Bhumika Gurung – Namastey
Bhumika Gurung is 19 years old and recently graduated high school. She is of Nepalese descent but was born and raised in Hong Kong. Last year she participated and won the Miss Hong Kong Nepal 2016 beauty pageant.
We caught up with Bhumika to get her to share her thoughts on identity, community and belonging.
Hello and Namastey everyone, I’m Bhumika Gurung. I’m Nepalese but I was born and raised in Hong Kong.I’m 19 years old, and currently pursuing a law degree.
What does home mean to you?
“Home is everything and anything.”
Home could be a physical location. Yes, it’s a place where you conjure feelings of security and where you grow profound connections with family and friends. Home is everything and anything. But most importantly, home is where you’re the most comfortable, the most vulnerable but yet so strong because of your surroundings and the situation you’re in. Home is whatever or wherever you denote your comfort is at.
What do you think local means?
“I believe that one should act locally, but think globally.”
The term could refer to a certain community or a region and its culture. But for me being a local in Hong Kong, there’s so much more to that term than simply being referred as a local. To be a local is to respect one’s culture and to respect other’s culture. To be a local is to be accepting of different backgrounds and traditions. However, simply doing all of these isn’t enough. I believe that one should act locally, but think globally.
Do you think it’s important to feel like you belong to a certain place or a group of people?
“the elders in my community continuously preach that we should feel dignified of our heritage and such.”
Being a Nepalese residing in HK, there is a great sense of pride in voicing out the fact that I belong to a certain ethnic minority. I guess it’s also because the elders in my community continuously preach that we should feel dignified of our heritage and such. Through my experience of participating in a beauty pageant, “Miss Hong Kong Nepal 2016” last year (which I ended up winning), I had the privilege of experiencing what it truly felt like to have received the love, trust and support from people who aren’t your family but from the same nation. This allows me to say that yes, being a part of a community, belonging to a certain place or a group of people is important and it definitely gives one a great sense of belonging and comfort. However, on the other hand, I don’t think it is necessarily important to feel like you fit or belong in a certain group either.
Having been to a school where I was more so surrounded by friends who were of mostly Caucasian and Eurasian descent, sure at times it felt like I didn’t belong – whether it may be due to cultural differences or intellectual differences. But what I learnt is that as long as I’m comfortable in being able to express myself, then the need to “belonging to a certain place or a group of people” will eventually disappear.
The values of Hong Kong
“Living in Hong Kong is as if you’re already a certified cultural chameleon”
Having the privilege of living in Hong Kong and being surrounded by people of various cultures and traditions it becomes second nature to me. Living in Hong Kong is as if you’re already a certified cultural chameleon without having to live in various different countries because all of the foreign cultures and traditions are just brought to you without you having to put an abundance of effort.
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