch it, called "The Inbetweeners", what do I expect to find, yep, a (presumably) Chinese take away owner who speaks broken English and acts like a raging maniac.

    6. Well, the likes of Kevjumba, Wong Fu, Peter Chao etc are not necessarily representing Asians in a positive way, Peter Chao's entire act is based on negative FOB stereotype with a very dodgy accent, some will argue its even worse than the white stereotyping of Chinese people. But what they do offer is the representation of Asian males on the center stage, Asian males writing about Asian material with Asian perspectives for Asian audiences (well, immature Asian audiences I should say), its basically Asian media for Asian audiences, this is what we need in the UK.

    7. Yeah I didn't mention Peter Chao, never liked his work, his accent is too fake. I wouldn't put Wong Fu or kevjumba in the same group as him though, personally.

  9. @Wong, the politcal correctness comment was a tongue in cheek comment. Designed to laugh at the true irony of what it originally meant in this country. When applied to minorities in plays/films where there is tar-brush style heavy handed views from the eyes of a westerner, it's distorted.

    The book is always going to be sour grapes for ethnic Chinese who feel it might be used to hammer home the negatives of Communism. So in that sense, I can see how some BBCs might feel this is really stepping in the white man's dream of accepting the white man's view. Probably the biggest pain is the authour's ethnicity. That's what makes some feel it's right and even great to be part of such a production. But in the end, it's Katie Leung's choice. As to whether she is fully informed of what it really means is really only for her to know.

    BTW, I didn't see the link and was not discussing the link. I'm sure it's laced with stereotypes that really shouldn't even be on mainstream TV because it's so offensive. But I was discussing Wild Swans. SF.

    1. Well, its not hammering home negatives of communism per se, but CHINESE communism, its not Russian commmunism thats under scrutiny, nor is it cuban communism, its CHINESE communism, its not jsut nay cultural revolution, its the CHINESE cultural revolution. Not only that, it also covers feudal society prior to communism, but again its not just any feudal society, its not european fedual society, its CHINESE feudal society, its not western patriarchy, its CHINESE patriarchy. You see?

    2. OK, got your point BBCZeitgeist. I take it you don't subscribe to the notion of if it's been written by the minority about the minority, it must be more authentic. Whilst I agree that Wild Swans makes a success because it suits a western audience, but what about shows like Goodness Gracious Me, where performers were from the minority group discussing/joking about the minority group, therefore more authentic and dare I say more able to criticise.

      Do you not think the true victim could be the author herself? Success comes because she is able to write about her experiences away from China, and fame fell on her lap because she wrote in a way that tried to balance good and bad without swaying too obviously. And of course from a Chinese person. Bingo.

      Reading Wong and your recent post reminds me of how duty bound us Chinese need to be right now. It seems almost painful to see such negativity dished out due to social pressures and "doing the right thing" for the sake of China, even when it might not always be as sincere because of the current climate. For actresses like Katie Leung, it's almost as if she's doomed if she does, and don't. I feel there's no place for Chinese/oriental actors if they happen to be in America or Britain. Normal is abnormal for orientals, so it seems....SF.

    3. well of course its more authentic, by authentic you mean accuracy in terms of a reflection of Chinese lives? I'm not questioning historical accuracy of Wild Swans, her story is a sad one, almost all Chinese families have experienced tragedy, whether its the invasion by japs or cultural revolution etc, I do in my family history, so I have empathy for her.

      However, the way the book Wild Swans has become a western iconic hymn book for attacking China/Chinese culture etc and Jung Chang has become a figurehead for this movement along the same narratives as Niall Ferguson, its distasteful. Sure, she wants people to know about how evil the CCP are and what they did to her family, but her solution is to appeal almost exclusively to the westerner and we know westerners are jingoistic and self-serving.

      These people that attack China along the lines of 'I'm against the Chinese govt, but not against the Chinese people,' these lines often get blurred into blanket sinophobia. On websites such as Chinasmack + Pekingsduck, these sites are full of foreigners who have lived in China but express extreme sinophobia, they are racist as f***, their opinions are no different to the Daily Mail, they are the exact types of people who say they're anti-CCP but not against the Chinese people.

