Hong Kong has a small population (below 10%) of South Asians, most of which are living with a meager family income. In particular, their kids bear the blunt of the lack of means for what care otherwise should have been given them. No wonder they are often seen roaming in groups in the street and playing impromptu games like fighting with discarded bamboo sticks. Most of them can speak Cantonese, the local native tongue, much better than they can write or read Chinese (Note: Cantonese and written Chinese are based on the same Chinese characters). For this reason, and for the lack of guidance at home, these kids who do good at school are few and far between. With the language barrier, the skin colour and the image of seemingly urchins, these ethnic minority kids – and the grown-ups too – have been struggling for acceptance. It goes without saying that what awaits them in the employment market are the lower end ones.
But it is hopefully moving towards a better scenario for them. A year of so ago, the local government took the matter more seriously by devising some employment rule to bring in more South Asians in the government service team. The society is also witnessing subtle changes in the society’s acceptance of ethnic minorities as evidenced by rave praises of the good performance of a South Asian news reporter who appear in a Chinese TV and is gaining increasing popularity.
Occasionally, I take photos of South Asian kids when I come across them in the street. After every shot, no matter they are young kids or teenagers, their first response is unanimously going up to me, racing to take a look of it on the screen. "Let me see, let me see," they will shout excitedly as if that could draw the most attention. Their response seems to tell that taking a photo is almost a luxury to them. These kids are quite friendly and their English is usually surprising good.