on air now

Doctor targeted in racist outburst says coronavirus fears are fuelling xenophobic attacks

A Geelong doctor who was the victim of a nasty racist attack at the weekend says the coronavirus outbreak has given people an excuse to act on their prejudices and lash out at people of Asian descent.

Singaporean-born Dr Ern Chang was waiting for takeaway on Saturday morning when a woman, who was accompanied by a child, launched into a racist tirade aimed at him.

“This woman comes out of a shop, heads straight for me and says ‘you don’t have the right to be here. Go home. F— off!,” he told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

In his 12 years in Victoria, Dr Chang said he’d never experienced such a racist incident.

Initially he wasn’t sure if the attack was driven by coronavirus originating in China, but after posting about the incident on social media, he noticed a worrying trend.

“A lot of Asians and patients were sharing similar stories that such things had been going on to them, but they haven’t had any outlet to express themselves,” he said.

“There is a bit of flack that people of Asian descent are getting, just because the virus originated in China, but really I think it’s something deeper.

“People don’t become racist overnight or develop this sort of sentiment overnight. It’s probably smoldering and the virus gives them an excuse to express xenophobia.”

Dr Chang urged people who experience discriminatory treatment to speak out.

“Get your message out there,” he said.

“It starts with education.

Press PLAY below for more.