“Not what it seems” Richmond councillor says of townhouse Mandarin language issue

Here’s a follow-up to the Mandarin language controversy in Richmond City’s 54-unit Wellington Court townhouse complex.

In a phone interview after meeting with the strata council’s current and former chair on Saturday (September 3), Richmond City councillor Au Chak said he has shifted his position as “the issue is not what it seems”.

In last week’s interview based on what he read in news reports of the issue’s latest flare-up, Mr Au criticised the strata council chaired by Mary Zhang for its “terrible” decision to revert to using Mandarin at its last meeting. The decision sparked an immediate complaint from residents who don’t speak the language, and was widely reported in various news outlets.

Last year, seven of the complex’s non-Mandarin speaking residents filed a human rights complaint against the strata previously chaired by Ed Mao for its Mandarin use in place of English. The issue was thought to have been settled as strata meetings this year, until the most recent, had been conducted in English.

Mr Au said Ms Zhang and Mr Mao, long-time residents who speak good English, feel they have been mis-represented by media reports, and are afraid to speak further on the matter.

“It makes no sense for them to discriminate against the complex’s non-Chinese residents,” he said. “Why would they be foolish enough to court such controversy?”

Mr Au said he’s working now to convince Ms Zhang and Mr Mao to speak up to present their sides of the story.

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