PETALING JAYA: Klang-born model Amelia Thripura Henderson has turned racist comments calling her a "foreigner" and other racial slurs into an opportunity to educate others about respect, tolerance, and unity.
The 23-year-old beauty was awarded the Malaysian Model Star of The Year at the Asia Model Festival 2019 in Seoul, South Korea earlier this week.
In her thank you speech, she proudly said it was an "incredible honour" and privilege to represent her country, Malaysia.
Henderson posted a video of her thank you speech on Instagram with the caption "never forget where you come".
Amidst the congratulatory messages, two critics responded with racist remarks saying that she is not Malaysian and therefore did not deserve to represent Malaysia.
User mesh_dola28 said: “You’re not Malay, the Malaysian people should stand up to foreigners like you. Maybe some high echelons people is paying you to say this for social engineering. Put it this way... YOU ARE NOT MALAY."
This user would also called her by a racial slur in a separate comment.
User Xbaiwarrior said: “Why are you representing Malaysia. You are Filipino. I’m mad at foreign people and Filipinos representing Malaysia. Go represent your own country.”
In her response, the model of Indian-Scottish parentage responded with grace by explaining that she was born, raised, educated and worked in Malaysia, her country.
"It's 2019, in order to be stronger collectively as a country we need to understand that we are diverse and multi-ethnic," she responded to both commenters.
"Malaysia is my country just as much as it is yours and nothing makes me more proud and honoured than to represent my home.
"I am not any less Malaysian than you. Peace and love to you and on your journey of growth," she added.
The former child actor took to Twitter to share her response to the comments.
"Imagine having to defend your own citizenship. I never have to reply, but what is the use of having a platform if it’s not used to educate," she wrote.
She also explained why a certain word is a derogatory term and that the word "Indian" would have been a more appropriate term to use.
"It is a racial slur used to demean an entire race by people who feel like they do not belong in a country they were born into," she said.
Xbaiwarrior later apologised for mistaking her as a Filipino.
Henderson, an actress and TV host, is also a member of Mensa International with a certified IQ of 180.
imagine having to defend your own citizenship. I never have to reply, but what is the use of having a platform if it’s not used to educate? pic.twitter.com/F2qamX8WXv— Amelia Thripura Henderson (@ameliath) June 12, 2019