Anti-racism law must now be enacted

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 November, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 November, 2002, 12:00am

An Indian trader for a London company believes she was a victim of racist treatment when she tried to do business in Hong Kong (Sunday Morning Post, November 3).

I would have innocently taken Chanda Narang's case of racism as an isolated incident had I not participated in a survey on racial discrimination in Hong Kong conducted a few years ago at a university.

Answers to the question, 'In what ways do you feel discrimination happens?' received answers that showed the existence of subtle forms of racism against South Asians here. There were stories of rental apartments being refused because of the supposed 'curry smell' emanating from the Indian kitchens, of segregation in school placements of ethnic minority children, tighter immigration controls for South Asians, of the taxi drivers always 'accidentally' driving past an Indian passenger trying to hail them and picking up a local Chinese instead. South Asians talked about the seat next to them in a minibus being the last one to be occupied and of shopkeepers who ignored them.

Denial is not the solution to any problem. For Hong Kong to be a world-class city our government should take the bold step to admit to the existence of racial discrimination here and try to enact an anti-discrimination law.

Its fear that such a law would result in huge legal costs is groundless as we have seen the successful enactment of similar laws on the grounds of sex, disability and family status.


Tsuen Wan