Opening Doors

My name is Karina. To me, home is where the heart is. Although I’ve spent most years of my life in Hong Kong, I also view Manila, Toronto and Vancouver as home; it’s where my extended family members are based. As a child, I would spend lengthy summers and Christmas holidays visiting family and absorbing the language, trends, and culture. Each time I visit, I feel a sense of calmness and rejuvenation of returning to my roots.

I’ve always felt at ease and at home in places surrounded by an international crowd that is open to both Western and Asian culture. I appreciate the discipline imposed on work ethics and family values practiced in Asian cultures, but also the openness of communication and creative ideas found in Western culture.

Being a second generation Eurasian, I tend to get asked if I’m Japanese or Korean – when I have fair skin – and sometimes Nepalese or Indian – when I’m very tanned. Most of the time, I do get asked if I’m mixed, due to the combination of my Western and Asian facial features.

due to the strong business aspect and tough competition in Hong Kong, a lot of creative ideas become filtered out or lost

I have always had an array of multicultural friends, who are well travelled and have a passion for experiencing different cultures. They always yearn to go beyond Hong Kong’s borders; to refresh their minds when HK cultural habits become too monotonous or restricting. The city itself offers great opportunity to collaborate, start businesses, and connect; but due to the strong business aspect and tough competition, a lot of creative ideas become filtered out or lost.

I believe a HK local is someone well absorbed in HK traditions and habits, and with good knowledge of the culture. A HK local believes in building a respectable reputation and earning well in the hopes of eventually buying property and raising a family. It is still looked down upon to delve into the arts or music industry as a full time career by most local families.

I’ve never felt the need to belong to a particular place or ‘people’, having grown up exposed to a range of beliefs and cultures. I have adapted and learned not to be affected if there’s a sense of segregation or cultural discrimination, as I strongly believe there’s a place for everyone based on inner strength and skill set regardless of nationality. As often said, if one door closes, another one opens.

Then, there’s also the exception of building your own door and inviting a community of like-minded, mixed individuals to come through, should other doors close on them.



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Edited by Sam Bekemans
Cover image ©CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Steve Webel


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