Are you a racist now, Father?

A few points struck me recently while having a chinwag with Sociology PhD candidate Yaqoub BouAynaya

(That links to his photography site - he's a snapper of some talent too. Multimedia makes up a portion of his thesis.)

More on this story later!
Yaqoub had spent some time in Japan and he made the point that he could almost as easily identify as Japanese as he does as an Irishman. I had read somewhere (uncorroborated) that the Japanese had made a big brouhaha over the introduction to their Diet of the first "Chinese" parliamentarian a couple of decades ago. It may have been mentioned in Will Ferguson's Hokkaido Highway Blues. (It's actually a very funny read as I look it up again, but I can't find the source and I'm not buying it again to find out.)

Whichever author made this claim suggested that the Japanese were racist. I want to add that the Chinese politician wasn't Chinese-born - he was half Chinese, or of Chinese heritage. But he had been born and raised in Japan.

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar
We're not that bad. We don't make a big deal about the recently-uncloseted Minister for Health being half-Indian. We couldn't care less where gay politician Leo Varadkar comes from, as long as he does a good job at the health department.

He'd like you to know that he's doing a good job. As Social Democrats candidate and local councillor Cian O'Callaghan pointed out eight months back, the Department of Health doubled the expenditure on public relations to €1.5 million while frontline services continue to be curtailed. If you're hearing any good news from the Department of Health these days - despite the hospital trolleys and waiting lists - it's probably thanks to that big PR drive!
Whatever way you want to spin things, a few of the doctors and nurses Leo himself is clamouring for could be brought in using this €700 or 800 grand PR increase in order to actually improve things, rather than give the appearance of a well-run healthcare system.