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)
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)