An Ethnic Minority we really do want

Reading a Tang Dynasty Poem

I find to my surprise that I am being drawn to Jeremy Hunt in the Tory leadership contest – and even more to his Chinese wife, Lucia. Of course, he has no leadership qualities whatever, no Churchillian spirit or vision, but Hunt’s lack of self-assurance is quite endearing, as is his naïve willingness to answer the questions that are put to him. 

Boris is doubtless better placed to deliver Brexit – but what sort of Brexit? We hear today that he has no intention to ‘commit to bringing down net immigration’. And in his denunciation of Trump’s latest tweets, we hear of his renewed commitment to Britain as ‘a great, multi-racial, multi-cultural society.’ Well, few of us would object to ‘multiracial’ – even the English were formed from an amalgam of races (though it took hundreds of years of bloodshed for the synthesis to be accomplished); but ‘multicultural’? Do we really want the rest of England made in the image of Boris’s London? Such a global Brexit would be a monumental pyrrhic victory.

Hunt, by contrast, has declared that failing to bring down overall levels of net migration would be ‘a betrayal’ of the spirit of the Brexit referendum. He has even argued that continuing mass immigration threatens race relations in this country and would threaten the future well-being of his own children, who are of course half-Chinese.   

It would be easy for conservatives to depict Hunt as the cosmopolitan who threatens our civilization, his oriental connections and affections a Trojan door to Chinese world domination. I have written on this website about the dangers of our selling off the family silver to the Chinese, and in support of Trump’s China trade policy. But it is important not to conflate the Chinese people with the nasty gang of Maoists that operate China’s police state.

Lucia Hunt brings to mind not Chinese communism but all those Chinese I have worked with and known as friends over the years, who invariably have been pleasant, intelligent, highly cultured and utterly devoid of the grotesque fixation with identity and victimhood that disfigures those minorities who consider themselves marginalised, oppressed and excluded – and that makes them so attractive a proposition to bourgeois socialists and metropolitan liberals whose guilt at being white and privileged can be expiated in an orgy of moral self-righteousness for which everyone else, including the Chinese, pays the price.  

I have happy memories of sitting on the floor of my old flat playing records and exchanging favourite recordings with a British Chinese colleague, whose passion for classical music knew no bounds; of touring Prague with a Chinese American whose patriotism (American not Chinese) also knew no bounds and whose desire to imbibe the culture of central Europe was only tempered by the lack of availability of Coca Cola and automatic transmission in local vehicles; and of chatting with the Chinese lady who served at my local takeaway, whose prawn foo yung was my staple meal in those days. She had to endure her share of boorish behaviour from local yobs, but it was her children who were getting a Western liberal education at top schools and were set for professional careers.    

It is striking that, like the Jews, the Chinese have a remarkably rich cultural inheritance of their own and yet integrate with the greatest of ease into Western society – not because they have been forced to assimilate, or because they lack a strong cultural identity, or even because they are operatives of Chinese intelligence, but because they recognise Western civilization is universal and has exceptional riches to offer all people of all races. The deep appreciation of so many Chinese for the Western tradition of classical music is emblematic. Of course, integration is also the way to get on in life.  Small wonder that Chinese pupils and students top all league tables of achievement.  

The respect held by Chinese in the West for our legal and political tradition is also emblematic. Singapore is the living embodiment of this. Not exactly liberal democracy Western style (for a start, Singaporeans have the highest rate of home ownership in the world), but deeply influenced by Western traditions, outstandingly successful, and far removed from the Maoist Marxism of mainland China. Which is not surprising given that the founding father of modern Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, was the outstanding law graduate of his day at Cambridge. At a garden party in the 1960s given in honour of George Brown, the visiting British Foreign Secretary, Lee held forth on the state of modern Britain, the country for which he had such respect and affection. Brown listened respectfully and made the memorable reply, ‘Harry, you’re the finest Englishman east of Suez.’

A large population of Anglo-Chinese, immersed in Western and English cultural traditions, yet fluent in Chinese, would be an invaluable asset in our relations with mainland China and enhance our ‘soft power’ no end. We cannot ‘out-nuke’ the Maoist Marxists but we can get to work on them and their system from within. The Chinese elite’s appetite for British public-school education, and for the English ideal of a gentleman, surely presents us with a golden opportunity. Silky-mannered Jeremy Hunt might just be perfect for the job.

And if Hunt does not ‘deliver’ Brexit by October, or thereabouts, Nigel Farage will be on hand to put things right big-time. 

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12 Comments on An Ethnic Minority we really do want

  1. Some of this has to do with the social/educational background of the incomers from different regions. There are a lot of Chinese (PROC) students, especially post-grad in the UK, many of them from prosperous families. Surprisingly, some even held on to their position and property through the Cultural Revolution. They are cheerful, optimistic for the future of China and show a different aspect which challenges the negativity of our media. For example, the current criticism of the policy of raising children of Muslims in boarding schools has muuch to recommend it given the aggressive contempt Islam shows for ‘infidels’. Human rights abuses certainly exist – as they do almost everywhere outside of UK/USA – but most Chinese can get on with their lives without interference. (We should thank Nixon for being the catalyst that sparked liberalisation.)

    • Absolutely agree. The really sinister outlook is that that Islam in UK is trying to make secularity a crime, and to place the Koran above our legal system such that it becomes subject to a theocracy like Iran.

      Even the police have been party to this nonsense by making “Islamophobia” a race, and hate crime. It is a religious debate and has nothing to do with race. Furthermore the general attitude to Islam is not hate, but a real apprehension that the fate of women and apostates will not be redressed, nor the frequent references to the largely irreligious British as “infidels” punishable in some extremists’ eyes by death. The dead soldiers from two wars must be turning in their graves.

