Rod MacKenzie

“Come on mate, one billion customers in Choina, whadda yer waitin’ for?”

“Excuse me,” the bloke says with an Aussie drawl at a local watering hole, Big Bamboo, near Jing’an temple, one of Shanghai’s few remaining Buddhist temples. (The building survived the tender mercies of the Mao era because the monks astutely pasted pictures of Chairman Mao across its doors along with heaps of praise for China’s…

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‘The ovary and digestive gland of a crab digs up the cabbage’ and other menu conundrums in China

As you browse through a menu in China, sometimes courteously translated for you into a version of English we all fondly know here as Chinglish, imagine savouring “ants climbing the tree” or “seafood custard”. (“Ants climbing the tree” is tasty, spicy fried vermicelli with finely chopped pork; I haven’t tried the seafood custard.) Either you…

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Zapiro and the cliché of violence

Forgive me for resorting to the following hackneyed, worn-out story. Shortly before I met my wife some six years ago, she was dragged screaming and gibbering down the driveway by a gang of strong young men so that they could have the pleasure of her and perhaps leave her for dead in the fields near…

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‘Man-di-LAH!’: Carefully explaining to the Chinese in Shanghai what it meant to grow up in the old SA (part four)

Following from the previous post in this series The entire English department at the Shanghai University of Engineering and Science knew of Nelson Mandela. Should I say “of course” they knew of him? No. People tend to see their country as the centre of everything and can be appalled, perhaps, to realise that in far-flung…

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On Christi van der Westhuizen’s ‘Zapiro’/bless his satirical name, ‘Zuma’/victim and ‘us’/them/women/men

I invite all readers to look at Christi van der Westhuizen’s photo on her blog on Thought Leader. Please note — hopefully without my prior interpretation — that she has chosen a photo where she is looking “down” on you, suggesting she, as a woman, is not looking “up” at you, in other words she…

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“Go for it, Li”: Zapiro in China

On the Zapiro cartoon uproar: I thought the portrayal of Zuma was brilliant but it did not elicit more from me than a grim, black chuckle. Sure, the cartoon is not meant to amuse; it is meant to deliver a heavyweight, jaw-breaking blow to hypocrisy and corruption and the complete disregard for the justice system….

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On Sarah Britten’s “Jacob Zuma, Zapiro (bless his satirical name) and Sarah Palin” article

Sarah Britten made a very astute observation on where the Zapiro (bless his satirical name) cartoon may be taking us all. Zuma may very well be re-written as a victim – for the nonce. Dream on girl – with this kind of writing ye may very well topple the mighty Traps. However, the furore created…

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Mao Tse-tung/Christ comparisons: Explaining what it meant to grow up in the old SA (part 3)

I switched to a picture of a crucifix with the anguished, dying Christ nailed to it in my PowerPoint presentation to my erudite audience at the University of Engineering and Science in Shanghai. “I also grew up in that boarding school with this image firmly planted in my subconscious.” I recited to my listeners the…

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Carefully explaining to the Chinese in Shanghai what it meant to grow up in the old South Africa (part two)

(Continued from previous post) “… This white child and nanny relationship added to the complexity of the racial situation I grew up in,” I said to my entirely Chinese audience at the University of Engineering and Science in Shanghai. These black nannies, or ousies, as we would also call them, were wonderful people and as…

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Carefully explaining to Chinese in Shanghai what it meant to grow up in the old South Africa

‘I was brought up on the back of a black woman,’ I said to my dumbfounded audience. I pointed to the picture on the screen in my power point presentation. It showed a black woman with a traditional African kaross on her back, in which was sleeping her baby while she worked in the fields….

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