Play Nicely, Now

  • Share
  • Read Later

Being Eurasian and therefore a member of an racial minority myself, I rejoiced to see an air-punching posse of my South Asian brothers at Hong Kong’s recent democracy protests, marching under the banner of the anti-racism group, Unison. But what’s more remarkable is how little racism there has been in this city since the end of British rule.
When you consider the disdain and condescension showered upon the Chinese by the British during the colonial era – I was there at the last days, I saw it, it was bad – it’s a wonder that Caucasians today can walk the streets unmolested. Or that the post-colonial administration hasn’t enacted vengeful legislation banning white people from, say, parks, the front seats of buses and top jobs. But in fact it’s all very phlegmatic.
Relations between the Chinese and Hong Kong’s South Asian community, admittedly, are not so hot. There’s plenty of the casual racism of the name-calling, there-goes-the-neighborhood, not-with-a-daughter-of-mine variety. But at least there’s no actual violence. No graffiti, no fire-bombings, turf wars, lynching, racist literature, or deportation campaigns.
In the past 10 years, the people of Hong Kong have been faced with political frustration, economic hardship and social uncertainty, but they haven’t vented their feelings on minorities, as you see happening elsewhere. Up north, in mainland China, louts may throw bricks through the dormitory windows of African students, or torch Japanese cars, but Hong Kong people have been exemplars of cultural tolerance.
Now all they have to do is be nice to each other.