The Fire Services Department plans to hire more personnel from ethnic minority groups in Hong Kong.
Currently, only three of its staff come from such groups, including two firemen and one paramedic, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Since last year, the department has changed its written aptitude tests for applicants to both Chinese and English versions. Before they were only available in Chinese.
Yeung Kai-wang, assistant divisional officer for recruitment, said they made the change after only about 10 applicants from ethnic minorities took the test each time it was held in the past, suggesting that the Chinese-only questionnaires might be preventing them from trying.
He called on minorities not to give up the chance of landing a job in the department out of concerns about their Chinese language proficiency.
He said even training material for new recruits now also comes with an English version.
The department aims to recruit 200 firemen, 140 paramedics and about 50 fire captains next year, with the application deadline for the next examination set on Dec. 1.
Mohammad Pervez, a Pakistani-Chinese who is the department’s only paramedic from an ethnic minority group, said he found his background helpful in reducing frictions resulting from cultural differences when dealing with non-local people.
Pervez, 28, who is stationed at the Ma On Shan Ambulance Depot, told news website hk01.com that he was born in Hong Kong to a Pakistani father and a local mother.
As a paramedic for the past three years, Pervez said he can easily relate with Muslim residents and communicate with them better because he understands their customs and beliefs.
Sometimes, his ethnic background invites curiosity from locals, he said.
Nonetheless, he believes Hong Kong people, whether born here or elsewhere, trust him for his diligence and professional skills, regardless of his background.
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