Hey, this is a topic that as a fellow BBC, I find it really difficult to believe.
From my own experiences, I have noticed that a lot of Local Hong Kongers (and by local, I mean the HK people that have grown up completely in HK and not been abroad for study..) have a prejudice against BBC’s that we are spoilt, lazy, rich, bananas (basically a term some people use to suggest we’re ‘white-washed’) that can only speak english.
When I was applying for PhDs in HK, someone that I met for the first time said to me that in HK I won’t be able to be 大小姐 anymore (Literally big little miss, we might say something more like the little princess in english). It shocked me a little to hear someone say that to me as I have never considered me to be 大小姐 especially compared to the girls in HK that have 公主病 (princess syndrome), however the fact that he said it merely based on the fact that I am a BBC was more shocking.
Thankfully the more he spoke to me, the more he realised that I was not the type of person that he thought I would be as a BBC and so there were no more comments of that sort, but it did make me wonder what it is about BBC that makes HKers think of us in such a bad light.
Now, I realise that there are obviously going to be BBCs that match all of those things that HKers think.. but of the people I have met, I would say that the majority of us are normal, respectable, nice people.
I can see why HKers might think that BBCs are rich, as generally alot of BBC families make the journey back to HK and back every now and again and when we do make those trips back to HK, as we’re not there for long, we spend more than perhaps we normally would back in the UK. However, this is the same for anybody of any race who goes on holiday is it not?
I have never considered my family to be ‘rich’ per-say, obviously when we had our takeaway, we made a nice amount, to the extent that my parents could retire and return to HK 5 years ago., but the money that we made was through my parents hard work and perseverance, and so I think it is their right to spend their hard earned money on whatever it is that they wish to spend it on.
Throughout most of my childhood, I lived off hand-me-downs from older cousins, friends of the family etc and it was a while before my parents could afford to buy me my first piece of clothing. I am completely grateful for everything that my parents have done for me and brought me and so I oppose the idea that BBCs are spoilt.
As for BBCs being lazy, well aren’t there lazy people in every country no matter where you go? Its not a trait that only BBCs have, it’s just human kind. I’m sure everyone gets their lazy days. I understand that HK is a busy and hard-working place to live in and the UK in comparison is more relaxed, but that doesn’t mean that we’re any less hard-working than people in HK. If you are a hard-working person, you will be hard-working whether you’re working a 37.5 hr a week job in the UK or a 60 hr a week job in HK (Just maybe a bit more tired in HK).
Finally, the point about BBCs being bananas and unable to speak chinese. I do agree that many BBCs don’t speak chinese- I actually think its a real shame because it’s such an amazing language and it’s always great to have another language on your belt. My parents were always adamant that me and my brother spoke in cantonese at home, and so thankfully we’ve not lost our cantonese, however I am disappointed that I don’t speak quite as well now as I did when I was younger. It is nice to be able to have long conversations with my parents though with no language barrier and I believe that it actually makes us closer to our family.
I think that embracing your culture and language is something that depends on the individual themselves and the way the family deals with it. I know some families don’t encourage their kids to speak in chinese and so they just speak in english/don’t converse at all, whilst others just don’t see their kids enough to try to enforce it.
I’d like to think that most BBCs do not conform to the prejudice that some HKers have as the ones that I have met/are friends with are certainly not anything like that, and I would like to think that I am also not like that. Hopefully, HKers will start to realise that we’re not all like that and we’re actually really nice normal, chinese people just like them!
What do you think? Are you anything like that? Have you ever had prejudice against you because of where you were born? Let me know!! ^_^
P.s I know that not all HKers think this, but this is just some of the things that I have experienced that some HKers think about BBCs.