    4. BBCZeitgeist, I have no answer for that other than to repeat, no one should be void of writing if they want to, even if it is published and profits takes place. Jung Chan will always be dragged up as an example of being a traitor. This can only happen where we live in a society where there is lack of respect for other countries, particularly countries where communism is still the main party. Island mentality is part and parcel of Britain.

      Chan's book has allowed commentators a platform to continue to bash China for what it is "today" even though the book is really about the past. And for that, it's stuck in a time warp where westerners still view China like this. But as I have seen before, if someone writes something favourable about China, they are often "brainwashed" or indoctrinated. Goes to show, Chan is just a long line of victims being used along the way. SF.

    5. Like most things that get publicised about Chinese, its about whatever the west to see Chinese people as, that counts. Jung Chang just happened to fit the criteria/agenda. Whether she was groomed for it, is beside the point. She obviously cant have considered herself much of a victim if she's willing to get published and profit from it, can she?

    6. Happybritishchinese, I can't comment on how she got into writing, and to be honest, I'm more interested in the fact that she came to this country and more or less fled.

      She chose to "escape" here and behave like some dissident, choosing to stamp on the country that allowed her access to great further education (perhaps this forum would like to comment on China's white worshipping back in the eighties?)

      She probably got into writing thanks to the influence of her husband. I believe that due to her background image, she is seen as a let-down. Sometimes, you have to ask yourself. Has she stayed in China and written it all in Chinese, firstly, would she have gained international success, or secondly, would she have found a publisher for such comments?

      The whole problem is far deeper than one author from China. But the reality of western dominance on lieterature, news and culture. The three combined together form a formidable force that very often blinds us into thinking it's just the author at fault.

      As far as I'm concerned, she's just as indoctrinated by western influence as those living inside China. The few keyboard warriors that rant away in internet cafes are a few educated youngsters forming an 'anti' group, but when you butt that against China's population as a whole, there are probably dozens of budding Jung Chans about. SF.

    7. Its not 'coincidence' that Jung Chang along with all other FOB female, Chinese writers like Amy Tan who 'just happened to fit' criteria/agenda and are the only ones that get exclusively by western publishers. Its the same with Amy Chua and the eurasian connection. Sure theres dozens of budding Jung Changs about, tell me something new. Where are the male Chinese writers that expose the calculated bias within the western book publishing industry or even author to bring some equality to the truth of the footbinding patriarchy? 'keyboard warriors'maybe, but you should also research asian american activist 'Frank Chin'.

    8. Happybritishchinese, maybe you mis-read my previous post. Not at all with coincidence. I agree that people like Jung Chan and Amy Tan are dragged up as celebrated authors and clearly there are far more alternative voices within the Chinese literary world, which is why I mention the formidable combinations on my fourth paragraph.

      It's the dominace and control of the media and culture run by the west which ultimately sets the tones and agenda. As I have hinted previously to you, the World Wide Web is classic example. Use Google to type certain key words about China and you are littered with bigoted views and one sided often western viewpoints on anything. This is solid proof of how people can be controlled, including those that live inside China.

      The agenda is clear. It is keep China looking backwards, hold her from succeeding, and most of all, make usage of those who "might" have suffered in that country and make them local celebrities. Please see the Dalai Lama as example.

      This is why I say the Jung Chans of the world will be used and utilised, and also the reason I say, there are plenty that may have experienced terrible upheavels as Chan, but because they happen to reside in China, they have yet to be discovered and utilised by the western media. SF.

  10. "Its nothing to do with politics. Its about societal depictions and its consequences."

    I agree it's not to do with politics on other matters, but again, I was discussing her choice at taking a part in Wild Swans.

    The reality is, Chinese identity is still so small it's viewed as a 'bit-part' in many mainstream programmes and shows. By being so few and fairly poorly represented, stereotyping is very likely.

    What I find more distastful is the western obsession with the oriental baddie. Could be from James Bond to Pirates of the Carribean. But is it good to see Samo Haung play a goodie central character that is lovable but still kung-fu fighting his way out of trouble? Is this progression or stagnation?

