Monday, 30 July 2012

I Feel British - But Not British Enough To Support Team GB At The London Olympics

Whilst patriotic Brits industriously paved the roadside with Union Jacks for 140km from Dorking to The Mall to inspire road racer Lizzie Armitstead to claim Britain’s first medal of the games, observing this as a discombobulated British Chinese, the feel good factor is hard to masticate let alone swallow, I feel British, but not British enough to fly the Union Jack in support of 'Team GB.'

We’re constantly reminded by the British multiculturalism debate that ethnic representation promotes both inclusion and the feeling of being part of something bigger, whilst it maybe partly true, the argument is not entirely convincing. In the run up to the London Olympic Games 2012 there was East Asian representation aplenty. The Olympic torch passed through the hub of London's Chinatown, carried by popular Spectrum Radio DJ Steven Cheung (half Chinese half Filipino speaks fluent Cantonese).

Judging by his Twitterings, Steven Cheung appears somewhat enamoured by the British monarchy, so is pianist Lang Lang for that matter, nonetheless it's still East Asian paper representation, not to mention British Chinese musicians Andy Leung and Liz Liew who were commissioned to compose XX/XY for the games.

Roll on the opening ceremony, East Asian faces were bountiful but none were given a prominent role. Instead Black producer Catherine Ugwu and ebony obsessed Danny Boyle - blatantly agenda driven by his own inter racial relationship with mixed Black actress Rosario Dawson, intentionally over-hyped and over-represented Blacks with their Windrush, their urban music, their inter racial relationships and even their mixed Black offspring, however, our Chinese culture, our struggle, our journey was absent from the ceremony, tokenism is not to be taken lightly - as usual our identity is only tolerated within the narrow context of being multicultural rather than being Chinese.

Onto the games itself. Who am I expected to cheer for if there are no British Born Chinese sportsmen nor sportswomen representing Team GB? Of the 564 athletes representing Great Britain at the London Olympic games 2012, only two are of East Asian origin. Laotian Anne Keothavong is British Born East Asian, she's not a big name, nor is Chinese immigrant Na Liu. Hypothetically if high profile Chinese legend Wang Hao jumped ship to become a British citizen to compete for Team GB, would that be persuasive in supporting Team GB unequivocally? The answer would probably still be No. Its not that I'm anti-British nor anti-English, as a Londoner I paid my contribution to the games, I recognised all the ‘Best of British’ references in the opening ceremony...William Henry Monk’s Abide With Me, Blur, Brunel, Jk Rowling and I'm proud of the NHS, however none of the aforementioned will ever rescind my Chineseness, I will never willfully fly a Union Jack flag nor sing God Save The Queen, nor am I alone - five Team GB footballers including Welshmen Ryan Giggs snubbed the British national anthem.

To put it in perspective, University of Essex's Institute of Social And Economic Research recent household study Understanding Society revealed that of Britain’s ethnic groups, Whites (Scottish and Welsh hold strong non-British identities), Chinese and Afro-Caribbeans associate least closely with Britishness, though as expected, identification with Britishness was higher among the children and grandchildren of migrants.  Evidently, for those of us who take pride in being Chinese and consider our mother roots to be important, our ethnic identity as 'Chinese' remains very strong, stronger than any concept of Britishness.

By BBCZeitgeist

Thursday, 26 July 2012

ONS Happiness Index

ONS Happiness Index 2012 measuring national 'well being' in the UK published its findings yesterday. For an overview, read The Guardian 'Key to well-being- Live on a remote island and don't work'

Here's the Methodology: For 'life satisfaction,' an evaluative approach asked individuals to make a cognitive assessment of how their life is going overall. The 'worthwhile' question uses the eudemonic approach and measures peoples sense of meaning and purpose in life, i.e connections with friends and family, sense of control and whether they feel part of something bigger than themselves.

The groups reporting the lowest average rating out of 10 for life satisfaction were Black African/Black Caribbean (6.7), Chinese and White group were the second highest at (7.4), surprisingly Indians reported the highest rating at (7.5). For the worthwhile index, lower than average ratings were reported by all groups except whites.

Differences are accountable to cultural bias and certain ethnic groups experiencing disadvantage in certain areas of life such as education, income, health and living conditions. 

As much as I would like to apply the same methodology by dismissing the results of the ONS Happiness Survey as 'unsatisfactory,' any differences in statistical numbers are so insignificant to render the entire survey - an 'un-worth-while' waste of £2million, if I was happy yesterday, I'm sure as anxious as hell today - shockingly, in the UK, Chinese are as content with their life as Whites and are no more subjectively affected by any significant disadvantages in life than Whites - maybe this explains why the ignorantly blissful 'happily satisfied' British Chinese community is so apathetic towards radical racial politics and identity in Britain. What do you think?

By BBCZeitgeist

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The Prostitute, Her Accountant husband And Her Policeman Lover

Have you heard the one about the Chinese prostitute, her White accountant husband and her white ex-policeman lover? Full Article
Chinese brothel madam Rong Chen, 35-years-old, trafficked and controlled at least four prostitutes and managed at least five brothels has been jailed for seven years. Belfast Crown Court judge Mr Justice Stephens said her “egocentric focus for financial gain was despite there being no financial pressures” on her. 

