Racism exhibited, man hit

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Last updated on August 8th, 2017 at 01:22 pm

Asian-American Kunthea Ker claims (in a letter given prominent display by the SMH) to be the victim of overt racism during Sydney’s New Year fireworks:

The crowd seemed full of people making racist, disparaging comments about Asians – not only within our hearing but to our faces.

When we found a spot to sit, one woman remarked loudly that she didn’t want to sit next to Asians. Another man shouted at us “I hate Chinese!” We are not Chinese …

Finally, as the fireworks began, a young man tried to push past us to the front. I told him: “There isn’t any room to move. We’re all trying to see the same fireworks.” He responded by pushing forward anyway and saying in a contemptuous tone: “There is room. Anyway, you’re Asian. It doesn’t matter.”

After all that had happened, I lost what little temper I had left and hit him. Then I began shouting, calling him a racist, cursing, the works. I am only five feet tall but I was so angry that my family and others nearby had to restrain me to allow the young man to get away.

Unquestionably, I acted inappropriately. Violence was a disproportionate response to the offence, not to mention illegal. Moreover, it was disgusting behaviour. But the racism exhibited by that man and others that night was even more disgusting and part of me still wishes I had responded the same way to all of them.

I certainly wish the other Asians in the crowd had spoken up instead of accepting or ignoring the comments.

The degree to which racism is openly tolerated and practised in Australia is infuriating.

I don’t buy this. Especially the part about “other Asians” remaining docile and meek while a whole crowd trashed Asians. Interestingly, Ms Ker has a background in creative writing.

(Via Dan Lewis)

Posted by Tim B. on 01/06/2007 at 08:45 AM
    1. This old furphy that ‘Aussies are racist’ that gets its usual run in the lefist press.

      Part of the cultural cringe instigated by the intelligensia in Australia is that we are racist. I have a decent postion in Hong Kong and in many respects, have been treated better, because of my skin colour and nationality.

      I am certainly not saying that I am the victim of Chinese racism, far from it, but then again, I am not an Indian, black or from other non-white backgrounds.

      The Chinese have insulting names for all groups other than their own. terms such as ‘Haak Gwai’ (black ghost) for people of colour, ‘Gweilo’ (white devil) for the whiteys, and ‘Ah Cha” (an impolite term) for Indians are used routinely in front of the person.

      There are Cantonese words for foreigner, though people are too lazy to use them. recent racial discrimination laws are causing discussion about the ‘Gweilo’ tag.

      I’m tired of people like Ms Ker who bray about racism though have no compunction about treating people of colour like dirt to their faces.

      Posted by Nic on 2007 01 06 at 09:15 AM • permalink


    1. “I hate Chinese!

      So do I, it’s too salty, and egg fried rice is incredibly fattening. Indian is far superior.

      Posted by Ross on 2007 01 06 at 09:21 AM • permalink


    1. I have Asian friends, have had a couple of Asian girlfriends and am part Asian myself. I have never seen or experienced anything like this. Then again, I’m from Melbourne; perhaps Sydney is different.

      Posted by flying pigs over mecca on 2007 01 06 at 09:24 AM • permalink


    1. “Anyway, you’re asian. It doesn’t matter”
      The dialogue is unconvincing. Would a real racist pig say “asian”?  True, my experience with that knuckle-dragging lot is with an anti-black relative dropped in his head at birth, but I can’t imagine D. saying “Anyway, you’re african-american. It doesn’t matter”.

      Posted by kiwinews on 2007 01 06 at 09:29 AM • permalink


    1. #4 agree on the unconvincing. yer genuine racist would use chink or slope or wingnut or some other much less polite term than asian

      Posted by KK on 2007 01 06 at 09:34 AM • permalink


    1. My guess is something insulting might have been said to Ms Ker and the embarrassed purveyor of violence constructed a narrative about a menacing crowd of anti-Asians later. It’s obvious from the guilt displayed – “I acted inappropriately”, “a disproportionate response”, “illegal” – that nothing less than a Lambing Flat riot would make her feel better about herself.

