Story of the Month - November 2017

Story of the Month - November 2017 

每月故事 - 二零一七年十一月

According to the 2016 Census, there are over 46,000 non-Chinese minority students enrolled in local primary and secondary schools, many of whom are of South Asian origin. How do these minority students cope with the local school system while maintaining their heritage culture?

根據二零一六年人口普查,在本地中小學就讀的非華裔少數民族學生超過四萬六千人,其中不少是南亞裔。這些少數族裔學生如何在保持文化傳統的同時,應對本地的學校制度呢?

Centre member Prof. Michelle GU Min-yue, a scholar in education, has conducted a study on a group of teenage female secondary students originated from Pakistan. Some of them were born in Hong Kong; others were born in Pakistan and migrated with their family for years. They are all fluent in English and Urdu, and while their written Chinese proficiency is not high, they can communicate in Cantonese.

本中心成員、教育學者谷明月教授,研究來自巴基斯坦的中學女生。她們有些是在香港出生的,有些則在巴基斯坦出生、隨家人移民來港多年。她們都操流利英語和烏爾都語。雖然她們的中文讀寫水準不高,但她們都可以用粵語溝通。

 

Prof. Gu found that these girls face multiple marginalization. At home, they face pressure from their gendered heritage custom, such as the unequal position between females and males, and the cultural imposition of arranged marriage at a young age thereby making university education inaccessible. In the larger society, they encounter various types of exclusion due to stereotypes about South Asian “cultural deficiencies” and mainstream society’s insensitivity to the cultural and/or religious practices of ethnic minority groups.
谷教授的研究發現,這些少女面臨著多重邊緣化。在家裡,她們面對性別化的傳統習俗如男女地位不平等,而給年幼少女安排婚姻的習俗則間接令她們難以進入大學。此外,主流社會對南亞文化抱有不少刻板印象,又對少數族裔的文化和宗教習俗缺乏敏感度,因而遭遇到各種排斥。

 

Yet the Pakistani girls are not just passive victims of negative stereotypes. Take one girl’s experience on the MTR as an example. When a local Chinese expressed racist comments about her scarf and skin color in Cantonese, thinking that she did not understand Cantonese. She responded by taking out her phone and speaking in Cantonese. Speaking the language of the majority has afforded her a measure of self-empowerment.

然而,這些巴基斯坦少女面對負面刻板印象的時候,不一定只能扮演被動的受害者。一位少女在地鐵的經驗就是例子。一位本地華人以爲她不懂粵語,用粵語對她的圍巾和膚色發表帶種族主義的評論。她於是拿出手機,用粵語說話。說主流社會的語言,是她自我賦權的方法。

 

Prof. Gu’s research shows that these participants, as active agents adopt culturally, religiously, behaviourally and linguistically grounded strategies to make the most of the opportunities they have or hope to gain access to. In the meantime they devise the strategies to circumvent the obstacles that they expect to encounter along the way. They also continue to establish new relationships with their surroundings and construct multiple identities as Pakistani, Muslim, female and internationally oriented Hong Kong people, in different contexts in which they navigate. While mainstream culture has to a certain extent released Pakistani girls from the oppression and pressure of religion and customs, more guidance and support is needed to realize their dreams, and to make this release less temporary and uncertain.

古教授的研究表明,她們是積極的能動者,採取文化、宗教、行為和語言上的策略,以充分利用已有或希望獲得的機會,也同時回避可能遇到的障礙。她們也繼續與周圍環境建立新的關係,在不同的環境中建立巴基斯坦人、穆斯林、女性和國際化的香港人等的多重身份。雖然主流文化在某程度上釋放了巴基斯坦少女在宗教和習俗上的壓力,但她們還需要更多的指導和支持才能實現自己的夢想,以減低這種釋放的暫時性與不確定性。


Michelle Gu
Photo of Apliu Street, Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong. Sham Shui Po is one of the districts where many Pakistanis reside.

香港深水埗鴨寮街。深水埗區是巴基斯坦人聚居的地方之一

 

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