Tuesday, April 8, 2008

An open letter to Mr Peter Brown of New Zealand First

Dear Mr. P. Brown,

I agree absolutely the matter of Asian immigration
Demands serious attention. After all, Mr P Brown, the true definition
Of a true blue Kiwi, like yourself, is, firstly,
A love of the All Blacks. Not in the literal sense
Unless you’re down the Loaded Hog on Friday night,
But I mean, really love the All Blacks, who were robbed
Of their right to the World Cup.

Secondly Mr P Brown, I know you can sing
The national anthem in both English and Maori
After all, true blue Kiwis like yourself, Mr P Brown,
Can. Maori is, of course -
the language of those poor bottom dwelling bastards
soon to be displaced by 'mini societies of Asians'

And we all know the Asians rob people.
It was probably them that robbed the All Blacks.
And now they’ll rob
Those poor brown people of their rightful place to be
At the bottom of New Zealand society.
I feel your pain, I really do, Mr P Brown. I feel it here.
Better, far better, to have a flood of brown people here
than yellow.

With a name like Mr Brown, Mr P Brown, who can blame you
For being a defender of the poor oppressed in our society.
Like Winston Peters, who’s never played the race card, ever.
He’s brown. And you work with other brown people too.
They clean your office toilet, flush your shit down the loo.
An Asian cleaning your loo just wouldn’t be patriotic, would it,
Mr P Brown?

There’s no telling what the Asians would do if they became
Substantial. The greater the number,
The greater the risk.
Sell substandard goods from China?
Our Prime Minister’s only a woman,
She couldn’t tell the difference.
Real quality is Kiwi-made. Macpac packs, Pumpkin Patch.

Those Asians will never integrate.
All they’re interested in are the A’s and
Sending their kids to our best schools.
Their kids won’t ever be Kiwis.
Having them here would only cause
Division, resentment and friction. And not the kind
Of friction you get, Mr P Brown,
By putting your hands down your pants.

Oh and – you can always tell an Asian by the way they look.
They’re yellow, you see. Squinty eyes, and
always in the library. None of them can drive.
And none of them speak
English properly. That brings me to my third point –
All true blue kiwis speak English, don’t they,
Mr P Brown? Even the brown people.
They signed the Treaty in English, after all.

And my last point, the most important. A true blue
Kiwi is born here, Mr P Brown, right here on this soil,
Part of the whenua, they say. So people
Not from this land have no chance
Of integrating into our just, free, and above all,
Tolerant society. No chance at all, Mr P Brown.
I mean, we wouldn’t want a mini-London
On our hands, would we, Mr Brown?

You’re right.
There’s no telling what they’d do,
These immigrants. They should never have been allowed in.
There’s no telling what they’ll say next.

Performed at Poetry Live on April 8th, 2008. In response to anti-Asian immigration comments made by the deputy leader for NZ First, Peter Brown (who is an immigrant from the UK). Among other generally racist comments he also insulted Maori, calling them "bottom of the heap". For a backgrounder to this, refer to the NZ first press release (take a deep breath before you read it), press reaction and other commentary.

It actually takes a lot for me to write an overtly political poem, and since it's an open letter, up it goes. I hope that what it lacks in craft it makes up for in indignation... remember, it's a performance piece :)


Unknown said...

hi, found your blog by accident researching reactions to Brown's comments. Like your poem a lot, fully endorse your sentiments. Thought I'd drop a line just to let you know that even in the Rural Heartland, ie: Taranaki, his comments are treated with the disdain they deserve. I know what I'm talking about, since in my day job I work in a (very) local, blue-collar bar, and the people I deal with, (truck drivers, storemen [storepeople?] supermarket checkoutists), hold people like Brown in the same regard as something they'd scrape off their shoes. Anyway, keep up the good work. Aotearoa can't have too many mirrors placed in front of it.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the show of support, David. I've now performed the poem twice, each time to a mixed (and largely non-Asian) audience, and got pretty much the same reaction to Brown as you describe. It's annoying that small-minded people like him can poison what is generally an open and accepting atmosphere in Aotearoa.

Bevan Chuang said...

Awesome!!! Thank you. Thank you first of all for putting this togther. Thank you for linking this back to the Facebook groups. And thank you for performing this.

There is no better way to defend ourselves than ignoring him.

My favourite Japanese proverbs in response to Mr Brown: Only death will cure a fool. (Baka wa shinanakya naoranai.)

Sing Clementine said...

This is fantastic. I often feel speechless around hate speech, like it's sheer stupidity overrides any possible arguement. But this fantastic poem balances ridicule, poignant social commentary, wit and irony while slicing his rhetoric into incy bits. Awesome.