09 May, 2010


Sing Song

In among such tedious trivia as the progress of the oilslick spreading relentlessly across the Gulf of Mexico and the ongoing attempts to shore up the Euro against the forthcoming economic collapse of the PIIGS, the big news on the BBC World Service right now is that the "Chinese-Australian" "community" is up in arms about the choice of a White man to play the rôle of Gallipoli hero Billy Sing.

Apparently the late Mr Sing, a gentleman of mixed Chinese and European heritage, is revered among the Chinese community and they are angry that, with the portrayal on TV of both Mr Sing and his wholly Chinese-heritage father by "Caucasians", a whole generation of Chinese-Australian children might grow up thinking that Billy Sing was White.

Heaven help us!

As it happens, my sympathies tend to be with the Chinese on this one, but then I'm an evil racist thug. But it's not exactly PC, is it? I mean, surely, there's no such thing as Chinese-Australians: they're just Australians. And this business of claiming a shared national hero for a particular ethnic group, that's a bit off innit?

Imagine the reaction if I were to complain about a historically significant English figure being portrayed by a Black actor. I mean, like, I wouldn't want my grandchildren growing up thinking that Henry VIII was a Darkie, now, would I?

Mind you, the episode does add an interesting new idiom to the language:
white out v.tr. To obscure the true ethnic identity of a historical person by representing him as White.
Interesting linguistic potential there.

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