A Massachusetts family was looking for an apology from a stranger who made comments at their mother’s funeral they said were insensitive to the Asian community.
Adrian Wong delivered the eulogy for her mother on March 18 in Quincy and was supposed to be the only speaker during the procession, CBS Boston reported Tuesday. Wong’s mother died from lung cancer and he said in his speech that she did not smoke but was “simply unlucky.”
Wong said he was stunned when another man, whom the family had never met, decided to stand up, speak and try to draw a connection to Carol Tan Wong’s death and “smoke in Asian churches.”
“I’m not affected by this, but I see that the smoke in the church in the Asian churches is so prevalent that I gag when I go inside,” David Small, the man who reportedly gave the speech, said. “I hope what I’ve told you about the smoke in the church is not taken in offense. I mean, it’s your culture.”
Wong told CBS Boston that he found Small’s comments offensive and he felt that the man owed the entire Asian community an apology.
Small told the station that he was invited to the funeral by his girlfriend, who he said is Asian. He said that the funeral home was probably not the best place to make the comments, but he was trying to make a point about the “high rate of smoking in the Asian community, and Asians burn incense in their churches, which is a health risk.”
Small added that he sends a “heartfelt apology” to the Wong family.