MasterChef judge Melissa Leong has spoken out after former contestant Sarah Tiong called out a ‘racist’ encounter on an Aussie radio show.
Yesterday, Sarah, who was eliminated in a jungle curry pressure challenge on Tuesday night, took to her Instagram account to detail the ‘tone deaf’ moment where a Triple M Sunraysia greeted her by trying to speak Chinese.
“Today, in an Australian radio interview with Triple M Sunraysia, the host greeted me by saying ‘ni hao ma’,” she explained.
“I do not believe this went to air. However, I felt uncomfortable and shocked. The call was immediately ended.
“This is racism. What an insensitive, tone deaf thing to say. Please, check yourself and do better.”
Judge Melissa Leong, who is an Australian woman with Chinese-Singaporean heritage, also addressed the issue on her own Instagram account, writing: “The incident inflicted on Sarah Tiong is a mere daily occurrence for many POC. It is not funny or clever. It just illustrates how deeply rooted racial toxicity is in this country and anyone with a voice in media should know better.”
Sarah Tiong went on to explain further after one fan asked her why the comment was so disrespectful.
“It is racist to assume I identify as Chinese and speak the Chinese language,” she said.
“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.
“It is rude and privileged to assume that I understand that Asian language, just because I appear of that descent.
“Let me add that this comment by this host was followed up with ‘oh wait would it be lei ho ma? Anyway’. The mere presumption that I speak or want to speak mandarin or cantonese with you followed by the flippant dismissal of distinguishing the two different languages is racist. It is dehumanising. And no…”my partner is Asian” is not an excuse for your racism.”