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Foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong

Music Without Borders: Free concert showcases Hong Kong’s ethnic diversity and aims to give minorities a voice

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 August, 2015, 11:52am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 September, 2015, 11:14am

Social inclusion through music is the message of a free open-air concert to be held in Hong Kong on Sunday, which organisers hope will showcase the city’s ethnic diversity and give minorities a voice.

The event, called Music Without Borders and organised by non-profit group We Care, will bring together aspiring Hong Kong-born Filipino and Indian singers, Indonesian domestic workers, and local musicians at Admiralty’s Tamar Park.

“When Hongkongers think about Filipinos and Indonesians, most of us think of domestic workers,” said Jonathan Wong Chun-him, the organiser. “We want to show that [ethnic minorities] have their voices too.”

LISTEN: Music Without Borders theme song 'All We Need' by Jonathan Wong and Wong Zion

Wong, a second year journalism student at the University of Hong Kong, joined We Care as a liaison officer in October last year. The concert is the 20-year-old’s first attempt to launch a social inclusion project for the organisation, which aims to bridge gaps between ethnicities in Hong Kong.

“I have always identified myself as a music lover, and to me, music has always been a way to connect with other people naturally,” said Wong, who formed a band five years ago and enjoys singing and playing the piano. “Music is great because there is no need to be perfect. All you need is passion and know what you are trying to do with it.”

Although Wong worries that Tamar Park may not be the best place to attract a huge crowd, he believes getting the message of social inclusion across is more important.

“That’s the nature of a non-commercial concert,” he said.

“There’s no guarantee of audience size but you can be sure that those who stay really do care about the cause and the music.”

Helpers will be distributing pamphlets on Harcourt Road to invite Hongkongers to the concert over the weekend. Posters in Filipino and Indonesian languages have also been printed out for various ethnic minority organisations.

Wong hopes the concert will not only be a way for locals and ethnic minorities to share their love for music, but also for the audience to learn more about different cultures. So, before every performance, an emcee will give a brief introduction to the meaning and culture behind it.

“I have loved music from my childhood days,” said Dhea Zhinta Audysky, an Indonesian domestic helper who will be singing traditional Indonesian songs. “I like songs from different parts of Indonesia and to fill my heart with music.”

Her friend, Lisnawati, will be playing the angklung – an Indonesian musical instrument made of two to four bamboo tubes attached to a bamboo frame – in a separate performance. “I think music is a universal language that everyone can understand, although [we are] from different countries, ethnicity, cultures, and religions,” she said.

Other performers include SAiNT, a Hong Kong-born Filipino artist, Mohit Kaliandasani, an Indian rapper currently based in Hong Kong, and Jason Cheng, a local jazz pianist.

Andrea Charity Battad, a 20-year-old Filipino born and raised in Hong Kong, will be performing a medley of Filipino folk songs in the hopes of sharing Filipino culture. “[This concert] is an amazing opportunity to enjoy and discover the talents of the Hong Kong ethnic minority community,” she said. “Joining [it] enables me to express my love for music and performing.”

Music Without Borders runs from 3pm to 5pm in Tamar Park on Sunday. Admission is free.