Thursday, April 17, 2014

[Indian Culture Workshop 2013-2014] Session 3: An Indian…made in China

Session 3: An Indian…made in China
Speakers: Mr. Vivek Mahbubani

What is the life of a minority, namely Indian in Hong Kong like? Are there tons of stereotypes in their growing up experiences? Can you imagine how it feels being treated by others as they treat the minorities?

Vivek Mahbubani, a well-known comedian in Hong Kong, was awarded the funniest person in 2007 and 2008. He spent his time in Hong Kong as a teenager, a university student, and now works in the I.T. industry in Hong Kong.

In this session, Vivek has shared with the audiences about his experiences as an Indian in Hong Kong. His experiences were not always as cheerful as his comedy. Rather, in his childhood, he had come across with all types of discrimination and stereotypes that every Indian would experience-- from the length of eyelashes, the size of nose, and the amount of bodyhair. People somehow picked on him because of these generalized stereotypes they have on the Indians.

Vivek went to a relatively prestigious local high school that allowed him to choose between French and Chinese other than just learning English. He chose French. He explained that his Chinese was sufficient for him to communicate with others successfully, and thus had considered to start a new language. To this extent, he then touched on the hot topic about setting up the Chinese as Secondary Language (CSL) for ethnic minorities in Hong Kong. He claims that, from his point of view and experiences, it is not the syllabus that is problematic, but the government and authorities who oversee the need of social supporting. He suggested that instead of giving ethnic minority students a different syllabus in local schools, the resources should be allocated to offer support, such as tutoring. 

Yet, his experience of prejudice has changed when he got into the City University of Hong Kong for his undergraduate studies. In the university, having a foreign friend makes people stand out, and seen as good and different. Because of this, a lot of local students approached Vivek actively and wanted to meet him. The change has amazed him, and he now wonders whether these experiences later on inspired him to become a comedian. 

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