Must not Laugh at Chinese Accents
When I was a kid growing up in a small Australian country town, jokes that had fun with immigrant Chinese pronunciation and Chinese names were common. An example: "Have you heard of a new Chinese book called "Spot on the Wall" by Hoo Flung Dung?" But there was no racial conflict then or since between Chinese and other Australians. Through hard work, the Chinese just got quietly rich and nobody bothered about it.
And to this day the Vietnamese currency -- the Dong -- is the target of much hilarity. Whenever it falls in value, some financial journalist somewhere is sure to headline "Sag in the Dong" or the like.
And a leading Australian Leftist politician of the 60s is remembered to this day for his comment on Asian immigration: "Two Wongs don't make a white". The politician concerned, Arthur Calwell (whom I once had the pleasure of heckling), was actually a keen student of Chinese culture and spoke Mandarin so he was clearly less prejudiced against the Chinese than most people at the time. It was just a joke that he could not resist making in the course of a debate. It was certainly not "hate speech".
A jocular NJ Republican politician, State Senator Sonny McCullough, recently made such a "Chinese" joke. He said: "Did you hear about the Chinese couple that had a black baby? They named him "Sum Ting Wong"".
That perhaps old-fashioned joke has landed him in much hot water. You can read about the uproar here
. The Senator is now of course a "racist".Update:
I am afraid that my sense of humor is rather similar to the Senator's. He and I are probably of a similar vintage. So I cannot resist giving a couple more examples of "Chinese" humor. And those who know me well will be aware that I am very Sinophilic so there is no malice in it.
Opposite the High School I went to in Cairns was a Chinese store called "Wing On Cash store" run by a Mr Wing On. Mischievous schoolboys would sometimes ring him up and say: "Is that Willie Wing On?". If he answered "Yes", they would then say: "Well, wing off!". There was of course no hostility towards Mr Wing On: just amusement at his name.
And when I was living in Sydney many years later I would often visit the Chinatown for the excellent food there. And there was in the Sydney Chinatown a Chinese supermarket of long standing called "Say Tin Fong". Every time I would pass it, I would therefore say, usually loudly, "Tin Fong" -- though whatever lady I was with would generally try to "hush" me. Quite childish, I guess, but it amused me at the time. On the odd occasion when the Chinese proprietors heard such utterances they would no doubt have greeted it with the usual Chinese patience. If it had bothered them they would no doubt have changed the name many years previously.