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One racist act begets another on Vancouver bus as Filipino man told to ‘speak English’

Last Updated Jul 2, 2020 at 6:06 am PDT


Filipino man is speaking out after he was the target of racism on a bus in Vancouver last weekend

Samson James Ordonyez says a woman told him to 'speak English' after he was talking in his native language of Ilocano

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A Filipino man is speaking out after he was told to “speak English” while on the #20 bus in Vancouver last Saturday afternoon.

Samson James Ordonez says he was speaking to his brother over the phone in his language, Ilocano, which is native to the northern part of the Philippines, when a woman said “You f***ing people. Speak in English here.”

Another man then chimed in, degrading his own Indian coworkers by mocking their language and accent, allegedly saying it “destroys his appetite for lunch.”

Ordonez recapped his experience on Reddit, writing “One white guy chimed in by saying, ‘Right? My Indian coworkmates (sic) always say ‘boobah, boobah’ and it destroys my appetite for lunch!’”

“I could really hear my heart thumping, really, really loud. So, I just went up and said that wasn’t fair because I always see Western people in my country — they live there, they build their life there, and they always demand people to speak in English to them so that they could understand,” he recalls.

Ordonez adds he wanted to say more in the moment but started to feel dizzy, getting off the bus at the next stop instead.

“When I was going out this lady told me, she shouted actually, ‘I don’t let Asians lecture me in my own country,'” he explains. “I didn’t respond anymore because I was already out of the bus.”

He notes the only other couple on the bus at the time was an elderly Asian couple.

It’s unclear if the bus driver heard what had happened, but Ordonez suspects he did, adding he was standing at the front of the bus near him while responding to the racist comments.

“When I was going off the bus, this white driver, he just smiled at me and basically told everyone, he said everyone enjoy their day. I took that as him fighting with me,” Ordonez says.

Ordonez says he’s feeling better since what happened. Looking back, he thinks it was best that he didn’t say more.

“It is still disappointing because it just feels weird that people will judge you with the language that you use, I guess,” he tells NEWS 1130, adding he’s not experienced anything like this directly in the year and a half he’s been in Canada.

“It was pretty overwhelming for me.”

While he’s not sure if it’ll lead to anything, Ordonez says he plans to reach out to Transit Police to see if they can investigate what happened.

-With files from Monika Gul