Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 23rd 2015 Contents "How can you have a Minister, a Government
Minister making such asinine statements in a public
forum, and there be no call for him to take respon-
sibility? Doesn t the Sino-Trinidadian community
deserve some degree of respect, some degree of inclu-
siveness, some degree of protection?" Ho said.
Ho said as a Trinidadian, it s troubling to see people
actively trying to pull apart the seams of the national
"We like to say we re a great melting pot of cultures,
but why then is it alright for some of us to try kicking
others out of the pot?"
Dr Khan later apologised for his statements and
said he didn t mean to "offend, hurt or disrespect
anyone or group of people."
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, July 23, 2015
An "I am Trinidadian" campaign is gaining
strength online, as many nationals of Chinese her-
itage are using social networking site Facebook to
join an ongoing conversation about what it s like
to be of Chinese descent in T&T.
Lily Kwok started the Web activism by changing
her profile picture to a photo of her holding a sign
saying, "I will not go back to China. I am Trinida-
Since July 13, her profile picture has gotten more
than 1,200 shares, and encouraged other people to
create their own signs.
Conversations about race and ethnicity are hardly
a new feature of the T&T social media landscape.
But the catalyst for the latest campaign was a video
posted recently to YouTube, which seems to show
two men apparently skinning a dog.
Based on the video, the nationality, ethnicity and
location of the men skinning the animal are still
being debated. But a statement issued by Health
Minister Dr Fuad Khan suggested that Chinese restau-
rants may be serving dog and other types of meat
to unwitting customers.
In response, a number of people have since started
sharing photos and stories about what it s like to be
a person of Chinese descent in Trinidad.
Ishmael Ho posted a photo of himself holding a
sign saying, "My friends are not going anywhere.
Ho said while he usually does not post pictures
of himself online, he had to do something about this
issue because he was tired of seeing his friends expe-
rience a type of subtle racism sometimes directed
toward T&T people of Chinese heritage.
"Think of it this way, traditionally the Chinese
community has always been considered something
of an other. They have had a presence in T&T that
stretches back more than 200 years, but the majority
of socio-ethnic groups have always felt it acceptable
to treat them like some sort of non-Trinidadian or
non-Trinbagonian community, in spite of the enor-
mous contributions they have made to building our
country," Ho said.
Young people of Chinese heritage have to endure
constant teasing and racist jokes from many people
who do not see their actions as racist, he added.
"Now, you are a young person growing up in T&T,
you are Asian, you deal with comments and casual
racism your whole life. You have to endure jokes that
range from people making comments about your
eyes, your hair, your family s predilection for eating
dogs, and cats, to MSG to soy sauce and everything
in between. The kinds of comments that Asians in
Trinidad are subject to are hurtful on a number of
levels, but as a minority, they can t say anything
about it," Ho said.
The notion of people of Chinese descent "going
back to where they came from," he said, is xenophobic
"What bothers me most about that, is that to me,
there seems to be this sense, that if a Sino-Trinidadian
maintains some connection to the country of their
origins, well dey cud go back so. They are being
made others . They are disenfranchised from that
sense of nationalism that our anthem, our watchwords
and our national pledge speak so strongly towards:
discipline, production and tolerance. What happened
to those things?" he said.
The positive social media campaign is needed to
counteract the intolerant and racist statements made
online about the Sino-Trinidadian population.
"All over social media, though, you are seeing people
from all walks of life, making the most ignorant, intol-
erant and crass statements about this entire community.
And it s terrible! I m not even that deeply Chinese.
My grandfather was Chinese, but that s about it. But
these comments, they are really hurtful. Not as a mod-
erately Asian person, but as a person," Ho said.
Like other people who have participated in the
campaign, Ho is calling on the Health Minister to
apologise for his unfounded statement.
Lily Kwok in the
started a wave of
by Trinidadians of
Where're we going? We're Trinis!
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