A More Multi-Cultural Hong Kong

Hong Kong
By:: 
Cassie Lim & Kayla Wong, with updates from Blanche Wong & Mythili Mamidanna

 

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.

WEDO Global's sri lanka programme

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.

For more about WEDO Global visit their website or Facebook page.

 

WEDO GLOBAL 愛同行 - 打破文化障礙建構共融社

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… 

他雖理解到不同種族之間均存有誤解,但作為亞洲國際都會的香港,普羅市民缺乏對少數族裔的認識,他為此而感到失望。其實在港居住的南亞少數族裔,有不少因為歷史原因來港,但學校教育並未提及,更沒有足夠途徑讓學生接觸不同文化背景人士,以認識和討論彼此的文化。

「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。

可惜這遠大的理念還未得到廣泛認同。Bosco認為,政府雖致力塑造香港成為亞洲國際都會,並在近年努力推廣種族共融,但仍未見推出多元文化政策。根據2011年的人口普查,香港主要由華人組成,少數族裔僅佔人口的6.4%,其中主要是來自東南亞國家的家庭傭工。這經濟結構進一步加強了一般人對少數族裔的定型。

其實早在英國殖民地時期,部分尼泊爾、巴基斯坦和印度人離鄉別井,遠道來港當軍人,警察或經商,為香港的發展作出不少貢獻。他們的後代在香港落地生根,有些更精通廣東話,視香港為他們的家。

Bosco說:「在全球化的影響底下,我們不應只靠外觀去判斷一個人的文化身份,如果要界定一個人是否屬於那地方,也應考慮那人對該地方所作出的貢獻。我認為生於香港,為香港付出,對社會帶來持續正面的影響的才是真正的香港人,所以有很多少數族裔都是香港人,因他們對香港有着很多貢獻。」

WEDO GLOBAL希望與少數族裔一起,共同創造沒有障礙的多元種族環境。通過他們舉辦的多元文化教育和旅遊體驗,讓參加者認識不同種族的社區及其文化,促進族裔間的溝通、認識和了解。他們現正逐步邁向理想。

參加者走進少數族裔的社區,放下成見,簡單而直接地參與、旅遊和學習。過程中不但促進了雙方互相了解,既讓參加者發掘到彼此共同之處,同時又能理解大家的差異,學懂尊重和欣賞彼此的文化特質與優點。

過程中不僅讓參加者受益,他們培訓的少數族裔導賞員亦獲益良多。

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。」

他們以活動前及後的問卷調查量度參加者對少數族裔的觀感。逾九成參加者對少數族裔的觀感有正面的改變;以10分為滿分,「增加了對南亞裔的了解」這一項平均取得8.75分。

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。

星展基金會的撥款對WEDO GLOBAL可說是來得合時。Bosco說:「我們正打算把影響力擴展至台灣,計劃於20161月在台灣註冊,在3月成立台灣辦公室。」

「我們會利用撥款開發一個網上互動旅遊平台,目標客戶群為家庭,推廣有趣的深度文化體驗。這平台供簡易的登記程序及彈性的旅程選擇,方便參加者定制豐富的旅遊體驗,其中包括獨特的社區文化行程與社企體驗工作坊。」

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

 

 If you want to find more about socially conscious living in Asia, check out Asia For Good's social enterprise directory.

 

FEATURED SOCIAL ENTERPRISES

You may also like

Be Inspired
His love for cooking saved him from drugs and gangs. Now, Enoch Teo's social enterprise E&I Concepts is helping ex-offenders turn their lives around, just like he did. Like the youth-at-risk that E&I Concepts employs, chef and co-founder Enoch Teo’s teen years were not easy. At 14, Enoch ( pictured,...
Gamechangers
Believe it or not this grey powder started its life as a humble plastic bag - just like the kind you use for your shopping. The brains behind this new eco-friendly technology tell you how it works. They may only be 10,000 times smaller than the width of a human...
Do Something
T he Social Venture Challenge Asia is in its third year and is shortlisting the region’s top social enterprises (SEs) . These purpose-driven companies, which carry out a social mission while earning a profit, are competing for the chance to win total prize money of $170,000 in seed funding. From...

Like what you see? Sign up for our newsletter. SUBSCRIBE NOW!

Top Hits

Live Consciously
Shopping for dad can be a real struggle. But don’t worry, because we’ve rounded up a list of our favourite sustainable gifts for Father’s Day that are bound to please the best dad in the world – your dad. No ties please. [Photo Credit: LSTN ] ZEBRA WOOD SATELITE SPEAKER...
Gamechangers
[This article is also avaliable in: Traditional Chinese (TW) | Traditional Chinese (HK) | Simplified Chinese (CN)] To accelerate social impact, the DBS Foundation gives out Social Enterprise Grants each year to high-potential social ventures that are creating positive social impact. We are pleased to introduce our Grant Awardees for...
Be Inspired
According to neuroscience research, music is one of the few activities that stimulates and uses the entire brain. It also increases the growth of new brain cells, which is critical for enhancing positivity and for rehabilitation of disorders such as strokes and dementia. Music can also benefit those with physical...