21/11/00 - The Financial Times

When Martin Jacques, a British journalist based in Hong Kong, approached a doctor at a Hong Kong public hospital to inquire about his wife, who had been admitted after an epileptic fit on January 1, the doctor was brusque. When he told his wife, Harinder Veriah, a Malaysian of Indian origin working for a London law firm, about the incident, she replied: “I am at the bottom of the pile here.”

The following day, Ms Veriah, 33 and until then in good health, died after suffering a respiratory arrest followed by a cardiac arrest. The boundaries that demarcate where rudeness ends and racism begins are difficult to draw, but Mr Jacques’ impassioned denunciation of the prejudice he believes his wife faced at the government hospital has cast into focus what critics charge is a pervasive strain of discrimination in Hong Kong.

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