Who are we?
Welcome to East and Southeast Asian Scotland (ESAS). We are a group of East and Southeast Asian (ESA) volunteers based in Edinburgh. We have come together through mutual desire to represent ESA people whilst advocating equality, social inclusion and democratic participation in Scottish society. We've all experienced discrimination and racism due to being members of the ESA community and we understand these issues deeply. We are working closely with other ESA support groups, organisations, charities and activists who are campaigning for change and increased visibility in England. We feel that the same initiative is needed here in Scotland to bring upon community cohesion, better opportunities and visible representation in the pursuit towards racial equality. So far, we have sent a letter to the Scottish Government demanding a zero tolerance policy to racism and a public inquiry into the lack of support and safeguards implemented by Police Scotland to protect our ESA community from the increase in racial abuse, racial assaults and discrimination since the Covid-19 outbreak, we await their reply.
There are no other organisations in Scotland dedicated to lobbying racial equality and anti-racism towards East and Southeast Asian (ESA) people.
Since 2017, Scotland has become one of the hotspots for trafficking of Vietnamese and Chinese people in the EU for the purpose of modern slavery and yet there are no organisations tackling this issue from a culturally sensitive perspective.
More Filipino healthcare workers have died serving the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic than in the Philippines and yet they also face the torrent of racial abuse from the British public due to perceived racial similarities to China.
Since the start of COVID-19, we have come to understand that a broad spectrum of ESA people have become vulnerable to discrimination and are targets of Sinophobic attacks, as offenders have been racially profiling people who look like they are of Chinese descent.
Racist attacks on the ESA community have been widely reported by the press since the Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown.
From a freedom of information requested by SKY News to police forces across the UK, there’s been a 300% increase in racial abuse and attacks reported to the Metropolitan Police. A recent report called 'Toxicity during coronavirus', published by L1ght, an algorithm-driven technology start-up highlighted a 900% increase in Sinophobic hate speech on Twitter since the start of the COViD-19 pandemic.
We are a safe space for ESA people in Edinburgh and surrounding Scotland to discuss shared experiences and local knowledge. We aim to empower our community through encouraging and facilitating access to resources that promotes positive representation and visibility of ESA people Scotland. We want to offer some assurance so that ESA people in Edinburgh and wider Scotland, who face the prospects of encountering racial attacks and discrimination, do not feel totally alone, vulnerable or neglected. We are here to listen, offer practical citizens advice and direct you towards the appropriate channels to receive further help if and when required. We offer virtual and face to face 'support-group' meet ups, one to one advice, community cultural activities and telephone support to those who need to talk or have questions.
What we do
We offer Befriending services in several forms, face to face and virtual ‘support group meetings’ to ESA people in Scotland who have experienced racism, hate crime and isolation. ESA people could either be British born or residents (documented and undocumented) who identify with cultures coming from Brunei, Cambodia, China, East Timor, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea (North&South), Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam.
We specifically offer support to ESA people in Scotland with the following objectives:
Ongoing culturally sensitive befriending support delivered via telephone, online and face to face.
Safe space for ESA people to express shared experiences without the need to 'self-censor' issues faced by this community.
Encourage and organise community engagement activities and networking to enrich and empower the ESA community in Scotland.
Help ESA people gain confidence to reach out and seek information about their rights in Scotland.
If you wish to find out more or get involved, please send us a direct message or email us at as we are looking for ESA individuals to help us achieve our goals to making Scotland a better place for our community.