Friday, December 4, 2015

[Publication] Book Review on Chinese Migration to Europe: Prato, Italy, and Beyond

Hiu Ling, our MPhil graduate, has her first book review being published on the Journal of Chinese Overseas (Volume 11, Issue 2, pages 220 – 223). She reviewed the book Chinese Migration to Europe: Prato, Italy, and Beyond, written by Loretta Baldassar, Graeme Johanson, Narelle McAuliffe, and Massimo Bressan.

A screencap of Hiu Ling's publication on the website of Brill Online Books and Journals

To read the book review, please go to the website of Brill Online Books and Journals.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

[FUN with Interculturalism] Recruiting Helpers

Multiculturalism in Action Project is going to organize a new event, FUN with Interculturalism, to promote cultural diversity and equal opportunity in the community!! The project includes an exhibition on South Asians in Hong Kong and a kabaddi hands-on program.

We are now looking for helpers to be docents of the exhibition and teach kabaddi during the events.

To be our helpers, you need to:

1) Attend a compulsory training session to learn South Asian culture and kabaddi:
Date: 12/12/2015 (Saturday)
Time: 12:30 - 16:30
Venue: Rm 401, Humanities Building

2) Attend at least 3 sessions in January / February held in local community centers / secondary schools.

Allowance will be provided during the training session and each event you attend.

All are welcome! Please register on or before 10/12/2015 at

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

[Pakistani Culture Workshop] Personal Narratives: Minority Women in a Multicultural Environment

Multiculturalism in Action 2015-16
Pakistani Culture Workshop: Making a Change for the Better

Session 5: Personal Narratives: Minority Women in a Multicultural Environment
Speakers:  Multicultural Team, YMCA Cheung Sha Wan Centre, and Pakistani ladies from Sham Shui Po

On 21 November, 2015, participants of the Pakistani Culture Workshop visited YMCA Cheung Sha Wan Centre to learn about the everyday experiences of Pakistanis in Sham Shui Po, in relation to aspects such as gender, family, marriage, and migrant experiences. Participants also had the chance to practice interview skills as a preparation for their community-based projects.
Ms. Law Lap Man, Principal Program Officer of the YMCA Multicultural Team, first gave us an introduction to their work in bridging the South Asian and Chinese communities in Sham Shui Po. Pakistanis and Nepalis were the main service users and sometimes there were also Indians and Filipinos joining their programs. Apart from providing services to the South Asian residents in Sham Shui Po, the Team also managed a community shop selling handicrafts made by South Asian women as a way to supplement their family income.
During the presentation, Ms. Law highlighted the point that it was usually the mothers who came to the Center to join the programs. Even though the Center aimed at serving “parents”, the fathers seldom attended their activities. One possible reason was the gender division of labor in the family, as mothers were considered homemakers and therefore responsible for childcaring. She also mentioned that some years ago the fathers would come too, when there was a Pakistani colleague in their Team. Thus it may be that the gender concept among the fathers had discouraged their attendance.   
Ms. Law then briefly outlined the history of South Asians in Hong Kong. The first generation had come with the British Army in 1848, but the term “Pakistanis” only appeared after the independence of Pakistan in 1947. More than 99% of Pakistanis in Hong Kong were Muslims. Ms. Saleena, a Pakistani colleague, reminded us that there were also some Pakistani Christians in Hong Kong, and we should not generalize the Pakistani community as a homogeneous group. 

Ms. Law giving a presentation

Ms. Saleena then introduced what henna was. She said henna was a body art popular all over South Asia. Women drew it as a leisure art or during wedding and festivals, while men drew henna only during festivals. Some patterns of henna were really complicated, but women loved to draw mostly flowers and birds which were symbols of fortune. Nowadays, young people loved to draw whatever they liked, such as personal names, or even characters in video games.

Henna drawing

We then divided into three groups to conduct group interview with the ladies. Topics that were discussed included migration, family, marriage, and how these different factors interacted. Although our interviewees were mostly second and third generation in Hong Kong, they had strong connections with Pakistan. A teenager who was fourth generation living in Hong Kong said she missed Pakistan because her cousins were there. Her last journey to Pakistan was two years ago. She hoped to travel to Pakistan more often but the cost of a family trip was very expensive. 

Group discussion

In terms of marriage practices, arranged marriage was popular and it was a factor for many Pakistani migrants coming to Hong Kong. Pakistani girls aged around 12 to 13 could already be engaged and migrant marriages were common. Although the new generation was more open to dating, they were still observant of the customs to choose a spouse from among Pakistani Muslims. Like many Hong Kong females, the interviewees had their own imaginations about their future husbands - a handsome and muscular guy, while at the same time accepting the fact that it was their parents who would try to arrange a good marriage for them.   
We also enjoyed masala milk tea and a Muslim dessert called sheer khurma prepared by the Pakistani ladies.  Sheer khurma was a pudding made from vermicelli, milk, sugar, and spices. Ms. Saleena explained that Muslims prepared sheer khurma after the Ramadan and during the Festival of Sacrifice. 
The program ended with a three-minute video that summarized the multicultural work of YMCA Cheung Sha Wan Centre. Although it was not an easy job to promote multiculturalism in Hong Kong, Ms. Law believed the situation would change, and the day would come when no ethnic group would be ignored in Hong Kong as a truly cosmopolitan city.