Asian tourists abused on public transport

A man was captured on film abusing a middle-aged couple of Asian appearance on a Sydney bus, in another instance of racial abuse aboard public transport.

Another instance of racist abuse has reportedly been recorded on a Sydney bus.

A Caucasian man was captured on film abusing a middle-aged couple of Asian appearance, swearing at them and ranting about the Japanese bombing of Australia during World War II.

At one point the Asian man began apologising but it did not placate his abuser, who continued yelling, Fairfax Media reported.

The incident occured on the 470 bus from Circular Quay to Lilyfield in Sydney on Sunday evening.

A 30-year-old office worker of Chinese descent, Heidi, said she and another passenger told the man to get off the bus but were ignored. She then began filming the incident.

Heidi, who asked the Herald that her surname not be recorded, said no other passengers said anything.

“We didn’t receive any support from the other passengers,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“Some told us to sit back down and be quiet and everyone just looked really blase.

No one did anything about it. In fact, two girls sitting next to me thought it was funny and burst into laughter.”

This is the latest in a string of videos to be posted, showing racial abuse on public transport.

Last year an attack on a French woman who was singing in French made headlines.

Two people abused the woman and made threats of violence against her.

Earlier this year, ABC Newsreader Jeremy Fernandez was racially abused on a Sydney bus in the presence of his daughter.


And there’s more

‘What if that happened to my mother?’: Man who stood up to bus racism told to accept abuse

April 2, 2013 – 1:52PM
Rachel Olding

Rachel Olding


Racist bus rant backlash

A second witness to a racist attack on a Sydney bus has come forward to say he was also targeted in the anti-Asian rant, and told by fellow passengers not to challenge his abuser.

Meanwhile the woman who used social media to publicise the attack has become the victim of further abuse online.

Yong Wang, a Chinese-Australian man, said he stood up on the 470 bus to Lilyfield on Easter Saturday to defend a middle-aged man and woman of Korean appearance who were being racially abused by a Caucasian man.

Racist rant … a screengrab of the video posted on YouTube.

Yet the man then turned on Mr Wang.

“He started to accuse the Korean lady in the video [for] not being able to speak English,” he said. “The lady’s son started to apologise and explain she is a tourist. Then he got worse.”

Another woman, who came forward yesterday and only wanted to be known as Heidi, backed Mr Wang’s intervention but said they didn’t receive any support from the other passengers, who either looked away, told them to sit down or laughed.

Mr Wang said people had told him not to argue with the man as he appeared drunk.

“I felt that I had to stand up when he called the lady disgusting because I just thought ‘what if that happened to my mother when she was visiting Australia?’,” Mr Wang said.

In the latter part of the rant, which Heidi caught on film, the Caucasian man yells at the Asian tourists about the Japanese bombing of Australia during World War II and calls them “f—ing bastards”.

Before the camera started rolling, the man yelled racist taunts such as, “Do you f—ing speak English?”, “Japanese c—s” and “why did you come to Australia?”, predominantly at the woman, said Heidi, a 30-year-old office worker of Chinese descent.

Since posting the video on YouTube and urging people to share it if it “upsets you”, Heidi has been subject to abuse and the YouTube page has been bombarded with racist, sexist and abusive comments.

Most of the 350 comments on the video attack the victims of the rant or those who stood up for them.

City Central police are contacting witnesses to ask if they would like to make a formal statement which would initiate an investigation into the incident.

A State Transit spokesman said CCTV footage and assistance would be provided to police if required.

Bus drivers can try to intervene to ask a passenger to leave a bus if an incident of anti-social behaviour occurs but they have no power to force a passenger off.

They can contact a supervisor via radio and organise for police to meet the bus, a spokesman said.

A leading racism researcher, Kevin Dunn, said the majority of bystanders will do nothing to intervene in a racist attack, usually because they don’t know what they should do.

He said witnesses could say something to the offender, film the incident or report it to an authority.

“In circumstances where people do speak up, the affirming effect on the victim can almost be so positive that it cancels out the effects of the racism,” he said.

The incident is the latest in a string of racist rants on public transport to be filmed or shared on social media.

In February, ABC newsreader Jeremy Fernandez tweeted about being called a “black c—” who should “go back to his country” by a female passenger on a Sydney bus. He was told by the bus driver to move seats but refused to.

In November last year, footage of a racist attack on a French woman on a Melbourne bus went viral after she was called a dog by male passengers, threatened with having her breasts cut off and told to “speak English or die”.

‘No surprise’ that racist bus altercation wasn’t reported

March 12, 2013 – 9:02AM
Aleisha Orr

Aleisha Orr


A Perth cultural studies expert says overt racism – like that displayed in a recent shocking altercation between two women on a Transperth bus – often goes unreported because of its common nature and the fact many people all but accept it.

The Transperth incident, which was captured on video and uploaded on to YouTube, was not reported by any of the passengers on board: something that did not surprise Curtin University’s Jon Stratton.

The video, which was filmed on the Circle Route bus on March 5 near Hilton, shows a woman verbally abusing another woman, who she refers to as Chinese, for speaking in another language.

Comments such as “f… off on your boat you dog,” are yelled at the woman.

No response is heard, but a short time later another woman appears to try to intervene by yelling at the abusive woman.

The intervention does nothing to stop the woman’s abuse, other than divert it towards the third woman.

Insults based on race, sexuality and appearance are exchanged, with the woman who was defending the “Chinese” woman then also hurling racial abuse, before the argument turns violent and the two begin a fight which ends with both on the floor of the bus, one pinned under the other.

Professor Stratton said although some people may have chosen not to report the incident because of the potential of of being a witness if the case ever went further, there were others who accepted that race based-altercations happened in Australia.

“We like to think of ourselves as multicultural and accepting of others but when it comes down to it, it’s only really OK when someone of another race is in their place like serving food at a Thai restaurant,” he said.

“It’s okay for racial differences to crop up in restaurants provided ‘they’ stay out of sight.”

Public Transport Authority spokesman David Hynes, who confirmed the incident was not reported by any passengers, said the type of behaviour involved was not confined to public transport.

“Statistics suggest an increase in this type of behaviour and violence is less on public transport than in the general community,” he said.

“That’s a bit of a sad comment on society. Perhaps people are being a bit desensitised to this sort of thing.”

Professor Stratton said racism and xenophobia often spilled out on public transport because people were cooped up together with people from all different backgrounds, who they might not usually spend time with.

The Perth incident is not the first racist episode involving public transport to recently make headlines.

Earlier this year, ABC News presenter Jeremy Fernandez went public with his recollections of racial abuse on a Sydney bus in front of his young daughter and Melbourne commuters were subjected to a horrifying display of racism and threats of violence on a bus when a French woman was abused for singing in her native tongue.

Professor Stratton said the fear of people speaking languages other than English in Australia had existed since the 1950s.

“You don’t know what they are saying, they might be talking about you, saying nasty things about you and if they are speaking another language they have not assimilated,” he said.

He said since the John Howard era, Australia had instituted a number of assimilation-based policies and there was a need for more policies which allowed education and understanding.