21 August 2019
Angry protesters hold placards that read  'Chinese go back to China' outside Beijing's liaison office in Hong Kong. Photo: Wikipedia
Angry protesters hold placards that read 'Chinese go back to China' outside Beijing's liaison office in Hong Kong. Photo: Wikipedia

Life in Hong Kong for mainland graduate student

After nearly seven years in Hong Kong, graduate student Yingluo has seen it all.

In that time, Hong Kong has gone from being accommodating to mainland students to being indifferent and ultimately hostile, Yingluo writes in a blog post.

Seeing that most of her former high school classmates in Zhejiang province drive sleek cars and live in spacious townhouses, Yingluo wonders whether her decision to come to Hong Kong to study was the right one.

Like many students from across the border, Yingluo lives in a subdivided flat. Her personal space is less than three square meters. With a small bed, there’s hardly any room for anything else.

Ironically, rent is high and keeps rising.

Yingluo took to the popular mainland website Zhihu to vent her frustrations.

She said her life in Hong Kong has been uneasy since cross-border relations deteriorated in recent years.

But things have not always been this way.

In the past, there was no talk of “locusts” and other derogatory terms for mainland Chinese.

“Back then, local students might not know where Zhejiang or Jiangsu is, but they were very nice to you,” she said.

Nowadays, the mainlanders and Hong Kong students rarely interact on campus.

“Although local students will not discriminate against you overtly, their Facebook pages are full of malicious and insulting words.”

Since the mainlanders mainly use Sina Weibo or WeChat, they cannot communicate with their Hong Kong counterparts who are on a different platform.

Yingluo said Hong Kong cannot blame all its problems on mainlanders.

Shortages of baby formula and school places, lack of hospital bed space and rising housing costs will not disappear overnight if Hong Kong closes the border, she said.

Yet, you see it in the news, she said. “If you turn on the TV, the news is likely about mainlanders making Hongkongers’ lives miserable.”

Yingluo is frustrated that no matter how fluent her Cantonese is or how hard she tries to fit in, she is always labeled as an outsider.

She has even stopped speaking Putonghua for fear being singled out.

Most of all, she has to be constantly on guard against the slightest misstep lest she is made out to be another rude and uncultured mainlander.

Yingluo does have a choice. She has decided to go back to the mainland after she completes her doctorate.

Related story:

BBQ sites next after mainlanders descend on pools, campsites?

Zhuhai a world away from Hong Kong

– Contact the writer at [email protected]


Activists holding colonial flags against the mainlandization of Hong Kong. Photo: HKEJ

EJ Insight writer

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