I want to be blonde when I grow up

Have long shapely legs and a double D cup

I am only four but I know where I stand

Although the daughter of an immigrant

Barbie and Jane Fonda still have an imprint

I want to be blonde when I grow up

A child understands how beauty is perceived

She doesn’t know how the gene pool works

But she know what society sees

Brown skin, dark hair and bony knees

And later when the double D's I thought I would grow turned out to be B's

I prayed for a growth spurt, that never arrived

As a half-caste Fijian Indian living in small-town New Zealand, I survived

As a brown bogan sieving through any subculture that will take

I cover up and hide from the sun, while my mates stretch out for the full tan bake

All the girls wear short skirts and their virginity is something to share, not keep

Yet if I dressed like my 60-year-old aunties with nose rings, and exposed midriff I’m thought of as cheap

Comments like “but you don’t have that curry scent'“

Or “you’re pretty… well for an Indian”

Those are supposed to be compliments

But in 2001 cultural appropriation comes to save the day

Bindi’s are cool, Gwen Stefani wears henna

Madonna practices yoga every day

Apparently being Indian is NOT cool, but Indian accessories are okay

But seriously…Gwen? this is bullshit!

I want to be blonde when I grow up

Put away the turmeric and coconut oil

Use beauty products packaged in plastic and foil

Forget about the virtues of timid and demure

Western society celebrates Women with confidence and allure

Don’t let the neighbours see the pooja fire, or smell the burning spice

Eat with cutlery, eating with your hands isn’t nice

Tone down the drumming, the incense and the chillies for luck

If you don’t set your traditions aside you will be stuck

But it’s not me that is stuck,

And neither is my country,

That constantly moves like the seismic waves that are always reshaping the ground

Each time we stamp our feet, beneath the surface tremors of social movement can be


Through small things,

The odd brown on face in catalogues and on TV

City councils hosting Diwali festival of lights

Regular Bollywood movie screening nights

Subtle changes, but over time they have meant that

Getting to know your foreign neighbour may be time well spent

We can have governor general who IS a real New Zealander and of Indian descent

Cultural difference should bring vibrancy to a country

Not a reason to hate, fear and resent

I now look at my four year old nephew

A white boy singing fluent in te reo maori

Adorned in korowai cloak as he makes his ascent to school

When he grows up he wants to dance in tutu’s and drive a fire truck
I pray, we don’t let anyone tell him that that he is stuck
Because we need him to be


When he grows up

Diet Pills (to be read      Deliriously).

Diet Pills (to be read Deliriously).

To April, or the Wheel of Fortune

To April, or the Wheel of Fortune