    What about Jet Li in Romeo Must Die. Is that moving in the right direction of carefully chosen roles? SF.

    1. I really don't watch film much, compared to the average person really. There are wushu films aimed towards the Hong Kong/Chinese market then there are those aimed towards the western market, I know that, but I don't know this Sammo Hung person.

      I think I might've heard about Romeo Must Die. There has been talk on Asian-American forums about a film where there was an Asian protagonist, who ends up killing the bad guy etc etc, but then when faced with the women at the end, he doesn't kiss her, hug her, standard stuff you would find if it was a white protagonist and whatever women, he just parts ways. I'm not sure if this is the film.

      If it is, its a film which symbolises that Hollywood doesn't think an Asian protagonist who has romantic traits can attract a significant demographic.

    2. Wong, I haven't seen Romeo Must Die. So your imaginary description might be right, but I detect irritation and annoyance with repetition.?

      I must admit, you must be locked in a broom cupboard for decades if you haven't heard of Sammo Haung. It's like saying you don't know who Tony Leung is or Andy Lau for that matter.

      Have you heard of Harry Shum Jr? If so, can he be someone able to break the mould and 'just be?' SF.

    3. Irritation, definitely. What do you mean 'annoyance with repetition'?

      I know who Tony Leung and Andy Lau are, not Sammo Haung though. Like I said I don't watch that many movies. My main interests are in other areas.

      The guy off Glee, yeah, I admit I watched an episode (hope that never gets out) to see what his character was like, and I'm fine with his portrayal. No stupid ching chong comments, he speakers with a normal American accent etc, although after reading his wiki page his character development is minor compared to the other cast, which I'm slightly disappointed at. He did some work with Wong Fu as well, which is refreshing. He also did an independent action project as well, its on YouTube, can't remember what its called.

      Hopefully he can break the mould, although he can't do it alone. But there are several Asian-American actors gaining more prominence, so hopefully things will change. But until people like Ken Jeong (or the actor who played the minor role of being an extremely unrealistic angry Chinese immigrant take away owner on "The Inbetweeners") realise that their roles serve nothing but harm to the Asian-American community and the Asian community over the globe in general, the efforts required are even greater.

    4. Wong, you seem to show annoyance towards the lack of progression for Chinese actors, therefore when I say repitition, it's the way you write about plot-lines like you've seen it all before. Yawn-yawn style.

      I wonder, if no full blooded Chinese took these parts, they'd offer them to the Eurasians. Failing that, it's back to the days of Yul Brynner. Surely, that firmly puts the blame on the production team behind such films or TV shows rather than ethnic Chinese actors. SF.

    5. Just think fat roly poly kung fu and you got Sammo.

      As a blogger/writer, no matter how debilitating these representations of Chinese are, I still watch some of these programmes in order to write a review or a cultural critique. Sooner or later someone will produce or write a play/film/programme etc that may surprise you, if you think absolutely nothing is worth watching, then what exactly do you watch for cultural entertainment? TVB? or is that shite as well?

    6. I watch far more movies then I do of TV, although still less than the average person. The only TV show I watch regularly is The Big Bang Theory, but thats it.

      I hear people say TVB is nothing but generic rom-coms, so I'd rather stay away from it.

    7. I dont know what your ethnic heritage background is, but if its HK cantonese and you dont watch TVB, thats extremely sad, I'm not implying TVb programming is high quality, however TVB is probably the only channel in the world that makes programmes in Cantonese, its our heritage - we should never turn my back to it, not to mention the fact many of the TVB actors are overseas Born Chinese just like we are.

    8. I must admit, I don't really follow what happens with TVB or a lot of mainstream soaps. It maybe to do with seeing lines repeated time and time again. But watching Gok Cooks Chinese woken me up to a world that I remember, but have somehow taken for granted.

      Up until his recent cookery programme, he was just another eccentric gay. Now, I have to admit, I admire his cooking ability. I also admire his openness and I'm sure his detractors will say it's all staged and fake. But I prefer to judge on what I see.

