There is a Chinese proverb that goes, “Hami is known for cantaloupes; Turpan is known for grapes; and Xinjiang is famous for pretty girls”. And with much honour, I am able to interview two beauties from two Chinese ethnic minority groups – Brittany WANG (Jockey Club Harmony Hall) and Dilireba TALIFUJIANG (Lee Shau Kee Hall).
With pale skin and big smiling eyes, Brittany is of Russ descent who is currently a Year 3 student studying Social Work at City University of Hong Kong. Dilireba, with darker skin tone and deep facial features inherited from her Uyghur genes, is a freshman of Civil Engineering and Architecture major.
Q: What do you think about Hong Kong?
D: I think Hong Kong is a place that respects the freedom of religion. It is really comfortable for me to live here. A few days ago I joined the “Feast of Sacrifice” hosted in the Student Residence, and it was a blast! As a Muslim, I have a diet that I need to stick with, and my friends are always attentive of my needs. There was a time when we went for a hot pot dinner and they took care of me and ordered food that I could eat.
B: Hong Kong is cold on the outside but warm on the inside. When I first came here, the city was in a politically sensitive situation, which I experienced a period of “coldness”. But since my major is social work, I get to learn about the real side of Hong Kong gradually. Although the city is fast-paced, people are actually very kind and compassionate.
Q: Is there anything that you are not used to living in Hong Kong?
D: I am not used to cooking. But it is inevitable since there is little halal food available in the school canteens. Actually there are not much halal restaurants in Hong Kong to be honest, and they are often far away from school. Also, I am not used to the humid weather here in Hong Kong, which is why I get allergies on my face.
B: It is so humid here! We are used to the sunny and dry climate in Xinjiang. After we came, we find it a little frustrating since clothes and blankets are hard to dry. Also, the fruits here are not tasty at all.
Q: Can you tell us more about your ethnic group?
D: My ancestors are of Turks. Ethnic identity and religion influence our culture a lot. We have many traditional festivals, for example Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice), Eid al-Fitr (Festival of Fast-breaking), and Nowruz (Persian New Year). Nowruz is our biggest festival of the year. To celebrate, We eat Nowruz rice, wear flower hats, dance, etc.
B: My ancestors are Russians. As we did not follow any specific religions, we have had intermarriages with the Han Chinese since a long time ago. This has weakened our ethnic traces. Now, only the older generations know how to speak Russian. At home, my mother sometimes calls me Roya. It is a Russian name, meaning “the prettiest moon in the sky”.
D: My name means, “Loved by everyone, anywhere”. (She held her cheek with her hands like a flower)
Q: Not long ago, Brittany performed a Xinjiang dance in a hall activity. Do you plan to organize any activities so that people can learn more about your ethnic group and culture?
D: There are very few Xinjiang students here, not to mention students from the same ethnic group. It would be difficult to gather people to help organize activities.
Q: In fact, we would like to organize a cultural exchange activity with students from the 31 other provinces in China. We can be one of them, and at least let everyone know that Xinjiang is not located in the northeast of China.
Writer: Betty WANG (Hall 10)
Translator: Michelle CHIANG (Hall 10)
Images: Brittany WANG (Jockey Club Harmony Hall), Dilireba TALIFUJIANG (Lee Shau Kee Hall)
文: 王琪 (舍堂十)
圖: 王炫月 (賽馬會群萃堂)、迪麗熱巴· 塔里甫江 (李兆基堂)