Thursday, January 10, 2008


Last year's Chinglish launch, which had people spilling out of a small dim sum shop in order to hear a bunch of largely unknown poets of Asian and non Asian extraction, gave me one of those slow moments of epiphany. (Are epiphanies allowed to be slow?) I realised that in Auckland, we have now reached "critical mass", in terms of Asian artists and writers who are articulating their unique take on identity and culture.

Of course, people of 'Asian' extraction hate being lumped in under the blanket term "Asians". Apart from coming from different countries, in different eras of immigration, and with vast differences in attitude between generations, we're all individuals. We just happen to be a bit more confused about the "duty to the group" philosophy of the East vs the "look after number one" philosophy of the West.

Anyway, having done that disclaimer, I'll go on with the story. Our little 'subculture' started talking, and I had several conversations with David Tsai, a rapper and poet, and together we hatched the idea of having an Asian Poetry Night. It will be called Funky Oriental Beats or FOB for short (obvious wordplay). And it's going to take place in Feb or March and feature a diverse lineup of Asian poets, spoken word artists and musicians. Watch this space!

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