Erm, well, not really

Chris Lilley’s “Jonah” is not from Tonga, I am.

I’m the same age as Chris Lilley, mid-forties, woman of colour, born in Sydney on the ancestral lands of the Cadigal people. I’m a Tongan woman, indigenous to the Kingdom of Tonga, the last remaining indigenous monarchy of the Pacific. I’m also Australian.

If you’re born in Oz then you’re not from Tonga, are you?

38 thoughts on “Erm, well, not really”

  1. ’…. I felt sick with disgust that a white man was commissioned to depict a specific diasporic Tongan identity of a young disadvantaged boy of low economic status and challenging circumstance.’

    Ali G is going to blow her mind.

  2. I was particularly mortified that the other Pacific diasporic actors who played alongside the Jonah character, were co-opted into the brownface act and became publicly complicit in aiding overt racism that ultimately damages their own personal identities

    Only explanation here is that her father must’ve eaten a particularly sanctimonious missionary.

  3. She’s virtue-signalling her hatred of oppressive, colonialist white culture, and stressing her minority (and so victim) status. She was born on the “ancestral lands of the Cadigal people” (ie near Sydney harbour) but is fundamentally an indigenous Tongan. She’s “a woman of colour” – as opposed to a transparent woman? – and she is “also Australian” as a deliberate afterthought.

    Like so many ethnics, she cherishes her largely manufactured grievances and refuses to integrate.

  4. “If you’re born in Oz then you’re not from Tonga, are you?”

    Not sure about that. Plenty of English people born abroad, especially late 19th & early 20th centuries in the Empire, who were definitely English.

    The Durrells are a good example; born in India, as were their parents and (I think) their grandparents, so they lost British citizenship in the 1960s immigration reforms; Lawrence took it badly and sulked in France for the rest of his life; Gerry set up his zoo on Jersey where things were (then) easier. But would anyone say they weren’t English? Almost stereotypically so.

  5. @RichardT, but the Durrells never tried to deny their Britishness (not even Lawrence) and Margot settled in Bournemouth without claiming to be Indian

  6. If you’re born in Oz then you’re not from Tonga, are you?

    Maybe it’s one of these “If a rat is born in a stable, does that make it a horse?” type of thing?

  7. @Theophrastus

    She’s “a woman of colour” – as opposed to a transparent woman?

    No – as opposed to a woman of pallor. Please keep up…

  8. She feels “sick with disgust” that a white person painted a picture of a brown person?

    WTF? There’s some nasty poisonous shit crawling around in Australia….

  9. Diogenes, very true. But that’s my point – there’s more to it than just “If you’re born in Oz then you’re not from Tonga, are you?” – ancestry, culture and, as you say, behaviour, are also important, not just place of birth.

  10. Whinng about whites in a white man’s world, and whites JUST TAKE IT! We have no reason to care what she thinks, independent of whether she is right or wrong.

    What pussies we have become.

  11. Don’t see a problem. There are plenty of Yanks who are ‘Irish’ because their ancestors came from Ireland to New York 150 years ago. The fact the current crop were born in the USA as were their parents, grandparents and great grandparents, have never been to Ireland and couldn’t find it on a map is irrelevant surely?

    Think past US presidents and politicians; must be votes in it I presume.

    Since a good proportion of US citizens descend from immigrants, when do you actually become an American rather than Irish / Scandinavian etc I wonder?

    Are there any actual Americans in America?

  12. “Ali G is going to blow her mind.”
    That comment made me realise I haven’t yet seen the bloke who played him (Slasher Barry Conehead?) apologise for the racial appropriation. No doubt the various tv channels are destroying any evidence they may have of televising him.

  13. So Much For Subtlety

    he last remaining indigenous monarchy of the Pacific

    Pretty sure Japan is in the Pacific. Pretty sure that Fiji is indigenous even if the Queen is indigenous to somewhere else – well not very indigenous even to that place to be honest.

    We let these people into the West and then we teach them to hate us. Something here is wrong and has to change. I suggest she has a lot more opportunity to explore her Tongan roots. Which going by most Tongans I have seen would be shaped like a potato only sixteen times bigger than a pickup.

