|Hong Kong waterfront 🙂 I really wanted to get on that red tour boat haha. April 2017|
Born in Hong Kong, moved to Canada when I was 5 and grew up in a pretty multi cultural community. From hearing stories over the past many many years regarding news events and historical happenings from my relatives and from friends living in Hong Kong, as well as hearing their perspective towards different people, I can guess how the average HKer feels about HK, Mainland China, and Taiwan.
From my previous blog posts, you’ll know I’ve been working as an art teacher in Beijing for the past 3 years. Although I’ve only lived in Beijing, it is full of Chinese migrants from other parts of mainland China. I’ve never spoken about HK or Taiwan with anyone while I was in Beijing, whether it was with a foreigner or with the locals (other than them knowing I am originally from Hong Kong), but I have intergraded myself with a lot of the locals – friends and a past boyfriend, so I feel I can say what the average local Chinese person living in Beijing is like (you can also read about it here and here).
So now for my last year in Asia, it just so happened that I landed a job a one year contract in Taiwan after I left Beijing. I’ve been here for a month already and have enjoyed this place very much, but I have also been very shocked – in good and bad ways. I know being here for just a month doesn’t mean I know much about what people may be struggling with here, but when I see things happening in my classes as well as see and feel the distinct change in social attitude, as well as see a side of history that I haven’t read about while I was in Beijing, I feel that I am starting to understand the complex history a lot better.
View from Taipei 101, August 2017
Although I am not able to see things in a 3rd person perspective all the time, I am glad growing up in Canada has given me enough of a distance to still relate to certain Chinese traditions (my love for dim sum haha) but am able to also view things with curiosity because I’ve been wondering my whole life why Chinese people freaken hate each other. (You weren’t expect that were you? haha) When I was younger, I only had the perspective of what HKers feel. After being in Beijing for 3 years however, I can only feel gratitude towards the students and teachers from Mainland who have treated me with no racism or resentment at all. I’m sure they have heard of all the news stories of HKers hating on people from Mainland when they visit HK. You have to also understand that they are receiving these news stories from the perspective that is published for Mainland. I’ve written this in my previous posts – that I would have never been able to survive all those years without them. Cause believe me, although Beijing is the capital and is filled with expats, it is also very very traditional at the same time. Culture shock still happened during my third year there.
But my purpose for writing this is the shock I had when the students in my one class made fun of another student for being related in someway to Mainland China. When I walked around in my other classes, I heard whispers from students asking each other in Mandarin (yes I can understand a bit) if I am from Mainland China (But of course they called it China) and other students would correct them and say I am from Hong Kong. After seeing the incident with my first class, I felt like I owe it to the people I met while I was in Beijing to not correct my students. I mean, I don’t give a shit if they think I am from the ‘mainland’ or Hong Kong cause essentially babies who were born in the mainland didn’t have a choice to go inside a mainland’s womb or to go inside a Taiwanese’s womb. What I’m trying to say is, civilian in the mainland are just people and maybe they are influenced by the government from the place they are from, but it doesn’t mean every single one of them wants to go around with political ideas to go against everyone in HK and Taiwan. I know there are some shady things happening there, just like how it can happen in any country, but for local Taiwanese and Hongkongese to just judge and discriminate the civilians in the mainland is just so sad.
How can you suddenly become categorized as something even though you have done nothing except live, just because of the place you were born in and grew up in. I’m not saying every single civilian from any place is just simply living, yes some people might be part of the CIA, or are spies for other organizations (shady stuff that I don’t wanna be involved in) but it is unfair for people to suddenly judge the mainlanders as if they are another specie of the human kind when they know nothing about the individual person.
I know habits and even traditions and culture vary amongst all three places (mainland, HK and Taiwan), and it did take some getting used to when I was not familiar with a certain part of the culture in Beijing. Because the mainland part of China is so big, people from the north also claim they are very different from people from the south. I’ve heard people from certain towns describe their traditions when they were generalized as just one big Chinese group by expats – just themselves trying to explain that they are very different from each other even though they are part of one piece of land. Which brings up my point of things I have heard from both HKers and Taiwanese, where they look down upon the mainland as a whole because of the chaotic traffic, fake food, and “dirty” habits from people. I feel that these things can be acknowledged that certain cities this certain qualities, but it shouldn’t be generalized as the entire mainland as a whole.
I’m not talking about politics and what is correct and what is not. Just simply saying that there should be more love between the local civilians amongst the three places because I did not feel that hate and judgement when I told my friends in Beijing that I am working in Taiwan, or that I was born in Hong Kong.
|Beautiful sunset in Beijing – one of the clearer evenings. Was in a bar/cafe in the hutongs. May 2017|