Asian Vigilantes – Part II

Last week I wrote about the AAG (Asian Anti Crime Group).

At the time I thought that perhaps the media was using the term vigilante, and that they were hyping things up when the group appeared to be about education and lobbying – nothing wrong with either although replication of efforts already underway. I wasn’t alone and I see Rabon Kan ( http://www.stuff.co.nz/4609463a1861.html ) also thought the same thing.

Unfortunately I was wrong. I see the groups organiser, Peter Low, has described the group as…

“We are a vigilante group and are training now”

“I want this group to be legalised. If they (the police) don’t allow it, that’s when we might have to employ Triads to protect our community”

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10520221

http://www.stuff.co.nz/4609478a11.html

As this appears in both the Herald and Stuff.co.nz, it isn’t miss-interpretation. Peter Low is apparently from Singapore, and as English is essentially a first language there this hasn’t been ‘lost in translation’.

He comes across as a bit of a ranter (actually sounds a bit like an NZ First member, but that’s highly unlikely). The groups motives seemed worthy, but if they think somehow replacing local criminals with triads is a solution they have really lost the plot. Triads, if they even could be bothered operating here, would make the locals look like amateurs, so that doesn’t sound like a very well thought out solution. It’s possible all the attention is going to Mr Low’s head and he’s getting a bit carried away. Although if he gets really carried away the sight of Asians dressed in brightly coloured tights with funny helmets roaming South Auckland fighting crime would be a wondrous thing!

As I said last week, people would be far better off throwing their weight behind an existing group, ideally with their fellow New Zealanders.

Mr Low also says “This is non-profit, non-religion, non-politics and non-racist, It is open to all to become a member”– however if he was really serious about reaching out to all sections of New Zealand society then he wouldn’t have called it an Asian group.

I am guessing this group won’t be around in six months, sensible people Asian or otherwise, will likely gravitate towards existing groups, or someone claiming to be a member will do something silly that will isolate the group from the mainstream.

A pity, this is a wasted opportunity.

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    • yong
    • July 7th, 2008

    You do not know Mr. Low, your comments are unwarranted. he is a good man with noble intentions, however he is not a politician and not a seasoned PR person, sometimes he doesn’t use the right words. The reason it was called Asian Anti Crime Group (AAG) is because at inception it was to support asian victims of crimes who have problems dealing with the Police and judicial system because of language barrier. Also AAG is committed to turn up at incidents to support victims whenever the Police failed to respond. There are many professionals in AAG and be rest assured, AAG will still be here in the next 6 months. Also I would trust Mr. Low then any other politicians, you can know more about his background by talking with the Hindu temples, the Buddhist temples, etc that he had contributed charitably in the past.

    • consumist
    • July 7th, 2008

    I said in the previous entry I thought the objectives of the AAG had merit. However if one of those is to use Triads and act as a vigilante group as Mr Low has clearly said, then the groups objectives are wrong. I would hope that the group would not agree with those objectives as they are not anywhere on the web site. If members don’t agree then maybe someone needs to correct the public perception quickly and get Mr Low some PR help, because most NZder’s will not support a group that thinks using gangs to fight crime is a good idea.

    • Shang
    • July 8th, 2008

    Consumist,

    Clearly you’ve chosen to look past the intention and instead dwelve in the technicality by ridiculing AAG. Why did you have to pick on the name, the group was originally founded by asians and was intended to assist their community with language barrier. Nothing is wrong with that. Now they open their group for all and this is how you responded?

    You also clearly shown a sign of defensiveness. Perhaps the thought of a group of asians patrolling the street bothers you, even if they have good intentions. Your portrayal of asians with tv series characters for kids (by the way I think they are power rangers) is insulting.

    I applaud my fellow asians who are standing up for their safety and the safety of their community in Auckland. If NZ police isn’t capable of doing their job, any replacement will do.

    • consumist
    • July 8th, 2008

    Shang,

    You need to read both my posts on this subject.

    I have not ridiculed the name of the group, merely pointed out inconsistencies in what the spokesman has said about the aims of the group (which I have said I support as far as what’s on the web site).

    If the group goes public with the intention of involving triads and taking the law into their own hands, then they must expect a negative reaction from the public and media.

    I note that today some of the groups members have already resigned and distanced themselves from statements made by Mr Low.

    This is the point I was trying to make, that while the aims are laudable, this was not the way to go about it.

    The picture of the power rangers is intended as tongue in cheek – the power rangers are vigilantes. They are an ‘Asian’ creation, a very successful one, so I’m not sure why that would be insulting?

    You need to read both of my posts and take everything in context and perhaps not pick meaning out of isolated statements.

    If you think Triads are a suitable replacement for the Police (?) as perhaps some in the group do, that’s fine (probably wrong, but you are entitled to your opinion), but you will find that the majority of NZders from whatever culture will not, and this will not win the AAG much support. Which, as I said, is a pity!

    • Shang
    • July 9th, 2008

    Hi consumist,

    No, I do not think Triads are suitable replacement for the Police, but if the Police are not adequate in doing their job protecting us, then we should have the right to protect and defend ourselves. Government needs to be pressured from all directions to get their act together and be tough on criminals. And if that means using triads or trains a group of people to patrol the street as a last resort, so be it.

    • consumist
    • July 9th, 2008

    Shang,

    I agree with the right to self defense, but totally dissagree that using a criminal gang to do this is logical or right.

    I don’t doubt for a second that if people really did start using Triads that the gangs wouldn’t want payment (protection money) and then the natural progression from that would be to start extorting protection money by instigating crime that people then need ‘protection’ from. And this is exactly the sort of thing Triads get up to on their home turf.

    That is not something we want in NZ!

    Residents in rich eastern suburbs already use companies like Matrix to provide security and this has seen a drop in crime in those areas – obviously this private policing comes at a cost.

    AAG would be better to put it’s efforts into pushing for more community constables. This is a proven method of getting crime down.

  1. Consumist,

    Pretty perceptive comments – I have to say that regardless of Peter Low’s Singaporean heritage, after watching a TV interview of him (http://tvnz.co.nz/view/video_popup_windows_skin/1890456) I have to say that English cannot be his first language – it is just poor, and his website (www.aag.org.nz) also features some telling grammatical errors.

    Anyone that advocates an “eye for an eye” approach is not worth listening to.

    • consumist
    • July 9th, 2008

    Lemmingz,

    Funny you say that, somewhere I swear I saw something about him coming from Malaysia, but then when I went back to try and dig it out, I couldn’t find it. That would make more sense, and it wouldn’t be the first time someone from Singapore ‘orginated’ Singapore, a bit like some Chinese from Honk Kong, actually coming from China… if you get my drift.

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