All Black FC & Sports for Life (SFL) on Cultural Diversity in Hong Kong
IB CAS x Citizenship and Social Development (CSD)
In this event, students had the privilege of engaging in face-to-face conversations with guests from All Black FC and SFL, delving into topics such as cultural integration in Hong Kong. The students were encouraged to reflect on how both the ethnic majority and ethnic minority could contribute to a more inclusive community, often through the powerful mediums of sports and community service.
Explore our students' reflections, where they share their personal insights and experiences gained from this eye-opening session.
Reflection by Edwin Tam (10G)
On November 15, I had the opportunity to engage in a cultural exchange event in Diocesan Boys’ School. Members of All Black FC, a football team founded to invigorate the African refugee community and also other ethnic minorities to integrate into the local community via sports, were invited to come to our school. During the exchange, I had an in-depth chat with Peter, who is a member of All Black FC, on cultural diversity in Hong Kong.
Among all the questions that we have discussed, I found the reply to “why football serves as a great tool to promote social integration” most memorable. When responding to this question, Peter recalled his memory of first coming to Hong Kong, when he did not speak Cantonese and had difficulty integrating into the local community. However, like many locals, Peter enjoyed playing the beautiful game— football. Therefore, he would sometimes go to the football pitch in his free time to play the sport. Through the means of football, he could finally get to connect with the locals, as he expressed that “he can join their game when they are short of players”. After a few more matches, he became accepted by the locals and later became friends with them. He described this anecdote as the power and magic of sports: It was true and evident that he did not speak the same language, or had the same upbringing or ethnic background compared to the locals, however football provided a medium for him to get along with them, and to blend into the local community. Therefore, he suggested that football definitely possesses the ability to promote social integration. I also agree with the idea that football could bring people together: Through playing football, people can set aside their differences and interact with each other, which is vital for the promotion of social inclusion.
Despite this experience was not a direct and actual community service like the ones we do in our long term service project this semester, it was safe to say that I have learnt a lot about serving others as well. Prior to this experience, I rarely had a chance to have a deep conversation with ethnic minorities. As a result, I only have little understanding of the hardships they face when attempting to blend into the local community. The talk with Peter has let me understand the problems that an ethnic minority would encounter when integrating into our society. It is a fact that no one wants to be always alone and lonely, which is the same for ethnic minorities. Undeniably, there might sometimes be language barriers between locals and them, but are we going to let these language barriers hinder them from joining the community? We
should not, and we should prevent it from happening also as future leaders of the society. In my opinion, I think we should show more support and encouragement to the ethnic minorities as it is really not easy to adapt to a new environment, as well as taking the initiative to care for them or even ask them whether they need any help in integrating into the community. For instance, we could teach them how to use chopsticks so that they could immerse themselves in the Chinese eating culture faster, or to teach them some Chinese phrases that we often use in daily life to reduce the language barriers between them and the locals. In short, this experience has enabled me to prepare myself in providing assistance to ethnic minorities and give me ideas on how to assist them by knowing about the needs of them. Moreover, as mentioned by Peter, we should never judge anyone by their skin color and refrain from any discrimination or segregation behaviors in order to build an inclusive society.
The gist is: Everyone wants to be included in a community. Let us all continue to strive to make the Pearl Orient an even more inclusive and welcoming city to people from different walks.
Reflection by Sheldon Leung (10G)
On 15 November, we are honored to have the founder of NGO Sports for Life(SFL), Mr. Médard Koya and football players of All Black FC as our guest speakers for G10 IB. We are able to form small groups to have discussions with the guest speakers relating to the cultural diversity of Hong Kong society, in context of SFL’s community service and the members’ personal experiences in Hong Kong. Although we are not directly serving the ethnic minorities, this exchange is a good opportunity for students to know the current situation of ethnic groups and prepare ourselves for future services regarding cultural diversity, which can potentially be meaningful CAS experiences too.
Before the exchange event, we had to draft questions regarding cultural diversity to ask the guests from the SFL. I personally raised questions regarding how the SFL attempts to promote harmony of different ethnic groups, as I am quite interested in what efforts they have done to promote cultural diversity, hoping to gain more insights on cultural diversity. Through drafting questions, we achieve the third learning outcome of CAS as we have to make sure the questions we ask are suitable and relevant to the topic- cultural diversity through planning the ‘CAS event’, and also the first two stages of CAS, where we investigate the issue of cultural diversity to prepare questions to be asked during the exchange event. In addition, this makes us more prepared and won’t run out of questions during the exchange event.
