Saturday, 3 September 2011

Take away murder

Image from the Guardian website

I'm a little late as usual but recently found out about a gruesome murder of a Chinese takeaway worker Simon San by a gang of racist youths in Scotland. Of the four that were involved three of youths were prosecuted for the crime. the controversial part was that the Lothian & Borders police did not acknowledged the crime to be a racially motivated attack despite what the San's family had claimed. It seemed the police made little effort further into the inquiry and had only assumed that the victim was 'in the wrong place at the wrong time'. Considering it happened right outside of the premises where he worked it sounds pretty obvious that wasn't the case. Only now that police had admitted and apologised for mishandling the case. Unfortunately none of this will change anything for San's family and what they've been through. More on the story:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/aug/23/police-admit-failures-murder-racist
http://www.lbp.police.uk/press_release/articles/2011/August/23/1.htm

Over the years there has been many similar cases where take away workers are subjected to harassment and violent attacks from gang of youths. It's a concern that many Chinese (or anyone) working in the industry had to deal with. Isolated and open till late at night, these premises are an attractive spot for delinquent youths to cause trouble. Even though it might not always result in physical harm or deaths, it's still to many a frustrating environment to work in. Most Chinese are unable to do much but to accept the situation and get on with business, as doing anything more it will only bring more trouble.

Many have cited the dissatisfaction with the police, usually getting to the scene too late or taking the problems too lightly to prevent it from happening again, ignoring the possibility that the next time it happens that their life will be put at risk. It doesn't make things better when take away workers are not very fluent in English and that makes communication very difficult at times. Chinese organisations are not always within reach for those who live far away from the city when support is needed.

Anti-social behaviour and the lack of police authority are part of the problems which stem to tragedy like this. We've seen this in the recent rioting. On a whole it effects everyone in society but for the Chinese community that are too often invisible and silent will end up bearing the brunt of it. The irony is that these are the same hard working people who pay taxes, the same money that goes into the police force and probably the welfare that supports these ASBO youths. Where's the justice in that?

For far too long Chinese in this country has been perceived to be the 'model minority', which means working hard and staying out of trouble. Although that sounds all and well unfortunately this means we're vulnerable when trouble comes looking for us. The majority assume being one of the most economically successful ethnic group, means we're the least discriminated and the most integrated in the British society. In reality this is only half truth, a lot of the struggles we're facing are actually hidden away or brushed aside. All-in-all now it's the time for the Chinese community to get the voices and concerns out into the mainstream. But for the moment it's easier said than done. If each of us British Chinese individual like myself are more politically aware and active even on a local level, it'll be a good start.

Here's a very insightful report that was published few years ago that I recommend reading:
Hidden from public view? Racism against the UK Chinese population

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