On 18th February 2017, Hall 11 hosted a talk on “Ethnic Minorities and Society in Hong Kong.” This talk was held at Multi-function Hall-B and was the first part of the Hall 11 Talk Series.
The speaker, Mr. Alok JAIN was fascinating and inspiring. Initially an engineer from India, he has been living in Hong Kong with his family for the last 22 years. Apart from the fact that Hong Kong is very safe, Mr. Jain thoroughly enjoys the public transport here, and is passionate about trains and buses. “I even collect toys!” he laughed. His passion has driven him (pun unintended) to have a very successful career in the traffic and transport sector of Hong Kong, working at KMB and MTR. Currently, he is the Managing Director of Trans-consult Asia, a management-consulting firm specializing in Traffic and Transport advisory services. He is currently a member in the Transport Policy Committee of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in Hong Kong and is an Assistant Professor at the University of Hong Kong.
Mr. Jain is one of the 16 selected representatives of ethnic minorities in Diversity List, to empanel in Government advisory bodies and also produces a community radio show ‘Cultural Dimsum’ focused on the integration of ethnic minorities.
What does it mean to be an ethnic minority?
Mr. Jain explained how the government of Hong Kong differentiates ‘Minorities by Ethnicity’ (Whites, Japanese, Koreans, etc.) from ‘Ethnic Minorities’ like South and South-East Asians, or those races considered underprivileged. Ethnic minorities (or EMs) make up about 6.3% of the population, and 70-80% of them call Hong Kong their home. Yet, they are poorly represented in the government and even though EMs are usually highly qualified, many EM youth are unemployed, or end up in manual labour.
“We ask for equal treatment, not special treatment.”
Speaking about the language barrier non-Chinese ethnicities face, Mr. Jain pointed out that although 60-70% of local born EMs can speak and understand the local language here, they do not feel like a part of the society due to their lack of Chinese reading and writing abilities due to lack of immersion in school. The talk brought to light the importance of integration of society. Important topics like domestic violence against women in EMs and educational reform were also raised, along with crime and media portrayal in Hong Kong.
“The government has done a lot of work towards EMs”, said Mr. Jain, although also pointing out that there are still some ways to go regarding outreach of resources and jobs. “EMs should not be part of the problem, but part of the solution.”
“Hong Kong has been very kind to me.”
While speaking from personal experience, Mr. Jain recalls, “I have never faced any awkward situation as an EM” and “If you want to call Hong Kong your home, there’s no place like it.”
“Don’t draw those lines.”
Mr. Jain believes that it is our duty to educate one another and sensitize the society towards issues like these. “Hong Kong is an immigrant population and the term ‘ethnic minority’ should cease to exist.” He suggests people from all ethnicities to not box themselves in or only socialize with people from their community.
At the end, I asked some members of the audience to share their views about what they learned:
“I was impressed by the speakers’ background and the way he spoke about ethnic minorities without a Psychology background.”
– SHIN Ji Yong, Hall 11, Year 3, Information Management
“As a finance student, to realize another side of Hong Kong and the difficulties faced by ethnic minorities- it was a new thing for me.”
– CHEN Min, Hall 11, Year 3, Finance
Writer: Riddhi SUKHIA (Jockey Club Academy Hall)
Photographer: REN Ling (Sir Gordon and Lady Ivy Wu Hall)
主講人程艾樂先生（Mr. Alok JAIN）極富魅力並能振奮人心，他是來自印度的工程師，與家人住在香港已經有22年了。除了香港是個特別安全的城市之外，程先生還特別享受這裡的公共交通，并很樂意乘坐火車和巴士。「我甚至還收集玩具呢！」他笑道。他的熱情驅使他勝任九龍巴士和港鐵等香港交通運輸部門的工作，目前他擔任Trans-consult Asia的總經理，這是一家交通運輸行業的管理咨詢公司。他目前也是香港運輸物流學會運輸政策委員會的成員，也是香港大學的助理教授。
── SHIN Ji Yong（舍堂十一 / 信息管理三年級）
──陳敏（舍堂十一 / 金融學系三年級）
文: Riddhi SUKHIA (賽馬會群智堂)
譯: 王琪 (舍堂十)
圖: 任伶 (胡應湘爵士伉儷堂)