Through the looking glass: Kuba Chiagorom / 與眾不同的香港體驗——交換生Kuba Chiagorom

(按此看中文版)

If you happen to pass the outdoor court of AC3 and see one Nigerian foreigner playing basketball with all the local boys, most likely that will be Jockey Club Humanity Hall’s very own British-Nigerian exchange student, Kuba CHIAGOROM.

Besides Jackie Chan’s movie, particularly Rush Hour, and the idea of Kung Fu practiced by the general population, Kuba’s decision to come to Hong Kong was also greatly influenced by his curiosity over what a collectivist society would be like. The neuroscience student from University of Essex was interested in finding the difference between Hong Kong and UK.

There was a lot of stereotypes about oriental civilization that he was able to disprove – one of the most obvious one was the mediocre English he thought the locals would have as it was how the media portrays it to be. After having lived in this city for more than 7 months, he would constantly call home defending how Chinese food is actually like and how Chicken Chow Mein is non-existent in the area where it supposedly came from.

He does see a significant difference from the way society functions here; Hong Kong’s community structure is fiercely hierarchical – and very often the locals do as they are told which could affect their common sense. However, on a more positive note, he saw that students were all very inviting and welcoming. Back in his home university, he would stay with his own cliques. No one just jumps from one group of friends to the other. In fact it was because of acquaintances outside his normal group that he was brought to Dimsum. Apparently, Nigeria has a similar dish to pig’s intestine (Ju Cheung) called Shaky which taste and looks exactly the same like its Chinese counterpart.

The warmth of hall culture changed him a lot as a person. According to him, everyone in England has their own rooms but living with someone has made him become more self-aware. Being friends with people from different cultural backgrounds has taught him to try and look at situations from a different point of view. He has become more understanding even with people who has opinions that he doesn’t agree with. Kuba mentioned that he probably wouldn’t change if it wasn’t for Hong Kong’s culture. In fact, he is actually nervous of going back home and trying to fit in with a new and different cultural perspective.

One thing for sure that he will miss about Hong Kong is its basketball culture. He can go to Mongkok or Tsim Sha Tsui and play spontaneously three-on-three with strangers. Basketball is not as big in London – he would have to go through the trouble of booking a court in advance just to play his favorite sport. Another thing that he would miss is the C+ drink – so if you see him in the court bring him a can and he will definitely love you.

Writer:   Julianne DIONISIO (Jockey Club Humanity Hall)
Images:   Kuba CHIAGOROM (Jockey Club Humanity Hall)

~~~

若你某天經過AC3外的籃球場,看見一個尼日利亞人在球場上與本地學生切磋球藝,那你很有機會看見了住在賽馬會敬賢堂、來自英國的尼日利亞交換生Kuba CHIAGOROM

Kuba之所以決定來香港,除了受成龍的武打電影《火拼時速》影響,從而衍生對功夫的憧憬外,更多是因為對多元化城市的好奇。主修神經科學的他來自英國艾塞克斯大學,並且對發掘香港及英國的文化差異有莫大興趣。

來到香港後,Kuba否定了很多對華人社會的文化定型。其中最為明顯的是,在媒體的負面渲染下,他本以為香港學生的英文水平都很平庸,事實卻並非如此。作為交換生,Kuba已在香港度過了七個月,他有空便會致電家中,與家人闡述東方菜餚最真實的面貌,當家人對炒麵的發源地有所誤解時,他亦不忘為炒麵辯解。

深入了解香港後,Kuba深切體會到香港社會與英國社會的不同。他認為,香港社會著重階級觀念,有時候香港學生的判斷會被別人的隻言片語左右。但站於樂觀的角度來看,他認為的香港學生很隨和,對外國人也很包容。在英國的時候,他不會踏出自己已有的人際網絡,因為普遍學生都不會在不同的社交圈子內游移。但來到香港後,他有機會接觸不同的人,也正正因為認識了不同背景的人,他才有機會一嚐香港最地道的點心和小食。他說,尼日利亞也有一道賣相和味道與豬腸幾乎一模一樣的菜餚,名叫「Shaky」。

溫馨的宿舍氛圍也為Kuba帶來了不少改變。他說,英國的學生都有獨立的房間,來到香港與別人同住反而令他對自己的生活習慣更為警惕,更多地為別人設想。他的朋友來自不同的文化背景,交談中令他對很多事情有了另一番看法。現在,他更能理解與自己持相反意見的人的想法。他也坦言,若非來了香港,接觸了香港多樣性的文化,他的堅持己見也許永遠不會改變。對話中,他透露了對重新融入英國社會的緊張,有了新的視野,新的體會,對於同一個地方、同一件事情的看法也不會再一樣了。

Kuba對香港最不捨的其中一件事,便是籃球文化。在這裡,他可以隨意走進旺角或尖沙嘴的籃球場,和任何陌生人展開隨機的三對三籃球賽,而在英國,籃球卻不是特別流行,想打籃球須經過一連串繁複的訂場手續,不然便很難如願了。另外一樣會令Kuba回味的東西,便是罐裝C+。倘若你偶然在籃球場上看見他,不妨帶一罐C+給他,一定會令他笑逐顏開!

文:   Julianne DIONISIO (賽馬會敬賢堂)
譯:   駱嘉時 (賽馬會群智堂)
圖:   Kuba CHIAGOROM (賽馬會敬賢堂)

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