07~08 Grade 8 Language of Ethnic Minorities in Hong Kong The Pakistanis Christopher Yuk 8D(40) Lanston Yeung 8D(38) Phil Xie 8D(37) Introduction Hong Kong is an international metropolis where the Chinese and foreigners coexist.
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The South Asian group of Indian, Nepalese and Pakistani forms a distinct group different from others. The three countries are neighbors to each other in the Indian subcontinent, and are characterized as ethnically diverse, with more than 2,000 ethnic entities and populations ranging from hundreds of millions to small tribal groups.
These three ethnic minority groups share many similarities but also many differences in their cultures, customs, languages, religions, food and dressing. They have different religions and languages which are listed in table below:
The Indians have a far better mastery of Chinese and English than the Pakistani and the Nepalese.
An agency visit to a social welfare agency in Kwai Chung was arranged in February to understand the type of social services it is rendering to the Pakistan families and other ethnic minorities.
With the agency’s consent and assistance, we successfully conducted an interview with Mr. Lo Kai Chung, the social worker of H.K.S.K.H Lady MacLehose Centre, who is an experienced worker responsible for the ethnic minorities’ project; and also Mr. Wasal, a Pakistani who came to Hong Kong 17 years ago.
In order to have a clearer picture and knowledge on how much people know about the South Asians in Hong Kong, we conducted a questionnaire survey on ‘General public’s perception and knowledge on the ethnic minorities’.
The questionnaire survey was conducted from January 15 to February 4, 2008, and consisted of 12 questions.
People of different age and from different backgrounds were chosen through random and convenience sampling in this survey and altogether 50 questionnaires were successfully completed and collected.
Before we worked out the script for the video, we have an intensive information collection process between February and mid-March. We carried out an in-depth study on our chosen minority group Pakistani via library and internet search and also through 2 social welfare agency visits. The aspects we examined including language, religion, family life, work, culture, sports, festival, dressing, food.
Urdu is the most common language used by the Pakistan. Urdu is closely related to Hindi but is written in an extended Arabic alphabet form. Although some Pakistani also speaks English and/or Chinese, very few of them are good at written Chinese.
Islam is practiced by the majority of Pakistanis. Among certain obligations for Muslims, they are to pray five times a day - at dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset, and evening and Friday is treated as the holy day. During the holy month of Ramadan all Muslims must fast from dawn to dusk and are only permitted to work six hours per day. Fasting includes no eating, drinking, cigarette smoking, or gum chewing.
The extended family is the basis of the social structure and individual identity and loyalty to the family is highly emphasized. Families are quite large by western standard, often having up to 6 children. Females are protected from outside influence. Majority of them are housewives and women get married at a very young age. Men are breadwinner and the dominating figure in the family.
Due to their low educational levels and language barriers, many Pakistanis have to take up low-skilled and low-pay jobs like construction workers, guards, coolies or manufactory worker, with over half of them earning an income less than $9,000 per month.
People are respected because of their age and position. Older people are viewed as wise and are granted respect. Titles are very important and denote respect. It is expected that you will use a person's title and their surname until invited to use their first name.
Pakistani most favorite sport is Cricket. They also play hockey, football, kabbadi, squash, badminton, and wrestling. Pakistan have long been one of the dominant powers in the Cricket Super Six Tournament in Hong Kong, winning the first event in 1992 and adding further triumphs in 1997, 2001 and 2002.
There are altogether 7 Islamic festivals including Islamic New Year (Ramadan), Birthday of Prophet Muhammad, Night Journey and Ascension of Prophet Muhammad, Night of Enlightened, Festival of Feast (Eid-al-Fitr), Pilgrimage (Haij) and Festival of Sacrifice (Eid-al-Adha).
Pakistani men wear traditional Shalwar Kameez. Shalwars are loose pajama-like trousers and the kameez is a long shirt or tunic.
When women wear the salwar kameez, they usually wear a long scarf or shawl called a dupatta around the head or neck.
Pakistani’s basic food is called CHAPATI. It is unleavened bread made with dough prepared from whole wheat flour. Another basic food is LASSI, milk from which curds and butterfat have been removed. Vegetables, usually seasonal, lentils are commonly used. Families with larger incomes eat more meat, eggs and fruits. And the more affluent cook with GHEE, which is clarified butter, instead of with vegetable oil. Some Pakistanis make heavy - use of spices, herbs, seeds, and flavorings and seasonings in their cooking.
‘Fear, indifference, alienation and prejudice stem mainly from unfamiliarity. In order to have racial harmony, we have to start with understanding.’
Thinking back, maybe many of us have said the Indians or Pakistanis are smelly, preferred to stand rather than sit next to them, or thought that we are more capable and superior to the them. There may also be times that we considered the outlook of the Nepalese weird. All these discriminating behaviors are originated from our ignorance on them.
We are extremely grateful to the following people, without their help this project can never be completed:
Mrs. W.F. Wong (Our YSP in-charge teacher)
Mr. Lo Kai Chung (Social Worker)
Mr. Earnest Ng (Social Worker)
Mr. Arif Abbas (Pakistani Youth)
Mr. Moshin (Pakistan Youth)
Mr. Wasal (Pakistan Youth)