      • Yes. Not just the dead. The feelings of the live but limbless soldiers are not considered by the aggressive arrogance of those who wear Muslim dress here, and build garish mosques that ruin neighbourhoods and affront any notion of planning or constructional beauty.
        Douglas Murray has offered a box of chocolates to anyone who can show that BJohnson’s comment was wrong – that islam has held nations back. I’ve often put a similar request for the name of an Islamic-ruled country that it fit for decent people to live in. 57 to choose from, but no candidates.

  2. What a pleasure to see one of Tu Fu’s T’ang poems in your esteemed organ, sadly (for me) only marred by its being written in the bastardized modern abbreviated script!

    May I humbly offer my own poor translation into English (dashed off hastily in the spirit of only wishing to further strengthen the ties which we in Asia have with you beleaguered Brits, whom many of us feel are kindred spirits)? I’m afraid I’m not a good enough poet to be able to render the line-ending rhyming scheme (others – viewable now on the web – more skilled in the art have done it better).

    Ode to the snow

    The battlefield echoes with the cries of the ghosts of the recently slain
    I, a solitary old man pen try in vain to pen verses expressing my grief
    Low clouds hem in the advancing dusk, and a gale whips up the driven snow
    I cast the ladle aside, there being no wine left in the barrel
    The hearth glows vermilion red with the dying embers
    War has cut us off from any news from other parts of the country
    Filled with worry, I slump down and stare vacantly at the pages.

    Tu Fu (Nov 756 A.D.)

    >[The startlingly attractive] Lucia Hunt brings to mind…all those Chinese I have worked with and known as friends over the years, who invariably have been pleasant, intelligent, highly cultured and utterly devoid of the grotesque fixation with identity and victimhood that disfigures those minorities who consider themselves marginalised, oppressed and excluded…

    Btw, much the same thing could be said of most modern Japanese: industrious, educated, cultured, humble, keen to learn, not judgmental, positive and enthusiastic contributors to everything, keen to help out and not give offence, delightful to work and play with, careful not to foist their views or beliefs on anyone else…in short, marvellous global citizens.

    I cannot agree with your assessment of her husband though. In my view, he’s lame, wet, riding on his Dad’s coat-tails, an opportunist Remainer at heart, and is loathed by NHS doctors and nurses for his insensitive handling of their contracts. Read what ex-gyno Adam Kay has to say about him and I warrant you’ll change your mind.

    • Allow me a correction to the last line of my translation:
      “Filled with worry, I sit down and draw characters in the air [with my finger].”
      Apologies for my mis-translation, dashed off in haste.

      Having now had time to do the research, I have confirmed that the last line is actually an allusion to a famous contemporary story about a court official who wrote four characters, a standard expression of despair and frustration, in the air with his finger every day to express his dismay at the state of politics (plus ça change!).

      TSR readers might also like to know that the line:
      “Tempestuous clouds encroach on the advancing dusk, and a gale whips up the driven snow”
      is a metaphor for the army’s being defeated and overrun by foreign invaders.
      Tu Fu’s poem is as relevant today as it was 1,300 years ago.

    • Sheilagh, I don’t think the Japs have a poor record with the West that they show vestigial signs of some ancient animosity. Put a few Chinese and a few Japanese together and watch the fireworks! You hinted at being of East Asian heritage some time earlier and I am mindful of this. In the west at least, what is common among East Asians in general is a lack of desire to propagate anything. There is no god-ordained mission to convert or proselytize. Things are different when it’s a home game!

  3. The English were not formed from an amalgamation of races. If you refer to the Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Danes, the Nordic and Celtic elements etc they are just tribes of the same race. Aren’t they all of the much maligned white race? Most of Europe being made up of the same, including the rest of the British Isles and not just the English.

    The problems in London stem partly from the promotion of multi-culture almost in religious form, but also from the balance being tipped in the make up of the city.

    • Why fall into the toxic leftist trap? There are no races. We all came out of Africa long ago and evolution and environment favoured trivial differences in appearance which will vanish again as we mix and move in created environments around the globe.
      Racism can only be levelled at someone who disparages a person because of their appearance or physical inheritance – things they have no choice over. The characteristics that supposedly adhere to defined groups (eg jews are disproportionately smart, taking 100 times the Nobels they should, are products of an amalgam of bio/psycho/social and environmental factors not ‘race’.)

    • @Michelle At the risk of sounding racist, I’d say it is ok to be white and European. Dear God that felt good! And I am not even white!

  4. Interesting point. But English historians were never in any doubt. It was the mix of races and racial characteristics, the ‘fusion of stocks’, that explained the success of the English. For example, for A. L. Rowse, a Cornishman, the Celts (Britons) were ‘imaginative and extreme, moody and discordant, prone to excessive ascetism, or to self-indulgence, egotistical and irrational, a feminine people’, whereas the Saxons (Teutons) were ‘earthy, laborious, stolid, with a greater capacity for co-operation, sticking to a job … a virile, masculine stock’. The Danes and Norse were ‘more electric and vital than the Saxons’. The result was ‘the English’, who, for Rowse at least, were the chosen people. I wonder what he would be saying now.

    • I know what he’d be saying now. Apologising for making such crass and idiotic generalisations about people who lived in a time we barely understand and explaining that he was a prisoner of the unthinking, taken-for-granted, unquestioned ‘common sense’ of his time. Since he lived till almost 2000, I bet he did in fact.

  5. There are differences, cultural and otherwise, between mainland Chinese and the Island Chinese of Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore – the latter are more westernized and assimilate easily in western societies. And, and, Mainland China wants to rule over all of them.

    Not so sure the author’s plan about influencing China from the inside out is going to work. The ones who attend British boarding schools are the cream of Chinese society; even Pakistan sends their best to British boarding schools. How is that working out for you? Just my two cents.

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