New book by Prof Lisa Leung enables in-depth understanding of South Asian ethnic minorities in Hong Kong

21 Jul 2014

A new book co-authored by Prof Lisa Leung, Associate Professor of Cultural Studies of Lingnan University, offers an in-depth, comprehensive understanding of the South Asian ethnic minorities in Hong Kong, at a time when minority rights have become a matter of increasing public concern, and the Equal Opportunities Commission has recently launched a three-month consultation on discrimination law review.

Entitled Understanding South Asian Minorities in Hong Kong, the new book is the outcome of a three-year research project conducted by Prof Lisa Leung and Prof John N. Erni of the Department of Humanities and Creative Writing, Hong Kong Baptist University. The research focused on three main minority groups of Indians, Pakistanis and Nepalese. By examining the history of their settlement in Hong Kong, their unique cultural experience at school and at work, the authors aim to demonstrate the relevance of a multicultural approach in pondering the complex issues facing ethnic minorities in Hong Kong.

"Little is understood about the unique cultural practices of those ethnic minority groups in negotiating with the mainstream society, and in the felt need to assimilate and be recognised as full members of this community. In the eyes of the Chinese majority, they are often regarded as the ‘invisible neighbours", even though some of their family settlement in Hong Kong date back to the nineteenth century, long before the influx of Chinese immigrants after the Second World War,” said Prof Leung. “By adopting the critical multiculturalism approach, the book questions our taken-for-granted definition of Hong Kong people, and prompts us to rethink identity through the lens of diversity.”

Drawing on numerous news clippings, research reports, official documents and case studies, the book examines issues of the media, protection of legal rights, education, economic independence and sustainability as they relate to the ethnic minorities. It includes oral histories of early south Asian settlement, as well as stories about the struggles of some ethnic businesses in Hong Kong. It concludes with a review of relevant academic and policy research, and an action proposal for the government and civil right groups’ consideration. This book should appeal to secondary and university students interested in carrying out relevant research, liberal studies teachers, as well as general readers.