Puja Kapai speaks to Hong Kong news media about recent COVID outbreak in ethnic minority communities
Updated: May 13, 2021
WSRC Convener Puja Kapai spoke to various news outlets about the recent COVID-19 outbreak in the Yau Tsim Mong area, which disproportionately affected ethnic minority residents. The government’s ill-advised response resulted in a lack of information for ethnic minority residents in their mother tongue. Furthermore, ignorant comments made by the Centre for Health and Protection about ethnic minorities’ “socialization behaviours” caused an increase in discriminatory incidents faced by ethnic minorities. They were singled out at work, on the receiving end of derogatory remarks, and asked to stay home among other things.
Puja was asked to comment on the reports of discrimination and racism coming out of the government’s handling of the outbreak. She condemned the racialized narrative coming out the government. In a quote to the Hong Kong Free Press, she stated “the behaviour Dr. Ho outlines as culturally specific forms of socialisation is behaviour that all communities of all backgrounds engage in. How can family gatherings, walking with friends, eating, drinking alcohol, smoking and chatting be defined as behaviours unique to particular ethnic groups? This blatantly racialised narrative undermines our collective efforts to fight the virus by sowing fear and paranoia targeting ethnic minority groups, implicating them to be super-spreaders. …This is most unfortunate because the need of the hour is to focus on assisting these communities as best as we can. However, these types of comments will only serve to isolate ethnic minorities even further”.
Puja has also engaged with community outreach work and government advising in order to improve anti-epidemic education for ethnic minority communities. She has also worked to introduce culturally sensitive measures that take into account their needs.