Peter Lim (right) and his twin brother Andrew speak out after Peter was subjected to racial abuse in Dunedin's Octagon this week. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
An autistic man was told ''go home to China'' in a racist
verbal attack in central Dunedin this week.
Peter Lim had just been to the library and was heading to his
job as an office assistant at a law firm when he was accosted
in the Octagon by a man at 2.20pm on Monday.
The man, who was described as old and unshaven, was verbally
aggressive towards the 21-year-old and asked him where he was
When Mr Lim told him he was Malaysian Chinese, he was told to
''go home to China''.
''I tried to be friendly to him, but he was having a very bad
day ... It made me feel stressed.''
The incident prompted his twin brother, Andrew, who has
Asperger's syndrome, to make an impassioned plea to the
Otago Daily Times.
The University of Otago student penned a letter saying ''the
old gentlemen who racially abused my brother at the Octagon
seems to forget that all of us living in New Zealand have
been migrants at some point in history''.
''The fact we are Chinese does not mean that we all come from
China. Just as we should not judge a book by its cover, let
us not judge each other by the colour of our skin.''
He said high-profile cases such as the Crafar farm sales, and
even the proposed Dunedin hotel, appeared to have resulted in
a recent backlash against Chinese in New Zealand.
The twins, who have a photo of their citizenship ceremony on
a wall in their home under the heading ''The day we became
Kiwis'', remained proud of their adopted country and city.
Their mother, Tong Siew Ooi, said it was ''very hurtful when
people judge you based on the colour of your skin''.
Two high school pupils from China, staying with the family,
had been subjected to racial taunts in Dunedin, which
reflected poorly on the city, she said.
Senior Sergeant Matenga Gray, Southern District Maori Pacific
ethnic response adviser, said anyone who was victim of such
racist incidents should contact their nearest police station.