      I see someone that respects his parents, and enjoys what his parents have taught him. There are many Eurasians who know nothing of their Chinese heritage, but I believe he has not just taken up his ethnic side for TV, but it was always there until someone saw him cook with Gordon Ramsay and noticed some more talents. SF.

    9. Next thing you'll be saying is that Gok Wan genuinely wants people to find true love because he's started his own dating show

    10. Happybritishchinese, calm down. I know you're not convinced about his character, and that's fine, but for now, I'll judge on what I see. SF.

  11. What i found disturbing is how "chinese identity" is often perceived as the "exotic other", the standard orientalist discourse which surprisingly hasn't been applied as much to chinese identity or cultural criticism of chinese representation the way other cultures have.
    I haven't read wild swans it s too tedious, it also omits for example the tragic japanese and earlier western imperialism, there are also tears, death and tragedy in these events, but it won't put lorpecks on seats if doesn't conform to the "western" narrative of history.


  12. Anonymous£££, the west have limited imagination of orientals as such. As other posters say time and time again, what's the difference with Japanese, or Vietnamese. It's all the same.

    Wild Swans makes a dent in the British scene because the back story outside of the book is also part of the "heart-string" package. Westerners in their cosseted lifestyles are a million miles from paddy fields and firing squads. They want to see a transformation. From barbaric to the serene and peaceful.

    The author's story is the fairytale for every westerner who have heard glimmers of China's past. The book reinforces it and also offer a human touch which is ten times better than an old imperialist whine about China hogging up the world's resourses. It keeps China in a time-warp and sadly reinforce the social stereotypes of Chinese aggression and cruelty. And that is exotic!SF.

    1. I agree @^any educated student from China can see through it aswell, and can see the blantant flaws and the historical omissions which paved way for communism as a means to unify a country that was once invaded by the Japanese, which has now been evolved and still reforming.
      I once heard Jung, the author being interviewed on radio4 the weird thing was she spoke imperfect english littered with basic grammical errors which makes me wonder how did she actually manage write correct prose.

      i don't wanna give katie leung a hard time she a very pretty girl beautiful cute face, but heard she doing a new drama as a DVD seller...

      please don't let as BBCs down Katie

    2. Is she really playing a DVD seller? Haha. Dear o dear, we've come full circle!

      If you think about it, I don't know how the harry potter contracts work, surely she must be a multi-millionaire by now right? She can set up her own production company and yet if its true she still resorts to playing this kinds of roles. Pitiful.

      For JC, isn't it normal for FOBS to write good English, but speak poorly?

    3. Exactly which that dosh one can form a media company for non-4-profit "BBCs" or even "chinese" interests or perspectives.
      But nope typecast stereotyping, just read Dimsum, Alfred lee's piece, the lack of politcial cultural awareness is incredible for someone of his age and experience as a chinese living in the UK is it a PR piece to subdue criticism about the state of BBCs or in or a piece to justify and rationalise the undercurrents of, as someone suggested, representational inequality of chinese peeps? Where is the anger and discontents of a struggling chinese actor!!??!!

      I despair

    4. ^ if youre referring to this link

      its obvious the guys a whitelicking FOB. Like most FOBS that write on dimsum are. Politics , experience and cultural awareness are irrelvant when it comes to licking white bottom.

    5. I agree mostly, I am not saying anything new, its a recurring theme, but I wouldn't put it as bluntly as ^, the failure to engage the subject matter of chinese identity by chinese people with any critique is so retrogressive and says more about this typical DS closed inactivity and passivity in commenting about the chinese in media culture today. I don't know what his cultural education is, whether it is confined to a kellifair/extras existence, or whether he had any depth political awareness like many more cluded up educated BBCs today, the point is he seems to be contently ignorant or doesn't want to critique with any deep analysis, for his or Dimsum's safe agenda. Which should be questioned if it wants to be about chinese people living today.
      Then again if he was to be more hardcore critical and truthful of the wider political structures in place... it could be too much too handle, from that perspective i can understand, but not necessarily agree with, why he has to continue with the delusion.

