‘Many’ Me / ‘很多’的我

(中文版本詳見下方)

Growing up as an ethnic minority in Hong Kong does things to you. Hong Kong likes to say it’s international – and within reason it is very international at face value – but it does it in a way like how a mixed-race person will yell at you that they’re 1/18th Scottish when they’re in fact primarily Chinese. That’s Hong Kong: it will yell at you that it’s a cosmopolitan, a melting pot, a global city, but it’s still predominantly HK-Chinese. (But that’s a discussion about multicultural acceptance for another time)

So, growing up within the Filipino community, I accepted my fate as the underprivileged mess I was going to be – the life I was foretold to have, the prospects and miseries by my own parents’ forecast.

…Yet, they put me in a local (Chinese-speaking) kindergarten and a local primary school. By the time I got to my teens into my English-speaking secondary school years, I was already better in Cantonese than my fellow schoolmates. I had developed mixed feelings about where I belonged.

It was when I entered Chinese University when I really started to question my self.

  • Was I able to/allowed to even call myself a local with my detachment to the intricate details of the culture and my less-than-proficient Cantonese?
  • Was I able to call myself a Filipino for the same reason?
  • Does this justify me as being a World Citizen, whereby I learn, appreciate, and live alongside the many cultures and creeds of the world?
  • Or am I able to be reflective and simply relinquish myself from the stresses of identity and live myself as just me, free of labels?
15781770_10154888342154553_2144144271426407813_n
My dance-mates and me – undeniably local
16113975_10154440025338772_1880345431185725771_n
My Filipino friends and me – undeniably Fi- you get the idea

I’ve decided for myself to relax more with identities – more specifically, I’ve taken a more lax approach to labels. For one hand, identity is not important for survival, but it is vital for self-importance. (I’m not Spanish; I’m Filipino, Hong Kong people and Chinese people are not one of the same.) With that said: I may not be a complete HK-local, nor a complete Filipino, but I’m not the best son either, or the best brotherdancer, staff member, or even writer for that matter. But hey, I’m trying my best, and one can’t be the exact example of their one descriptor.

On the other hand, people are a lot more comfortable if we could label things/people, seeing them as recognizable things rather than ‘other‘.(He’s a cisgender bisexual, racially Hispanic, ethnically Mexican but American in nationality.)  It’s completely fine to have a label, but wow is having that many labels to take note of very tiring. So many connotations, so many political agendas, so many meanings… With my linguist’s background, the semantics of terms is so complicated; there is no meaning for meaning without context. Of course, it pays not to be ignorant in a globalized world, but to be always mindful of so many things

It’s the duty of every person in  every conversation to remind each other of our lives.

I’m many things, but I’m also just me. Now your turn. Do tell me more about you!


 


身為一個在香港成長的少數族裔人士多少也有些意義。香港喜歡說這是國際化 – (在有合理理由下,香港表面上是國際化的) – 但是它會像一個混血人士會對你大喊:他是十八分一蘇格蘭,但是其實主要是中國人。那就是香港:它會大聲稱自己是一個國際大都會、一個大熔爐、一個全球性的城市,但它的組成主要仍舊是香港人。(但這也關乎接受多元文化的討論)。

所以,在菲律賓社區成長的過程中,我接受了自己的命運,就像我將要遇到的那貧困無權、一團糟的人生 – 早已注定會有的生活,以及我父母預測的前景和痛苦。

然而,他們把我帶到了一個本地的幼兒園和一所本地的小學。當我十幾歲的時候升上英文中學時,我的廣東話已經比我的同學好多了。我對自己所屬的地方有著複雜的感覺。

當我進入了香港中文大學,我開始質疑自己:

  • 我是否能夠甚至被容許自稱自己是一個本地人呢?儘管對這地方複雜的文化一竅不通,而且還帶着滿口不流利的廣東話。
  • 同樣地,我能稱自己是菲律賓人嗎?
  • 這是否證明我是一個世界公民: 從中我學習、欣賞世界上的許多文化和信仰並與一起生活?
  • 我能夠反思這些問題,最後純粹地把自己從身份的壓力中解脫出來,不帶任何標籤去活出自我嗎?
15781770_10154888342154553_2144144271426407813_n
跳舞友和我 - 肯定 係local
16113975_10154440025338772_1880345431185725771_n
菲律濱來的朋友 - 肯定係Filipino

我決定讓自己從身份的枷鎖中解放:我對標籤採取了更寬鬆的態度。一方面,身份認同對生存並不重要,只是對於自我重要性卻至關重要(我不是西班牙人,我是菲律賓人;香港人和中國人不是同一種人)。也可說:我可能不是一個完完全全的本地香港人或菲律賓人,但我也不是最好的兒子,或最好的兄弟、舞者、工作人員,甚至作家。但是,嘿,我正在盡我所能。任何人都不能成為他人口中一個完全符合描述的例子。

另一方面,如果我們能把事物/人物貼上標籤,把人們看作是可以識別的東西而不是“其他”,那麼人們就會舒服得多。(他是一個雙性戀者,西班牙裔種族,種族上墨西哥人,但是美國人是國籍)。有標籤並不是問題,但值得留意是過多的標籤非常累人。這麼多的隱喻,這麼多的政治議程,這麼多的意思……用我的語言學家的背景,術語的語義是如此複雜,沒有語境也就沒有意思了。當然,在這全球化的世界裡不能無知,而要時刻注意不同事情……

在每一次談話中,每個人都有責任提醒對方什麼是自己的人生。

我身上有很多東西,但我也只是我。現在輪到你告訴我更多關於你的事情!

Edited by: Cris Lui

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