Weekly roundup of news and blogs


by Sunny
22nd January, 2006 at 3:24 pm    

Several people emailed in last night and today with a link to the Observer newspaper today, which has a full page piece on British Asians going to India for abortions and sex selection. This somewhat follows on from the Lancet study written about by Rohin. More sickening stuff. [hat tip Jay Singh]

Barbie has apparently caught on in the Middle East, but not as we know her. Whether this is good or bad news, I’m not sure. [cheers El Cid]

The British Chinese Community is also profiled in the Sunday Times today, worth reading, courtesy of Jay Singh.

News that Pakistan is still not letting Mukhtar Mai speak freely caught Sepia Mutiny’s attention.

The Apollo Project ranked us among top liberal blog pieces in 2005.

Through Reformist Muslim, we find that one Sheesha is probably equivalent to smoking 18 cigarettes. Yikes!

Sorry for the brief roundup. I’ve just managed to catch up on email and start reading the blogosphere again – my net connection is all over the place. Tim Worstall has his weekly Britblog roundup though.

As ever, use the comments section to link to any interesting articles and please keep sending in your links.


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52 Comments below   |  

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  1. Al-Hack — on 22nd January, 2006 at 5:23 pm  

    Damned and blast. There goes my Sheesha habit. Ignorance was bliss for a bit.

  2. coruja — on 22nd January, 2006 at 8:11 pm  

    Wow, the Sunday Times looks down its august nose and finds our “Chinese population”. It’s a fairly appaling article:
    “After the suffocations at Dover — and the death of 23 cockle pickers [...] – many Britons felt sympathy towards the economic migrants. But that feeling quickly evaporated because those involved seemed so inscrutable.” Oh really? Oh and they are industrious & eat funny food.

    The Chinese community in this country doesn’t exist in the mainstream media, and this article is obviously promted by the New Year coming up (Oh yes, Dim Sum @ the New World!!)

    Even when there were very few black/asian producers/writers at least our stereotypes were written in to sit-coms, dramas & the like by . It simply doesn’t seem to happen with the Chinese.

  3. Don — on 22nd January, 2006 at 8:26 pm  

    Yeah, Chinese. They think they’re so inscrutable. At least I think they do, it’s hard to tell.

  4. Al-Hack — on 22nd January, 2006 at 8:29 pm  

    They’re inscrutable because the Times would never think of hiring anyone Chinese who might be able to shed some more light on the community.

  5. raz — on 22nd January, 2006 at 8:29 pm  

    Chinese girls are hot

  6. Rohin — on 22nd January, 2006 at 9:47 pm  

    An erudite contribution there Raz, most erudite ;)

    I’ve always said sheesha is way worse than fags. Just look at the frikking amount of smoke that comes out of your mouth – it just tastes smoother due to the filtration (and I consider myself an expert on this subject as I contributed to the wikipedia article on The Bong).

    This will come as a shock to the patrons of Arabic sheesha houses across Edgware Road (i.e. all Pakistani rudeboys). They want to be Arab so desperately, it’s hilarious.

  7. Rohin — on 22nd January, 2006 at 9:50 pm  

    Hey hey, the Apollo Project’s choice of article to represent PP’s “quality” reporting is by me! Yay!

  8. Siddhartha — on 22nd January, 2006 at 10:46 pm  

    Oh dear, the Times reinforcing the “Inscrutable Chinaman” stereotype without even bothering to be even slightly subtle about it. Can anyone still think of using phrases like “Theiving Arab” or “Stupid Irishman” or “Stingy Jew” without danger of censure? You would have thought people would have got past that 70s style ‘Love Thy Neighbour’ brand of Manning-esque racism. Utterly risable of the Times but strangely predictable.

  9. Siddhartha — on 22nd January, 2006 at 10:55 pm  

    I love an occassional shisha. Not as much as the more than occassional bong though.

    bong-a-phile Bong

  10. Jay Singh — on 22nd January, 2006 at 11:20 pm  

    Yeah – I didnt read that far into the article that I sent the link into from the Sunday Times – that inscrutable Chinese remark is appalling – and in the context of the aftermath of the 23 drowned migrants, brutal too.

