Friday, April 1, 2011

R U BBC?

One the things you get when you go to Hong Kong is that people you meet will ask if if you are BBC?  Well  so what if I am and so what if I'm not.  Is there a problem?  I suppose if you're coming back from overseas, you are going to look different.  The way you dress, your body language and also your lack of Chinese language ability.  You are an obvious target for eager sales staff in shops.  I do find the term BBC rather annoying.  After all, you'd think your fellow Chinese would be a bit more considerate towards their own kind, no not so.  Do Hong Kongers enjoy being called Hongkies by Malaysian Chinese?  Probably not, but what is sauce for the goose, should be sauce for the gander.  If you can dish out, you ought be be sportsmanlike enough to take it back.  You can spot a BBC a mile away, in Blighty as well as back in Hong Kong.  A BBC usually sticks out like a sore thumb.  But let's put the shoe on the other foot.  Put a native Hong Konger in Blighty and the chances are they're like a duck out of water too.  So how would they enjoy being called names? Without a doubt, not at all.

I don't feel I have to explain my background, I am comfortable with who I am.  I rather not be bored and suffer your stupidity and ignorance.  As a matter of fact, I wasn't born in Britain.  Over the years, I've heard every joke and insult about Chinese people.  To the point, it no longer bothers me, actually I find some of them rather funny.  What is funny is the term we Cantonese give to white people Gwailo is suppose to be a derogatory term.  However, white people in Hong Kong have accepted this tag and embraced it as their identity.  This is much the same as how white people accept the Japanese term gaijin (foreigner, outside person).  So my advice to all BBC's is to embrace the term, even if you don't like it in the beginning.  If you like it enough, the negative tones will go.

I am well aware of the intra-Hong Kong prejudice and discrimination that goes on.  There is always one group against another.  Before becoming a British colony, it was the Hakka Vs the local Punti's Vs the boat dwelling Tanka.  Now we all live in apartment blocks, we speak the same and dress the same, who really knows your background.  That spirit of discrimination hasn't gone, its now Catholics Vs Protestants, who themselves have issues with Buddhists and Taoists.  Then we move onto the prejudice and discrimination towards the Filipinos, Thais and Indonesians.  Pound for pound, BBC's get it easy.

A lot of BBC's are second or third generation descendants of the local Hong Kong clans that have moved abroad to scratch a living.  After all, there were few prospects in farming left in Hong Kong.  If you could earn a living abroad you did.  Then you sent money home, which helped your family, your clan and the local economy.  A lot of Hong Kongers really don't understand how or why we moved abroad.  The subject is often missing in the history of Hong Kong, possibly because people don't know how to tell it.  The clans of Hong Kong have been in the region for a long time.  Some have been there for centuries.  Hong Kong is the land our ancestors, overseas Chinese have every right to feel at home there.  On the other hand, a lot of Hong Kongers you see are descendants people who came to Hong Kong to seek refuge from the problems during the waning years of the Qing Dynasty, the Republic era, the Japanese invasion and later the Communists.  A number of them  weren't even from Canton Province.  So who are they to talk.  However, I'm not going to go there.  I believe Chinese people of any description should unite, help each other and live in peace.

BBC's might not be too clued up on Hong Kong culture, but that doesn't make them stupid.  A number of them are graduates and have employable skills.  The talent that Hong Kong might actually need.  Hong Kong might be a modern city, but in many ways, they are still quite behind with the times.  If locals still ask if you are BBC, the best way forward is stand up and positively say YES!!!

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