►少數族裔與影像的力量| YMCA x ifva 影像無國界．映後對談 文字足本版 The Power of Ethnic Minorities and Images ．YMCA x ifva All About Us．Online Screening X Sharing
節錄二 Part II：討論「共融工作」與「少數族裔」的身份與標籤 Discussion on “Inclusion work”, the identity and stereotype issue of “Ethnic Minority”
► 重溫節目 PROGRAMME ARCHIVE: https://www.facebook.com/FBISRB/videos/3433649020085006/
Harry：第一次有的，”Where are you”已經是第二次了，第一次有的，那時不知道戲院設備如何，非常期待，看完作品後很有成功感。
Hung：Let’s move on to another topic. There’re labels like “ethnic minorities”, “Hong Kongers” and “locals”. How was your first impression for “ethnic minorities” as a local? And how were “locals” from the perspective of ethnic minorities? How were they in the camp or in your daily life? And Kelvin, what about inclusion services you’re working on? Did the camp change your thoughts? Like “oh, I never thought about this and that” Did that happen to you? Do you think differently now?
Harry：I’m staying in the university hostel now. They hold visits for hostel residents regularly. When I talked about myself, some asked, “Did you study IB?” “Did you study overseas before?”. They had lots of assumptions. “Oh, you can speak Cantonese. Amazing!”. Speaking of language, it makes so much sense that I speak Cantonese when people in Hong Kong speak English too. It doesn’t make me outstanding. Living in Hong Kong has to understand Cantonese. Sometimes these assumptions stop us from understanding each other. Yes, assumptions stop us from asking questions. “I think he studies IB.” “I think he studied oversea before.” “He can only speak English.” These constrain our thoughts. They assumed I don’t speak Cantonese and I know nothing about the current affairs in the city.
Hung：You met several local artists and assistants in the training camp. How did you guys get along? Any new thoughts after getting to know each other?
Harry：Not very much ‘cause I have many friends who are local.
Hung: You grew up here?
Harry: No, I came here at my F.1. But I had a part-time job in a fast food shop. There were mainly locals. It’s fun to be with them. They’ve made me feel belonged. In the camp, I found Hong Kongers are very professional. They are very creative, thoughtful and detail-minded.
Hung：Sum, after meeting so many ethnic minority students, how do you feel about it?
Sum：When I first got in touch with ethnic minority youth, I thought ethnic minorities meant people from Pakistan, India or so-called South Asia. Perhaps these are some of our assumptions. After mentoring for a few years, I found the participants were from all over the world, for example, Pakistan, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines or even Japan. I didn’t know that there are some minorities within the minorities. I didn’t know some ethnicities are recognised as minorities too. And they actually were facing similar difficulties. The programme broadened my imagination on their real life. As mentioned, in between the two camps, we have outdoor shootings or school visits on occasions. I got to know where they live, visited their home or even had dinner with them. We have spent lots of time together. As Harry said, they care about Hong Kong. They know what’s going on in the community. They love local culture, they go to karaoke, they listen to Canton-pop and they like rice noodles!. In the past, I thought ethnic minorities only stick to their own culture and focused on themselves. When I really get to know one of them, I see how his/her real life is. I’ve found that we’re all pretty much the same. We’re all living in the same place after all.
Hung：What about Kelvin?
Kelvin：I was a bit upset somehow. I always heard from my ethnic minority friends say “It’s so kind of you teaching us these.” “Thank you ifva for giving us such an opportunity.” I’d say, “why should you thank us?” Being a youngster in Hong Kong, they could join many activities and could have the opportunities to learn. But there are obstacles stopping them from making films or joining the camps. Some of them may not know Chinese or even English, and perhaps they need a special diet because of their religions. These become obstacles stopping them from taking part in the activities. As Harry said, he could learn film production at any youth centre. But the course only provides Chinese teaching materials, and his classmates speak only chinese too. I got a friend from Pakistan and he joined a camp. He couldn’t enjoy it ‘cause no halal food was available. These are the obstacles. If we, as locals or local social workers, misunderstand or neglect their needs, we create hurdles for those who want to learn. They should be treated equally as a part of Hong Kong regardless of their race and religion. What I can do should be the same with what you can do. It comes to the 11th year of the programme. It’s a very good demonstration for other NGOs and schools. No ethnic minority student will be isolated ever again if we take one step forward as social workers or teachers. They could express their feelings through visual media in the camp and in the whole programme. There were many great films. I hope they can tap into their talents freely on other different platforms in the future. These are some struggles of mine.
