The Australian Prime Minister would like to be Prime Minister for another term, but has started his campaign with an embarrassing gaffe.
Under the ever-watchful eye of the press, Scott Morrisson headed out on the campaign trail in Sydney’s most multi-cultural neighbourhood, the suburb of Strathfield, on Saturday April 13.
Then this happened:
Ah the perils of the campaign street walk. Scott Morrison says “ni hao” to an Asian voter in Strathfield plaza, she responds: “I’m Korean.” #ausvotes
— Michael Koziol (@michaelkoziol) April 13, 2019
Yup. There’s filmed video evidence of the Prime Minister of Australia saying hello to a Korean woman in Chinese.
Shaking hands with a woman as a group of journalists watched on, he said:
Hello, how are you? Ni hao, how are you?
Just FYI, ‘ni hao’ means ‘hello’ in Chinese. There are actually 10 ways to say hello – all used in different circumstances – in Korean so he really had a good chance of getting it right if he’d have been speking the correct language.
Still, the unidentified woman took Morrison’s mischaracterisation of her nationality and assumption of her ethnicity in her stride and deftly corrected him.
She quickly replied ‘No, no, no, I’m Korean’.
You can watch the uncomfortable exchange in the Sky News Australia clip below:
As you can see in the clip, Morrison hovered for a few moment to listen to her remarks before moving on to talk to someone else.
To make matters a little more awkward, the exchange came mere moments after he had visited a Korean restaurant in Strathfield.
The area has sizeable Chinese and Korean migrant populations – and one Twitter user said ‘to assume they are Chinese is racist and quite stupid’.
The thing is that you can’t assume. But if you are talking in the local language of the area it’s Korean and English in Strathfield.
And if he’d been informed but still token he should assume Korean not Chinese in Strathfield.
— Richard Werkhoven (@rwerkh) April 13, 2019
The continued to point out it showed little local knowledge of the area from the Liberal party candidate and current leader.
Michael Hing, a Sydney comedian who this week announced a bid for election to Australia’s senate after starting a party named One Asian, joked about the incident.
My first policy if elected will be mandatory ‘Which kind of Asian are they?’ training for Scott Morrison.
I constantly think about this whenever I see stuff like this happen. It’s like me walking up to a random white person in Sydney and just being like, ‘BONJOUR!’
I constantly think about this whenever I see stuff like this happen. It’s like me walking up to a random white person in Sydney and just being like “BONJOUR!”
Absolute madness from the PM
— michael hing (@hingers) April 13, 2019
He concluded by dubbing the exchange ‘absolute madness’ from the Prime Minister. A good start.
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A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.