Life as an ethnic minority youth
- 2 Articles
Even if I'm a permanent resident of Hong Kong or even if I can still be considered as a Hong Konger by some people because I was born it, it still doesn't feel right to call this city "My Home." Like many of my fellow ethnic minorities, we are still stuck under that label. We are still part of the minority. For many, we should be thankful because we are given some "privileges" and get to enjoy the same rights as local residents.
But my point in the matter is, being an EM student does make it very difficult to fit in the local culture and to integrate in the society. For starters, the segregation of the "lost generation" of ethnic minorities in the education system where there are schools that EM students specifically attend because of the lack of accommodation to teach us Chinese (Cantonese) within our level in local schools. Yes, there are some EM students that study in local schools but the numbers are so few and the adjustment to fit in and keep up with the same level as the locals are challenging.
For my part, I went to a DSS school where there is a specific
subject called "Chinese as a Second Language", the difficulty of
learning the local language will be very difficult for the
younger generation because Chinese is a must in Hong Kong. It is
so difficult to get a job, it is so difficult to get into a
tertiary institution in a degree program, so many opportunities
are missed and the socialization with the local people are being
ignored. Needless to say, the issue of "equality" where schools
that EM students go to are not necessarily good in terms of
resources. So what chance do we have to compete for a place in a
tertiary institution where the public exam this year was taken by
80,000 candidates and only 15,000 bachelor degrees available?
There are choices for sub-degree programs but why do most of the
EM students have to settle for that? There has been ounces of
racial discrimination due to the lack of fluency to speak the
language or by clothing or appearance alone.
There have been many reports of discrimination in textbooks, in the younger generation as well just outside because of the lack of cohesion between the local culture and the other cultures. In a way, there is no diversity despite the fact that Hong Kong is Asia's World City.
This results in many of the EM youths dropping out of school, starting to work after completion of secondary school, being involved in violent ways such as triads, drugs, alcohol because of the feeling of alienation. It is such a rare sight to see locals and EM youths socializing together outside of school. Sometimes, I, myself wonder what kind of a future I would have. I love Hong Kong and it is been a very beautiful place to live in but as the flow of the cultures are beginning to diffuse into the city, I believe that adjustments should be made and changes should follow.
I know from personal experience that many EM youth just settle for what they are given or what they can get rather than what they want or what they think they deserve. I think that we should all be given the equal right, equal say and equal opportunity and not feel alienated in a place that we want to call our "home". After all, the EM youth are also part of the future of Hong Kong.