|Prof. Maria Tam (Right) and workshop participant Mr. Ren Qiran sharing at the press conference.|
Prof. Siumi Maria Tam introduced her Multiculturalism in Action project findings and, together with Workshop participants, shared aspirations for social harmony, at the press conference last Saturday, September 20, 2014. The hour-long press conference turned out to be a 2-hour long fruitful discussion.
|Prof. Tam discussing the social marginalisation faced by the ethnic minorities in Hong Kong.|
As a cultural anthropologist, Prof. Tam has developed research projects focusing on issues of cultural identity as they interface with ethnicity, gender, and transnational mobility. Through her studies on South Asian groups in Hong Kong, namely the Nepali and Indian communities, she found that public misunderstanding and social stereotypes have led to personal and structural discrimination, and cross-cultural ignorance gives rise to social isolation and exclusion, which further reinforce unhealthy ethnic relations and underuse of talents, with a negative impact on Hong Kong’s development as a cosmopolitan society.
During the press conference, Prof Tam was being asked about her views on the racist attitudes towards the ethnic minorities in Hong Kong. She pointed out the relatively high level of cultural illiteracy in Hong Kong, as well as the superficial events on promoting ethnic minorities cultures held by the Race Relations Unit did very little on inviting the public to really engage with the minorities. In hopes of disarming the racial stereotypes and discrimination in Hong Kong, Prof Tam has produced an 80-page bilingual information booklet together with a DVD highlighted the seminars and field visits. She hoped that the information kit would benefit education institutions to develop culturally sensitive lessons on the one hand, and raise awareness of the role of the Indians in Hong Kong since 19th century on the other.
Lam, Lana. “Academic’s Free Educational Materials to Battle Racism,” South China Morning Post. 21 September, 2014. at http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1597038/academics-free-educational-materials-battle-racism