65-year-old non-smoker Carol Tan Wong died of lung cancer on 2 March
The funeral for 65-year-old Carol Tan Wong was interrupted by a racially insensitive stranger who blamed her death on “incense at Asian churches”.
The Daily Mail reports that the incident occurred on 18 March at a funeral home in Quincy, Massachusetts.
Wong’s son, Adrian Wong, had delivered a eulogy for his mother before the stranger stood up on his own accord and spoke about her death.
Wong said the his mother was not a smoker and was not exposed to second-hand smoke. His mother died of lung cancer on 2 March. Wong said the cancer was a result of “bad luck”.
The stranger, identified as David Small, is a private investigator. Small stood in front of the open casket after Wong delivered his eulogy and began giving unsolicited remarks, claiming that his mother’s death was a result of “smoke in Asian churches”, despite not knowing her.
“I’m not affected by this but I see that the smoke in the church in the Asian churches is so prevalent that I gag when I go inside,” Small said.
The stranger even had the audacity to clarify that he didn’t know anyone at the funeral, let alone the deceased. “I just came with my girlfriend, I don’t know anybody here.”
“I hope what I’ve told you about the smoke in the church is not taken in offence. I mean it’s your culture.”
Wong posted a video of Small’s comments on YouTube with the title: “After Mom’s Thoughtful Eulogy An Offensive Funeral Attendee Disgraces Her Memory.”
Speaking to WBZ, Wong said, “I find it very offensive and I think the community should as well.”
“We thought it was wildly inappropriate to use a broad comment about the entire community.”
“I think he owes an apology not just to me, but to the entire community.”
Small describes himself as “outspoken” and told WBZ that he was invited to the funeral by his “Asian girlfriend”. Despite acknowledging that the funeral wasn’t an appropriate occasion to make the remarks, he has not issued an apology to the family.
Small claims he was simplying alerting people of the “high rate of smoking in the Asian community, and Asians burn incense in their churches, which is a health risk.”