Ugly racism re­vealed

Benalla Ensign - - News - By Si­mon Rup­pert

A Be­nalla res­i­dent of more than 30 years is fight­ing back against ver­bal abuse and threat­en­ing be­hav­iour, which she said was racially mo­ti­vated.

Nancy Ong moved to Be­nalla from Sin­ga­pore in 1993 and since then she has ex­pe­ri­enced ver­bal abuse, had her house van­dalised, and had cars swerve close to her elec­tric scooter.

She said there had al­ways been some ver­bal abuse, but now she feared for her life after hav­ing near-misses with cars of young men shout­ing at her.

‘‘I don’t know who they are, I’ve taken some regis­tra­tion num­bers down, but I don’t know them per­son­ally,’’ Ms Ong said.

‘‘They come close to my bike in cars, it’s P-platers mainly.

‘‘It is very scary when a car gets too close. I try to fol­low them to get the rego, but they speed off.

‘‘I hear racism all the time, they say ‘ Go back to where you came from’.

‘‘They say go away, if you don’t go away I’ll run over you, it’s very scary.’’

Ms Ong said she had just ig­nored racist in­sults in the past, but re­cently friends had con­vinced her she needed to stand up to it, par­tic­u­larly if her life was at risk rid­ing the scooter.

In re­cent years Ms Ong has had peo­ple shout at her when she has been in her gar­den and has had her fence at­tacked with graf­fiti.

‘‘The graf­fiti on my fence said ‘P*ss off’, I’ve had things stolen from my garage, and had my neigh­bours friends shout at me to ‘F**k off’,’’ she said.

‘‘They cut my tar­pau­lin at the front of my house and they ripped it all off.

‘‘I think the peo­ple do­ing this are heavy drinkers, they are an­gry, and they seem to like drama.’’

While racism is ab­hor­rent, when it comes to peo­ple us­ing ve­hi­cles to threaten some­one they do not know, it be­comes even worse, and po­ten­tially lifethreat­en­ing.

Amaz­ingly, Ms Ong said she still liked liv­ing in Be­nalla and would not be driven out.

‘‘I re­ally like this place, there are just some un­savoury char­ac­ters around town,’’ she said.

Fight­ing back: Nancy Ong on her scooter with her friend Ge­orge, who has en­cour­aged her to fight back against abuse.

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