Chris Lilley’s comedic portrayal of rebellious troubled teenager Jonah from Tonga is dissappointing to say the least. His mockumentary series really portrays the Aussie Bogan culture. But that mantle piece has already been taken by Kath & Kim and he probably wouldn’t have a following if Jonah were an Aussie, so he finds a niche for his comedy by choosing Tonga and our culture.
Definition of Bogan (noun) derogatory Aussie slag. Refers to someone who is unsophisticated, uncivilised, lacks manners and culture, crude, no style, un-educated and regarded by society as being of low class.
While many may find it funny, this humour masks some serious issues perpetuating a negative view of Tongans and upon our youth.
- The suggestion that Tongans are bad parents who breed terrible children blaming low imcome status for this vicious cycle is ridiculous.
- The suggestion that our culture is ill-disciplined to have a ‘Jonah’ like student be so disruptive to the learning of others in class is ludicrous. I find this to be highly rascist and an over-exaggerration of reality of our Tongan youth in highschool.
The fact that this program is airing in primetime stations like the BBC in UK and HBO in the US gives me great concern for our youth. I for one am no such Bogan, nor is my family and my kids and Tongans in general. We have a beautiful, strong, vibrant culture of respect for each other reflected in our language and our national dress. Our nation has amongst the highest literacy rates in the world. While life and sanitary conditions in England was harsh in the late 1700s, Captain Cook found our islands civilised with order and houses and well maintained gardens and paths.
Ta’e fiemālie ‘aupito he mafola ‘a e polokalama’ni he ngalu’ea.