Through the Looking Glass: Sunyeol PARK – A Korean Growing Up in India / 鏡中人──在印度長大的韓國人PARK Sunyeol

(按此看中文版)

Huffing and panting as I made my way to AC3’s Bistro, I was 5 minutes late (as per usual) to my lunch meeting. Sunyeol PARK (Hall 11, Year 4, Finance) was already there, patiently waiting and greeting me with his smile. We had a few classes together and had a few occasions where we checked our homework together. From our few encounters, I got to know that Sun, who was born in South Korea, spent most of his adolescent life– 7 years to be exact– in India.

After finishing his elementary school in Korea, Sun wanted something more. He wanted to explore the world outside of Korea. A family friend opened up the idea of studying in India and so with a leap of faith and a bunch of courage, he and his sister packed their bags and went to India for a new start.

Sun (centre) and his friends in India. / 在印度和朋友聊天中的阿Sun(中)。

His life in India was not without a struggle. The extreme difference in culture, as well as language barrier, was the toughest challenge he had to overcome. He mentioned how in class, his Indian friends would speak to each other in Hindi and he would ask them to speak in English, but to no avail. It was a constant battle to fit in, but in the end, he realized that while he’s in India, there is no fault to try to blend in and learn their language. He took notes and picked up the language.

The battle to fit in did not end there. It is quite obvious that Koreans and Indians do not share any similar features appearance-wise, and he was often treated differently because of it. When he took the public transport, quite often whispers and even rude comments would follow. Being able to understand the language, he often found himself in a difficult situation—the constant battle of wanting to stand up for himself but also realizing that he was in another country and he needed to behave accordingly.

“Do you ever regret it? Going to India?” I asked. He shook his head, “I never once regretted going to India. I used to be very shy but now I am more outspoken.” Despite the hardships he went through, it had made him a stronger person. He made valuable friends and learned valuable life lessons. If there was one thing I admired most in Sun, it was his independence. Being apart from his family for such a long time, he was able to make decisions for himself, be it good or bad. He’s not afraid to stand up for himself when he has to. I still sometimes complain to my mom when things don’t go my way, but hearing his story made me hung my head in shame. While I need someone to constantly reassure me that I’m doing the right thing, Sun is ready to step out of his comfort zone and reach it.

Sun (front) enjoys his hall life with his fellow Hall 11 residents. / Sun 對於在舍堂十一的宿舍生活樂在其中。
Buying food together at a local market (Sun on the left). / 和朋友一起到超級市場購買食物(左者為阿Sun)。

Coming to Hong Kong was also solely his decision. He wanted to further explore his opportunities in an English-speaking country, so here he is now at Hong Kong, pursuing a degree in Finance. He initially aspired to be a banker, but as we all know, university is the place where we grow and figure out what we really like, so now Sun is looking at his options to become a consultant as he enjoys talking to people.

Our meeting had to be cut short due to another appointment I have, but I left the place more inspired than ever. We tend to cling to our own people. Locals hang out with other locals, Indonesians hang out with other Indonesians, Koreans hang out with other Koreans and Indians hang out with other Indians. We don’t go out of our way to really get to know new people, except for the exceptional handful of other international friends we say hi to. We tend to stick with our own people because it feels more comfortable, and sometimes stepping out of our comfort zone is a bit easier said than done. However, we should learn from Sun. Despite the challenges we may face when we meet new people and new culture, we can always gain something from it in the end. University is the place for you to know yourself better, and with the diverse culture in CityU and the Student Residence, it is the perfect place for you to grow and challenge yourself day by day.