      Incidentally, I wonder if WA’s Labor Premier and union spokesdolt, Alan Carpenter, believes the allegedly racist crowd can be forgiven because it was only responding predictably to the Howard government’s policy of allowing foreigners to work here on temporary visas: “…it could breed racial tensions if they were seen to be muscling out Australians by working for inferior pay and conditions…Just cast your mind back to last Christmas and what happened in Sydney… Put two and two together and see where you can end up going down this pathway.”

      Well he told us so. Asians Out, seems to be the Labor solution.

      There is room. Anyway, you’re Asian. It doesn’t matter.

      Terrible script-writing too. Sounds like something belonging on one of those title cards from an old silent film.

      Posted by C.L. on 2007 01 06 at 09:48 AM • permalink


    1. Here’s a concept Kunthea needs to get her head around. Maybe some people just don’t like Kunthea – not because of her race, but because of her unpleasant personality. I suspect she is playing the “race card”. The race card is sometimes played by individuals who don’t understand that they are in fact obnoxious turds. Their race is not the issue. I try to help such people out where I can by pointing this out to them.

      Posted by quillpen on 2007 01 06 at 09:55 AM • permalink


    1. I don’t buy this either. The whole thing sounds fake.

      I’m not asian, but I’ve got plenty of asian friends in Sydney .. I’ve heard of racist incidents (bottles being thrown by a car full of skinheads late at night, things like that) but the dialogue in this letter sounds scripted and weird. Racism is never so casual and matter-of-fact, if someone actually said what she claims they’re spoling for a fight and they know it. I can’t even imagine that story playing out as she wrote it, it’s ridiculous.

      So yes, the whole thing sounds made-up. Plus, it’s Sydney, there’s asians everywhere, and I know plenty who would’ve been throwing punches way before our letter writer was “driven to”. In summary – total BS, I don’t believe it at all.

      Posted by hkstar on 2007 01 06 at 10:19 AM • permalink


    1. This is plausible but highly unlikely, I’d critique this further but it seems like the American attention whore in question wrote a SIX PAGE ARTICLE about their drunken NYE punch up.

      Posted by AussieJim on 2007 01 06 at 10:51 AM • permalink


    1. Violence was a disproportionate response to the offence, …part of me still wishes I had responded the same way to all of them.

      QUAGMIRE !!!

      Posted by guinsPen on 2007 01 06 at 11:08 AM • permalink


    1. As soon as I read that letter, I thought “bullshit”.

      Posted by murph on 2007 01 06 at 11:28 AM • permalink


    1. #2. I’m with you on the fried rice, but I’ll still take Peking Duck over Lamb Vindaloo—especially when the lamb is more like mutton.

      If there’s anything more obnoxious than Americans who go overseas to complain about America, it’s Americans who go overseas to complain about the locals.

      Posted by Bruce Rheinstein on 2007 01 06 at 11:55 AM • permalink


    1. I’d say it’s bullshit.

      Now here in the good old U.S., we have different ways of having some celebratory fun on NYE. One of which is…

      ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. —  One woman discovered on New Year’s Eve that her bra could do more than lift and support when a falling bullet was halted by the bra strap on her left shoulder.

      Fox News

      Advice to Ms. Ker from one who knows…“It was a very cheap bra. It wasn’t very expensive, and I’d love to have a couple more of those bras”….When back in the States, call Debbie Bingham, in Atlanta, Ga.

      Posted by El Cid on 2007 01 06 at 11:55 AM • permalink


    1. This story is useless without pics. Btw the article wasn’t 6 pages, it was a collection of letters that together totalled 6 pages.

      Posted by Yobbo on 2007 01 06 at 12:05 PM • permalink


    1. Educated st Swartmore, lawyer in San Francisco.
      My guess is that you could say “Good morning” to her and she would interpret that as racist, sexist, elitist, ageist, culturally insensitive and homophobic.

