Sunday, July 21, 2013

Thoughts on society

I just watched a very interesting video about race (in America) from HBR (link to article here). There's a lot of these videos that talk about racism since the recent court case. I think race is definitely a very big factor in American society, whether people want to acknowledge this or not. It's just like religion. People want to believe that the US is a place where people are equal regardless of religion and race. But it really isn't and some religions and races have higher statuses than others. I wish that instead of trying to always sweep these matters under the table, we can talk about them more openly.

After living in Hong Kong for more than two years, I think it's very interesting to explore the topic of racism in HK society as well. I hope that whatever insights I find here can turn into something of wisdom when I go back and live in a so called "non-racial" society. Hong Kong is a much more homogeneous society where the Cantonese speaking locals dominate every aspect of life. I find that teams at work tend to shift towards wanting to become homogeneous in the sense that everyone speaks the same language (Cantonese). The Mandarin speakers usually accommodate and learn to understand, if not speak, Cantonese. The English speakers are tolerated but I feel like they are just not included at the same level. And I really don't know if this preference for a homogeneous team is more for language or for culture. Just the other day, some of my friends were talking about college dorm life in HK and how it's hard to room together with Mainland kids because their habits and "culture" is just too different. There's really no conclusion I can draw here. These are just some of my observations and thoughts on this matter. There are also a lot of minorities in HK as well. There are Indians, Pakistani, Thai, and other SE Asians who live in their own little communities. I really don't know very much about their lives and how they manage to live in HK. But I do feel like these minorities are much more hidden. I always like to scoff at the lifestyles maintained by HK bankers because I really don't think they know HK at all. But the HK that the minorities live in must also be a very different reality than the one that I or the bankers know. Even though this society is much more homogeneous on the surface, it's very complex when you start to dig.

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