Kevin Diego – Just a Pinoy boy, living in a Hong Kong World
“I consider myself a local, because I’ve been living here for more than a decade and I’ve learned enough Chinese to pass as a local”
Kevin is just 16, but already shares many of the sentiments that other TCK’s have. He currently lives in Hong Kong, but is a Filipino born in the Philippines. Although he moved to Hong Kong at the age of 2 and now considers Hong Kong his home. Currently he is a student at YMCA of Hong Kong Christian College in form 5.
Kevin makes an effort to learn and speak Cantonese and mandarin, but what determines if he is “local”? For himself, he considers himself a local, but how do the local Chinese feel about it? Do they appreciate the effort to learn the language and assimilate or do they feel that being a “local” is determined by where you are born or the blood in your veins.
So often these feelings are based on the individual. For Kevin, he is definitely a local and we get him to share some of his positive views on home, culture and identity.
What does home mean to you?
“Home” can mean a lot of things, or many different definitions to explore this word “Home”. To me “Home” is Hong Kong.
I’ve been living in Hong Kong for the past 14 years and the first thing I think of, is safe. Hong Kong is safe. It is a place for open minded people, how they connect, socialize and interact with one another.
Arriving in Hong Kong is like stepping into another world. There are Asians, Caucasians, Latinos, Europeans! This society has grown into a more multi cultured area with lots of room for exploration and curiosity of various cultures and traditions.
Speaking the language
I’ve learned to speak Cantonese and Mandarin for the last decade and the most fluent I could get is speaking “Chinglish” – a combination of both Chinese and English language. I get numerous reactions when I “surprise” people by speaking Chinese.
There was this one time where my friends and I took a cab to central and apparently the cab driver could only speak Cantonese, none of my friends knew how to speak them, so I stood up, cleared my throat and confidently shared with the driver, my best Cantonese. He was clearly shocked and now unsure what to do. Instead, he mumbled in Chinese, “stop trying, I really don’t know”. Honestly, I was a little disappointed. Yes, I’m sure my Chinese has room for improvement, but…You’d think he’d appreciate the effort! At least we could now understand each other!
I’m studying in form 5 at YMCA of Hong Kong Christian College in Tung Chung, and I live on Lamma Island. If you knew how far the journey was, i bet you wouldn’t even bother going to school. Everyday I’d have to wake up at 5:30 to prepare and take the first ferry out: 6.20 to Central. If I missed that ferry, I’d be late for school.
Don’t even get me started on the struggles of waking up. Yes, I’m not the best at self-discipline, so usually my mom is the one who wakes me up. There have been many times when she gets fed up with how often she has to wake me. There have been threats of boiling water being poured on my feet. Can you imagine? It would be like waking up in hell! Despite these threats, I still find those early mornings a struggle, even though I’ve had at least 5 years of this routine!
Being “local” with that touch of Pinoy-Pride
My school was originally a local school but has recently converted into an international school. There was an increase in the number of students from all around the world and so the school adapted to accommodate them.
In my opinion, I am not some foreigner, or tourist here in Hong Kong. I consider myself a local: I’ve been living here for more than a decade and I’ve learned enough Chinese to pass as a local…I think. In my opinion the word “local” means that you are placed in a certain area and are entitled to that area.
I think that it’s important to have similar interests or characteristics with other people. Through those connections, you will feel that you are part of something. Although Hong Kong is a part of me and I am part of Hong Kong, I can’t forget my nationality, from where I originally came from. I am a Filipino but in Hong Kong. Fortunately there is a large Filipino community here in Hong Kong. The strength of that community definitely enriches my experience in Hong Kong. There are other people here whom I can relate to, other Filipinos that have now made Hong Kong their home, and we are able to socialize and share those experiences with each other.
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