“Oh wait, would it be ‘lei ho ma?’ Anyway.”
CNA reports that a MasterChef Australia contestant has called out a radio station for racism after a host greeted her in Chinese.
Sarah Tiong was greeted by a presenter from Triple M Sunraysia who said, “ni hao ma” in a phone interview.
The presenter then said, “Oh wait, would it be ‘lei ho ma?’ Anyway.”
In a now deleted Instagram post, Tiong said that the unaired interview left her feeling “uncomfortable and shocked.”
“This is racism,” Tiong wrote. “What an insensitive, tone deaf thing to say. Please, check yourself an do better.”
The radio station has since apologised for the incident in statement that read, “Triple M Sunraysia unreservedly apologises for the offence caused by comments made to Sarah Tiong off-air this morning.”
An Instagram follower questioned why speaking Mandarin or Cantonese to her was offensive.
Tiong replied via an Instagram story, “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.”
Tiong was born and raised in Sydney.
“It is rude and privileged to assume I understand that Asian language, just because I appear of that descent,” she added.