A father has revealed the shocking racism he experienced while attending a Sydney boat show, sharing footage of the moment he was asked “is some ting wong?” to social media.
John Lee is an avid fisher who runs JYL Fishing TV, a fishing and boating YouTube channel, meaning he often films his fishing adventures.
As a result, he decided to film his visit to the Sydney International Boat Show at Cockle Bay over the weekend.
However, instead of capturing fishing content for his channel, he ended up filming a “racist” encounter with another attendee.
Mr Lee, who is an Australian with Korean background, was at a stand registering his details to enter a different area of the event with his friend when the incident occurred.
“I had bought a fishing rod from the exhibition so I had that in my hand and I was using my mobile phone to put in my details,” he told news.com.au.
“I saw someone’s arm come out and grab the fishing rod. I wasn’t paying attention but at this point I was just thinking that a staff member was helping me because obviously I was struggling with the rod and my phone.”
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In the video, the unidentified man can be heard repeatedly saying the phrase “some ting wong” as he speaks to Mr Lee.
“It is a common thing to have a go at Chinese pronunciation – instead of saying is something wrong he said is some ting wong,” Mr Lee explained.
The fisherman immediately confronted the man asking if he was trying to make a joke and informing him he was being filmed.
“What’s wrong then? Some ting wong?” the man says.
“It is a racist joke buddy,” Mr Lee replies. “Do you understand that?’
The man then asked what was “racist”, adding: “Are you not Aussie? Chuck another shrimp on the barbie mate.”
Mr Lee then reiterated that he was making a racist joke and told him not do, before the man claimed he was “just having a fish” and tried to touch the camera.
At this point, the woman the man was with began walking him away from the situation.
Mr Lee said she also initially laughed at the joke but quickly tried to get the man to stop engaging after he was called out.
The fisher said it could have ended there if the man apologised for making a bad joke, but instead, the situation escalated even further as the man pinched him as he walked off.
In the video the man can be seen reaching his hand towards Mr Lee as he walks by, with the situation then heating up.
“Oh you liked it,” the man says as he walked away from Mr Lee, who began swearing at him as he walked off.
This then prompted the woman to tell Mr Lee to back off.
“Go back to where you came from you f***ing arsehole,” Mr Lee says to the man in the video.
“We are from here. Grow a f***ing penis, seriously,” the woman says.
Mr Lee explained that as he was yelling after the man he realised there were lots of families and children around and he didn’t want to ruin their day so he backed off.
Unfortunately, this kind of casual racism is all too common, with Mr Lee telling news.com.au he experiences similar situations on a monthly basis.
“I always try to stand up for myself, especially now I have kids I don’t want them to go through the same thing,” he said.
“So it does happen quite often and I just wanted everyone to be aware because it just happens far too often, especially in the boating scene as well.”
He and his friend then returned to the stand, which was for boating dealer Eyachts, with Mr Lee saying the woman working there immediately apologised for the situation and asked if they were all right.
After that, the pair tried to forget about the situation and continued to enjoy the show, but about 40 minutes later they were approached by security.
The woman had complained to security and asked for them to escorted from the show, reportedly saying the situation had started because Mr Lee placed his fishing rod on “something important to them”.
Mr Lee said the woman working at the Eyachts stand explained to security what happened before they were approached.
“That is what got me in two minds. Because she is accusing you of all of these things but when I came over to approach you, the staff there stopped me and said ‘It’s not them’,” the security guard told the men.
“She wants me to escort you off the area, which I am not going to do. I have no idea who she is. She is claiming she is the owner of the stand.”
A spokesperson for Eyachts confirmed to news.com.au that neither the women nor the man who made the racist remarks have any affiliation with the company.
“Eyachts is incredibly disappointed that such unacceptable behaviour took place at SIBS. Neither Eyachts nor any of our associated companies condone racist or discriminatory behaviour of any type or at any time and it is very disappointing that such casual racism still appears to be prevalent,” the spokesperson said.
“Eyachts is known to be among the most welcoming and inclusive of exhibitors at the international boats shows ensuring that everybody is invited to step aboard and explore our luxury dayboats so we were especially sorry that this should happen close to our stand. Nobody should be subject to any form of abuse or discrimination.”
The company has also reached out to Mr Lee and extended their support, with the fisherman including a disclaimer in his video that Eyachts have been supportive throughout the ordeal.
“The boating industry does not condone or accept racist or abusive behaviour. We are currently investigating the incident,” a spokesperson for the Sydney International Boat Show told news.com.au
Mr Lee said he has received hundreds of comments and messages of support after uploading the video online.
“I’m just glad that the awareness is out there,” he said.
He said he wasn’t looking for an apology but he wanted people to see that racism is still something many people experience in Australia every day.
“99.9 per cent of Aussies from all backgrounds are totally against racism, but there is a small number of people who are ruining it for all and unfortunately they are the ones who are very vocal,” Mr Lee said.
“It has changed a lot. In the 90s, they were very upfront. They would come up to you and hit you and bash you and call you racist slurs, but these days it is very subtle.”
Originally published as Aussie fisherman films racist joke at Sydney show
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