  11. BevanKieran — on 22nd January, 2006 at 11:48 pm  

    Hmm.. stereotypes and the Chinese. One of reasons why the old 19th century stereotypes (I guess instead of the more friendly GGM/Desmond’s type) still persist maybe the lack of distinctly Chinese areas across the U.K akin to South-Asian/Afro-Carribean centres. OK, it’s a crap reason but the only way I could wangle in the surname profiler into this thread.

    http://cetl2.geog.ucl.ac.uk/uclnames/Surnames.aspx

    The distribution of Chungs(friend’s surname) around the U.K is spread further than Sharmas(mine) thus giving paltry weight to my incorrect argument.

  12. Jay Singh — on 22nd January, 2006 at 11:59 pm  

    But the article does go on to say that the Chinese community is the fastest growing ethnic group and the young British Chinese are starting to organise and make their voice heard in the mainstream which is good – then they can answer back to things like that.

    In some ways the article is positive, focussing on the high education, business success, professional achievments of the Chinese community – on the other it contrasts that with the ‘inscrutable’ shifty Chinese immigrant who cant speak English properly. No context, just sheer lazy sterotype and caricature.

    Remember the hysteria when Hing Kong was close to handover to China and the government did everything it could to scramble away and bar British passport holders from HK citizenship? The media and politicians virtually hyped it up as another yellow peril – dont let the Chinks in! That was disgraceful.

  13. Jay Singh — on 23rd January, 2006 at 12:16 am  

    In the spirit of Chinese-Indian fraternity, here is a video from Hong Kong TV of Chinese guys and gals singing Bollywood on stage – in Hindi!

    They do a good job too check it out its cute – not that I’m an expert but their Hindi isnt bad.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADcyynNyvQs

  14. Jay Singh — on 23rd January, 2006 at 12:18 am  

    Some one told me it might be from Thailand – still good to see the East Asian love for stupid Bollywood sogs though!

  15. Rohin — on 23rd January, 2006 at 12:23 am  

    Hehehe, that was some funny stuff! Youtube has got almost as much crazy shit as google video. The advantage is that people can comment afterwards and raging arguments frequently break out.

    Not sure if it’s Thai though – Thailand has Thai script. It could be Malay. Tata Young is half Thai and half American and a big popstar Thai-side. She sang Dhoom Machale for Dhoom in English (with a Hindi chorus). Once some Thais heard my girlfriend singing it and they asked “why are you singing a Thai song?” I like greater Asia getting all mixed up.

  16. Jay Singh — on 23rd January, 2006 at 12:48 am  

    I feel ashamed for getting them mixed up – I didnt watch the clip to the end only the opening and towards the end it looks like it was in Malaysia.

  17. Jay Singh — on 23rd January, 2006 at 1:00 am  

    Now this one is really weird – three Chinese American girls doing bhangra and shaking their booty – it seems to be like some kind of yoga bhangra video! Cute gals

    http://www.youtube.com/w/BHANGRA-GONE-WRONG?v=sbUjkHdghe8&search=bhangra

  18. Bikhair — on 23rd January, 2006 at 1:52 am  

    Rohin,

    “This will come as a shock to the patrons of Arabic sheesha houses across Edgware Road (i.e. all Pakistani rudeboys). They want to be Arab so desperately, it’s hilarious.”

    Now why in the world would a Pakistanian want to be an A-rab? Thats like a donkey wanting to be a mule. But I guess one is better than the other considering the mule sterile. You get my point.

    Please remind these Pakistanians, if this may be the case, that Allah (azawajal) doesnt reward ethnicity but emaan and acts of worship to Him and Him alone. (Without partners ofcourse, which may be difficult for the Pakistanis Muslims since many of them are so inclined to commit acts of shirk and call it Tawheed) and Allah knows best.

    Shalom Out!

  19. Bikhair — on 23rd January, 2006 at 1:53 am  

    Jay SIngh,

    “But the article does go on to say that the Chinese community is the fastest growing ethnic group…”

    Much to the delight of everyone I am sure. Ha Ha Ha! I kid.