Her two white henchmen, 44-year-old accountant husband Jason Hinton, who shares the same address as Chen at Crestwood Avenue, Kidderminster, Worcestershire, and former policeman Simon Dempsey, 42, were also sentenced. While Dempsey, her one-time white lover, was handed a nine-month term for aiding and abetting the control of prostitution, her white husband Hinton walked free from court with a 220-hour community service order for the same offence.

Her diaries revealed she raked in £282,107 in the 18 months from January 2008 until May 2009 while her victims were forced to live in “squalid” conditions, forced to have sex with strangers, given very little or no freedom and threatened with murder and deportation if they objected. Chen claimed her boyfriend was a member of a triad gang, that her husband’s relatives were high ranking police officers.  

Four women, all aged between 45 and 56, had answered job advertisements placed in Chinese newspapers offering £220 a week as nannies, cleaners and child minders. Once they arrived in Northern Ireland, however, they were coerced into working in brothels. Chen placed ads in newspapers, advertising how they could use the women for £70 for half-an-hour. 

BBCZeitgeist Commentary: Press describes Rong Chen not simply as a prostitute, but a 'Chinese prostitute.' With no reference of deportation, it can presumed she is a British National, Chinese in this context refers to her ethnicity not her nationality, if her ethnicity is of paramount  importance, why are the press not drawing attention to the ethnicity of her husband and her former policeman ex-lover - both are 'White men' colluding with the former Chinese prostitute into profiteering from the exploitation of Chinese women?

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Why Its Unsafe To Call John Terry a ‘Fucking White Cunt’

In January, Dianne Abbot was metaphorically hung by the British public for tweeting something as innocuous as “White people love playing divide and rule, we should not play their game.”
Against hounding accusations of racism against White people, she backtracked claiming a historical reference to the colonial past even though the tweet was clearly written in the present tense. Evidently, tolerance for radical outspoken ethnic speakers within the mainstream appears to be diminishing, even within the virtual realm of the internet it is no longer ‘safe’ to speak out nor fight against ‘white racism’ nor fight for ethnic causes without retribution or consequence - whatever happened to Britain’s tolerance of oppressed racial minorities' Black rights?

In 1964, Malcolm X orchestrated a highly charged ‘racial’ speech at the Oxford Union, the ‘White man’ was labelled a ‘devil’ and a ‘racialist’ to shuddering rounds of applause from the debating chamber, yet forty eight years on, times have changed, the election of Barack Obama opened new discussions on race and ethnicity discourse (Listen to podcast with Ralph Eubanks and Professor Mark Anthony Neal).

The Guardian is currently running a series of articles on racism in the digital age. It is argued in a post-racial age, the ‘White man’ neither tolerates nor feels burdened by the cries of racial suppression from its racial minorities. Whilst racial minority bloggers and journalists maybe given license on the Centre-Left Guardian newspaper to share their tribulations promoting race and ethnicity issues within the sphere of the mainstream, ironically 'below the line' comments accompanying these articles are less sympathetic, overflowing with (mostly white) egesta lacking an iota of empathy towards the plight of its ethnic minorities.

The internet mob heckle the ethnic bloggers till they scarper with their tails between their legs seeking sanctuary in the Huffington Post. 'Racism is the new McCarthyism,' the internet mob shout, ‘how dare you play the race card and drum up hysteria accusing poor innocent ‘White’ people of racism?!’ 

The mob are jubilant, vindicated by the courts decision in R v John Terry racist use of 'you fucking Black cunt,' yet Rio Ferdinand loses his place in the England team after making a stand against racism. So Where does this leave those still brave enough to fight or speak out against racism?
"The consensus that societies are post-racial has supported a range of political strategies often described as "cultural racism". The people are not racist, the argument goes, and any prejudice is merely a natural defensive response to the "reverse racism" of "migrants" who refuse to adapt and accept "our way of life" (Titley and Lentin, The Guardian)
In a 'post-racial age,' ethnic minorities are increasingly having to justify their position in even attempting to develop an strong ethnic identity, large sections of the community truly believe our identity should not be based on race as it is divisive. As The Guardian puts it eloquently..."being blind to race often involves being blind to racism." In attempting to deny us our ethnic identity, denying us the chance to fight back or speak out, they hope to deny us our ethnic voice, if race doesn’t exist- there can’t be any racism can there?

By BBCZeitgeist

Friday, 20 July 2012

The Bachelor 2012

The Bachelor UK is back on our small screen for a second series and I can't say I'm enthralled to watch a trash-rack programme that ought to be titled 'Pretty Woman - 24 prostitutes and only one can be honoured as Vivian Ward.'

The Bachelor - 'chunky tango-faced coke-snorting' Spencer Matthews insists he is searching for a 'meaningful relationship,' must take his pick from a selection of highly competitive gawdy women by giving them a red rose, well, its better than giving them herpes, isn't it? Standing on the curb are avaricious East Europeans, British slags and Asian queen of kitsch repulsion - Marissa Jiang, though heavily bronzed like a Playboy Mansion squatter from the Philippines, Marrisa Jiang is in fact Mainland Chinese born and bred, post-graduate educated and living in London.

