Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was caught in the middle of what could be deemed as one of the most uncomfortable, awkward exchange of words to be captured on film when he greeted an Asian woman in Chinese only to be met with a reply that she’s of a different ethnic background.
.@ScottMorrisonMP has had his first street walk of his campaign in the inner west Sydney suburb of Strathfield, greeting locals and visiting a restaurant.@annelisenews: There was a bit of confusion about what kind of restaurant he was in.
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) April 13, 2019
Morrison was out on the streets of Sydney, specifically around the Strathfield suburb in Australia, on Saturday as he mingled with the public as part of his 2019 Australian federal election campaign.
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
The 50-year-old politician and current prime minister of Australia was seen shaking hands with people after visiting a Korean restaurant in the area when he suddenly came across an Asian woman.
As he shakes the hand of the Asian woman, Morrison, without any hesitation, said according to The Independent: “Hello, how are you? Ni Hao, how are you?”
While “Ni Hao” is the word for “hello” or “greetings” in Mandarin, the woman Morrison greeted was, unfortunately, not Chinese.
She then responded, “no, no, no, I’m Korean.”
Twitter users, meanwhile, slammed Morrison for the awkward exchange. One user wrote, “Strathfield has a high population of Koreans. To assume they are Chinese is racist and quite stupid.”
“Scott Morrison walking around Strathfield Plaza saying ni hao to people he thinks are Chinese has set a very high standard for the rest of the campaign to match,” another person said.
My first policy if elected will be mandatory “Which kind of Asian are they?” training for Scott Morrison. https://t.co/LfpOZYOScy
— michael hing (@hingers) April 13, 2019
“My first policy if elected will be mandatory ‘Which kind of Asian are they?’ training for Scott Morrison,” Michael Hing, a comedian based in Sydney who recently announced his bid for the election, wrote in a tweet.
Ironically enough, this recent blunder comes shortly after Morrison called out the rival political Labor Party for their problem with racism when opposition’s deputy leader Tanya Plibersek said Australians could “not rely on an Indian mining company to bring jobs,” The Independent reported.
“I think there’s form here from the Labour Party,” Morrison said in a press conference. “At the recent state election, we had [Labour politician] Michael Daley saying Asians will take your jobs. Now we’ve got Tanya Plibersek, who would be deputy prime minister of the country, saying that Indian businesses can’t create jobs.”
Featured image screenshot via Twitter / Sky News Australia