Hong-Kong : a bridge between China and the rest of Asia

by on Friday, 09 November 2007 Comments
Do you feel Asian?

Yes, I do know I am Asian but the identity as a Chinese overrides it. I inherited my sense of being a Chinese from my parents, as they came from Mainland China and we spoke a Chinese dialect, regardless of where we were in Cambodia or in Hong-Kong. They gave me my identity as a Chinese.
Yet I consider I have a strong attachment to Hong-Kong, as I was brought up since three in Hong-Kong, Hong-Kong people share a particular identity as it is a unique place in China and in the rest of Asia. We have always been a fusion where the Oriental and the Occidental influences meet. So being Chinese, I found myself distinctive from other Chinese from Mainland China or Taiwan for example.
By traveling in many Asian countries, I realized that Asian people from different countries are more similar to each other than what I thought. When I think of the concept of ‘being Asian’, I feel I am part of a bigger congregation. It involves much more to me than the only bond to China. I think that within a congregation which encompasses people from all Asian countries, we should have a stronger power.

Which role do you think HK can play in the construction of an ’Asian Union’?

I think of Asia as a very diverse continent. It is an amalgam of very different cultures where geographically close countries like China or Japan do not even share common history. I think these differences are quite too big to give an opportunity for Asia to unite. I can hardly see a chance to build in a near future a supra-national institution in Asia like the European Commission. What may really bring us together is money! Asian cooperation programs come more under a trade union.
However, I think it would be hard for Hong-Kong to fully integrate an Asian Union, if not through China. I don’t think that Hong-Kong can cooperate with other Asian countries which are strong already, like Japan, Korea... On the other hand, we have a huge gap with weaker countries. So, even at the economic level, I think cooperation is a challenge.
The influence and reliance of Mainland China is obvious and is also getting stronger in Hong-Kong. Yet, I think Hong-Kong should keep its well-established international status at the same time so as to gain its own autonomy and power and not totally rely on Mainland China. Otherwise the rise of the big cities in Mainland China will easily overtake Hong-Kong’s status in the future. China wants to be Number 1 on the Asian Regional scene. I think quite a lot of Hong-Kong people realize this point.
Hong-Kong has the advantage of the well-established infrastructure economically and socially. It can be a bridge between Mainland China and other Asian countries. Also, culturally, the hybrid of Oriental and Occidental influences is an advantage for Hong-Kong to maintain its particular status in Asia.

Which topic do you care the most about in a more united Asia?

I think environmental protection will be a central issue for going into global associations. Asian people can find more unity in facing global issues together I do not ignore the motivation of charity and humanity. Yet, it seems quite temporal, and the motivation behind the government policies is financial influence on each other. On the whole, it cannot be a strong tie.
I feel very concerned by building an union to tackle problems such as poverty or health issues. From December 2002 to March 2003, I joined OMF, a Christian missionary organization and went to Cambodia to serve in a hostel opened for the factory workers. I spent one month learning Khmer language. For a monththe hostel was closed because some Thai missionaries had been attacked in Cambodia. During that time I lived in a small orphanage with five physically disabled orphans. My cultural background helped me in widening my heart for different cultures and points of view. By doing missionary work, we try to arouse our congregation’s sense of compassion and awareness of what’s happening in other Asian countries.Personally, missionary work helps me to care more about other Asian people, rather than only stick to Hong-Kong people and Chinese.

In ten years from now, I can see that Asian countries will remain independent, with a stronger and stronger influence of Mainland China on all of them.
I hope to see an Asia with better living standards and Asians who care about others, especially about the ones living in poor countries. I think missionary work is a way to achieve more understanding between Asians. Knowing God’s love is a major help for people to gain love, care, and also real HOPE.

Aurélie Kernaléguen (柯蕾俐)

Settled in Asia since she was 17, Aurelie was one of those young kids, who, to the question "What do you want to do later in life?" always answered: "A reporter, but abroad"... After obtaining her Masters Degree in Journalism at National Taiwan University, she started to work for Radio Taiwan International. She is also very interested in photojournalism and spends her spare time wandering in the Taiwanese countryside with her camera. Interested in understanding better Asian culture in all its diversities, she likes to connect with many locals and especially the minority tribes of Taiwan. And if one day you do not see her around in Asia, it means she went for her other dream in life: living on a ranch in Wyoming in the amidst of only horses and green grass.

Website: www.flickr.com/photos/keleily/

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