Hung：Many NGOs including this programme offer a platform for ethnic minorities who have fewer opportunities. Can you elaborate on this?
Kelvin：When it comes to inclusion or “ethnic minorities” services, it’s actually a kind of label, which means that there are “minority” and “majority”. How can we distinguish this two? We don’t have a solid answer for that yet. I think inclusion isn’t about putting “Hong Kong people” and “non-Hong Kong people” together. That’s not inclusion. We realished there’s discrimination against ethnic minorities, and locals might be a bit rude to them. That’s the result of misunderstanding. Hong Kong is a multi-ethnic city of diversity. However, as an ethnic Chinese, I didn’t know much about the other cultures. I didn’t know much until I started this job serving ethnic minority youth service. Misunderstanding creates a wall between “locals” and the “minorities”. Perhaps I see a random Pakistani boy on the street. I don’t know if he can speak Chinese, and I walk by silently. But in fact he’s actually born and raised in Hong Kong. Many ethnic minorities have reached the 4th or 5th generations in Hong Kong. Inclusion is to understand each other’s cultural backgrounds. Why is this? Why do some girls wear headscarves for religious reasons? Why is certain food prohibited? Why? I hope that at some point everyone can understand each other’s thoughts and lives. Inclusion starts with mutual understanding. I, through the activities, hope to connect everyone so that they can understand each other, learn from each other, and know each other.
Hung：Do you have any similar experience, Kiki? Working with ethnic minorities?
Kiki：I’d like to respond to them. I might be a minority somewhere else on the planet being ethnically Chinese. If we put ourselves into the others’ shoes, it’ll be easier to understand the situation. Everyone can be the minority. It depends on the environment we are in. We can get along with people who are different from us more easily when we think from their perspective. When it comes to ethnicities… I feel “differences” or “distances” not only happen within ethnicities, but also generations. Is there a generational gap in between? Are there labels between generations? For example, are young people equal to “thugs”? Is it so? I encountered some people who thought that students’ products were inferior. But the value of students’ works don’t fall in the techniques, it’s their uniqueness instead. They truly represent the voice of young people. Its uniqueness is unparalleled, just like how unique every human being is. After listened their sharing, I found discrimination or the distance is everywhere.
Hung: I agree with Kelvin about inclusion. It’s not about putting different people together. It’s very complicated. I just talked to the project coordinator of “All About Us”. He insisted not to include local participants, just to stay true to their vision and to provide opportunities for ethnic minority youth. Through the filming process, the help from mentors and the final screening at schools, the programme presents an alternative reality. “It is usually like this, but in fact we are like this.”When everyone’s able to understand each other, hopefully everyone will accept each other’s differences. There’ll be diversity and inclusion. The world is full of unique individuals. It’s supposed to be very diverse. If society develops in just one way, that’s not lovely. This platform allows us to understand each other’s differences, especially the thoughts of ethnic minority friends. As Sum said, yet we’re all the same. We all love good food, we have our passions in life, we have emotions, we’re bad at relationships. We’re all like that. Of course there are some other factors like religions. Harry, in Hong Kong… you started studying in Hong Kong at F.1?
Hung: In your experience…you’re from Vietnam, right?
Hung: But would you consider yourself a Hong Konger or Vietnamese?
Harry：Half and half
Hung：So what do you think?
Harry：I’ve been here for six years, and I rarely traveled back to Vietnam, so I’ve lost my Vietnamese identity. I wasn’t not very happy. I didn’t talk a lot at home. And I don’t speak Cantonese very well. I always…how should I put it? My thoughts are so constrained ‘cause I don’t master any language. Hong Kongers are so creative, but I can’t be like them, ‘cause I don’t have my own language. I can’t think of such new ideas. I can only think in English, but English has limitations on me too. English limits my mind. Vietnamese limits my mind, and Cantonese also limits my mind.So I encounter difficulties expressing myself.