  20. Bikhair — on 23rd January, 2006 at 1:56 am  

    Jay Singh,

    Ok, ok this is my last one.

    “In the spirit of Chinese-Indian fraternity…”

    Mushrik on Mushrik love? Thats gotta be haram.

  21. Sunny — on 23rd January, 2006 at 1:59 am  

    Mushrik on Mushrik love?
    That is the best kind Bikhair ;)

  22. FOB — on 23rd January, 2006 at 3:49 am  

    Those are NOT chinese man…most likely Indonesian..they really like bollywood in those parts…
    chinese pop culture sucks man…have u ever listened to chinese “music”..soprific

  23. Vikrant — on 23rd January, 2006 at 6:36 am  

    Rohin, Jay

    Believe me Malaysians, Indonesians absolutely adore Bollywood. My guide in Borneo could actually sing every SRK song i could remember!

    Tata Young is Thai? methought she was a jap. Anways this summa upon Rotair cable car to Mt.Titlis i’d a rare sight of Deutsches dancing to the tune of Dhoom!

  24. Vikrant — on 23rd January, 2006 at 6:38 am  

    @Jay: Well you cant possibly call that “Bhangra gone wrong”. Isnt it the same way they dance in the “Indian weddings”. Boy Indians suck when it comes to dancing.

  25. Vikrant — on 23rd January, 2006 at 6:40 am  

    Blimey! those Indonesians/Malaysians are actually singing the song. May be SRK et al. could take a cue from them!

  26. Nisha — on 23rd January, 2006 at 6:41 am  

    Nope, they’re not Chinese. They’re Malay. Astro Ria’s a Malaysian station. I’m not so sure about the Malays in Malaysia but a good number of Malays in Singapore are big fans of Bollywood. I think it would be safe to say Shah Rukh Khan has a bigger following among the Malays in Singapore, than the Indians.

  27. Nisha — on 23rd January, 2006 at 6:43 am  

    And Vikrant, funny how you think Indians suck at dancing, i know many non-Indians who would beg to differ. Hmmm….

  28. Jay Singh — on 23rd January, 2006 at 12:26 pm  

    Does anyone know of any British Chinese bloggers?

  29. coruja — on 23rd January, 2006 at 12:45 pm  

    There is a small forum on this site, it has been going for a couple of years, may be you will be able to find some blog links – Dim Sum

  30. Rohin — on 23rd January, 2006 at 1:00 pm  

    1 – I said it was Malay, me me me.
    2 – Yes yes I know how popular Bollywood is around the world, I’ve been to all the aforementioned countries.
    3 – Most Indians can’t dance. I’m the exception.

    Ch-ch-ching ching!

  31. Jay Singh — on 23rd January, 2006 at 1:01 pm  

    Thanks Coruja – will take a look through it

  32. Kay — on 23rd January, 2006 at 1:04 pm  

    c’mon, give us Indians a break!
    No one can do bhangra, garba and dhandia (gujarati dances) quite like the Indians.

  33. Jay Singh — on 23rd January, 2006 at 1:05 pm  

    Interesting thread on that site Coruja linked to about the use of the term ‘Asian’ in the UK and how it excludes Chinese people.

    http://www.dimsum.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=181

  34. Jay Singh — on 23rd January, 2006 at 1:12 pm  

    That is a really interesting thread by the way – well worth looking at the debate they are having

  35. Rohin — on 23rd January, 2006 at 1:16 pm  

    Kay, that’s cos they’re Indian dances! Why on earth would anyone want to dance garba/dandia I have no idea. But what annoys me more is when British Asians who’ve lived in their Gujju/Punjabi world since birth assume that ALL Indians dance garba or bhangra.

    I’ll retract my “most Indians can’t dance” line. I think the average Indian isn’t too shoddy. But we lack the upper end of the spectrum. I haven’t seen any high-profile Indians who can REALLY dance, bar perhaps Prabhu Deva. But even then, that’s more ‘unique’ than ‘great’.