    And the only f*ckin’ Pacific Islander called Jonah I want to hear about is playing somewhere in France. Because of c*nts like this.

  14. @ SMFS
    It’s in the Grauniad, so our version of geography can casually be disregarded. Sydney is in Tonga and Japan is in the Atlantic, Brunei is in the Arctic Ocean, and New Zealand and Her Majesty’s other possessions in the watery area between America, Australia, Antarctica and the Indian Ocean have relocated to the Moray Firth.

  15. Dennis, A Very White Cultural Appropriator

    Today: Cancel all shows with minority characters we self-appointed guardians of The Race don’t like. They are an example of systemic racism.

    Tomorrow: There are no shows with minority characters. This is an example of systemic racism.

  16. SMFS’s reference reminded me of the story of Queen Salome of Tonga*, on a state visit to Britain, riding in an open Royal coach with some small man sitting alongside her. The great Noel Coward was evidently asked by a friend who the small man in the coach was. “Her lunch” was his reply.
    Possibly apocryphal.
    *A very large lady.

  17. @ John Wilkinson
    That was in 1953 and it rained – the gracious lady (accustomed to a much warmer climate) was approached by a journalist and remarked “Oh, you have such warm rain” (approximate words, after 67 years my memory is no longer word-perfect).

  18. @Chris Miller, Thanks for getting the quote right. PJH had it stated incorrectly. The subtext is that it’s JC you are talking about, which is a retort-stopper.

    Misquoting is a great game. For example, Neil Kinnock said of the Divine Margaret something along the lines of “Like Adolf Hitler, she believes that if you aren’t with her you are against her.” Apart from losing the argument by Godwin’s Law, it was JC (again), not the one-balled Austrian anti-smoking vegetarian deviant.

  19. Pretty sure Japan is in the Pacific.

    Yeah, that’s true. But Japanese people are not indigenous to Japan – that’s the Ainu.

    Make Japan Ainu Again!

  20. John W, the small chap was Haile Selassie. Funnily enough, my mum still talks about it as one of the things from the Queen’s coronation that sticks in her memory.

  21. I may have been too young to know any better, but Haile Selassie seemed like one of the good guys to me.

  22. JW: Queen Salote of Tonga was accompanied in the open coach in Elizabeth II’s coronation procession by the Sultan of Kelantan. Noel Coward denied originating the quip attributed to him, but was suspected of doing so with regret. Apparently, the order of precedence for subordinate Monarchs placed the Tongan Monarch ahead of all the others, so the Sultan had some compensation for being drenched by the rain.

  23. Tonga being a monarchy is weirdly a source of pride to many Tongans.

    To the rest of us, having your country ruled by incompetent and corrupt hereditary rulers is merely stupid. And we’re not talking the casual corruption of any ruling class. They are deeply corrupt, and the result is that Tonga is very badly run and remains unnecessarily underdeveloped.

    Their Rugby Union team earns the country millions, which then disappears into the pockets of the well connected. One result is that Tongans increasingly play League, because the money stays with them if they do.

    All the best Tongans leave for Oz and NZ, because advancement for a commoner is otherwise almost impossible.

  24. In general, the uggliness. Why shouldn’t it affect the other side? The lefties abusing us, why should we always take the high road? I’m all for collateral damage, burn it all fucking down and salt the earth. Mr Ecks probably agrees with me, am I right or am I right?

  25. So Much For Subtlety

    Gamecock June 12, 2020 at 6:16 pm – “I may have been too young to know any better, but Haile Selassie seemed like one of the good guys to me.”

    The alternatives make anyone look better. But there is a case that Fascism improved things when they gave him the boot. Not a great case, but a case nonetheless.

  26. OT I fear. ( But I did like this paper proposing the re-introduction of the Aztec system of dealing with climate change.

    Someone obviously had a lot of fun in writing it.

  27. The Ainu are indigenous to northern Japan, having crossed from Sakhalin; the Yamato are indigenous to southern/central Japan, having crossed from Korea.

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