Hung：So both language barrier and identity made you feel lost?
Hung：Do you talk about it with locals or your friends?
Harry：Yes, I shared a lot at the hostel resident visits. It’s about 25 to 30 minutes each session. I talked about Vietnam, the difficulties I had. There are lots of activities in uni like joining a student society. It was a big thing. But it’s hard to avoid Chinese in a society. If I can’t express myself when everyone’s using Chinese, I will regret that. It’s so sad I can’t play a part just because of the language barrier.
Hung: But your Cantonese is quite good to me
Harry：It’s good for you ‘cause I speak better Cantonese than my ethnic minority friends. If compared with locals, I wasn’t that good.
Hung：Do the others get to know more about you at the resident visit?
Harry：Yes, they encouraged me saying language barrier isn’t a big deal, don’t let that constrain me as long as I’m willing to make an effort.
Hung：So it’s up to you eventually whether you join the society or not?
Harry：Yes. If so, I need to talk a lot. I can’t be detailed now. It’s about 40 to 50…lots of them. I can’t remember them all.
Hung：Why am I so interested in how inclusion services can change us? I saw a student sharing on his blog that he had a bad impression of ethnic minorities in the past. We just talked about it. He saw some South Asians in Sham Shui Po and they seemed very dishonest. He then participated in “All About Us”. It turned out he had a lot of fun making videos with friends from ethnic minorities. Everyone was unique and he discovered many new things. He found stereotypes are like a loop. When he was stuck inside, he couldn’t get out. Knowing and understanding others, he found that every ethnic minority friend is unique and they are just like us. We may not understand each other at first. Or we think we know each other very well. Such a programme offers a platform for all of us. Do you have anything to add?
Lam Sum：I think it’s important to understand their lives, or the causes of the stereotypes. It’s true that some students weren’t very good at time management or not very attentive. For example, I had an appointment with them at 5pm. Only two out of eight showed up in the end. I’ve learnt what their struggle was later on. As they grew up, the school’s norms and rules disgusted them ‘cause they were never in the mainstream. So they had some very special reactions and habits. Some of those are bad habits or seem to be bad, but how do we understand it? We need to find out the reason behind. That’s crucial.
Kelvin：I agreed with Sum so much. I have colleagues from ethnic minorities in the NGO I serve. Some people asked me, “why do you choose to work with them? They’re always late for work.” But in fact my colleagues are very punctual. Sometimes we have to look at things from different points of view. If there are ten South Asians who are always late. So all South Asians never show up on time? We should think carefully. It’s true that some of them love to be late, and we should think about why. Maybe it’s parenting. Maybe their culture is about a more relaxed lifestyle. On the contrary, we rush everything in Hong Kong. It’s our value to utilise every minute and to be highly efficient. But they like to take the time because of their cultural background. Just leave the task for tomorrow if it’s not finished today! It’s hard to say who is right or wrong. Punctuality is important in Hong Kong, and we must show up on time. We try to explain our culture and the importance of discipline to them. But meanwhile we need to understand their thoughts, why it doesn’t matter if they’re late. It’s not about justifying who’s right or wrong. When we think about everything at a deeper level, we may get some interesting answers. It doesn’t matter if the boss accepts the answer. Still it’s good to know. Some of them only need to go to work 3 or 4 days a week, and they even have a designated tea time. It’s so relaxing. If you stay curious, you’ll see how fun it can be.
Lam Sum：About the example we just mentioned, why South Asians sometimes seem a bit dishonest. When we think about it… some of them were forced to make a living from the street at a very young age. They couldn’t focus on their study. And they didn’t speak Chinese well. Many obstacles stop them from having their Chinese language level qualified. This has made them stay on the street, making a living by doing what we don’t like. Why is it? We need to figure out the reason.
Hung：Yes, we can find out where these stereotypes came from. It can be very complicated.
Lam Sum：In the past before I mentored the students, I didn’t realise ethnic minority students have to learn their mother tongue, English and Chinese as their 2nd and 3rd languages when they come to Hong Kong. And the three languages might be very different. So we need to feel them with empathy. For me personally, it’s so hard to learn new languages too.
