A HKger recently asked me – having been in HK for more than 2 years, what did I think about Hkgers compared to Malaysians. I hesitated before replying because I wasn’t sure whether this person was prepared to hear the truth or the fudge. I wasn’t sure so I chose the middle path and replied – Malaysian are more inclusive. He reacted defensively by asking, whether this is because Malaysians have had exposure to various races and learnt from a young age to be tolerant of different cultures and customs, while for most HKgers, their exposure to other races/culture starts when they live overseas for their tertiary education. We didn’t have a chance to finish our conversation but it reminded me of a conversation I had with a cab driver in Malaysia – he had asked a similar question; what did I see was the key difference between HK and Malaysia and I was very clear with my answer – the Malaysian People. I find Malaysians to be generally more open-minded, more willing to help another, more ready to welcome and include a stranger, more tolerant & respectful of differences….. more human. Maybe it is not that HKgers are less inclusive but that Malaysians are a special breed because of the environment we were brought up in.
My statement is a generalisation and for sure, I have met a few HKgers who defy this generalisation and whose friendship I am grateful for. Unfortunately based on my experience, most of the HKgers I have met are exclusive and unwilling to admit a stranger into their inner circle. Some go as far as to let you know that you’re not welcomed in HK. So what is a Foreigner to do but make friends with other foreigners.