A Chinese woman thought she was the victim of racism after receiving a letter from her alma mater addressed to a “Ms. Ching Chong,” but was shocked and relieved to learn the truth.
Former University of Queensland student Sierra Chen took to the Facebook group UQ Stalkerspace, which is described as “a platform for discourse about University of Queensland campus life,” to share the letter she received from the university and to see if anyone could help her contact the addressee to verify whether the letter was sent maliciously.
In her post, Chen said the contents of the letter were not unusual, but the name listed as the recipient concerned her, as “‘ChingChong’ is a racial discrimination word against [sic] Chinese.” According to Chen, she emailed the letter’s sender, UQ Sport, who told her that a woman who went by that name had provided them with her address, but they were unable to provide more details.
Chen then wrote that she checked with her house manager, who said no one by the name had lived in the house.
She ended her post with a request for help, saying, “If possible, I hope I can contact with this friend named chingchong, and I hope it was just a coincidence. I wonder if anyone else has received such suspicious letters, please contact me too.”
Initially, some commenters were outraged by the letter and deemed it racist.
“I was thinking it was someone who knows your address playing a tasteless joke,” wrote one commenter. “This is why we need people to check things rather than rely on databases and computers. I can see it would feel threatening and rude.
“Talk to the student union/Equity team,” wrote another.
Meanwhile, others seemed to be more concerned with the criminal implications of opening another person’s mail.
“Isn’t it a federal offence to open other people’s mail?” wrote a concerned citizen.
“Probably delete the evidence of mail fraud,” commented another.
However, a commenter named Jane Chong clarified that the letter was actually meant for her:
“Chill chill guys it’s me. My birth name [sic] is Ching Chong. My parents named me Ching cause it rhymes with my family name Chong and I also have a beautiful chinese name 庄靖. I lived at that address in 2017 and was a Blues recipient … UQ Sport is not racist, I just have a cool name 😎”
Chong then posted another comment thanking Chen for posting the letter and for talking to both UQ Sports and the house manager to try and find her. Chen responded, “Jane Chong thank you! It is very nice and warm that I can know this is a misunderstanding. And it is hilarious at the same time (I mean right me as a Chinese receive the letter).”