By Manasi Chaudhari:
I recently went on a holiday with friends to Pattaya, Thailand. On New Year’s Eve, after our party, we sat down at a Starbucks to relax. While we were sitting, my friend felt something nudge him in the back. Assuming that he was in someone’s way, he moved aside a little, but soon he felt another nudge. Meanwhile, I heard two men (presumably Australian) sitting behind us swearing at my friends and me, referring to us as “cheap Charlies” and “some shit.” We realised that the ‘nudges’ that my friend had felt were actually not accidental nudges. The man had kicked my friend on purpose, twice.
Outraged, I turned back to look at the man and glared at him. He made an offensive face at me and asked me if I wanted him to buy us some coffee (as charity, since according to him, we couldn’t afford any). He then threatened to call the police on us. I, in turn, told him that I would call the police myself. After some more of such exchanges, my friends and I decided to walk away and not spoil our New Year’s Day.
We tried to brush away the incident but somehow weren’t able to. Something felt wrong. We felt insulted and mistreated. We couldn’t decide whether we should ignore those two men or report them to the police for racism. We decided to take the matter to the police.
We were completely clueless about whether the police would be receptive towards us, whether those men would still be at the coffee shop and what exactly we could do. However, we wanted to try our best. We went back to the Starbucks and explained the situation to one of the waiters’ there. He rang up the police. Unfortunately, since it was New Year’s Day, the police were extremely busy. By the time the waiter explained the matter to them, the two men had left. Without the men physically present, the police could do very little.
We felt quite disappointed to face this set back after having come so far. However, we did win a small victory that day. Instead of simply letting go of the matter, we had tried our best to report the matter. If we ever find ourselves in such a situation again, I know that my friends and I are better equipped to deal with it.
The reason I am sharing this incident is to encourage everyone to stand up for what is right and not be afraid of the end result. Standing up for something you believe in is half the battle won. Your silence will only encourage the perpetrators of hate crimes and racism.
P.S. This article does not suggest stereotyping people belonging to any particular country.
This article was originally published on the author’s personal blog here.