Gurkhas are renowned worldwide for their unparalleled bravery and unconditional loyalty.
Their contribution to Hong Kong society over the past four decades is invaluable, and should not be taken lightly or ignored.
Hong Kong people, especially the older generation, are not only well aware of their contributions but are grateful to them and treat them with respect.
An institution that has lasted for more than 200 years and still going on strong today cannot survive that long in name alone.
It has been established through the blood, sweat and tears of hundreds of thousands of men who remained loyal to their masters.
Since 1815, the Gurkhas have fought every single war for the British crown, and many of them died in battle.
They have never shirked away from their duties which have become the main purpose of their lives.
It was this enormous sacrifice of our forefathers that has become our continuing legacy.
Becoming a Gurkha is not an easy task.
First of all, you have to be among the best in your village in Nepal, and then you must undergo rigid and harsh training before becoming qualified.
You must prove that you are best both physically and mentally before you are allowed to serve.
In order to fit in the army, you must be disciplined, organized, punctual, and deferential. You are trained to follow orders without questioning them.
Such habits and practices are so deeply ingrained in our system that they remain with us for life.
All this might sound like an exaggeration, but trust me, I know what I am talking about.
It has already been more than 23 years since I left the army, yet I still carry the discipline and many of the habits I acquired from the service up to this very day.
It is this discipline, devotion and determination that make us different from others, and make it possible for this institution to last for more than 200 years.
However, we are in danger of losing our legacy, at least in Hong Kong.
The new generations of the Nepalese community in Hong Kong seem completely unaware of this fact and are bent on ruining the good name of the Gurkha.
The sad and unflattering news being reported in media doesn’t lie.
Some of our people are accused of being involved in illegal and abhorrent activities such as drug peddling, operating illegal wine stalls, gang and drink-related fighting, human trafficking, sham marriages – the list goes on.
Of course, the fault of some cannot be ascribed to the entire community. Just like in many other communities, there are a few bad apples that need to be separated from the lot.
In order to solve any problem, we need to find the root cause, and that is easier said than done.
The main cause widely suggested and agreed by the community looks somewhat like this and I have come to realize that it actually makes sense:
After the Gurkhas won the right of abode in the United Kingdom in 2008, most of the former Gurkhas and their families moved to that country, and only a few chose to stay behind, including yours truly.
Today’s Nepalese community in Hong Kong consists mostly of former Gurkhas’ children and old guards have been replaced by the new generations.
Although they possess the same blood, the new blood needs to be refined.
They lack the discipline, patience, determination, ethics, and sense of duty and loyalty of their fathers and grandfathers, and their shortcomings have failed them miserably.
Most disturbingly, the community is also said to have been infiltrated by many fake Gurkhas who have no knowledge of the history of the real Gurkhas or connection with them.
Selling original Hong Kong birth certificates to the highest bidders is an old and common practice in the Nepalese community and many are said to have obtained their respectable status through illegal means.
If a community has become tainted like that, vices and other social ills are not far behind.
We, Nepalese people, are a weird bunch. We have a tendency not to recognize the good things in life until it is too late, and that is said to be one of the reasons why our country is still so poor.
Being able to live in Hong Kong is undoubtedly a chance of a lifetime. Instead of making the best out of it, these pathetic people are wasting their lives away, and ruining the good name of the Gurkhas along the way.
If you cannot do well in life, fine, but at least try not to harm others. It is such a pity that nobody seems to care much about it.
Gurkhas vs PLA soldiers – who would win? (July 11, 2015)
Don’t forget Gurkhas’ contribution to Hong Kong (May 21, 2015)
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