A Chinese woman thought she was the target of a racist joke when she received a letter from her alma mater addressed to a "Ms. Ching-Chong."
Sierra Chen, a former student at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, sought advisement on the UQ StalkerSpace Facebook group where she eventually discovered the truth about the letter in question.
"Last week I received a mail from UQ sports with slur that on the envelope: 'Ching-Chong,'" wrote Chen.
"The content of the letter was quite normal , but 'Ching Chong' is racial discrimination word [against] Chinese."
The letter she received that was not intended for her was an invitation to a dinner event to celebrate the "outstanding sporting achievements of UQ Sport's past and present student-athletes."
Below are the photos of the letter she received and posted to the Facebook group.
Chen said she emailed the university to uncover the truth and was told there was a woman by the name of "Ching Chong" who had left the same address as Chen's residence.
"They couldn't give more details as it is privacy," she said, leaving her more confused.
So when she inquired about the mystery tenant with the house manager, Chen was told:
"There wasn't anyone called 'Ching Chong' have lived in this house."
Below are the screenshots of the replies Chen received from the house manager.
Wanting to verify if this could potentially be a misunderstanding, she asked the Facebook group:
"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."
Some people in the comments were immediately appalled at what was initially believed to be a racist prank.
One commenter wrote:
“I was thinking it was someone who knows your address playing a tasteless joke."
"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."
Some people were more concerned about the legal implications of opening a letter not meant for her.
One commenter asked:
"Isn't it a federal offense to open other peoples mail?"
However, a woman named Jane Chong responded and identified herself as the intended recipient of the UQ Sport dinner invitation.
"Chill chill guys it’s me. My birth name name is Ching Chong," she clarified.
Chong further explained:
"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."
She added a link to her Instagram page as a "shameless plug," before clarifying:
"UQ Sport is not racist, I just have a cool name."
Below is a screenshot of a throwback photo on Instagram of Chong "receiving a sports award at the chubbiest point in my life."
"Thank you Sierra Chen for calling this out, I would be super confused too if I received a mail at my address with such an interesting name (i mean if this wasn't my actual name haha)."
"Thank you for taking action to check with the house manager, and UQ sports and trying to find me. Appreciate you!"
To which Chen replied:
"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)."
While the incident was purely coincidental and dealt with methodically, a handful of trolls were quick to accuse Chen of playing the victim.
We would hazard a guess that they must not be a person of Asian descent who has dealt with some form of discrimination and microaggression on more than one occasion in their life.