I came across this article and another in New York Times, and could not help recalling my trip to New Zealand a few years ago. Here we were waiting to board the ferry which would to take us around the famous Milford Sound in South Island and by the time we settled down I found that we were seated in the lower deck of the boat. All around us were groups of loudly chattering Chinese and by the look of the way they dressed and behaved, I could conclude that they were tourists from Mainland China.
Not a single European was seen. Foods were presented buffet style and you should see the chaos, rudeness and uncivilised behaviour of cutting queue and not saying sorry when they bumped into you. They coughed and sneezed without covering their mouths. Plates filled to the brim and scattered on the tables. I was astounded at the uncouthness. I didn’t come to see New Zealand to be confronted with this kind of unacceptable behaviours.
As I was taking some photographs, I looked up to the second level of the ferry and saw the Caucasians sitting on white lace-covered tables with glasses of drinks, eating quietly while enjoying the first class top views. The discrimination was palpable. The fact that we were included with the Chinese testified to the fact that due to our appearance we were lumped in with them. I was boiling inside because I would have spent my money to have a holiday sans these uncivilised people who just don’t have it in them to consider about others’ sensitivities. To me it’s not their race so much as their behaviour.
I asked my accompanying travel agent why he didn’t get the upper deck for us but apparently, it was all fully booked, a convenient way to deal with the situation. How then all the Caucasians were in the upper deck and all the Asians in the lower deck?
And yet how could I blame the ferry management when the behavior of those tourists was just utterly dreadful? It was unfortunate that I had to experience the unfairness. Even when we were disembarking, the upper deck was cleared long before we were allowed to step out of that blinking ferry.
Oh yes, another observation I made was when we were coming out of their local airlines into the aerobridge at Wellington Airport, the white stewardess was standing and thanking and almost bowing to each of the Caucasian passenger and but when it came to Asians, she turned her face away as if in disgust and did not say anything. I could still picture that rather fat and pathetic woman with a smirk on my face, bloody racist I thought. Here in Malaysia our stewardesses would go out of their way to please the Caucasians much to the chagrin of the locals.
I should have had delightful memories of that famous natural beauty that is Milford Sound, and yet I came back feeling bitter at the racist treatment. Shortly after the trip, the biggest of the earthquakes nearly annihilated Christchurch a beautiful city which was on my itinerary. The quaint church in front of which I sat is no longer there and so is my eagerness to visit New Zealand again.
And yet, isn’t racism everywhere if you really looked for it?