Two generations of ethnic minorities - challenges and opportunities | pressteen 通識學生記者計劃 | 香港電台「通識網」
HKTA The Yuen Yuen Institute No.3 Secondary School
Bivek Thapa, Mohammad Rehan, Karamat Nawaz Khan, Singh Harpreet
Vivek is a successful comedian in Hong Kong and he is a role model for many ethnic minorities. Therefore, we had an interview with him in order to know more about him and the key to become a successful person.
In recent years, there are more and more south-east Asians coming to live in Hong Kong. As the population of the ethnic minorities is increasing, racial discrimination is also getting more common. The Hong Kong people look at Southeast Asians differently. Discrimination is within our society. There is an image of discrimination created in our mind which leads us to think that all the people are discriminating us. During the years, discrimination is becoming a serious issue because more and more ethnic minorities are coming to Hong Kong and just because of some ethnic minorities’ misbehavior, all of us are being discriminated.
When we are on a bus either sitting or standing, sometimes we accidently touch our body part such as shoulder or step on the feet of local people and the local people look at us as if we did a big crime. We usually walk away with bad feelings. But Vivek would take the experience of discrimination positively.
“We have to think it in a different way. Try to look at it in a positive way which can turn a bad experience or treatment to become our advantages,” said Vivek. “When local people walk away from us on bus, we should take it as our advantage because there is more space for us. We cannot change how people think but we can change how we see things.”
“Some people (ethnic minorities) do bad things which lead us all to have a bad image in front of the whole community. In order to get back the reputation, we have to do some social activities. For example, helping elderly people, doing voluntary work, cleaning the beach and so on. ”
As an international city, Hong Kong promotes its image as open to all cultures around the world but the reality is different. Hong Kong people judge people based on their attire and socio-economic status. Just because some ethnic minorities do the bad things, the entire community would be negatively labelled. Even if we want to change our image, it will be a difficult process as it gets to take a few years for us to earn back the reputation.
Difficulties in learning Chinese in Hong Kong
There are many difficulties in learning Chinese in Hong Kong. For example, even though some foreign students learn Chinese for 12 years, they are not able to communicate with the local people because the Chinese they learnt through these years are just the simple Chinese, like name of the festivals and jobs.
Vivek mentioned that GCSE is not really useful. It is useful only for applying for some universities. Moreover, the content of GCSE is only the basic Chinese which cannot be used to find a good job. He said that when he was young, he had supportive parents. He was the only foreign student in his class so he had hard time communicating with his local friends, and he had a thought of giving up to learn Chinese. But his supportive parents arranged him to get help from tutor for at least 3 hours every day after school. He did not like it at all but what he had on his mind is that if he worked hard for few years he can be relaxed afterward. After that when he was in secondary school, his Chinese was good enough to communicate with local people so he chose French to learn instead.
After interviewing with Vivek, we do not think that Hong Kong’s education system can help much for foreign students to improve Chinese. They are just focusing on teaching students to learn basic communicating skills and about the Hong Kong’s culture at a shallow level, for example, Chinese New Year and how to say hello or goodbye in Chinese. This cannot help foreign students’ daily life because local people’s Chinese are on a much higher level. Besides, many jobs nowadays require good communication skills and writing skills in Chinese. In job interviews, they will not ask us about the festivals in Hong Kong.
To improve Chinese of foreign students, schools should not just teach them Hong Kong’s culture and basic communication skills or just some stories in Chinese. Secondary schools can help foreign students by teaching them current issues. Besides, we can do something similar what Vivek did, for example, went tutoring every day. We cannot rely on helping hands from outside. We need to depend on ourselves. However, many of the ethnic minorities’ parents are working in low salaries. Some teenagers do not care about studies. They only focus on playing games and follow what their friends do. Without any role model, there is still a long way to go. The parents would have to motivate their children by giving them real-life examples. “My mother used to take me to the park and asked me to talk with the local kids and to play with them. As I found out that I could not communicate with them which enhanced my motivation to learn Chinese so that I could be able to chat with the local kids to play.” said Vivek.
Why Vivek chooses a local girl in Hong Kong
As Vivek was born in Hong Kong, he was surrounded by local students, so he preferred to find a local girl to have a relationship with. He said that he does not know how to interact with a foreign girl as their living styles are so different. He even tried to date a foreign girl but it did not work. His girlfriend had a similar story outside Hong Kong. Vivek was the only ethnic minority in the secondary school which led him to face many difficulties, and his current girlfriend went to England for further studies where she was the only Hong Kong girl studying there. Vivek and his girlfriend had a good communication with each other since they met and eventually they decided to stay together.
To conclude, we learn how to deal with discrimination in a positive way. Also, we understand that working hard is the key to success. Success cannot be claimed without putting an effort.
Interview and written by：Bivek Thapa, Mohammad Rehan, Karamat Nawaz Khan, Singh Harpreet
Instructor：Mr. Johnny Yeung