Month: February 2018

五人足球場上的板球夢 The Cricket Dream on a Five-a-side Football Field

【 文、攝:羅志明 Jimmy Lo,畢業於中大文宗系碩士,從事影像及紀錄片製作 】

作為香港社會族群一份子,居港少數族裔的聲音一直鮮見於各主流媒體。大眾對少數族裔生活文化的不理解,或多或少產生或鞏固了種種對少數族裔的刻板印象 (stereotype),延續了他們在社會上弱勢群體的狀態。ifva自2009年開始舉辦「影像無國界」少數族裔青年影像教育計劃,旨在為少數族裔提供一個文化平台,以影像為工具,讓他們的故事被大眾看見 (visible)。

「影像無國界」踏入第八年,少數族裔的故事每每讓我們感到驚喜,亦同時自慚於對他們日常生活的無知。當文化和政治即日常 (ordinary),在鏡頭內外,究竟甚麼才是少數族裔的「日常生活」?在今年影像無國界營會中,我們發現不少南亞裔青少年均熱衷於板球活動。一到自由時間,他們便拾起球具,打個不亦樂乎。透過這個機會,我們希望讓大家認識光影背後的少數族裔「板球日常」。

僅次於足球,板球 (Cricket)是全球第二受歡迎的運動。它也是居港少數族裔熱門運動,如它便是巴基斯坦的國家運動之一[1],唯此運動在港卻甚少受到注視。近年政府提倡「體育精英化」,把資源集中於已有卓越成績的項目及個別精英選手,但對較「冷門」的運動和青年選手的支持則未盡完善。

自己運動自己推
現時葵青區至少有約18,000多名南亞裔人士[2]居住,當中巴基斯坦人佔約3,700人。香港聖公會麥理浩夫人中心板球隊(下稱「LMC 板球隊」)於 2011 年成立,板球隊領隊兼社工 Tauqir Ahmad 指出,未有球隊前常見少數族裔青年在公園、足球場或籃球場打板球。該區並無板球場,只有業成街五人足球場是唯一允許打板球的公眾球場,故他們常受驅趕,像遊牧民族般不斷遷移到無人場地作訓練。有見及此,LMC 便成立了兩個年齡組別的球隊,分別是「13歲或以下」及「17歲或以下」組別,讓少數族裔可在安全、有專業裝備及教練下得到訓練。

縱然場地問題嚴重,仍有無數少數族裔青少年願意投身這個運動。隊員Osman 於香港出生,十歲時開始打「簡易板球」(Tape-ball Cricket)[3] 。簡易板球的好處是便宜──由於正式的木製硬球須花約200港元,對於大部份基層少數族裔青年而言,這是個很大的負擔。Osman 加入板球隊後,學習專業「硬球訓練」(Hard-ball Cricket) 已一年多。他指「年前搬到安蔭後,在球隊不單能認識新朋友,更能加強體格訓練和自信心。」

訓練受驅趕,板球路難行
Osman希望將來能打出成就,並有志成為香港板球隊員,但由於沒有正式訓練場地,他練球時經常被保安驅趕。「保安員會拿出對講機說『這裡有幾個巴基斯坦人打板球』,試圖嚇走我們。有時保安更報警,警察到場後便叫我們到較遠的足球場練習。」

社工 Ahmad 理解球員被趕的原因,但仍感無奈。「我們明白場地有分作足球或籃球之用,但區內沒有正式板球用地,我們想打板球,應該要去哪裡?閒置球場便成為我們的次選。」

問及 Ahmad 帶領球隊有否困難,他說:「香港學生學業壓力不少,我希望可讓隊員在安全和沒有太大壓力的情況下進行訓練。」他除了傾向以朋友的方式、平等的態度與球員相處外,更會帶領隊員參與社會義務工作。板球隊曾到大帽山進行垃圾回收,除了希望加強球員合作性及團隊精神外,更希望讓他們了解,少數族裔青年作為社會的一份子,應用自身力量貢獻社會。

結語
現在,LMC 板球隊在香港板球總會舉辦「13歲或以下組別」的在過去五場比賽中已取得四勝一和的,憑佳績高踞榜首,潛力不容忽視。他們面對的場地問題,不單影響少數族裔年輕人追逐板球夢,亦容易加強少數族裔與他人的對立,更阻礙青少年成長時期的自我價值及信心。「影像無國界」本著每個人生而平等的信念,尊重人有不同的背景、喜好及選擇,無論透過影像、透過運動、透過學業,我們相信少數族裔青年值得發展潛能的空間。對於來自不同國家的文化,如每個人願意多行一步去互相了解,要達至社會共融不遠矣。

附註:香港聖公會麥理浩夫人中心少數族裔服務 http://www.skhlmc-em.org/index.htm
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[1]板球起源於英國,據說是透過英國士兵和軍官流傳到澳洲、印度、巴基斯坦、南非和加勒比海地區,至今在這些國家仍極受歡迎。
[2]《2016年中期人口統計結果》地區概覽葵青區,http://www.bycensus2016.gov.hk/tc/bc-dp.html
[3]「簡易板球」(Tape-ball Cricket),這項運動由硬球(Hard-ball Cricket)演化出來的街頭運動,源自於巴基斯坦的卡拉奇,是現時巴基斯坦其中一項最熱門的街頭運動。這項運動的特點是相對硬球而言,較輕便、便宜。另外,Tape-ball 相對較輕,而硬球是網球約七倍重,因此在街頭使用 Tape-ball 較為安全。而專業板球賽事主要以「硬球」作賽。

【 Text & Photography by Jimmy Lo
A master’s degree graduate of the Department of Cultural and Religious Studies, the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Devoted to the production of moving images and documentaries. 】

As members of the society in Hong Kong, the voices of ethnic minorities are rarely heard in mainstream media. The general public either do not understand the minorities’ living cultures, or it more or less creates or reinforcing stereotypes that perpetuate the status of the minorities as the more socially vulnerable groups. Since 2009, ifva has launched “All About Us”, a filmmaking educational scheme for young people from ethnic minorities, as a cultural platform for ethnic minorities to express and make their stories visible to the general public through moving images.

