Ugly racism revealed
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.