      Posted by Merlin on 2007 01 06 at 12:07 PM • permalink


    1. Violence?  Tsk tsk tsk.  I would have started with a strongly-worded condemnation, possibly leading to sanctions.

      Posted by Mystery Meat on 2007 01 06 at 01:02 PM • permalink


    1. “There is room. Anyway, you’re Asian. It doesn’t matter.”

      Mighty articulate generation of boggans you’re raising these days.

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2007 01 06 at 01:30 PM • permalink


    1. Like everyone else, I detect a whiff of fishiness about this story.  So Ms. Ker is a legal assistant?  What that says to me is that she assaulted someone over a perceived insult (real or imagined, we have no way of knowing except for her overwrought word), and she’s covering her ass if there should be legal action—- hate speech, and all that.  Not that racist behavior doesn’t happen, of course, but surely if the entire crowd were indulging in it, Ms. Ker would have been hanging from the nearest lamp post by the end of the fireworks.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2007 01 06 at 01:34 PM • permalink


    1. I don’t buy it either. The whole incident sounds totally fake to me. Australians are not racist, and I’m sick of being told that we are. Australia has a very tolerant, open society, and the vast majority of us are proud to be part of it. Sure, there are rotten apples in every society, but I’d bet my left nut that this woman’s story is pure, unadulterated bollocks.

      Posted by Mr Snuffalupagus on 2007 01 06 at 01:43 PM • permalink


    1. Cue the Tony Bennett music please…clears throat

      The loveliness of Paris
      Seems somehow sadly gay
      The glory that was Rome
      Is of another day
      I’ve been terribly alone
      And forgotten in Manhattan
      I’m going home to my city by the bay.

      I left my heart in San Francisco
      High on a hill, it calls to me.
      To be where little cable cars
      Climb halfway to the stars!
      The morning fog may chill the air
      I don’t care!
      My love waits there in San Francisco
      Above the blue and windy sea
      When I come home to you, San Francisco,
      Your golden sun will shine for me!

      Kinda’ brings a tear to the eye, don’t it?

      This lovely city by the bay. Where respect, tolerance and civility is the norm.

      Posted by El Cid on 2007 01 06 at 02:29 PM • permalink


    1. So if the whole crowd is racist, why didn’t anyone respond when the writer attacked the racist individual? It was New Years, so obviously people will have consumed alcohol and if they were all racists, then one hit would have been enough to provoke a brawl.

      But apparently: she hit him, was restrained by her own family and the crowd went on its way.

      Posted by Ian Deans on 2007 01 06 at 03:39 PM • permalink


    1. an aussie racist would not say ‘asian’…..they would say something like ‘rice burner’.

      Posted by vinny on 2007 01 06 at 04:03 PM • permalink


    1. [i/]an aussie racist would not say ‘asian’…..they would say something like ‘rice burner’.

      Perhaps it was a politically-correct racist.

      When I hear the term “rice burner” I think of an inexpensive car modified to look like a performance or race car, but with no real functional modifications. The first clue it’s riced is the “fart cannon” exhaust that sounds like an angry weed whacker.

      Posted by Bruce Rheinstein on 2007 01 06 at 04:54 PM • permalink


    1. I too am tired – tired of people like Ms Ker coming to Australia, and it seems particularly Sydney, with racist chips on their shoulders, their own ideas of what Aussies are like and then setting out to twist facts to prove it.

      In a society where people are pretty much viewed as equal, everyone cops it but I don’t believe for one minute that locals would have actually said what she claims they did.

      She has a legal background – maybe she’s hoping it will get her a job. Or maybe she has another agenda?

      I really don’t buy her story.  It doesn’t sound at all ridgy-didge.

      Posted by ann j on 2007 01 06 at 06:15 PM • permalink


    1. The writer admitted to the crime of assualt and battery in a public forum. Is (s)he/it being investigated for prosecution?

      Posted by Grimmy on 2007 01 06 at 06:18 PM • permalink


    1. Painful as it is to mention it but you are more likely to come across anti-American prejudice in Australia.  It is inculcated from an early age by teachers, the ABC, and the quality, broadsheet press.