    6. Bro, to be honest,with respect, I think you are projecting too much wishfulfilment on the guy. If he clearly doesnt appear to have the credentials, then he just doesnt - no matter how much you may wish he did or how much of a 'nice guy' you may think he is. Shame, but it is what it is until proved otherwise.

    7. Update on Alfie Lee

      On the new bond film he's...wait for it

      ...a...LONDON COMMUTER

      Moving up in the world beyond the stereotypes is Alfie,next it'll be the British Chinese secret agent lol

  13. Alfred Lee and these quaint FOB elders are maybe looking towards us BBCS to lead the way, they just want a peaceful retirement, no trouble.And maybe as you say the truth is too painful, so folks like Alfred can only express gratitude for the wonders of this wonderful country - check out the jubilee article he wrote - in the dawn of the wonderful 'new era' we are approaching.

    Thing is BBCs are at a crossroads, as we now come to this time of awareness, and globalism, all coming to a head, its a question of what we do with this information. Mostly its been apathy or In Alfreds case, extolling painful cringeworthy gratitude because it will serve self preservation in his retirement. Either way the end result is the same unless we take our newfound knowledge beyond this blog into our own personal lives or as a united front.

    1. I agree it is so sad that people of the like AL^ show no interest about the next BBC generation or of the plight of BBCs issues, I am not an "elder" but I can think like one, as a person with some caring responsibility of the future. He gives the impression that he never experienced or encounters racism (of course has privately) which still exists, if he wants to communicate to a chinese audience from truer and deeper level then this is the complete antithesis of what should be done. I don't understand why he talking to chinese people anyway because he not saying anything that is culturally chinese and reveals nothing about his chineseness other that rationalising his selling out to demeaning stereotypical roles (srry to be so blunt). There are many comments about why chinese are so ineffective, and why things have not changed, there is one big reason.
      Having said all this he probably is a nice guy but extremely ignorant of the subtext of what he is doing and saying, because no one taught him.

    2. Another thing is for the older lot, acceptance is a big thing to them. Its probably not their job to be critical about participating in British society, knowing what tough decisions when originally choosing to emigrate to start a new life here. If the subtext as you say was more widely known discussed and Dimsum was more balanced in that respect, opinions from the older gen like Al maybe would be more acceptable in respect of 'one persons experience'. But because its in our nature not to make a big issue out of the subtext, when Alfred does his bit, we get disappointed. Similarly if ethnic Chinese do nothing about promoting or protecting or progressing our culture except act like a bunch of consumers, then we only have ourselves to blame, when those who 'represent' British Chinese community are either gratefully talking about their role as stereotypical racist immigrant fishing people on the film sets or teaching Cantonese to their half white baby.

    3. Chinese people like AL CAN make a difference, the point is he doesn't chose to, imagine if he decided to talk about proper issues to the younger generation, it doesn't have to be all fighting rebellious talk just the sociological "truth" instead of fostering a culture of denial the way informed black critics are commenting about racism in football.

    4. You seem to know quite a bit about the guy. Did he have activist inclinations in his younger days or something? What kind of truth do you think he knows that isnt already common knowledge on here?

      Either way if he's going to talk to the younger gen, doing the cringeworthy jubilee and immigrant bit part film role isnt the greatest way to lead by example, so he may tone those parts down when talking his version of truth.

    5. Don't agree, he's at the age in his retirement taking it easy trying to look at the world through his cosy spectacles of his happy grandchildren, he has neither the inclination nor the authority nor status to make a difference. It's just a pity youthful BBCs are apolitical and pathetic, they'll grow into Alfred Lee's in 40 years time with their 1/4 Chinese grandchildren.

    6. since when have FOBs in the post-war period ever been remotely radical? Let alone, weak old powerless fragile FOBs. Remember what the other old FOB said in this documentary about his grandchildren....

    7. Also as mentioned before theres something about being a British Chinese as opposed to american Chinese that takes the bite out of the Chinese pride. Its almost as if being born here or immigrating here says: 'okay you made it, you made money from your groceries/restaurants now shut the hell up and pay tribute to our white-centric elitist culture.

