After the handover, almost two-thirds of Gurkhas were made redundant and most had adopted Hong Kong as their second home.
Once they won right of abode in the UK in the late 2000s, many migrated. But a strong contingent of more than 30,000 Nepalese are said to be still living in Hong Kong including your humble writer.
Due to the Gurkhas’ long and distinguished history in Hong Kong, we are easily recognizable, especially by the older generation.
When I say “Gurkha” rather than “Nepalese” is still the most commonly used word to address us, it’s not an overstatement at all.
Being a Gurkha also comes with a label, a stereotyped perception of only being able to perform security guard duties or manual labor.
Getting rid of that image is really hard and I won’t blame people for that.
It is the Hong Kong media that should get all the blame. They are so engrossed with the ongoing circus of local politics that they simply have no time for anything else.
Besides, who wants to talk with such a small and insignificant society like the Nepalese community anyway?
Barring a few sympathetic pieces here and there in the English papers, almost nothing is ever written about the Nepalese community.
As a result, the locals know almost nothing about us.
The main reason I wrote this piece is to help bring the actual situation of the Nepalese community to the locals.
Believe me, we don’t do only security and construction work or gather on Monkey Hill during weekends.
Due to our political, social and traditional background, we have an extremely divided society.
The ever-rising number of organizations, groups and communities can attest to that fact.
Understandably, most of them do no good other than serve their own interests while others are only there in name.
Yet, some individuals and organizations are doing such a remarkable and praiseworthy job that they have somehow become the leading lights in the community and have inspired many.
Here are just a few of our contributions to the community:
- We have world-class bodybuilders as well as judge.
- We have world-class ultra runners.
- We have national-level boxers.
- We have a coterie of successful businessmen.
- We have some very committed, sincere and successful community leaders who have dedicated their time to community services and have done extraordinary work for the welfare of our community.
- We have world-class investigative journalists who are not only fearless, impartial and committed but also renowned for their dedication to society and for doing a great job.
- We have a substantial number of intellectuals, poets, singers and musicians.
- We have world-class photographers
- We have actors, artistes and filmmakers that can rival anyone.
- We have almost a dozen online news portals, TVs shows and radio programs.
- We have many famous restaurants, sports associations and clubhouses.
- We have dedicated health workers who run health awareness seminars on a regular basis.
- And many of our younger generation are going to university and filling jobs such as the police, pilot, doctor, engineer, IT, commerce and so on.
Finding mistakes is always easy.
Societies are easily influenced by negativity rather than positivity. But we should focus not only on faults but also on good deeds and learn to appreciate them as well.
The world has already enough negativity. It is about time we started talking about positive things as well.
I genuinely believe that other communities in Hong Kong can learn a lot from our community.
All we have to do is pay more attention, interact and learn from each other. But of course, I have genuine doubts about that and I am certainly not alone.
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