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WAG gala misguided

The idea of dressing up as another race for entertainment has a long history in North America (WAG and the peril of yellowface, Feb. 12).

In Hollywood, yellowface refers to white actors taping their eyelids and using other prosthetics to play "authentic-looking" Asian characters instead of casting Asian-American actors. Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) stands out as one of the most offensive examples, with his buck teeth, thick glasses and exaggerated Japanese accent serving, supposedly, the goals of comedy.

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Considering the well-documented legacy of yellowface, this year's fundraiser at the WAG, which until Wednesday morning had been entitled Big in Japan, seems all the more insensitive. The event's website boasted superficial and stereotypical references to Japanese culture: Hello Kitty, samurais, geishas and the command to "grab your chopsticks, throw on a kimono, and celebrate everything Japanese."

It's disappointing the WAG assumed Japanese culture is funny and kitschy, and therefore would have been a great theme for a party. Education is one of WAG's strategic pillars, and its mission is to promote a place "where people of all ages and backgrounds gather to experience art and the cultural well-being of their communities."

It seems clear to me that Japanese-Canadians and other Asian-Canadians in Winnipeg would not have felt welcome at the WAG event.

SERENITY JOO

Winnipeg

 

Head shops not the issue

Closing stores that sell apparatus that can be used for smoking marijuana is ludicrous (Support flies in for head-shop owners, Feb. 12).

Should we not allow stores to sell glasses? They might be used for drinking alcohol by minors. Better yet, should we stop sales of soft drinks? They might be mixed with liquor put into the glasses by those minors.

In an age where marijuana is being increasingly legalized, our province is moving backwards. A lack of head shops didn't stop drug use in the 1970s and won't stop it now.

BARBARA WINESTOCK

Winnipeg

 

Manitobans react to budget

I assume many will be happy to hear the federal budget is once again attacking the federal public-service compensation to the tune of $7.4 billion over the next six years (Tories batten down hatches, Feb. 12).

Read a little further and you'll see the federal government plans to cut more positions and programs.

That translates to fewer services. Have you tried to visit a Canada Revenue office lately? Need help at Service Canada? You're lucky to find an actual service worker that will help you and not just direct you to the computer kiosks because they are short-staffed already. And then there are the cutbacks at Agriculture Canada, Veterans Affairs, Health Canada, etc.

The transfer payments to the provinces are pathetic -- it's no wonder Manitoba had to increase the PST. How else would the province pay for the services it provides?

Our current government is costing us more and more to get less and less service -- something to remember at the ballot box.

DON DUPUIS

St. Adolphe

 

As we struggle to find elusive funds for preventing pollution and reducing the damage to land and water from off-road vehicle use, the feds have announced $10 million for the creation of new trails in the recent budget (Not much to cheer about, Feb. 12).

Snowmobilers have at least organized to lobby and avail themselves of this subsidy. All-terrain-vehicle users, however, are resisting joining, cleaning up, and paying up for the harm their leisure activity causes to public and private property. Where is the concern for wildlife, wetlands and conservation in this funding?

We ought to be spending $10 million over the next two years on erosion control and protection of sensitive wildlife areas, with generous donations of earmuffs, signs and speed barriers for those of us who wince when ATVers ride by.

LINDY CLUBB

La Salle

 

Remember how the parliamentary opposition was all in a twist about the government's audacity in bringing down a budget during the Olympics?

Canadians have proven they have the flexibility to handle both while the national press has done an admirable job in their respective reporting.

Which leads one to wonder: How would the NDP and the Liberals fare if walking while chewing gum were an Olympic event?

MARK RASH

Winnipeg

 

Mayor's move lacked tact

Polls are being conducted in the city to determine how people would vote for mayor (Let's start talking, people, Feb. 11).

An excellent guide for the undecided voter is the recent incident involving the current mayorand a university newspaper.

Two important attributes to look for in a city leader are business acumen and creative thinking. Mayor Katz shows a serious deficiency in both.

In order to stand a chance of success in business, you must have either the natural or the trained ability to turn every disadvantage into at least some sort of advantage. The mayor should have complimented the writer on his interest in local politics, then asked the paper to publish a subsequent article with documented proof of the claims made.

Failure to do so would imply both a retraction and an apology in the eyes of those being polled.

KEN HOLT

Winnipeg

 

Proof that vitamins work

Bill Ross recommends taking vitamin D daily, calling it the most important vitamin to take (The benefits of vitamins, Feb. 11).

He does not mention other equally important and beneficial vitamins, including vitamins B, C, calcium-magnesium, folic acid and omega-3.

I am 90 years old and have been taking these vitamins daily for 73 years. I never spent a day in the hospital until I was 89 years old.

ISSIE OIRING

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 13, 2014 A14

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