Tim Blair


New Criterion



Wednesday, June 02, 2004
LATE NIGHT LIVE has a new stroke-pal to share the Monday night spot formerly occupied exclusively by Bea Campbell reporting from the UK. Campbell's predictably leftist spin on UK news must have bored even LNL's communards.

The new boy is Karim Raslan, a corporate lawyer and newspaper columnist based in Kuala Lumpur. He is to be the voice of South East Asia on LNL.

Yesterday our Gastropodian host, Phillip Adams, dragged Raslan into the studio. The new chum needed to be engorged into the Gastropodian mindset before he could be trusted to report the world through the communards' mirror.

How on earth, says our surrreptitious commentator, did you get in to this country with a name like yours? Raslan, it seems, must be taught that in Auntie's commune it is an item of faith that most Australians are racist bigots who need instruction from their moral superiors.

Will Karim learn? Does an anglophonic and presumably anglophilic (Cambridge-educated) Malaysian have to be taught to take the correct attitude to Australians anyway? Time will tell.

Already Raslan speaks with the royal 'we' about South East Asia, a region at least as diverse as Europe.

'We' welcome the rise of China as a counter-weight to the US. I wonder how welcoming the Indonesians are to the Chinese products that have driven theirs out of so many markets.

'We' also regard the future of Taiwan as a purely domestic matter for the Chinese autocrats. Rather like Australia used to regard the future of East Timor as a purely domestic matter for Jakarta, until the blood started to run under our front door.

'They' in the Auntie commune, of course, always supported the pro-independence factions in East Timor, on the grounds of political principle.

Should the autocrats in Peking decide that a few hundred thousand Taiwanese lives are a small price to pay for a dollop of nationalistic political glue we may be sure that 'we' will turn a blind eye.

And so will 'they'. "US-backed" democracies rate very low in the commune's moral order.