Living On The Edge Of Cultures

We are all just souls in different coloured wrappers – Hong Kong is great for that. It is a city of mixed children mainly because it is one great big airport lounge. People from all cultures are here and the people who come here leave themselves behind and become citizens of the world with that little something of their own home. It makes Hong Kong the perfect place to exchange ideas and culture.

I’m Helene, I grew up in Hong Kong as a Eurasian, which was like constantly living on the edge of things. I am half French and went to French international school and got a French education and was in close contact with French people and the French culture that my father shared with me. But not living in France, I was not submerged in it. It was more like looking through a shop window. It was the same for the Chinese culture of my mother. My maternal family is here and I took part in festivities, but I was not submerged because I was not raised Chinese. The mentality is different and as my Chinese language skills are limited, to the Chinese I am a Gweilo. You would think that would make me feel like an outcast, which it did a little, but the flip side is that as I am not fully locked in a culture, I can live on the edge of many. I speak five languages and am a cultural butterfly. I can rub elbows with people from every culture, background and social class – I can get along with anyone and that has served me well.

Hong Kong is and will always be my home, but I have come to an age now where living on the edge is no longer enough. I think the mixed children of Hong Kong all yearn to unpack and settle down, to feel we belong somewhere. It is not a geographical thing anymore, or even a cultural one. It is of the soul. Maybe to find a soulmate or one’s true heart… that would be a spaceship kind of home. My kind of home.

helene-leclerc

Edited by Cassi Zarzyka
Cover image ©CC BY-NC Christoph Habel
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