Note: I wrote this on December 23 but given the Christmas holiday period was upon us I thought it was not appropriate to have it posted then. Therefore it is posted now.
Now that David Farrar is holidaying in South Africa and sending us pictures showing how big the turtles are there and how Hyenas are eating dead baby elephants. I wish to take his holiday spirit and send him this letter as my Christmas present.
His Kiwiblog is powerful and I hope this letter plays a small role in helping make his blog a bit fairer on some issues.
While on a roller-coaster over the past three weeks of being in and out of Parliament, I was told that Mr Farrar, rather indirectly, blogged on me by saying more than once that to the effect that: “It will hurt Labour. While not a huge contributor to Labour within Parliament, I understand he is a relatively large fundraiser for Labour”.
It is unfortunate that David Farrar made this sweeping comment without delving deeper into the subject.
The Chinese community, along with wider communities, is a rather large constituency. They come to MPs for help or for an answer with all sorts of different issues: immigration, corrections, law and order, resource consent, leaky building remediation work, national standards and constantly, how to grow the economy.
To be an MP serving such a large constituency with many members virtually being unable to communicate effectively (both in a linguistic and political sense) is a difficult task. Therefore the selection criteria must be harsh – if not harsher – than the process to select a ‘mainstream’ candidate. It requires skills, knowledge about both NZ and the migrant’s country of origin, and above all, integrity to provide service that reflects the quality and name of our House of Representatives.
Dr Jian Yang offered a recent example. For me, if two law degrees, one BA in linguistics and one MLitt in political communication won’t mean anything to David Farrar, then my experience as Asian Affairs Reporter for the NZ Herald followed by a stint as a successful lawyer won’t mean anything either.
Of course, my 6th book, just released, which according to critics has “influenced so many people” perhaps will not mean anything to David Farrar at all. In short, what we have achieved and what we have been doing are largely invisible to him, which perhaps encouraged him to belittle who we are and what we are.
Of course Mr Farrar would argue that he adopted a narrow definition for ‘within parliament’. But if Asian MPs across board could be assessed using each other as a bench mark it would draw a more fair and convincing conclusion.
I have no reason to believe that he has a grudge towards me. I‘m not that important, at least in his political sense. Nor do National’s ethnic MPs need his assistance given National has been riding high for the past three years.
I did organise public meetings and fundraising dinners quite successfully over the past few years, as acknowledged by David Farrar. For an opposition back-bencher I don’t have an ever-popular Prime Minister to offer smiles and photo opportunities which must have enriched National’s support as reported in the NZ Herald. This only proves the point that I am popular and have done a good job.
When the time was not with us and the trend was against us, this kind of response is regarded as a form of approval and endorsement by the constituency.
It is unfortunate that he seemed to imply that we Asian MPs are ATM machines for political parties and are token inclusions in Parliament. I hope the National Party does not have this same expectation of its Asian MPs. It is certainly not the case in Labour, where the vision of inclusive and strong communities has inspired many, including myself, to enter into politics.
New Zealand is a multi-racial country now. We need to remind ourselves of the need to make a departure from ignorance and patrionising.