  36. Jay Singh — on 23rd January, 2006 at 1:18 pm  

    Akram Khan

    Dharshan Singh Bhuller

    Shobana Jayasingh

    Three desi’s who are quite well known as ‘upper end’ dancers on the artistic level

  37. Rohin — on 23rd January, 2006 at 1:22 pm  

    Sorry, I should’ve pre-fixed it with ‘modern’ dance. Of course India has the richest classical dance heritage in the world. My gf did bharatanatyam for 16 years so I’ve learnt a lot about classical dance from her. But I was being far less cultured and talking about pop and Bollywood.

  38. Jay Singh — on 23rd January, 2006 at 1:30 pm  

    Rohin

    Akram Khan is a modern dancer and like Shobana Jayasingh does all these fusion style modern art dancing – Dharshan Singh Bhuller is a ballet dancer.

    There are dozens of bhangra dancing troupes across the country – you might sneer at it but at least Punjabi youth are doing something, young boys and girls who are active in learning a folk dance in modern British society because they think it is cool. Bhangra-giddha – the actual dances – has a whole culture and ethos with the instruments and different rhythms and moves are tied closely to the Punjabi culture. Seeing teenagers in Birmingham and Leicester and London having fun and performing might not be great art but it is healthy and lively and vibrant.

  39. Kay — on 23rd January, 2006 at 1:34 pm  

    Rohin, depends upon your upbringing and whether you’ve been exposed to different form of dance.
    The average Raj (the asian joe) is more likely to think alone the ‘bhangra/garba’ mind frame.
    Your gf must be pretty focused to have continued with Bharata-natyam for that long. I attempted it for 6 months and gosh its a hell of a lot harder then meets the eye. My other half just thought such form of dance was too complicated and boring, his words not mine.
    Agree, there’s far more to South Asian music then just bollypop and bhangra.

  40. Kay — on 23rd January, 2006 at 1:38 pm  

    Jay Singh, in some ways it implies that the asian youth today are in touch with their culture (dance specifically) but are infusing traditional with contemporary.

    On this subject, the rise in the number of young dholaks (dhol players) is phenomenal, I mean dhol learning classes have waiting lists!

  41. Siddharth — on 23rd January, 2006 at 1:39 pm  

    No one knows how to throw a party like Sikhs though. The wife and I went to a party at Soho Spice on Friday night. The DJs were mixing pared down ‘pungara’ beats with hip hop and modern filmi numbers. The crowd were hip and good natured, intimate dance floor. Good clean fun. Bopped till 4am, without any drugs. Well maybe a bit of the old Punjabi falling-down water. What a blast.

  42. Kay — on 23rd January, 2006 at 1:42 pm  

    Yeah agree, I think you mean ‘pungra’.

  43. Siddharth — on 23rd January, 2006 at 1:43 pm  

    yeah, i’m just writing it phonetically.

  44. Jay Singh — on 23rd January, 2006 at 1:45 pm  

    Kay

    It is – and many people sneer at young Punjabis because they hear some tacky bahngra song and think it is all that but the culture is amazingly alive and thriving.

    If you are a young Punjabi in the UK it is simply the COOLEST thing in the world to know how to play the dhol or the tumbi – the two most basic instruments of bhangra. It is viewed not only as cool and funky but sexy too.

    And all the dhol and bhangra troupes have lots of girls there too! The biggest one from Birmingham run by Gurcharan Mall is mixed about one third girls and two thirds boys. In 21st century Britain for this culture being kept alive organically BY THE YOUTH is amazingly healthy.

    And some of the bhangra dance moves are extremely athletic and vibrant – almost like break dancing.

  45. Jay Singh — on 23rd January, 2006 at 1:51 pm  

    The rise of bhangra music has done more to promote one aspect of desi culture (Punjabi dance and music) than almsot anything else in Britain.

    The thing that is good to see is that it is the youth and teenagers who are DEMANDING to be taught this stuff. They see Panjabi MC and hear the music and want a piece of that – they feel pride in their bhangra culture because it gives them something to feel a part of – British Bhangra culture makes them feel good and have a British identity.

