A More Multi-Cultural Hong Kong
Mr Gurung is a Nepali Masters student at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, but is constantly asked if he is a security guard. It's a common Hong Kongers ask him, once they find out where he's from. He realised that there are many misperceptions about other ethnicities in the SAR, and says that many people in Hong Kong are not familiar with the minority groups as well as the rich history these groups have with the city.
It's an attitude that Bosco Ng, the director of WEDO Global, wants to change. The social enterprise (SE) promotes and facilitates worldwide exchange, and uses the colours blue and green in its logo to represent its ideals. The colours were chosen because Bosco feels strongly that regardless of where we are from, we are all citizens of planet Earth.
Such a sentiment, unfortunately, is not shared by all. Bosco feels that Hong Kong, despite being dubbed Asia’s World City by the local government, is not as tolerant as it should be of a multi-racial society. The Special Administrative Region has a Chinese-dominated population, with ethnic minorities constituting a mere 6.4 percentage, according to the 2011 census. Most of them are domestic helpers from nearby Southeast Asian countries, further entrenching the prevalent view that ethnic minorities are in Hong Kong due to economic reasons. However, unknown to most people, there are communities of ethnic minorities who are here because of historical reasons.
Nepali, Pakistani and Indian communities have lived in city since the days of British colonial rule - many were soldiers and policemen at the time. Their descendents still live in Hong Kong, albeit leading an almost hidden existence. Many of them are born and raised in Hong Kong, speak perfect Cantonese and identify themselves as Hong Kongers.
However, there exists a perceived cultural barrier that inhibits proper communication with them, thus worsening the existing cultural gap. “Because we Chinese seldom go to other communities to visit, to see, and if we go, we don’t know how to behave. For example, there are seven mosques in Hong Kong, but we seldom go inside as we don’t know whether we are allowed to go in or not,” explains Bosco.
This lack of mutual understanding between the different ethnic groups is what WEDO Global addresses. They work to co-create a barrier-free, inter-racial environment with the ethnic minorities, who enjoy an equal and mutually beneficial relationship. Their ultimate goal is a seemingly lofty ideal, but through their multi-cultural education programmes and tours, they are taking gradual and concrete steps to introduce participants to the migrant communities and their cultures.
By going into the areas where ethnic minorities live, participants can let go of their pre-conceived biases by simply enjoying their hospitality. The interaction not only allows them to understand one another better, but also helps participants to realise that the ethnic minorities are not that much different from regular Hong Kongers.
It’s not just the participants who benefit from this programme but tour leaders as well. Singh, an Indian Hong Konger was at first not confident enough lead a tour in Cantonese. After he joined WEDO, the team encouraged him to practise and he is now so comfortable that he leads tours of 30 people. He even gives media interviews on radio and television. Singh says “Most participants don’t know the difference between a Hindu, Muslim and Sikh. Through the walking tours, participants imbibe a basic understanding and appreciate the multi-cultural Hong Kong.”
WEDO Global’s work over the last three years in bridging the cultural gap in Hong Kong is recognised and supported by other sections of the society including corporations. Apart from multi-cultural workshops and community-based walking tours WEDO has also branched out to overseas tours spanning mainland China, Taiwan, Sri Lanka and United Kingdom.
The SE measures surveys participants about their attitude towards ethnic minorities both pre- and post-tour. And the results are compelling. Over 90% of participants have a positive shift in attitude and perception. On average WEDO has received a 8.75 out of 10 score for the parameter “increased understanding on South Asian ethnic minorities.”
Now, WEDO is receiving a grant from the DBS Foundation grant to help them expand and scale-up their business. Bosco plans to use the funds to go regional. "We shall initiate our company registration in Taiwan in January 2016 and plan to launch our Taiwan office by March 2016”, he says.
“We will use the grant to develop an integrated online travel platform targeting parents and children to present interesting and relevant travel experiences. The platform will provide both ease in registration as well as flexibility for participants to choose programmes they want. No more fixed, dull, regular travel programmes. The WEDO unique cultural programmes will enrich travel experiences. We shall also partner with reliable local travel agents who can provide unique community-based cultural programmes,” Bosco said.
WEDO GLOBAL 愛同行 - 打破文化障礙建構共融社會
Mr. Gurung 是一名香港中文大學的碩士學生，在他開學的第一天，他向校園的學生問路，當他說他是來自尼泊爾時，竟被問是否來做保安…
「因此，我們要作出改變。」WEDO GLOBAL「愛同行」的創辦人吳宗麟 (Bosco) 說。WEDO GLOBAL 宣揚及促進種族共融，其商標正代表著他們的理想：藍綠色喻意在同一天空下，同一片土地上，人人平等，大家可以和諧共處。
Mr. Singh是印度裔香港人，初時不太有自信以廣東話溝通和帶團。加入WEDO GLOBAL後，團隊與他一起練習導賞路線，並討論如何帶領參加者。他漸漸建立自信，現已可帶領超過30人的團體，還接受電台和電視台的訪問。他說：「很多參加者都不懂得分辨印度教、回教和錫克教，我很高興可以透過旅程，讓他們了解及欣賞不同的宗教與文化。」
WEDO GLOBAL 在過去三年獲得不同界別的認同及支持，包括工商界，社福界，教育界等。除了舉辦本地多元文化工作坊、社企文化遊外，他們更將版圖擴展至南韓、台灣、斯里蘭卡和柬埔寨等海外深度旅遊計劃。
WEDO GLOBAL 一直努力建構一個沒有種族障礙、人人平等的社會。這社會將不會因語言的不同而有溝通的障礙，也不會因膚色，宗教或生活習慣的不同而有階級高低之分。 – AsiaForGood
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