In an interview, 'entrepreneur' Marissa Jiang, 29, is said to have jumped onto a plane straight to London to get away from Chinese people telling her how to live her life in China, she found her solacium among influential upper-crust socialite circles of philandering old white men.

She likes to openly remind herself she is Chinese by constantly referring to her ethnicity, ethnocentrically claiming her boobs are big for a Chinese girl and how she feels 'horny.' Clearly, class is something you can't buy, prostitution you can buy, so fingers crossed Marissa Jiang has cleaned out her cupboard unlike the last Chinese girl to appear on a UK dating show 'Take Me Out' Wen Jing Mo turned out to be a £200 per hour former hooker.

Watch the Bachelor UK Channel 5 10pm Friday 13th July 2012 (After Big Brother)
Watch The Bachelor UK - Episode One
Watch The Bachelor UK - Episode Two
Watch The Bachelor UK - Episode Three


Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Is BBC Identity Trapped By Chinese Self-interested attitude?


Is there something about our BBC nature, aside from friends and family, that we tend not to acknowledge other ethnic Chinese in public due our self-interested attitudes?

Publicly acknowledging another Chinese stranger, is a way of validating that person's presence, and in the UK, where Chinese are a minority, sharing an ethnic commonality.

Is there something about being British AND Chinese that makes us behave doubly self-interested and uninterested in each other? Is it  regional - Northern BBC's vs Southern BBC's? Or Hong Konger vs Mainlander?

Here's a quote from an anonymous BBC commenter:
'Why can't we embrace our identity as British Chinese in the sphere, unalienated by gendered construct and ESTABLISH ourselves as a great part of the community? Why do we attack our women when we also need to pursue objectives that can benefit our men? We want every British Chinese to have the same opportunities. We want our community to be respected. Before we can BE RESPECTED, we have to RESPECT each other and choices EACH people make. But in DOING So we need to ask British Chinese to BREAK DOWN THEIR own stereotypes about each other.

What you guys need to do is say to Chinese women: stop stereotyping against your men. What you also need to say is: love who you love: regardless of colour. You also need to say to them is: your body is your own. but remember you are also represneting others. your responsibility exceeds just that.

What you need to say to Chinese men AND women:
GO and BE the change you want to see. If your heart is IN the traditional career roles, that's ok. but if you wanna be something else.. do it. be brave. we support you.'
Nice idealism, but as far as I can see, unless Chinese in the UK can actually see connection within each other first, those idealisms will remain just that.

Indeed from what I have seen, ethnic Chinese strangers in the UK do little to acknowledge each other in public, and in a largely white-dominated public, these over-emphasised values, have gotten in the way of choosing practical over cultural, family over social , self over collective.

Here are some common examples of FOB self-interested attitudes are taken to the extreme in our UK Chinese identity:

Good news - likes to be shared with friends
Bad news - keep to ourselves
Racism- deal with it on our own way, when it happens to others, not interested
British Chinese community, not interested in what others think, only how we, as individuals, benefit.
When something bad happens to another Chinese, turn the other way.

Even on this blog,  accusations thrown at the two contributors for being pro-China extremists, like ' Who are you people? Why do you hide behind anonymous names?'  And yet, when those same people are invited to contribute an article, let alone accept an invitation to meet up in person, there is no reciprocation and they vanish into the ether.

That some readers who have been with us for some time now,  remain anonymous, but refuse to sign up with a google ID to show a sense of online solidarity, and when asked to meet up, say they will, but in the end, don't, makes me wonder about our BBC/British Chinese nature of relating to other Chinese in general.

Is it our inherent passive aggressive nature? 

That as ethnic Chinese we don't want to acknowledge needing help but often need help, or want to support an opinion but it's often in the form of criticism.

That whenever someone offers a practical solution we ignore it because we don't think it's realistic.

Or is it the lack of trust amongst Chinese?

As another commenter says:

'Chinese are not adverse to screwing people over. Over on the forum there was a post about concert tickets where the buyer charged her FRIENDS 250% mark up on the face value. Menu/sign printing companies for pissy jobs charge way over the odds compared to English companies. I was being quoted £900 when the English co nearby gave me a £140 price. Same with Chinese speciality insurance companies, guess who I go to?'

On a recent article  I attempted to help out a fellow BBC by offering her advice towards dealing with some local racists. However in the course of that conversation, when I casually mentioned that 'FOBS can slate you for not speaking much Cantonese' I was immediately questioned as to whether I was a 'self-hating BBC'

Before, I had little idea what being a BBC meant, because like a lot of us, we don't really take time to examine our identity or rather, in typical Chinese practicality just ignore the politics and..get on with it.

If an extreme self-interested attitude is part of our parent's nature, does it work when it comes to developing a British Born Chinese social identity? And if we are too lazy or scared to question such attitudes in discovering the way we relate to each other as British Chinese, doesn't that make British Born Chinese a social identity in extreme denial?