From the Editor
I’ll be honest, growing up I hated Chinese food. Well at least I programmed myself to hate Chinese food. The ambivalence towards the food of my immigrant parents was part of a proxy battle I waged as I tried to grapple with my own identity as a second generation Chinese in a very Eurocentric neighbourhood. I only realised how good Chinese food was after I slept over at a friend's house. Her mum served us steamed cabbage and a poached chicken breast, and from that day onwards, I told my mum to always pick me up before dinner time. I realised my desire for ‘white’ people food only served as medication to soothe my assimilation anxieties. When I told Andy, Debate’s editorial assistant, about this we knew that we had to do another food issue.
Food speaks volumes about culture, identity, love languages and struggle. For me personally, food is where I feel most understood. While I’m not fluent in Cantonese, and I feel disconnected in many ways to being Chinese, I still feel confident in navigating my way through an Asian grocery store. I know what brands sell the best bean curd sauce so I can prepare ong choy (Chinese watercress) just as well as my parents' favourite restaurant. In any Chinese household, you’ll be hard pressed to find a love language stronger than food. My parents don’t wear their hearts on their sleeves, but that's only because their sleeves are always rolled up, carefully preparing my favourite meal.
As I was editing Issue 2, I was quick to learn that everyone's relationship with food differed. Alana, Debate’s feature writer, has a history of working in the hospitality industry. An industry that has long operated with an open secret of harassment. Alana shares her experiences with working in hospitality while also discussing why people are so reluctant to treat harassment and misconduct with the same care as other professions. Andy investigates the age old question, “Why does British food suck?” A story born from my hate of white people's food, and Andy’s disdain for his white mum's cooking. As much as we wanted to just poke fun at white people, Andy was quick to learn that the question is inherently a lot more complex to answer. Nam, Debate’s social media manager, revisits some of his favourite food scenes in movies. His analysis on the bento boxes in My Neighbor Totoro remains one of my favourite pieces in this issue. I recommend that you all read it.
Among these pieces, there remains many other stories on food. But of course, we’ve got a lil bit of news for you too. Nathan Limm talks to Sir Graham Henry about Dan Carter’s prolific career, and Justin Wong spills the tea on AUT’s independent review on harassment and bullying. The lack of accountability is both unfortunate and unsurprising given AUT’s history of sweeping things under the rug.
And if you’re an ex UoA student and have found yourself across the road only to discover that AUT uses the hideous platform that is Blackboard, please don’t drop out yet: Justin Hu writes on the death of Blackboard.