"I'm Not Racist" – Travel Agent Asks Woman Her Race After She Asks About A Tour
"I am not racist as I have a lot of Chinese and Indian friends," said the agent while apologising for their racist behaviour.
Over the past few days, Malaysia has been hit by numerous news reports of locals making racist remarks against the Malaysian Indian community
On Tuesday, 31 January, SAYS reported that 26-year-old national hockey player, Hanis Nadiah Onn, left a racist comment on an Instagram post after a concert by calling Indians "smelly".
In a separate incident regarding the same concert by legendary Indian music composer and singer Allah Rakha Rahman, better known as A R Rahman, a concertgoer filmed herself being displeased and saying, "These k----g songs are making me dizzy."
Apart from racist comments, a Malaysian Indian woman recently shared her experience being on the receiving end of racist behaviour while communicating with a travel agent
The woman, Jess Rajan, took to Instagram to share the story. She said she contacted a travel agency to inquire about a tour package that her family had been considering joining.
Communicating on WhatsApp, she asked the agent three questions.
First, she inquired as to whether the package was still available for the month of February. Next, the size of the tour group, followed by the weather and best clothing options for the tour.
After asking these questions, the agent suddenly asked if she was Chinese or Indian.
Taken aback by the question, Jess asked the agent, "Why do you need to ask for [my] race?"
Rather than apologising for asking the question, the employee went on to say that Indians frequently ask them a lot of questions and then do not respond at the end of the conversation.
To make matters worse, they continued by comparing Indians to Chinese and Malays.
"Chinese [would ask] only two questions, and Malays would ask one thing and say 'Okay, thank you.' Simple," the agent replied.
Not accepting the agent's response, Jess told them that they are one of the reasons Malaysia has failed to progress because people like them would categorise others based on race before anything else.
"You categorise people based on their race which [is] rude and unprofessional," Jess told the employee.
Jess attempted to educate the agent by saying that she, too, worked in the sales industry, but she has never asked for people's race
The agent then replied to Jess that different industries have different approaches to things, and that identifying customers' ethnicity is extremely important to their agency.
"Your job is to entertain questions. If you are not able to do so then why are you in the industry?" Jess asked.
"I love this industry very much, but I don't like to deal with certain races that give a lot of problems," they replied.
The employee then gave Jess the number of their supervisor after she demanded to contact them about the treatment.
Hours later, the employee apologised to Jess, but explained that they were inquiring about her race in order to provide her accurate information as a client
"I would like to humbly apologise for my actions and words this morning. The reason why I asked for your race was that I want to make sure I was giving the accurate information for each tour package as we offer Muslim-friendly packages," said the agent.
"I hope you do understand. I am not racist as I have a lot of Chinese and Indian friends. I am truly sorry for asking such a question."
Upset by the whole ordeal, Jess took to Instagram and shared her experience dealing with the travel agency
Her post quickly went viral and many other Malaysians contacted her and told her that they, too, have faced similar experiences with the agency.
One of those who responded to Jess' post claimed to have worked for the agency for seven to eight years and said that the company had poor leadership, reported WauPost.
They also alleged that the travel agent with whom Jess had spoken to was actually the company's proprietor. WauPost has since reported that the man is the owner of the company.
National hockey player, Hanis Nadiah Onn was recently called out for leaving racist comment against Malaysian Indians on an Instagram post:
Hanis will be facing the disciplinary committee of the national governing body for field hockey next week: