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Ethnic minorities in Hong Kong

Want to fight racism in Hong Kong? Start young

  • Many educated young Hongkongers are practically illiterate when it comes to cultures, identities and religions
  • Build racial harmony by improving upon a curriculum that still lacks content about the different racial and religious groups that exist in Hong Kong
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 December, 2018, 7:02am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 December, 2018, 7:02am

Efforts towards the enhanced integration of ethnic minority groups into Hong Kong’s labour force only treat the symptoms but do not cure the disease. I am referring to the policies set forth on integrating workers from the ethnic minorities into the civil service, and the ongoing attempts at solving the problems with Chinese language learning that ethnic minority students face in Hong Kong (“True leaders fight prejudice for social progress. So why not in Hong Kong?”, December 9).

Although these are admirable efforts that may help dozens of youngsters from the ethnic minorities, this is not the best step forward in terms of integration and harmony on a larger scale. Further, this only further divides ethnic minorities from Han Chinese Hongkongers. The government needs to take a different approach towards building racial harmony, by improving upon a curriculum that still lacks content about the different racial and religious groups that exist in Hong Kong. Everything starts in the classroom.

A vast majority of educated young people in Hong Kong are illiterate when it comes to cultures, identities and religions. This is a huge problem, in my opinion. While Hong Kong may remain in the top five in the Pisa test, the social illiteracy among most Hong Kong students lingers.

In fact, I am certain the vast majority of students, even if they are considered intelligent on paper, would fail to differentiate an Indian from a Pakistani, a Sikh from a Muslim, or a Pinoy from an Indonesian. Looking at the bigger picture, one could say students here are blind to race and I would agree. However, they are simply blinded by ignorance (“‘They looked at me like I was from outer space’: charter to fight workplace racism”, December 1).

The problem that is not being addressed is that people from the ethnic minorities are still considered second-class citizens in Hong Kong. This has to stop.

It is high time that the Education Bureau stepped up its game. If the government wants true racial integration, harmony and equal opportunities without enforcing affirmative action, it will address the lack of the kind of social education Hong Kong students should be receiving in “Asia’s world city”.

Sukhdeep Singh, Southern District