Saturday, January 28, 2017

Happy Chinese New Year

I doubt I have any Chinese readers (but who knows?). Nevertheless, Happy New Year to you if you are reading.

I took this photograph about two weeks ago, to put on this blog. It interests me for two reasons:

1) I really like it as an advertisement. I like its simplicity and sobriety. I've only realised now that it does have a gimmick; the food is made to look like fireworks. Nevertheless, it's still admirably restrained and tastseful. I wish there were more advertisments like that. I hope to write something about kitsch and tackiness soon.

2) I've often written that I'm a cultural nationalist and I think the culture of the majority should be, to put it bluntly, hegenomic. But this doesn't mean I'm against ethnic minorities, or that I don't think they should celebrate their own traditions and practice their own culture. In fact, I think it would be a shame if they didn't.

I remember when a Chinese restaurant, the Mandarin Kitchen, opened in Ballymun, when I was a kid. I remember my family members looking at the menu they posted through the door, which included information on the Chinese horoscope. I thought it was the most exotic thing in the entire world. (I'm pretty psyched to have been born in the Year of the Snake, too. Much better than a rat or a rabbit.)

Sometimes I say to my colleagues in the library: "I wish all the students were Asian." I don't really wish that, but they are extraordinarily polite and reasonable. Ultimately, though, I'm rather more drawn to Japanese culture than to Chinese culture, though I don't know a whole lot about either of them.

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