今年是我作為 ifva 舉辦的「影像無國界」(All About Us) 少數族裔青年影像創作計劃導師的第五個年頭。光陰似箭，還記得我第一次參與時，我的一些組員還只是活潑佻皮的少年人，現在已變成穩重沉實的大學生。最初答允參與這個計劃成為導師，其實只是因為我當時認為作為讀電影畢業的人，也應該將拍攝電影的知識分享給有需要的人，純粹單方面的思考。經過五年時間的參與，我卻發現，我得到的卻比我給予的更多。
Text: Lam Sum, Teaching Artist of All About Us
This is my fifth year being the instructor of All About Us, a creative filmmaking project for ethnic minorities youths organised by ifva. How time flies. I still remember the faces of those lively, playful teens during my first year of participation, though they have now become mature, down-to-earth university students. The reason why I initially agreed to be an instructor for this project is simply because I believed as a graduate of filmmaking, I should share my knowledge in the field with people in need. It was a one-sided thinking. After five years of participation, I finally realise that what I have gained far exceeds what I have given.
Growing up, formal education teaches us that all people are equal. People of another skin colour or ethnicity should not be treated differently. This is the most basic universal value with which most people, I believe, would agree. I, too, initially considered Hong Kong as a free and equal metropolitan where people are entitled to the same opportunities regardless of ethnicities. It probably only comes down to personal abilities that determine whether a person could successfully seize the opportunities or not. However, after frequent contact with ethnic minorities in Hong Kong via various channels, I began to understand that a lot of them might have already been excluded by institutional causes way before they are even given a chance to get assimilated into the society. All About Us allows me to get closer with ethnic minorities youths. I learn from them that their developments may have already been limited by outside factors.
As an instructor, I often encourage the ethnic minority youths taking part in All About Us to create short films based on personal experiences other than merely following the Bollywood-style dance films close to their cultures. As a result, a lot of their short films are about their school life, dreams and future developments. A few memorable works talk about the challenges they face in learning Chinese in Hong Kong and the resulting effects on their future. Through these works, I further realise that apart from their native tongue and English as a second language, Chinese is a third language to them. As Chinese possesses a completely different linguistic system in terms of grammar, pronunciations and writing, it is already quite a feat for them to be able to speak and understand by listening. It is extremely demanding to expect them to be able to completely grasp the language or even write fluently. Therefore, compared to local students whose first language is Chinese, the difficulties that these ethnic minority youths encounter in learning are almost unimaginable. The requirement for Chinese at schools and workplaces makes it even harder for them to enter universities and pursue better developments in Hong Kong. I often ask my groupmates, “What do you want to do in the future?”, a question that is mostly met with equivocal or uncertain murmurs. If I had not taken part in All About Us where I spend time with these youths and see their works, I would not be able to comprehend the many limitations imposed on their growth.
Of course, there are many reasons for these limitations. Apart from the existing issues in our policies or institutions that require rethinking, a great deal of responsibility can be attributed to the mass media. I remember I once took my group mates to the audience seats of a football field for shooting. We were stopped by the coach there who rented the field, which nearly led to an altercation. It was simply because the coach stubbornly thought that the ethnic minority youths were trying to make a racket. Despite our many attempts to explain the matter, we were eventually driven out of the field. During my later discussion with the groupmates, they were of course angry with the coach’s reaction. But what really bothered them the most was how the coach had come to be so prejudiced and discriminatory. A casual look at how our everyday news and mainstream movies and TV dramas depict ethnic minorities would have easily revealed the answer.
All About Us is an excellent platform in this generation for ethnic minorities youths to tell their stories through filmmaking. It is simultaneously a communication channel through which these youths can make their voices heard and let the public understand them more through their works, dispelling any prejudices and misunderstanding and seeking further possibilities in living together harmoniously.