The Nepali community has since the mid-20th century contributed to the development of a multicultural environment in Hong Kong. Best known
as Gurkhas in the British Army, the Nepalis played a pivotal role in Hong Kong's defense. Their legacy includes the Trailwalker, now the biggest
hiking fundraiser in the world. The colorful festivals of Teej and Lhosa, as well as Indian- and Tibetan-influenced religious traditions, have also
enriched the life of mainstream society. As the smallest ethnic minority in Hong Kong, they are subject to social exclusion and discrimination,
and their culture has often been misunderstood and ignored, resulting in unequal access to basic rights and resources such as education,
employment, and healthcare. My earlier research also found that gender and generational differences are significant factors in marginalization and
The Racial Discrimination Ordinance is now seven years old, but while providing a legal basis for better opportunity, it has not provided the
content and motivation for ethnic harmony. Cross-cultural knowledge is the foundation to ending social isolation of, and discrimination against,
minority communities. In the process of developing into a metropolitan city, Hong Kong needs to pay attention to one major component of a
true metropolis, namely, embracing cultural diversity.
The Multiculturalism in Action: Nepali Culture Workshop was a response to this need. Held between September 2014 and May 2015, the Workshop sought to bridge the knowledge gap between mainstream Chinese society and the Nepali community, by involving members of both communities in a bigger initiative to put multiculturalism in
action. It promoted understanding of Nepali culture as part of Hong Kong's local heritage, critically looked at issues of social marginalization and discrimination, and developed a mutually empowering model of intercultural education.
The Buddy Program was a highlight of the Workshop. Chinese University students and Nepali youth formed small groups to work on communitybased projects: a drama on growing up as minority in Hong Kong, kabaddi as a sport, festivals exchange, and an exhibition on the forgotten history of the Gurkhas. Despite different backgrounds, the buddies shared similar interests and had similar values and aspirations in life. This confirms that friendship knows no ethnic boundary, and that the younger
generation is ready to embrace cultural differences and, given the opportunity, are partners in change for a truly intercultural, cosmopolitan Hong Kong society.
This booklet summarizes the content of our seminars, field trips, and other activities, which readers are welcome to adapt for intercultural education in their specific settings. More content of the Workshop are available at our website: http://arts.cuhk.edu.hk/~ant/knowledgetransfer/multiculturalism-in-action/nepali-culture-workshop.html
I wish to thank the ORKTS for funding this project, and all the individuals and organizations that have helped to give talks, performed in our
programs, hosted our visits, sponsored souvenirs, and provided valuable advice at different stages of the project. Most of all I thank my students,
buddies, research assistants, and helpers, who really were the Workshop, and from whom I have learned so much. As always, please send us your comments and suggestions to help us improve on our work.