Perspective: Apu or Al Fayed? Farah Damji (with a Little Help from Her Friends) Compiles the Definitive List of Asian Power in the UK

The Birmingham Post (England), February 9, 2005 | Go to article overview

Perspective: Apu or Al Fayed? Farah Damji (with a Little Help from Her Friends) Compiles the Definitive List of Asian Power in the UK


Byline: Farah Damji

Power is an elusive thing. It's this aphrodisiac, access-all-areaspass to secret sanctuaries of white supremacy; it's the key that unlocks the door that bears the sign 'Browns need not Apply'.

This analysis of Asian Power takes Asia to mean the geographical rather than the ethnic state, that swathe of continent from the tip of Egypt to the West Coast of Japan. Because that's where an Asian comes from. We are not all exclusively South Asian of Indian descent.

Power is the ability to force change, through ideas, words or influence. The idea of a powerful Asian media is pretty fancy; there are few Asians in mainstream media who actually make a jot of difference.

The ones cited on The Guardian's list were put together by one of their own desperado reporters and most of the ones I had heard of I don't rate.

Power consists of being hardwired into the mainframe's processes and operations, it means being networked into the nodes of popular culture and being able to incorporate radical ideas into the mainstream. Gurinder Chadha's Bend it Like Beckham did morefor the conception of Asian culture than the whole body of Meera Sayal's endless, monotonous monologues.

Here's a list of the people that define that sexy ineluctable aura, those who can walk into a room and make conversations stop and heads turn. Our list deliberately excludes the same old same olds, this is the Control + ALT list. There'll be some names you know and others you had better watch out for.

Apu from the Simpsons has defined what it means to be Asian in the US and of course is now the subject of a cult following in the UK. With his Bangalore tecchie accent, Apu represents, what it means to be Asian, inside and outside, Eastern and Western. With his own prime time TV slot on Channel 4, he wields more power than any of those tokenistic brown lasses.

Jimmy Choo, the founder of the shoe empire which he sold formany millions, exudes personal power. He is slight and unassuming but has single handedly, or perhaps footedly, changed the role of the traditional English cobbler. He is not only powerful, his fantastic couture creations lend power and add those magical four inches to those of us who are not as tall as we might like to be.

Angad Paul, the son and scion of Lord Swaraj Paul produces cult Brit 'gangsta' flicks such as Lock Stock and Snatch, whilst his father has the ear of Tony Blair and is a regular advisor on all things Asian to the out-of-touch New Labour cabinet. Son Angad is reckoned to be a savvy film maker and someone who get things done. He produced a couple of decade-defining films. Caparro Industries turned over pounds 400,000,000 in 2002 and is the largest family owned business in the UK.

Bobby Sayed is an exSaatchi adman and the founder and chairman of the EMMA awards, which celebrate excellence in multicultural media. …

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