Hung：Next we’ll talk about how films empower people. Sum and Harry, being directors, do you think filmmaking empowers you when your imagination is visualised?
Lam Sum：I suppose so…
Hung：I wanted the blog on the website of “All About Us”, some mentors mentioned that some participants made a painting of a mobile phone. Then the next shot, it turned into a real phone. And in “Where Are You”, a shot shows some words crawling out for a pack of potato chips, right? (Yes) The mentor said he thought such an effect was time-consuming. But later he found he was limited by Hong Konger’s perspective. And your whole team agreed with the decision. It turned out you liked the outcome so much. It was so simple… no no no. You were very happy by visualising the effect you wanted. And you made a decision according to your will making the words come out from the chips. Do you feel empowered during production? How was it when you visualised your imagination?
Lam Sum：That was an experiment after the basic filming class. It depends on the genre, like TV commercials have to be upbeating, fun and cushy. We need to accept the others’ comments., listen to each other before we make the decision. And we need to experiment first. There can be mistakes.
Hung: Sum do you think making videos can empower people? Can filmmaking empower the youth?
Lam Sum：Surely it can. Film is a really attractive medium. Through visual media or acting, it transfers the message directly to the audience from the creator. “Listen! This is my thought!” It’s about voicing out. Basically creative videos from each year’s students tell the stories of ethnic minorities. But it doesn’t mean each of them carry a complicated message. Some were just for fun, showing what they like or the other side of their life. There were students who were fascinated by Bollywood movies. They wanted to recreate the style and found they were actually capable of doing that. That was a great empowerment.
Hung：What about Kiki?
Kiki：Harry and Sum just talked about how film production can internalise the power of visual media. It’s great that the creators enjoy their own outcome. But it’s even better when the work is shared with the audience, and the audience is able to respond to it. That interaction is very powerful to both the creators and audience. “All About Us” is part of the whole creation. The public acknowledges your thoughts when the outcome is visible. Creators also know more about themselves during the process of communication. So publishing the videos also plays a very crucial part.
Hung：A public screening is very different from a internal screening within the team
Kiki：In the past, some young creators told me they couldn’t confirm their role as creators after the production. However, when the audience asked them questions at the public screening, they realised their works really reached a certain standard. The great resonance gives much meaning to their effort. Harry just talked about identity. We can know more about who we are and the direction in life by such experience.
Lam Sum: Apart from the pandemic last year, we used to hold screenings and discussions in the cinema at the end of the programme. Some participants were very touched. They could never imagine their videos were played on the big screen with professional audio equipment.
Hung：Kelvin, do you have such experience?
Kelvin：It gives the students a platform where no one gives out orders and commands. It’s autonomous. There are friends from different ethnicities in the team. Some are classmates in the same school. Some are new friends met in the camp. The stage belongs to them. They create for themselves, do what they want to do. They have fun, present a meaningful message to the audience. Most importantly, they build their own stage. The screening is very important. As mentioned, it isn’t just for entertaining themselves. The stage has to be visible. The world should see their efforts. Is that empowerment? Possibly. It matters when the world sees their effort and thoughts. We can’t hold a screening this year. We wish we can still share the students’ works, their thoughts on the online platform. Hope it goes well.
Hung：Harry, did you watch the screening?
Harry：Yes, you mean my year? (Yes) Yes, I invited my teachers at school and friends. We enjoyed it a lot. It was very meaningful.
Hung：Did you feel what Sum said?
Harry：Yes when it was the 1st time. “Where Are You” is from the 2nd. When it was my 1st time in the programme, I was so excited about the cinema setting. I felt I really achieved something seeing the screening.
Hung：Do you make videos now?
Harry：Yes, videos like vlogs. My friends from the hostel and I call ourselves “Group”, like a group of people. We’ve been friends since day one. We take videos when we go out asking them like, “how do you feel?” It’s like a vlog. Videos contain elements like motions and audio. It’s a good way to keep our memories.
Hung：Thank you everyone. This is the end of the post-screening discussion. Thank you.