      I suspect Ker got an earful of anti-American abuse. Unable to cope with this she unskillfully turned it into anti-Asian prejudice.

      Posted by walterplinge on 2007 01 06 at 06:50 PM • permalink


    1. I hate anti-Americanism and its istians except for when we deserve it for stuff like:

      Pushing for the creation of the UN
      Jimmah Carter
      Algore, aka Al Gump, Ill gimp, El gorpo.
      Rosie O’Donnell
      Al Frankin
      That drunken fratboy that got hammered in you local pub last weekend and then decided it would be funny to piss in the middle of the floor.
      Paris Hilton
      The continuation of france as an independant nation/state.
      PC dronism

      that’s the short list.

      Posted by Grimmy on 2007 01 06 at 07:08 PM • permalink


    1. #15 Merlin,

      Yeah, the CV details jumped out at me, too. Swarthmore, NYC, San Francisco sounds like a lethal combination of abrasive sanctimoniousness.

      We had a lesbian student at the local college a few years ago that used to send herself death threats. She once claimed she was jumped and beat up (local cops saw through that in a heartbeat for reasons to go into here).

      The college chose to let the psycho stay for four years and graduate but by senior year, even the other lesbians avoided this drama queen like the plague.

      Posted by JDB on 2007 01 06 at 07:14 PM • permalink


    1. Ker sounds like other unhappy travellers, such as Kathy Lette’s trip to Club Med Noumea in the Bulletin many, many years ago and David Williamson’s cruise. Disappointed that they were not fawned over and feted like royalty, they return home bitter and vengeful.

      If someone wasn’t willing to sit near Asians in Sydney, they they would rarely sit at all. Why, she says herself that there were other Asians in the crowd. And isn’t “slope” the standard derogatory term for a Chinese person. It’s a fabrication.

      Posted by Contrail on 2007 01 06 at 07:47 PM • permalink


    1. Was Kunthea also raped by a lacrosse team that night?

      Posted by andycanuck on 2007 01 06 at 07:56 PM • permalink


    1. #11 Murph, I agree.  This has bullshit written all over it.

      For Sydney’s NYE people stake out the best spots for the fireworks hours in advance and then spend the rest of the evening defending their turf.  When the fireworks start everyone stands up and moves forward to get a look – you can forget about your picnic blanket, people will stand where ever they want.

      If you think you will be allowed to occupy more space than you need, think again.

      Posted by anthony_r on 2007 01 06 at 08:12 PM • permalink


    1. i dont buy this at all-  even up here in redneck queensland anyone acting in the manner kunthea (!) ker (!!) alleges would have been quickly and not very subtly reminded of the that true aussie virtue- the fair go.

      Posted by eeniemeenie on 2007 01 06 at 08:18 PM • permalink


    1. #22 Vinny, a rice burner is a Japanese motorcycle.  Also called Jap-crap, until it became obvious they were anything but.

      Posted by anthony_r on 2007 01 06 at 08:20 PM • permalink


    1. Hmmmm.

      As an “Asian-American” I give unconditional absolution to anybody insulting the crap out of Kunthea Ker.

      Here I’m doing my pope wave… There ya go.

      Frankly anybody who uses the term “-American” should be flogged.

      Posted by memomachine on 2007 01 06 at 08:51 PM • permalink


    1. to condemn a whole country after one incident – true or not – is very revealing. On my first day in New York I stood next to a guy masturbating in a public toilet. I did not conclude from this that Americans were a nation of wankers.

      Posted by JonathanH on 2007 01 06 at 10:10 PM • permalink


    1. Kofi Annan is nonetheless ‘deeply concerned’.

      I’m with the skeptics on this, it sounds like a total fabrication.  The reported dialogue is stilted and cheesy beyond plausibility.

      Posted by Olrence on 2007 01 06 at 10:10 PM • permalink


    1. #32 certainly that is my experience. A supporter of the soccer team I coach made a loud remark about Wogs last season when we played a local Italian team. The players themselves later (privately) roasted her over the coals. Myself and the club president read the entire squad the riot act the following Tuesday at training. We were rightly fined $250 by our local association.

