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Entries in Retaliation (1)


Subject Rehash, the KK fiasco.

This is in response to the 3 years worth of comments I have received on my most controversial post, Hating Kylie Kwong.

I'm going to break my silence.

I can't believe how much traction that little rant from almost 3 years ago has, and is still getting. Interesting fact, the most searched for terms that would land you there is "is Kylie Kwong gay?" seconded by "Kylie Kwong husband". Clearly there is a general interest in the public regarding her marital status, that's a market that her people should really look into.

All the comments have entertained me to no end. From those who agree with me, to those who think that I "obviously hate myself" (I'll be honest, I couldn't really follow the logic on that one). To even a drinking game created by a fellow hater. The happy news is that over 95% of the comments join me in this rally that I unwittingly championed, and even the ones who don't share my wrath seem to see my point and have stated their case as such. But I still feel like I need to clarify a few things. By way of organising my thoughts, I am going to address my latest comment, which is an example of a very lucid and gentle criticism of my outpouring of bile.

LOL. I had fun reading the blog and comments. But I must say it's so typical of the Chinese to be so defensive of what's authentically chinky. Personally I find it rather stupid to be arguing about KK being less than Chinese and how that gets in the way of her "representing" her so-called heritage. It just hints of some deep insecurity about one's own Chineseness... it's like a game of how Chinky are you? Frankly when I'm confronted by something like that, I just give up. The only place you can get authentic Chinese food is presumably China... and yet it's also in China you can find the biggest McDonald's in the world. And really who gives a jizz about whether it's authentic or not--just as long as it tastes good, I'm down with it.

The way I look at it: we all grow up with our own version of what's Chinese... every family has its own spin on dishes--and in my family cause we're Malaysian chinks, we love our spices and we would add them liberally. In a way it's Creolised--the foundation is Chinese but the treatment has changed. We eat everything with bird's eye chilli. Numbs the tongue but it's fucking yum. And I can see that with KK's cooking too cause she's 5th gen--although I have to admit that sometimes she goes a bit too far. Fried duck eggs? Culturally, that's just silly. But from a culinary point of view, it sounds intriguing. So I don't think KK's all that bad. She's a more interesting TV chef than Martin Yan... LOL... that guy just cracks me up with his lame jokes and chink accent but how's that for a stereotype? He simply drowns everything in "wonderful powder"!

If there's one thing I agree with all the haters on this thread, it's that KK tries too hard to pass off as some kind of Chinese/Asian whatever... she should relax the power lesbian attitude a bit and just go with the flow. Get drunk or get laid or something... LOL.

And also that we should all just admit that the thing that makes Chinese food taste so damn good is MSG.

-JK Feb 3, 2011

The main point that JK (for whom I am going to use the masculine pronouns, for simplicity's sake) makes is my own identity crisis. A Chinese Authenticity Complex of sorts. You'd be right, as a first generation immigrant who moved to Australia at the age of 8 from mainland China, and visits the place every 3 years or so, my "Chineseness" is something that I think about a lot. Clearly my diaspora is no longer that of native Chinese, drop me in the middle of where I was born today, and I wouldn't really know what to do with myself. I understand the nature cultivating cultural identification and the varying degrees and ways people come to terms with theirs. I am not even going to take offence with your use of the word "chinky", because that is your prerogative, but I would gently remind you that just because you have reclaimed that derogative term does not mean others would be so comfortable. Mainly I just think it's an inelegant word for something that I hope denotes an elegant part of my identity.

Of course I don't object to the infinitely wide range of Asian identities. I am completely behind taking what is yours, making it your own, and forging your own sense of self. In fact my objection is that her identity is not specific enough. Even in the original post I made the point that China is a huge country with I-don't-even-know how many regions, all with their own customs and cuisine. That is not even including the different cultures outside of mainland China, such as Indo-, Thai-, and of course Malay-Chinese like yourself. My issue with Kylie and her show, is that she presents a generalised sweep of one China that only cooks with Shaoxing wine, sesame oil, and Japanese light soy. Even from a culinary point of view, her dishes are bland and uninteresting, which makes the whole Chinese Authenticity stamp she puts on them all the more insulting. Co-incidentally, I have had fried duck eggs in China, they weren't very tasty nor exciting.

How many times has a non Chinese friend of yours, or anyone who has not experience Chinese food outside of take-out, made a comment pertaining to how much they don't like Chinese Food? I encounter this almost on a daily basis, and I've given up on trying to explain to them how that is not even Chinese food, let alone inclusive of the vast smorgasbord of culinary delights yet to be tasted from that side of the world. What I deplore so much in Kylie is the perpetuating of this myth. That all Chinese food is supposed to be aiming to achieve the mediocrity that is served in take-out joints catering to Western palettes, and that they all taste the same. Its seen as greasy and strong and what is unfathomable to me, unhealthy, when most of the Chinese food I have been exposed to down the south eastern provinces is light, delicate, and nuanced. The landscape of food in China itself is changing constantly and new fads and innovations come in and out of fashion, including a lot of modernised, Westernised, fusion cooking. I accept the whole shebang, I would happily taste test my way through all of it, but dammit just make it good.

I am not going to retract a single thing from my original post, because as ranty as it was (It was rushed out in 10 mintes as my laptop battery dwindled and therefore unorganised and somewhat rash), I still stand by my every point. Lastly, darling JK, I almost agree with you on the point about MSG, but I haven't cooked with MSG for over 6 years now (as long as I've been cooking), and my food is delicious.