Wednesday, August 06, 2008



She was a physical training instructress of intense Tamil beauty, Christian, convinced she was really white and that her darkness was a kind of hereditary sun-tan. She wished to marry an Englishman and could not, she affirmed, bear the touch of a black or brown or yellow skin....She was a true victim of imperialism.

That came from a highly enjoyable memoir Little Wilson and Big God by Anthony Burgess and to me although unintended as such by Mr Burgess this little snippet describes very well an extreme form of wogism - if there ever is such a word. a disease that is infecting more and more people and getting more serious by the day in this country and in many other parts of asia too.

i have a lot of pet hates and one high on the list is a wog and it's female version ( a wol?). i know the world has lost the battle against western imperialism when i heard led zappelin song wailing everywhere in moscow, ricky martin's 'she bang' in hebrew in jerusalem and hip hops in all languages from chinese to siamese to malay to mongolian...young people thinking it's hip to be seen drinking terrible coffee in starbucks and macdonalds sprouting everywhere. families speaking broken english to each other in their home instead of their own language...we, to put it simply are fucked.

i always think of vs naipul as a wog and paul theroux in his book sir vidia's shadow about his friendship gone wrong with the man also alluded as much although he didn't directly say so. naipul of course doesn't think he's one and hates wogs as much as anyone else and derisively called some people mr woggy...

alas .there are too many mr and ms woggy everywhere... kuala lumpur if full of people inflicted with this wogism disease...we are all victims of imperialism ...there is no getting away from it...and not just the common people... the worst wogs are actually some of our bluebloods and aristocrats and vips...and lord has mercy including our 'intellectuals'!!

and if you ask me the classic and the ultimate mr woggy archytype, it is non other than salman rushdie. incidently there is an interesting little news about him in the herald tribune recently which you can read down here in full...or in the original version here.

Salman Rushdie has threatened to sue John Blake Publishing over a book by a former bodyguard that he said portrays him as cheap, nasty and arrogant and depicts his police guards as "losers" who drank on duty. Rushdie said that the book, "On Her Majesty's Service," contained "a bunch of lies." The author's lawyer said he had written to the publisher demanding that the as-yet-unpublished memoir be withdrawn. The book was co-written by Ron Evans , a former London police officer who was a member of the team guarding Rushdie while he was under an Iranian-backed death threat for his 1988 novel "The Satanic Verses." The book - described as an account of "the thrills, spills and despairs" of Evans's career - claims Rushdie billed the police force for officers' overnight stays at his house; that guards nicknamed him "Scruffy"; and that at one point, the officers got so fed up they locked him in a cupboard while they went to the pub. The book was due to be published next week, but the Internet retailer Amazon lists no date for its availability.


well, that's a book i'm looking forward to ... i've always suspect that salman rushdie is quite an obnoxious guy...not someone i'd like to be friend with...although i must be fair and say i like his writings...someone i will make an effort to go to his readings if he ever come this way but not someone i'd like to play table tennis with...he plays this game as this interesting interview about his new book revealed...

all this is very sad, because at one time it's the other way round. the west was once very much enamoured by the east. many of the west's aristocrats are lovers of anything oriental. a reverse wogism if you like. but with colonialism and the rape of the east this love has turned to despise and nothing now illustrates this better than the treatment of the arabs and the rape of afghanistan and iraq...

i was in the islamic art museum of malaysia recently and although it is no V&A, it is still one of the best museums anywhere in SEA and some of the islamic art works there are exquisite and it makes me want to cry to see all the lovely Quranic scripts and miniature mughal paintings on display..i believe not too many KL people even know that this museum exist and the only few visitors there on that day were westerners and a few chinese tourists from Taiwan or mainland china...and a japanese...

and by the way the current exhibition at the museum is Beyond Orientalism: How the West was Won over by Islamic Art(25 Jul 2008 - 25 Oct 2008)

and i end here with a painting by jean-etienne liotard of a woman in "eastern" attire reading a book...

Rusdie signed my first edition copy of The ground beneath her feet. And yes, he's a wog - more English than the English!
hey that's cool Rox! ... but i read somewhere he signed about a thousand books or so in an can he do that? must be one of the world fastest book signers around...

and next time you meet him tell him that you have a friend who bought his shalimar the clown hardback from a remaindered bin over here in malaysia...and watch his reaction to that.
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