      And because Chinese, being the materialist practical people that we are cannot argue because we do not question the socialogical aspect, we have what we have today in the form of lame FOBS, whitewashed BBCs and mixed race liberalism. In some ways BBCs need to do what Hong Kong did - take what is useful and reject what is useless. Problem is we arent culturally discriminating enough in our outlook.

    8. In regards to your comments HappyBritshChinese, you could say, a fair few FOB parents are quite conservative and fearful of the "arts". They often discourage their children to go into Art, Acting and even Directing. These jobs are seen as seedy and dangerous. This conservative nature plus the low percentage of BBCs in this country will always end in lack of representation on these subjects.

      I'm not at all surprised to see so little in change regarding Chinese actors in the west or here in Britain. It has to be tough going for a BBC or FOB trying to carve out a career. Many have to take what they can. It would be more influencial to have more Chinese directors hiring more ethnic Chinese and bring more Chinese culture and subjects to the mainstream.

      It was nice to see the Americans wanting to (copy) do their version of Infernal Affairs. For once, the Chinese leading and not copying. Because let's face it, copying or re-making something from the west for the east seems to be the norm. SF.

    9. SF I hope you didnt enjoy the Affairs remake, if you can even call it that.

      Seriously, that was one of the worst examples of a 'good remake'. As if such a term even exists when it comes to Hollywood adapting East Asian Cinema.

      The Departed'was a sinophobic-cluster f-ck of a remake - the bad guys were Chinese haha! How's that for paying 'respect' to the source material?

      As this blog says:

      ' With Jack Nicholson’s dialogue, which blatantly invokes nearly every “amusing” anti-Asian joke one can bring to mind: from Chinese as spies, to Chinese as foreigners, to Chinese as un-American, to Chinese as emasculated, to Chinese dick-size jokes, to — and I quote — “No Tickee No Laundry”.'

    10. The movie starred Mark Wahlberg as well, fitting.

    11. Sorry, I meant Mark "punch a Vietnamese guy unconscious and blind another in one eye, but I'm not a racist because I had sex with an Asian woman despite me calling the guy "Vietnam fucking shit"" Wahlberg.

    12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    13. HappyBritishChinese, no comment on the 'remake' American version. How can it be better.?? I'm not saying all Hong Kong movies are great because I hold my hands up to say I don't watch movies much, full stop. But, I was merely trying to illustrate Chinese always copying the western version, pop music being the most obvious.

      I often joke, if you want to see all the Chinese actors/actresses, you need to watch Spooks! Be sure there will be an outlet for them.

      As for that Mark Wahlberg, what a joke. Any Chinese should know that this so-called actor is a disgrace. Please note the little press coverage regarding his violent behaviour, but Mel Gibson's antics and anti-semetic comments are everywhere, for all to see. SF.

    14. Re: Spooks are you refering to this from 2010

      'The Guardian has learned that Beijing is so unhappy at these unflattering portrayals that government officials have ordered TV companies not to co-operate with BBC Worldwide, the corporation's international commercial wing.'

      Funny how anglo-american media makes no shame of hiding its sinophobic agenda, plain as daylight. Yet some British Chinese community sellouts are completely oblivious to it and call us lot on here the racists haha

    15. No, I haven't seen that article before. But am I surprised? Because most TV shows and films are catered for the western markets, the viewpoint is from a western angle, hence the usual stereotypes.

      Ethnic Chinese are the bit-part villains, always trying to ruin western dominance. Is it romantic old-school views of a past generation? What's damaging is today, it's still being pushed. Chinese spies, suspicious students who excel in Engineering subjects should be treated with suspicion, even those born in America etc etc. The underlying tone is "treat them with suspicion" because they are hard to read. They are different to us. SF.

  14. @Wong had to google that about the ape-faced white trash.Wahlberg is scum

    Re: Chinese actors, Lau Tak Wah thank God turned down the role for the new Iron Man. Im no big fan of his acting,except maybe Protege but knowing to this very day he is the ONLY major HK actor who has snubbed the lure of Hollywood bucks, I have huge respect for the guy.

