'Ni hao ma': MasterChef Australia contestant calls out radio station for 'racism'
Sarah Tiong said a presenter from Triple M Sunraysia had greeted her in Mandarin then Cantonese when she called in for a phone interview.
A MasterChef Australia contestant has called out a radio station in the country for "racism" after they greeted her in Chinese.
Sarah Tiong, who was recently ousted from the cooking competition series, revealed that she was greeted by a presenter from Triple M Sunraysia saying “ni hao ma” when she called in for a phone interview.
Tiong added that the presenter then said, “Oh wait, would it be ‘lei ho ma?’ Anyway.”
Tiong, who is born and raised in Sydney, shared her experience in an Instagram Story. She said she felt uncomfortable and ended the call immediately.
“This is racism. What an insensitive, tone deaf thing to say. Please, check yourself and do better,” she wrote in her social media post.
When asked by a follower to explain why using the Mandarin and Cantonese greetings for “how are you” was offensive, Tiong said, “It is racist to assume I identify as Chinese and speak the Chinese language. Even if I have referenced such heritage or knowledge in the past, it is privileged and ignorant to assume anything about me based on the colour of my skin.”
She added, “It is rude and privileged to assume I understand that Asian language, just because I appear of that descent."
The radio station has since apologised for the encounter. It issued a statement saying, “Triple M Sunraysia unreservedly apologises for the offence caused by comments made to Sarah Tiong off-air this morning.”
MasterChef Australia judge Melissa Leong sided with Tiong in a post on Instagram Story, saying that what the radio presenter said was not “funny or clever.”
“It just illustrates how deep rooted racial toxicity is in this country, and anyone with a voice in media should know better,” Leong added.