segunda-feira, 4 de maio de 2009

The LoDown

Alex Lo
South China Morning Post
May 2, 2009

Just another rude woman making a lot of noise in the street

It's not the mistakes you make that define you, but how you deal with them. Public figures make gaffes that land them in hot water all the time. But some recover and learn a lesson; others blame critics for their trouble and insist they are being unfairly picked on. We can now add Jackie Chan to the latter, whiny bunch.

Columnist Chip Tsao also recently made a gaffe by calling the Philippines "a nation of servants" in a satirical article. This sparked a protest rally by more than 7,000 Filipinos and their supporters, who called him "Cheap Tsao". He quickly saw the error of his ways and made a formal apology to consulate officials in Hong Kong.

According to a report this week in Filipino newspaper the Hong Kong News, the Philippine government has lifted a ban on Tsao from visiting the country and no longer considered him "an undesirable alien". Chip was briefly my boss years ago at a now-defunct newspaper. I know he has a loose tongue, but he is no racist.

The same cannot be said about Chan. We Chinese are highly hierarchical animals. In Chan's mental universe, I am pretty sure wealthy and powerful mainland officials stand at the apex of the Chinese race, after which come people in Hong Kong, Macau and then Taiwan - in that order. This qualifies as a kind of internal racism. In a TV interview this week, Chan said he loves all these places because they are Chinese territories. He only criticised Taiwan, he said, "because I love her", and described his critics using a Chinese phrase that meant "nasty and rude women making lots of noise in the street". Say no more, Jackie, you are sounding exactly like one of those women.

If you think Chinese names are difficult, try Thai or Polish

Republican Texas state lawmaker Betty Brown has recently had to apologise for saying Asian-American voters should adopt names that are "easier for Americans to deal with". Funny that, because I have always thought Chinese names - spelled in English - are among the easiest to remember. I mean, try Thai or Polish names; I could never work as a reporter in Bangkok or Warsaw. Copy editors would murder me for misspelled names. But it's evidently just my own cultural bias. "Rather than everyone here having to learn Chinese - I understand it's a rather difficult language," Brown originally said. "Do you think that it would behove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here?" It's surprising no one has suggested Brown switch jobs and work in China. She will find much more obliging white-collar mainland workers who have already adopted an English name or are trying to settle on one. I have always found it interesting that many North American-born Chinese I know have a completely Chinese name yet know little of the language, but when you go to Shanghai and Shenzhen, everyone who works in an office has an English name, however weird, like Alien Wang or Bicycle Chen. In colonial Hong Kong, having an English name was considered cool when I was a kid. Not so on the mainland today. It's more of a pragmatic response to an influx of foreigners since China's economic opening, many of whom probably feel the same way about Chinese names as Brown.

Macau's disciplined forces mourn the loss of an adult discipline

Macau's disciplined forces are having a serious crisis, but it has nothing to do with law and order or the economic downturn. An internet forum widely used by members of the forces - which include police, fire and other services - has recently changed its name and address, and cancelled its most popular service - its adult-content section.

Given the kind of businesses for which Macau is famous, it is certainly strange that the old site,, has changed to and dropped its juiciest section. Site participants have been pleading for its return. The webmaster has also deleted all naughty photos associated with the Edison Chen Koon-hei sex scandal and warned members not to post them again or risk being banned from the site.

One post paraphrased an old communist slogan, "Without the Communist Party, there is no new China" as "Without the adult section, there is no website". Another threatened to lead an exodus to quit the site. One thread has gathered nine pages of replies, mostly supporting reinstating the naughty content. The pleas have fallen on deaf ears. This week, the webmaster took an even harder line and deleted all posts that discussed or merely mentioned the naughty section. That ought to shut those sex-starved officers up.

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