As “All About Us” enters its 8th edition, the stories of ethnic minorities continue to surprise us and put us to shame as to how ignorant we are about their daily life. As politics and cultures become part of the ordinary, what exactly constitutes the “ordinary daily life” of ethnic minorities behind the camera? In the camps of this year’s “All About Us”, we discovered that many ethnic minority youths are passionate about cricket. Once there was free time, they would immediately pick up the cricket bats, fully enjoying themselves with hitting the ball. On this occasion, we hope to let people know about this “daily life with cricket” that ethnic minorities lead beyond the films.

Cricket is the second most popular sport around the world after soccer. It is also very well-liked by the ethnic minorities in Hong Kong, such as Pakistanis, who value it as one of their national sports[1]. However, cricket is rarely emphasised in Hong Kong. Despite the government’s efforts in promoting elite athleticism, most of the resources are concentrated in sports that already boast excellent records or specific talented athletes. Support for the relatively “less common” sports and their young athletes is insufficient.

Pushing Its Own Sports Forward
There are now approximately 18,000 residents of Southeast Asian ethnicities living in Kwai Tsing District[2], of which about 3,700 are Pakistanis. The H.K.S.K.H. Lady MacLehose Centre (LMC)’s Cricket Team (The LMC Cricket Team) was established in 2011. Tauqir Ahmad, its team manager who also doubles as a social worker, points out that before the team was formed, ethnic minority youths often played cricket in parks, football fields or basketball courts. There is no cricket field in the district, and the five-a-side football field is the only public place that allows cricket-playing. Therefore, these young people were often chased away like nomadic groups, continuously “migrating” to unattended areas for training practices. In view of this predicament, LMC established two cricket teams according to age category, which are that for “people aged 13 or below” and that for “people aged 17 or below”, ensuring that ethnic minorities can receive training in a safe and well-equipped environment under the guidance of a coach.

Although there is a serious shortage of cricket fields, many youths from ethnic minorities are still very eager to participate in this sport. Osman, one of the team players, was born in Hong Kong. He has started playing Tape-ball Cricket[3] since he was 10. The merit of Tape-ball Cricket lies in its low cost – the official wooden cricket bat, which costs around 200 HKD, is a huge burden for most youths from these ethnic groups at grassroots level. After joining the cricket team, Osman has learnt to play the professional Hard-ball Cricket for more than a year now. “After moving to On Yam Estate about a year ago, I have improved my physical training and boosted my self-confidence, in addition to making new friends,” he says.

Expelled during Trainings, an Arduous Path in Cricket
Osman hopes to achieve success in cricket and make it to the Hong Kong National Cricket Team. However, as there are no official training sites available, he is often driven away by security guards during training. “The security guards would talk into their walkie-talkies, saying “there are a few Pakistanis playing cricket here” in an attempt to scare us away. Sometimes, the security guards might even call the police, who come to tell us to practice in football fields further away.”

Ahmad, the social worker, understands why team players are expelled and feels very helpless. “We are aware that the sites have specific purposes of playing football or basketball. But since there is no official cricket field in the area, where should we go when we want to play cricket? Unattended field or courts inevitably become our choices.”

When asked if there is any difficulty in leading the team, Ahmad says, “Hong Kong students face a lot of pressure academically. I hope the team players can practice in a safe and relatively stress-free environment.” Apart from treating the team players as friends and equals, he also leads them in social volunteer activities. The team once had an outing in recycling rubbish in Tai Mo Shan. In addition to strengthening the sense of cooperation and team spirit among players, it is hoped that these young team players can understand how they should contribute to the society in their power as members of the society.

Conclusion
As of now, the LMC Cricket Team has achieved four victories and a tie in the last five games in the category of age 13 or below, organised by Hong Kong Cricket. The team has stayed at the top of the chart with an excellent score, and its potential should not be overlooked. The lack of training sites does not only impede the dreams of many youths from ethnic minorities in making it big in cricket, but it also easily worsens the strife between the ethnic minorities and others, adversely affecting these young people’s sense of self-worth and self-confidence during their growth. Upholding the belief that everyone is born equal, “All About Us” respects the distinctive background, preferences and choices of every individual. We believe that youths from ethnic minorities deserve a platform where they can flourish and develop their potential, irrespective if it is through moving images, sports, or academic studies. If each and everyone of us is willing to take an extra step in understanding people of different countries and cultures, social harmony will certainly be within sight.

Note: H.K.S.K.H. Lady MacLehose Centre, Services for Ethnic Minorities Unithttp://www.skhlmc-em.org/index.htm
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[1] Cricket originates from the UK, and it is believed that cricket spread to Australia, India, Pakistan, South Africa, and the Caribbean by British soldiers and officers. Cricket is still very popular in these regions today.
[2]《2016 Population By-census Results》Demographic Profile of Kwai Tsing District Council District, http://www.bycensus2016.gov.hk/tc/bc-dp.html
[3]Tape-ball Cricket is a street sport evolved from Hard-ball Cricket and was originated from Karachi in Pakistan. It is one of the most popular street sports in Pakistan today. It possesses the characteristics of being cheaper and more portable, as compared to Hard-ball Cricket. A tape ball is also deemed safer to be played in the streets as it is lighter, whereas a hard ball is used mainly in professional cricket games as it weighs seven times of that of a tennis ball.