On Racism in Hong Kong
Hong Kong has almost perennially been a socially conservative city with deep-rooted racist tendencies amongst both the elder and younger generations.
As much as we like to call ourselves an international metropolitan, our city is heavily segregated along racial lines.
We call Indians and Pakistanis (a distinction few bother to make!) “A Cha”s, which literally translate to Forks. We call white people “Gwailos” — or Ghosts. We call Africans “Huk Gwais” — or Black Ghosts. We call Mainland Chinese variations of pussy, cunt, Communists, and many other demeaning epithets…
In all these cases we generalise a race into a singular character: the brown people are the underclasses (or the rich money-hoarders), the blacks the criminals, the whites the people to be revered and respected (or to be found with prostitutes in Wan Chai), the mainland Chinese the equivalent of the Chinese government’s uncivilised extension arm. A look of disgust for the ones we fear. A look of admiration for the ones who are ‘pretty’.
There is no counterbalancing narrative, because even the pan-Democrats — so fervently pro democracy and rights — consider Mainland Chinese their sworn enemies in physical form. The very people condemning racism often easily make the same assertions about Mainland Chinese themselves.
We need to grow out of this as a city. We need a perspective fit for a globalising world. We need to grow up.