“Hongkonger” What’s in a name?
Amid anti-mainland sentiment, Oxford dictionary recognises city’s local identity
The words Hongkonger and Hongkongese have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary.
As stated by the dictionary, both Hongkonger and Hong Kongese refer to “a native or inhabitant of Hong Kong”, while the latter can also be used as an adjective to describe matters related to the city or its inhabitants.
Hong Kong fighting for it’s own identity.
The addition to the dictionary does occur amid anti-mainland sentiment. Many Hongkongers still fight for the promised “one -country-two-systems” and for Hong Kong to have a certain degree of independence and its own identity. But does having the word Hongkonger recognised on an International level help towards that cause at all?
“not just the people are different, but also our cultural spirit and political identity”
According to Civic Party lawmaker Claudia Mo Man-Ching: “The inclusion of Hongkonger and Hongkongese in the dictionary is definitely prompted by the city’s ‘anti-mainlandisation’ campaign which has raised international attention over the past years.” She explains that Hong Kong is “trying to differentiate ourselves from mainlanders – not just the people are different, but also our cultural spirit and political identity,” she added.
TCK’s in Hong Kong
For those who are Third Culture with ties to Hong Kong, does the acceptance of the term HongKonger assist in the struggles of many TCKs with their own identity? Probably not. To be a “native or inhabitant of Hong Kong” can refer to many people. Many might accept you using the term Hongkonger but would still not classify you as “local”.
For many TCK’s, they are used to going by many labels. Many already call themselves and identify themselves as “Third Culture” or a “TCK”. But of course you can be Third Culture and a HongKonger at the same time.
So though the addition to the dictionary does not solve any identity issues for Third Culture Hongkongers, having the term recognised is still nice.