Statement from the Malaysia and Singapore Society of Australia

Statement from the Malaysia and Singapore Society of Australia

22 April 2020 Statement from the Malaysia and Singapore Society of Australia The Malaysia and Singapore Society of Australia (MASSA) expresses our concern that there has been an increase in overt racism against Asians and Asian international students in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. On 16 April 2020, two ‘ethnic Chinese’ international students were racially abused and assaulted on Elizabeth Street in Melbourne. This racially-motivated attack was reported by newspapers and television stations in Australia and Singapore, including The Age, Seven News, ABC News, SBS News, The Straits Times and The New Paper. The incident was largely reported as an attack on ‘Chinese students’ but both of them are actually ethnic Chinese students from Malaysia and Singapore. This unwarranted attack on the two students on the basis of their ethnicity is not acceptable in a country that emphasises its multicultural character. Asian-background students – whether international students or Australian – should in no circumstances be threatened in such a way. International students come to Australia not only to study but to experience and appreciate living in this great country. We condemn the irresponsible and racially-motivated attack on the two students. We trust the police will fully investigate this incident. Yeow-Tong Chia President, MASSA Jason Lim Secretary-Treasurer, MASSA


Dr Elly Kent is the editor of the ASAA's blog, Asian Currents and the ANU's Southeast Asia blog, New Mandala. She has worked as a researcher, writer, translator, artist, teacher and intercultural professional over 20 years in academia and the arts in Indonesia and Australia. Elly gained a double degree in Asian Studies (Specialist Indonesia) and Visual Arts (Hons) and a PhD in the same fields from the Australian National University. She is the author of Artists and the People: Ideologies of Indonesian Art (2022) NUS Press, and co-editor (with Virginia Hooker and Caroline Turner) of Living Art: Indonesian Artists Engage Politics, Society and History (2022) ANU Press.

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