Slur against Indians transgresses limits of tolerance

Kamil Lakshman
Wellington, October 20, 2018
The latest debacle, the internal bickering and badmouthing within one of New Zealand’s major political parties is sad to see.
A friction that has divided the party has allowed dirty linen to be washed in a public arena and allowed hidden opinions of poor taste to surface.
Ruthless talking
This was an opinion and conversation that is so offensive, racist, disrespectful and belittling to the communities concerned that one wonders how it can belong to the political elite and those in a representative role in this time period in New Zealand.
Aren’t these individuals there to serve the very masses that they talk disparagingly about and which grouping is on the increase? After all, this grouping is from the world’s two largest, respected and powerful nations.
Instead this role appears for some to have become more about power, prestige, ego-boasting and ruthless talking.
I have to say, some good has come out of this as it has highlighted the nature of private conversations, which I don’t believe is isolated in nature.
Racial tone
The racial tone that exists indicates the pulse of some decision-makers.
It is calling for the minority racial groups to be beware of such sentiments and not be charmed with the shoulder rubbing, parties and photographing that appears to be the order of the day, with the advent of new migrants that have arrived in the last 30 years or so.
The exchange appears to be one of mutual benefit each seeking something in the other.
That would have been fine if a sinister overtone did not exist.
Thus it calls and warrants a cautious approach.
For a country such as New Zealand, which is known for being progressive and inclusive, the leaders in women suffrage and generally populated with well-intentioned people, it appears we have a long way to go in race relations and how the masses see the others.
Discrimination everywhere
Is the difference in looks and colour the first thing seen? Is this what this country represents? The pulse can be further deduced if we look at those that are invited to sit on boards, appointed to influential positions such as the judiciary, think-tanks, our political representatives, those that get kickbacks and so on. What do you see and why is it like that, is it representative? Could this private conversation give us a clue?
Mutually beneficial exchanges (which in this country are referred to as corruption if it happens elsewhere) but is not seen as such in New Zealand. Maybe we want to redefine what corruption is.
I wonder if the community under target has acted in any way to attract such comments.
Herd mentality
I have observed with amusement and horror in recent times at the cohort of people with the obsession to rub shoulders with the ‘in crowd’ demonstrating a herd mentality, almost a desperate need to seek affirmation through association.
I am not sure the psychology of this and I do not wish to speculate but one thing has become clear from this debacle and that is self-respect has to be asserted and a pendulum shift needs to take place.
Such private conversations are not to be tolerated nor should be by those targeted, it is an unacceptable code of conduct by the perpetrators. The private conversations are now in the public arena so such conversations makers need to be cautioned to self-reflect, you are being watched! The voice of protest is on the rise.
The communities on the other hand may want to rethink how they go about conducting themselves. Self-respect and not allowing oneself to be used as a bank by money-grabbing sale representatives who dangle the photograph and a handshake but exist with empty promises and sincere-less smiles. The intention is wrong, the platform of respect does not exist and no trust can be instilled.
The student mess
Now I understand why and how the international student scene was allowed to land in the mess it has.
Such masses were seen as pawns for a money making venture, a cold and calculated move. There was no interest in the lives that were being destroyed, no need for accountability and no care for the damage to New Zealand’s reputation that has occurred abroad.
Those whose lives have been destroyed by such reckless ventures will cry in silence and go away or be forced out silently but the pain stays in this air. People may move on but they do not forget, karmic laws apply, as they say you reap what you sow.
In 2014, I started writing in Indian Newslink about it because I was very concerned as to what I was witnessing on a daily basis as an Immigration Lawyer.
I could not understand why such a simplistic approach without foresight was in place by the decision-makers.
I was naive in thinking that the impact was not known. Now I can see it was known but dismissed as not needing consideration nor weighting given to it because this sector did not matter to them. Once the international student funds were received, they could be dispensed with, the same sentiments as the private conversations.
Parallel Economy
I remember some years ago stating that a parallel economy was in operation which would have a damaging effect on our mainstream labour market. As time has gone on, unfortunately, this has proven to be correct.
At that time, I felt as if I was a lonely voice speaking to an audience that was asleep and bored by my passionate rampage on this issue.
But time has seen it panned out. How widespread it is, is only now being comprehended. It has had the effect of permanently changing the labour market landscape.
For the powers at bee these interrelationships have just not been thought through. The approach and the private conversations estopped the door of due diligence. The earnings from this grouping became the focal and only point.
Negative impact
If there is any example of the negative impact such private conversations can have on this country, it is this. It saddened me as it was all avoidable if the intentions had been right, foresight would have been there.
Sincere change needs to be seen. If we stand united as one community we grow as one nation. The potential that exists is being missed out on if such belittling private conversations exist, which I am sure is rampant in the back office’s and in the exclusive clubs.
There is a lot of lessons to be learnt. Let’s hope that in future a real change becomes transparent.
The children of tomorrow will not be so forgiving and tolerate such nonsense.
The future is an equal playing field based on merit.
Much can be gained today if this approach is adopted and a different private conversation takes place. The lip service has to stop, it is old fashioned and can be seen through.

What must not be forgotten in this mix is that the Chinese and Indians who arrived in New Zealand since the 1800s were the backbone of New Zealand’s progress and attributed to where New Zealand is today.
This article is in honour of them, their toil, labour and whispers!
Their hurt in witnessing from afar a New Zealand approximately 130 years on, still entrenched in sentiments to which they were subject.
Wakeup Call
The ethnic voice has no choice but to awake, be heard and assert if not for ourselves then for our past custodians and our future generations!
Let it be known that zero tolerance exists for such conversations.
The ancient civilisations can offer wisdom, tools and technique for the betterment of humanity so embracing may be the more advantageous way forward for the transient players.
Kamil Lakshman is the Principal Lawyer at Idesi Legal Limited, Barristers & Solicitors, with offices in Wellington, Auckland and Dunedin. She is also an Indian Newslink columnist.

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