You are here: Home News Year of the Dragon: white or wong?

Year of the Dragon: white or wong?

Stuff - March 25, 2012. "A desperate job seeker is leaving New Zealand after coming up against racial bias in his job hunt, including the suggestion he needed to change his name to an English-sounding one just to land an interview. Anti-discrimination organisations are warning this type of racial prejudice is wasting some of New Zealand's top talent. Yik Kun Heng applied for 175 jobs after graduating from the University of Auckland with a first-class masters in political science. He received just three interview requests, while his classmates with English-sounding names secured jobs. "

"The frustrated graduate sought advice from a career adviser and colleague.

Their advice? Change his name to an Anglo-Saxon one.

"It's almost like you have to give up your identity, everything you are as a person - your history - just to secure a job and pay cheque. That's too much of an ask for anyone."

Heng is part of a wave of New Zealand- Asians hitting the workforce this decade.

His Malaysian parents moved here during the boom migration period of the 1990s.

Heng is a panelist on an upcoming debate in Auckland questioning whether workers of Asian descent are being locked out of jobs and promotions.

Young Chinese organisation Future Dragonz set up the Slanted discussion - White or Wong - to tackle employee discrimination and cultural stereotyping.

Although Heng was eventually hired at a telecommunications company after a seven-month job hunt, he has decided to leave for Hong Kong.

"No one should have to fight that hard to get a pay cheque, and that's just to get a job. To get a career, what am I going to have to do?"



Document Actions
comments powered by Disqus