During the exchange event, our group was glad to interview Mr Koya himself and asked him a lot of questions regarding cultural diversity. He gave lots of thoughtful and detailed responses, and among all the questions that we have discussed, I found the reply to the question ‘challenges faced because of cultural differences’ the most memorable. Despite knowing that racial discrimination still exists in Hong Kong, I originally thought that it is less common as Hong Kong is becoming a more pluralistic society. However, he raised two real life examples which really surprised me. One time when he entered the MTR and sat with a Chinese person, the person directly stood up and left his/her seat. Another example he raised was about his previous workplace. Despite having the same amount of workload, he got much less salary than the other employees in the same level. Although he emphasised that these examples are limited as it cannot fully reflect how Chinese people generally treat ethnic minorities since these are only a small part of the society, it is still valuable since it vividly shows how ethnic minorities are treated unfairly and unjustly, having misunderstandings simply because of having different races. This helped me understand the sufferings of ethnic minorities, and learn how to serve them in a clearer way. Apparently, we should treat them as we treat others as we are inherently equal, and try to listen to their needs and demands as we might not be aware of their situation without really chatting with them.
At the same time, I also found his reply to the question ‘how effective is the SFL promoting cultural diversity’ memorable. Originally, I thought what an NGO can do is very limited since they do not have much resources. Despite this being true, what the NGO has actually done is far better than what I have imagined. He mentioned a staggering piece of data: in 2016, 99% of the football team are refugees. It is much more challenging for them to live in HK as they lack an HKID, they are unable to study nor work, and also receiving minimal social welfare. For instance, they only have $1500 for renting a house, $1200 coupon to buy groceries in supermarkets, $500 for water bill and electricity. Moreover, they were often called to work underground, and get arrested as they do not have the legal right to work afterwards. So through football, they have the second chance to get back their identity. Even though they actually are strong and can run fast, they do not have any chances or opportunities despite the passion for football. Now, they host regular training, friendly games, and even play in the private league. They regain a sense of identity through the profession of football, and this helps with their integration into the society. Currently, 95% of them are married to the Chinese, causing them to have HKID, so they can work and live as normal people in Hong Kong. So the NGO successfully makes use of football to help ethnic minorities to integrate into the society and regain their self identity.
Through the exchange event, I understand much more about the situation of racial discrimination and how ethnic minorities are being unequally treated in Hong Kong. It makes me become more aware of this and provides me with a chance to listen to the ethnic minorities’ thoughts and demands. This also relates to the sixth CAS learning outcome which is to demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance. Racial discrimination is prominent not only in Hong Kong, but also lots of other places in the world. As I personally seldom chat with ethnic minorities to know about their needs, this experience certainly shocks me and makes me realise the seriousness and the ongoing nature of racial discrimination. Ethnic minorities have no difference compared to us, and they do not want to be neglected or unevenly treated, so it is really necessary to understand their hardships and serve them, so this exchange event serves as an important first step to cope with this issue. Engaging with these issues also drives me to give a think to what we as individuals can do to help with this issue. I recall Mr Koya mentioning some simple actions we can do, for example helping the all black FC to book the school field once every week for weekly training. In fact, such a simple step can already provide them with a regular venue for them to meet up and promote their sense of belonging in the society. He also emphasised how we can influence others around us to make a change, for example changing daily habits of looking down upon ethnic minorities, or at least showing a hospitable attitude to ethnic minorities. This can make ethnic minorities feel much better already, and as we become future leaders, we can make changes to different aspects to be more welcoming to different ethnic groups. Although it is hard to have a significant change in a short period of time, through raising awareness using social media platforms or posters, more people can get involved and be aware of this issue, which is essential to promoting cultural diversity. We are also able to achieve the seventh learning outcome of CAS also, to be aware of the ethics of choices and actions. For instance, a facial expression or a physical behavior can already affect how ethnic minorities think they are perceived in the society, showing how consequences of actions can play a significant role despite it may only be a short moment.
The exchange event has provided us with lots of useful information on how we should serve ethnic minorities and contribute to the promotion of cultural diversity, and also helped attaining different CAS learning outcomes and prepared us for future services.