DUE to an unpleasant experience today, I would like to share my shock with the Eastbourne Gazette on how my Easter Sunday afternoon was ruined by the comments of a passer-by.
I was walking back from the shops in Meads Village after buying the day’s newspaper, when a woman – just another passer-by taking a stroll after Easter lunch whom I would smile ‘hello’ at, I thought – shoved past me hard, and muttered “idiot”.
At first, I thought that the shoving was merely accidental, and that I had misheard her. In any case, my reactions are fairly slow.
I was with my mother at the time, and when she asked me what the woman had said and whom she was speaking to as we had not heard clearly, we both instinctively looked back at the woman.
The woman was walking with someone else, and we were about to resume our walk, confused about what had occurred but merely curious, when the woman turned round and said in a louder voice, “idiot”.
When, angered, we asked, “excuse me, what did you say?” she replied, more loudly now, “idiot...you’re an idiot”.
Meanwhile the woman next to her walked silently on. We happen to be Chinese, and although I might be reading too much into this incident, the comment seemed to be racially slanted.
Anyhow, she ignored my mother’s protest of “how can you say such a thing” so we walked on in awkward silence home.
I have lived in Eastbourne for over a decade, and have never experienced anything remotely like this. I have only heard about these random unprovoked comments from acquaintances or the news.
It was a small shock to me simply because Eastbourne is such a tolerant and friendly town. I did not expect to hear such words in Meads, and definitely not on Easter Sunday, which I always thought was a day of reflection on moral values, whether its religious importance was observed or not.
If I recall, at the close of his Easter message on TV this morning the Pope called for a “peaceful and respectful” society.
I did not expect the peace and respect to be broken on Easter Sunday, of all days.