‘It’s F***ed Up’ – Aussie Woman Shares How Her M’sian Co-Worker Got Discriminated In South Korea

"She had tea towels thrown at her, she was sworn at, by the way for doing nothing."
In today’s world, where diversity and inclusivity are celebrated, stories of discrimination based on how people look or where they come from stand out as reminders of the progress we still need to make.

Recently, social media has brought attention to one such story, revealing how people in South Korea treat others differently just because of their skin colour, ethnicity, or how they look.

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M’sian co-worker got discriminated in South Korea

Jazmyn jennings
Screenshot via TikTok/@jazymnjennings

Jazmyn Jennings, an Australian woman, shared her eye-opening experiences of living and working in South Korea on her TikTok account @jazymnjennings.

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Her stories reveal a significant difference in how she and her Malaysian friend were treated, exposing the biases that exist in South Korean society.

Jennings talks about her job at a South Korean restaurant. Even though she wasn’t fluent in Korean, locals preferred her help over her Malaysian friend, who spoke Korean well. It seemed like this preference was based only on how they looked and where they were from.

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On the flip side, Jennings’ Malaysian friend had a tough time. Even though she spoke Korean fluently, locals treated her poorly.

“As soon as people found out that she was Malaysian, they instantly had a problem with her. They would refuse, they would just flat out refuse to speak to her.”

‘But I was treated differently because I was white’

Jazmyn jennings
Screenshot via TikTok/@jazymnjennings

They often ignored her attempts to communicate and showed dismissive behaviour. This discrimination didn’t stop at work, where she faced verbal abuse and disrespectful treatment.

“That whole restaurant was just really f*cked up, she had tea towels thrown at her, she was sworn at, by the way for doing nothing. If anything, I stuffed up more than her but I was treated differently because I was white.”

The discrimination didn’t end within the confines of their workplace. Even during a simple taxi ride, Jennings’ friend experienced ostracism from a South Korean taxi driver who refused to acknowledge her presence or engage in conversation, even though she was there to help translate.

Jennings believes these experiences stem from a deep-rooted xenophobia in parts of South Korean society.

Discriminatory behaviour is more common among older people

Xenophobia is when people fear and dislike foreigners or things they’re not used to. In this case, it shows in how people with fair skin and good looks get better treatment, while those with darker skin or from specific countries get left out.

Despite the upsetting experiences, Jennings sees a silver lining. She believes that the discriminatory behaviour is more common among older people, while younger ones are more open and accepting.

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“This is definitely an attitude that I would say is more prevalent within older Koreans, I don’t really find many younger Koreans who have this kind of backwards thinking.”

Jennings’ TikTok video documenting her experiences has garnered millions of views and sparked conversations among netizens. Many have come forward to share similar encounters of discrimination while in South Korea, highlighting the pervasive nature of this issue.

Watch the full clip here:


I know having this conversation won’t win me many Korean friends but xenophobia and colourism are the two biggest downfalls of Korean society. People die because of this discrimination and there still aren’t any laws to protect anyone. #storytime #koreanstorytime #korea #southkorea #koreanworkingholiday #workingholiday #dewyskin #koreanskincare

♬ original sound – Jazmyn


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