      That’s the way things are done in Australia. Shit happens. But its not tolerated by the mainstream.

      Posted by JonathanH on 2007 01 06 at 10:22 PM • permalink


    1. Not only is Kunthea a creative writer, she also worked for the ACLU.

      I have no doubt her head was tilted at a greater angle than Saddam Hussein’s, as she wrote that letter.

      Posted by Dan Lewis on 2007 01 06 at 10:37 PM • permalink


    1. I’ve heard “Asians can’t drive” several times.. but that’s about it.

      I don’t agree with that sentiment. I taught an Asian friend how to drive very successfully. However, I have no trouble believing that people who learn to drive overseas might pick up bad habits.

      Posted by Nicholas on 2007 01 06 at 11:03 PM • permalink


    1. #26
      or they may have simply objected to her as an individual … all too easy to play the race card

      Posted by egg_ on 2007 01 06 at 11:14 PM • permalink


    1. I’m picturing an angry 5 foot ant. I’m picturing her elbowing like there is no tomorrow. She is very important after all. And assaulting someone – very classy!

      Posted by boxofmatches on 2007 01 06 at 11:31 PM • permalink


    1. #35

      On my first day in New York I stood next to a guy masturbating in a public toilet. I did not conclude from this that Americans were a nation of wankers.

      Just New Yorkers right? ;-p

      Posted by Dan Lewis on 2007 01 07 at 12:31 AM • permalink


    1. From the article:

      Another man shouted at us “I hate Chinese!”

      Is it possible he was referring to his dinner?

      Posted by Dan Lewis on 2007 01 07 at 12:32 AM • permalink


    1. On my first day in New York I stood next to a guy masturbating in a public toilet.

      That happened to me once, so he insisted that I leave the cubicle.

      Posted by Ross on 2007 01 07 at 01:10 AM • permalink


    1. The family restrained the nutcase mother quickly. Guess they know the drill, by now.

      Posted by boxofmatches on 2007 01 07 at 02:03 AM • permalink


    1. Even if it were true, what would it prove?

      If she had experienced a racism-free holiday, could we then infer that Australia is a multicultural utopia? Would she?

      Posted by fidens on 2007 01 07 at 02:03 AM • permalink


    1. Chinese New Year 2007, Hong Kong:

      When we found a spot to sit, blocking the view of a family who had secured their vantage point some hours earlier, one woman remarked loudly that she didn’t want to sit next to Anglo-Saxons. Another man shouted at us “Si Gweilo” (“die, white devil”: a Chinese xenophobic insult).

      Fair call, I guess?

      Posted by egg_ on 2007 01 07 at 08:49 AM • permalink


    1. “Au contraire. There IS room!” the bogan sniffed haughtilly “Besides, as one is Asian, one doesn’t really matter!”

      With that, the bogan picked up his cane, adjusted his top-hat, and swept away in a flurry of coat-tails.

      Posted by wreckage on 2007 01 07 at 07:47 PM • permalink


    1. This is crap. Whenever we visit Sydney we stay in Chinatown or Darlinghurst, surrounded by celestial sons and daughters. The only harsh words I’ve ever heard there were between a pair of Chinese geezers. Much yelling, fist shaking and throat grappling—then riotous laughter.
      Anyway two-thirds of young Chinese in Sydney and Melbourn are virtually Aussies. They drink piss, upwardly inflect, the girls have got fat arses and young blokes punctuate every third word with “like”. I guess a gal cursed with a first name like Kunthea is gonna develop some victimisation problems.

      Posted by slatts on 2007 01 07 at 08:34 PM • permalink


    1. Perhaps the articulate bogan was merely pointing out that, having been to Hong Kong, he finds it strange that an Asian claims there’s no room!