Enjoying Korean food with friends (Sun on the right). / 和朋友們共享韓國美食(右者為阿Sun)。

Writer:   Natasya Viona CHANDRA (Jockey Club Harmony Hall)

~~~

慣性遲到五分鐘的我用急促的步伐喘着氣地往劉鳴煒學術樓(AC3)的西式餐廳走去。剛到達餐廳,就看見PARK Sunyeol(舍堂十一 / 經濟學系四年級)正耐心地坐在某一枱,以微笑迎接著我。我們曾經一起上課,亦曾經有過幾次一起複習作業的機會。在這些交流的機會當中,我認識了Sun。他雖然在南韓出生,大部分的少年生活卻是在印度渡過的,達七年之多。

在韓國完成小學課程後,Sun想得到更多──他想探索韓國以外的世界。於是,其中一位親戚便提議他到印度學習。就這樣,年紀小小的Sun懷着滿滿的自信及勇氣,和他的姊姊收拾好行李,踏上了一個新的旅程。

Sun (centre) and his friends in India. / 在印度和朋友聊天中的阿Sun(中)。

然而Sun 在印度生活的日子並不是一帆風順的,要提及當中最艱辛而又必須克服的困難的話,必定是兩地文化之間的極端差異及語言障礙。比如說,上課的時候,Sun的印度藉同學會以印地語溝通,但他卻聽不懂,唯有請求同學以英文溝通。不幸地,由於英文不是印度人和韓國人的母語,所以就算大家嘗試以英文溝通,也無濟於事。這個長期的挑戰就等於長期的戰爭,直到後來,他得到了一個啟發:既然他來印度生活、學習,為甚麼不嘗試去融入這個地方及文化,而且學習他們的語言以便溝通呢?想着想着,他便開始寫筆記,努力的學習一種新語言。

除了要適應文化差異及語言障礙外,Sun與當地人的外表也很不一樣,因為韓國人與印度人的服飾打扮有很大的分別。因此,他經常也會受到不公平的對待,例如乘搭交通工具的時候經常也會聽到當地人竊竊私語,甚至粗魯的評論。學懂了這地方的語言,有時候卻又聽到不善意的說話,真的讓Sun十分難堪。他一方面想為自己站出來說話,但又意識到自己身為另一個國家的公民來到這個地方生活,就應該要保持友善、維持和平。

「你有後悔過到印度生活嗎?」我好奇地提出了這個疑問。Sun搖了搖頭:「我從來都沒有後悔過到印度生活。從前的我十分害羞,但現在的我卻很外向。」儘管Sun經歷了這一切的艱難,他卻從試煉中把自己培養成為一個更強的人。他認識了知心的朋友,並學習了寶貴的生命課。若你們問我最敬佩Sun的那一樣特徵,我會說是他獨立的個性:要與他的家人分開這麼長的時間,他能夠為自己做出不同的決定,無論是好還是壞,也是值得欣賞的。必要的時候,他會懂得為自己發聲。反之,現在的我有時候還會向媽媽抱怨事情與我的期望有差異呢!聽過他的故事後,我真的感到十分羞愧。當我還時時刻刻需要別人提點我做應該做的事、走應該走的路的時候,Sun已經踏出了這一步,成為一個獨立的人。

Sun (front) enjoys his hall life with his fellow Hall 11 residents. / Sun 對於在舍堂十一的宿舍生活樂在其中。
Buying food together at a local market (Sun on the left). / 和朋友一起到超級市場購買食物(左者為阿Sun)。

其實,要到香港學習也是Sun的決定。 他希望在注重英語的國家進一步探索他的機會及潛能,所以他現在來到香港,主修金融學。最初,Sun渴望成為一個銀行家,但我們都知道,大學是我們成長的地方,我們可以從中找出我們真正喜歡的事物,所以現在Sun正在尋找他成為顧問的方向,因為他十分喜歡與人交談。

由於我當天還有另一個面談,因此我和Sun只好結束這一次的面談。但是,我很慶幸自己在這個面談中得到很多啟發!我們習慣依靠自己身邊的人,例如本地人和其他本地人混在一起,印尼人和其他印尼人混在一起,韓國人和其他韓國人混在一起,印度人和其他印度人混在一起。但是,若然我們不嘗試脫離自己設定的框架去認識新的朋友,只限於與和自己有特殊關係、而且特別少數的外地朋友溝通,我們並不會真正的了解其他人。我們傾向於依靠和自己生活與同一個文化、同一個圈子的人,因為這樣做會讓我們感覺更舒適更自在。此外,要鼓起勇氣走出我們的「窩居」亦是一個知易行難、難以改變的習慣。儘管如此,我們也應該以Sun作為榜樣。即使我們在接觸新的人和文化時可能面臨挑戰,但我們總會能夠從中獲得一些寶貴的東西。 大學是一個讓你更了解自己的地方,隨著城市大學和學生宿舍提供的多元文化,你將能夠在這個地方長大和戰勝自己。

Enjoying Korean food with friends (Sun on the right). / 和朋友們共享韓國美食(右者為阿Sun)。

文:   Natasya Viona CHANDRA (賽馬會群萃堂)
譯:   何栢妮 (李兆基堂)

2 thoughts on “Through the Looking Glass: Sunyeol PARK – A Korean Growing Up in India / 鏡中人──在印度長大的韓國人PARK Sunyeol

  1. I really liked the article you wrote about my friend. You are so right that his independence and extrovert personality are what I definitely want to absorb from Sun! Loved the way you wrote about him.

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