    When the youth think of something as cool it thrives, you dont have to persuade them of its value. And learning dhol, bhangra and the dancing is seen by young Punjabis as the COOLEST thing out there.

    Another effect it has is that Punjabi folk songs, idioms and poetry and language gets adapted and preserved in British life. The kids want to know Punjabi not because they are forced to learn it at Sunday School at the gurdwara, but because they want to speak and sing in it because it’s cool and part of the whole music scene.

  46. Kay — on 23rd January, 2006 at 1:55 pm  

    Jay, agree.
    But I’m still pissed off with the waiting lists.

    The tumbhi isn’t perhaps per se as popular as the dhol.

    The dhol seems to symbolise skill, masculinity & culture for the punjabi lads. Unbelievably, after organising a few do’s, it astounding the number of asian gals who’ll stand around the young ‘dashing’ dholks.

  47. Siddharth — on 23rd January, 2006 at 1:56 pm  

    I’m ready to enrol my daughter to learn bharatanatyam under Akram Khan if he ever opens a school in the UK. I’m hoping he will.

  48. coruja — on 23rd January, 2006 at 1:57 pm  

    The Punjabi’s know how to party, it’s a simple truth!

    There are many asian dancers in the UK, and wonderful things are created – like the collaboration between Akram Khan, Nitin Sawhney and Anish Kapoor – which are cultural ‘things’ in their own right and are of world class. It is a shame that some ‘asians’ do not look beyond their own particluar cultural backyard.

  49. Jay Singh — on 23rd January, 2006 at 2:33 pm  

    Siddhartha

    Did you see the South Bank Show on Akram Khan? They interviewed his Dad – a really sweet old school Bengali who said he would dance at weddings and stuff – then they showed a video of him as a six year old boy freaking out like Michael Jackson in the middle of some big Bengali family get together – and he was grooving to some Bangla pop song and he was burning the dance floor up! What a dude.

  50. Siddharth — on 23rd January, 2006 at 2:45 pm  

    Yeah I met Akram’s dad at the Akram Khan/Larbi Cherkaoui/Antony Gormley/Nitin Sawhney show at Sadler’s Wells show last summer. I was talking to him and asked him to let me know if his son ever opens up a dance school, I’d have my daughter there in a flash.

  51. Col. Mustafa — on 23rd January, 2006 at 4:27 pm  

    The muslim Barbie; hehehehehehehe.

    They don’t want young girls getting the wrong idea; that lifes all about dressing skimpy and buying accessories at every available opportunity of your life, for that is life.
    Just buying stuff, and then buy more stuff and then buy some more.

    In this case they missed the point of a Barbie doll; and just figured we cover it up so girls think they should cover up too.

    You forgot the t.v and internet dudes; whose gonna cover them up. hmmmm.

    Just cover it up, the problem will go away.

  52. Rohin — on 24th January, 2006 at 9:25 pm  

    Jay you kind of went a bit defensive there, I’m not sneering at anything. On the contrary, I have the utmost respect for pukka bhangra. I once choreographed a dance for a show which occasionally featured Indian dances, but they were always slow Bollywood schmaltz. I wanted to get some brothers from the pind to show them how Indians can dance. But it was such hard work finding people who were willing to teach me authentic dancing without charging an arm and a leg. And the best seem to be in the midlands, I wasn’t too impressed with a group I met in South London. Anyway, armed with new-found bhangra moves, I think I produced a tidy performance, backflips an’ all.

    I’ve watched some of a Shaba Jeyasingh DVD and went to Kaash, which was pretty cool. Quite short, but very innovative. And back then, when ‘Asian’ was only just becoming cool (I think it was the year of the Indian Summer on ch4) I was very proud of the show, just cos three desis did it. Modern dance is generally lost on me and I’m no fan, but Khan’s classical training meant I could understand what he was doing. Which I can’t say for most modern dancers.

    Don’t know much about Darshan Singh Bhuller.

    All I was saying is that I hate (and I mean HATE) British Asians who think the way they were raised is the same all over India. Even when they visit, they go to their ancestral village and are never exposed to people outside their family circle.

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