Generations of Indians have made their home in Hong Kong since the 19th century. Their cuisines, religion, and art have been incorporated
to various degrees in the local culture. Curry dishes for example have become part of the local diet, while yoga and meditation have broadened the local repertoire of physical and mental health. Little attention, however, has been paid to the cultural contribution of this ethnic
community as Hong Kong develops into a global city.
The Multiculturalism in Action project aimed to raise awareness of Indian culture as part of Hong Kong's local heritage, and to dispel the stereotypes and misunderstandings that have sprung from cultural ignorance. The project pioneered a new model of cross-cultural education using a two-tier approach. The first tier involved community engagement as Indian individuals and organizations acted as collaborators and speakers for the Indian Culture Workshop for university students. In the fall semester of 2013, students attended seminars and visits to learn about aspects of Indian culture such as religion, traditional medicine, gender and family. They took part
in festivals and listened to personal narratives, and gained firsthand insights into the daily life and cultural practices of Indians in Hong
Kong. They learned how Bollywood and Indian cuisine have evolved over time, and developed critical perspectives on social and cultural transformation, particularly in relation to the global Indian diaspora.
On the second tier, Workshop participants took up the role of cultural trainers and carried out presentations for local secondary students in the spring semester of 2014. Over 500 students and teachers attended these interactive presentations. Many students in the audience told us
that they would now look for opportunities to learn more about other cultures, starting with talking to their South Asian neighbors, and asking their school libraries to purchase books and multimedia resources on the subject.
Activities in the project were designed to encourage understanding between local Chinese and Indians as they became intercultural partners.
It was a mutually empowering experience through sharing cultural knowledge. The positive feedback we received shows that cross-cultural
activities bring about not only enlightened views of other cultures, but also meaningful relations among people of different ethnic backgrounds. It shows that we can all be agents of change for better ethnic relations and in making Hong Kong a truly cosmopolitan society.
To further disseminate these benefits, we have developed this learning kit which is available free of charge to the public. Included in the
booklet are bilingual summaries of the talks and other activities, topical bibliographies for further reading, and suggested activities in the classroom. In the DVD, we have edited 30-minute episodes of the seminars, each with key points highlighted. Teachers and students alike will find this a handy starting point for developing multicultural education and research. For frontline social service workers and, indeed, anyone interested in cultural diversity, this kit will help to debunk myths and make interculturalism a self-sustained effort in society.
Many people and organizations have made this project possible. At the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Office of Research and Knowledge Transfer Services funded this project, and the Department of Anthropology and New Asia College were sponsors. My gratitude is owed to all the speakers and organizations of the Indian community in Hong Kong for generously giving of their time and talents, and to the schools
and teachers who welcomed us as guest presenters. I thank my research assistants, student helpers, and Workshop participants for persevering in
this intensive journey of intercultural learning. While all efforts have been made to ensure that the content of this kit is a good reflection of the Workshop, mistakes and oversights are mine alone. Please send us your suggestions and comments to help us improve on our work