January 30 - February 6, 2008

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Letters to the Editor

The BackStory! Ho!

F**KING A! PAULIE: your insights on New Jersey and its people ("No Exit," Arts, Dec. 12) were outstanding, especially for a guy from Wayne. I didn't know they could read and write up there. I was also impressed by the photographer. I thought Traci Hukill was an under-age girl who snuck in for Jersey Night. But it turns out she is an excellent photographer, and the editor of Metro Santa Cruz. The war Paul Wagner writes about between New Jersey and New York is true.

To show how international the Bad Boys are, the Jersey Night emcee, Dennis "Bad Boy" Murawsky, who you said showed "three fundamental elements of the New Jersey character," was born in New Jersey, but was exiled to Brooklyn. The Bad Boys, in the spirit of peace and love, took him in and taught him how to act. Am I right!

The spirit of New Jersey was evident that night by the incredible audience, and the wonderful singers. By the way, the man who "slurred his way through" his off-color song did win a drink ticket, except it said "Good for a free drink, but not tonight." He must have slipped his own suspender because he wasn't around for the winners announcements. He was definitely not a Jersey guy. The section on "The Jersey Mystique" and our "stark fatalism" really put the whole f**king thing in order.

I would have called you with these comments but some asshole stole my cell phone. Maybe Dennis took it?

Chris 'Bad Boy' Matthews, Santa Cruz
Christopher Matthews is the smartest man I've ever met, and he also owns the Poet & Patriot Irish Pub. See ya tonight, Chrissy. —Editor

Holy Racist Noodle Bowls!

DENISE VIVAR'S recent review of Charlie Hong Kong ("Orient Express," Dining, Jan. 2) was badly informed and serves to laud a restaurant that is blatantly racist in the stereotypes it manipulates to advertise its food. Firstly, any suggestions that the restaurant is authentic are simply wrong. In it, Vivar proclaims, "With little effort you can imagine Charlie Hong Kong ... on a street in Hong Kong or Chang Mai [sic]." I have not been to Chiang Mai, but I am from Malaysia and have been to Thailand and Hong Kong, and in none of those countries have I ever eaten similar renditions of Asian food. The food consists of watered-down, Anglicized versions of Asian classics, and perhaps Metro Santa Cruz should find a reporter who actually has experience in Asian food when reviewing Asian restaurants or has actually been to Hong Kong. In addition, never in my travels have I encountered any real Asian restaurant with such a blatantly racist name or image.

The name "Charlie Hong Kong" itself sounds like a racist playground taunt. According to the flash video on their website, Charlie Hong Kong is the name of the restaurant's mascot. But "Charlie" is what American G.I.s called the enemy in the Vietnam War, and a White Pages search shows no results for anyone who would possess the last name "Hong Kong." In addition, the character is a slanty-eyed, yellow-skinned caricature of the sacred image of Buddha. The Asian characters in the animation only open their tiny eyes when they are thoroughly surprised and spend their days screaming "hi-ya" and chopping the air. As an Asian-American, I am deeply offended by this stereotyping by a restaurant that claims to be serving my people's food. This is ugly evidence of ignorance that should not be allowed to perpetuate in our community.

If the Caucasian owners of Charlie Hong Kong truly want to show respect for the community, as their website says, they should recognize Santa Cruz's Asian population and take down the flash animation, change their name—and maybe even ask a Vietnamese person how to really make pho.

 Stephanie Foo, Santa Cruz

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