      Posted by TonyD on 2007 01 07 at 09:37 PM • permalink


    1. NYE in Sydney can be a strange place. Ker is not helpful in stating exactly where she and her family were on the night.  Sydney Harbour is a very big area and that is precisely why the fireworks are displayed there.  Why is it important to know where she was? Well for one reason there are areas where she would be lucky to encounter a genuine Australian. Secondly there are areas which are all about being drunk and disorderly.  Without knowing where she was we are unable to say for sure whether she was in fact dealing with Australia. That is of course if the entire incident was not in her mind.

      Posted by allan on 2007 01 07 at 09:40 PM • permalink


    1. This sounds like crap.  The dialogue is unconvincing.  A racist wouldn’t insult an Asian by calling them ‘asian’ – they would use a variety of offensive epithets like ‘gook’ or ‘slap’ or something.  Ker probably didn’t want get too detailed cause she might get the local slang wrong, and reveal her hoaxery.  (Although the terms are used in other western countries, so she probably could have gotten away with it.)

      Anyway, I watched the NYE fireworks in Sydney too, and there were tonnes of Asians near me, and I didn’t see any racism.  Maybe I’m just lucky?

      Then again, I’ve watched the fireworks from public venues in Sydney for the last 15 years straight, and it was the same every time…  Gee, maybe I’m just really lucky…?

      Yeah right.  This story is B.S.

      Posted by ekb87 on 2007 01 08 at 01:39 AM • permalink


    1. I think the story to be true:  the bogan was probably going to call her a ABCD, but then upon inspecting her Cambodian features, felt the ethnic slur may be missunderstood and he would look the fool by the crowd who most probably knew the subtle difference, then knowing that there was no well-known slur for Cambodians that would be quite international flavor, he resorted to the woefully offensive description “Asian”.

      What a sickening incident!  All the Ang Mos in the crowd should have pointed this out to the fellow.

      Posted by fankytomato on 2007 01 08 at 04:22 AM • permalink


    1. #53 Inspecting her Cambodian features? Then rationalising and thinking of a better insult in the heat of the moment? What rubbish… your average Aussie who would be ignorant enough fire off an insult in the first place would not be able to differentiate a Straits Chinese from a Malay from a Fillipino from a Thai from a Lao from a burmese from a cambodian and so on…

      Ang Mo? so only red headed people should have pointed “this out”? or are you making the same generalisation about Caucasians being Ang Mohs in the process of complaining about Caucasians making generalisations about Asians?

      Posted by CanberraNeoCon on 2007 01 09 at 12:36 AM • permalink


    1. #53
      “Kunthea” being a Khmer name. Ker = ?

      Posted by egg_ on 2007 01 09 at 06:35 AM • permalink


    1. #54 Ang Mohs, Gweilos, Gaijin, whatever; we’re all white! 🙂

      Posted by fankytomato on 2007 01 09 at 08:18 AM • permalink


    1. First I’d heard of this. The follow up letters in the SMH confirm what most of us are well aware of, namely that most leftists would much prefer to believe an elaborate lie if it conforms to one of their many prejudices, than to hear or even consider the simple truth. There has to be a better word than hypocrite to describe these pricks, as it just doesn’t do their twisted character justice at all. I’ll just have to settle on scumbag.

      Posted by Srekwah on 2007 01 09 at 02:35 PM • permalink


    1. I’ve driven a Sydney cab nearly every weekend for the last ten years. Even with all that public exposure I can’t recall the last time I heard a racist comment against Asians.

      Testament to the fact that having been in Sydney and accepted as locals for so long Asians are simply not an issue for the overwhelming majority of Australians. Maybe this is what irks Kunthea.

      Posted by JAFA on 2007 01 09 at 06:29 PM • permalink


    1. Wait, wait, wait.  People are racist AGAINST Asians?  I mean, other than blacks burning down Korean grocers in Los Angeles, I’m hard-pressed to come up with negative images of Asians other than “they ruin the class grading curve.”

      Posted by TallDave on 2007 01 10 at 04:59 PM • permalink


    1. Oh, and my half-Chinese half-Thai former girlfriend used to say “You’re such a lo phan!” when I would do something exasperatingly American.

      Posted by TallDave on 2007 01 10 at 05:03 PM • permalink


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