    1. I been watching and following Andy lau's career for ages, he is a big heart throb and (crass) HK cantopop singer in HK, none of my western friends find him attractive the way my Hk female friends do.
      Generally the western audience don't find chinese male actors "sexy" or good looking. This is the dominant market media view of the west,.. Jackie chan is just comedy, an insightful view of the roots of western representations of orientalism is in his film Cannonball Run (70-80s), that film sums up the issues concisely everything about the negative(then openly accepted) western attitudes of chinese people.
      As for the olympics has anyone noticed how Chinese record breakers and gold medal winners are downplayed or ignored? won't be the same if it was a Brit...

    2. Havent been following the Olympics so cant comment on that, although just found out that China's Wu Minxia won the first diving gold. Mind you even from that little article i googled , in the only quote from her interview , it had to tack on the slightly sinophobic soundbite

      "It feels normal," Wu said in Mandarin. "I really don't have that many emotions."

      Re: HK actors

      In general thats the way Hollywood sees Chinese actors - they have to do something other than just 'act'. They always have to do 'tricks'.

      At the same time, if English speaking ethnic Chinese actors arent promoted, then they just fill the screen up with Eurasians.

      And if on the off-chance that there are some English-language speaking Chinese actors out there - or Asian American, they dont get much screentime.

      IMO within the constraints of an action drama, Jackie Chan actually can act, Im a big fan of his early HK stuff. But now, he's past it, not sure why he bothers. He's just a money-making sponsorship machine.

      Im actually waiting for Edison to hit his big screen once more with his classic clueless acting. In Dog Bite Dog, with Sam Lee, actually the whole film was unintentional comedy in its seriousness, but it was great. The director went onto to greater things like the new monkey king film.

  15. @TeamBBC, the reason is simple. China is expected to win gold. Because of that, there's this massive effort to ignore them. The same reason headlines can be made if Britain receives a Bronze medal, because they're expected to languish in 20th position.

    The more damaging thing is the constant need to dig up any dirt relating to the Chinese team. This has allowed commentators and even ordinary members of the public to assume Chinese people like to cheat, whether that is the way or the norm. This is the real issue. If it's not about the question mark about gymnasts' age limit, it's the tatics between other team members to control final positions, down to even down-right accusations of members needing to take performance enhancing drugs to gain in the swimming.

    Don't put it past the Daily Mail the next day investigating herbalist shops where mysterious concoctions have been made for decades for the Chinese atheletes. How banned herbs have been openly used but unchallenged by this country's authorities. It's all pretty annoying if I'm honest sad. The truth of the matter is, it's just sour grapes. People are irritated by China's non-stop success. It was not meant to be like that! SF.

    1. And on the topic of Hong Kong news gossip Cecilia Cheungs dad is suspected of triad intimidation case

      Like one of the comments said, no wonder she's such a tough nut, because of her dad.

  16. I want to understand why an actor playing a role is such an issue? Is there really a hidden meaning behind the role of Cho Chang? You will of course find things such as the meanings you mentioned if you intend to try and find them.
    Not losing the identity and culture is very important but also if Chinese want to "fit it" to british society then they will need to make the biggest effort as it is a different country. It is of course up to the people in UK to accept or not. However racism is never the way to disapprove people.
    There will always be lesser roles in films for foreigners that just the way it is in every country.
    While people will choose who they want to be with, being influenced by the british way of life, your partner could be of any race in a multicultural setting such as the UK. The world is become a more close nit place globalisation is happening at a rapid rate and being mixed race will become more common.

    Not promoting harmful things about your culture should be taken into account however, if it isn't propaganda but merely a a written portrayal of a story then it could be left at that, No?

    While many of your posts such as the girl who got attacked in Plymouth shows further bias. She was attacked and I am sorry for her, but this incident could have happened anywhere. Plymouth although down south does have a decent Chinese population and has many Chinese students and this has been only been increasing. The uni has also made an effort to help Chinese students feel more at home and relaxed such as welcome parties, celebrating important times of the year etc.
    There are ignorant people everywhere and in every country. Racism happens in every country.