stephanie versus the lambassadors; or, why lee lin chin deserves better

llcLee Lin Chin is a goddamn national hero and an aspiration to Azn-Australian girls, and has been my whole life, and I can’t believe it’s come to this.

This post is the first in a series of Invasion Day posts that No Award will be running this month. (The rest will be more Indigenous-focused than this one, I swear.)

In the lead up to Invasion Day, we find that Lee Lin Chin promises to rescue expats from lambless Australia Day in new ad.

In an interview with news.com.au, Kekovich said he wanted to keep the conversation around Australia Day free from politics.

“At the end of the day, Australia Day is about a bunch of people coming together around a barbecue, over some lamb, taking a deep breath, and treating people the way you’d like to be treated.”

UGH. Wow.

FIRST, and I can’t BELIEVE this is where we are here in the year of our potato 2016, but to appropriate an Indigenous Australian symbol (THE BOOMERANG) to talk about using an exotic, imported animal to “celebrate” Invasion Day is a terrible thing. At its least, it is thoughtless. At its most, it’s gross cultural appropriation and a terrifying lack of empathy that demonstrates how poorly Australia treats its First Peoples.

AND Australia Day is politics. It was politics that led to “Terra Nullis”. It was politics that led to Britain wanting to use this land. It was politics that led to genocide and assimilation. It’s a whole day of politics. What Kekovich means is, he wants to be free of conversations that make him uncomfortable. (Just so we’re clear, the way we commemorate ANZAC Day is also political.)

UGH PLUS, the campaign continues its anti-vego agenda which is not surprising but must we always drag other people down as we enjoy our own thing, come on. Don’t tag your hate.

ALSO is this entire campaign some sort of surrealist performance art piece? Seriously, go back and watch the last fifteen years of advertisements for this campaign. I swear it’s a long-form national practical joke and/or surrealist art piece.

AND THEN: Please release Our Lady of Asian Australians, Lee Lin Chin, from your filthy white grasps.

llc2Lee Lin Chin’s acceptance by White Australia lessens us all, and it has been spearheaded by a white male comedian from The Feed. Which is a show I love! But Lee Lin Chin is more than a twitter she doesn’t run and doesn’t care about (the blue tick of her twitter is a lie); she is an amazing fashionista and a visible SEAzn Australian woman for many Australians (ME) to look up to. She’s made us visible in a way we weren’t before her; she’s visible and caustic and not an actor or a politician (love you, Penny).

And she deserves better than the admiration of mediocre white men:

“She’s a universally accepted figure,” says Kekovich. “She’s pleasant, she’s pivotal. She’s not complicated or tyrannical.”

Spoilers: when Asian women are constantly subjected to the ‘Dragon Lady’ stereotype, to call an Asian woman “not tyrannical” is a fucking act of war.

Not to take away from her own agency; of course, she’s chosen to participate in these things, and interviews indicate that they’re just over-exaggerated elements of her real personality. WHICH I LOVE. HAVE A BEER WITH ME, LEE LIN CHIN. But, from Lee Lin’s double life:

Even so, Chin’s ever-growing fan base is something she feels ambivalent about, if not outright hostile. First and foremost, she’s still a newsreader and journalist obsessed by world affairs. She is an avowed lover of the works of William Faulkner. She could talk all day about radical left politics in Greece, and bemoans the fact some people who ask for her photo don’t know who Alexis Tsipras is.

Lee Lin is amazing! She’s so great! And why can’t we love her for who she actually is?!

llc3
i will defend you, lee lin chin

Some things Lee Lin Chin is: a speaker of Cantonese, Mandarin, and Fukien (ME TOO – well, not Fukien); an ex-translator of Chinese-language films; a producer for in-flight programs; a supporter of refugee and migrant programs such as One Just World (at the link, on ‘Why are the most vulnerable forgotten?’) and The Social Studio; a TOUR GUIDE and I would literally murder to go back in time and book in for “Odyssey to Taiwan with Lee-Lin Chin”; a total nerd; in the National Portrait Gallery.

This feels a very unnatural conversation for me. One does not discuss one’s final moments, or anything related to them, being Chinese. And I prefer to socialise and conduct business over a drink rather than lunch or dinner. I am a beer drinker. I’ve tried to cultivate a taste for whisky, gin and tonice, Martini – but no dice.

MonocleMagazine_LeeLinChin_RachelKara_CarliRatcliff_5-2SHE’S SO BEAUTIFUL. I love her SO MUCH.

It won’t surprise you to learn how mad I am that, as always, white people are stealing our things (including our people), and ruining them.

Of course Lee Lin Chin cannot be everything to everyone, even as she is superior and amazing enough to be many things to many people. But she was ours first. She’s an immigrant and a woman and Asian and, so important to me, a visible South East Asian woman going about her daily life in Australia.

And I will cut you if you think that makes her “not complicated.”

She was ours first. And you can’t have her.

(But you may admire her from afar)

 

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