I came across an article (少數族裔不懂中文搵工難 - siu2 sou3 zuk6 jeoi6 bat1 dung2 zung1 man4 wan2 gung1 naan4) in Yahoo about Ethnic Minorities finding it difficult to find work in Hong Kong. The article describes a young man Mohammad, which I previously met briefly last month.

He tells the story that he can speak fluent Cantonese but cannot read or write. He only studied to Form 5 and constantly gets rejected for jobs when he writes a Pakistani name and gets phone calls when he writes a Chinese name. Also when people call him up, they recognise that he has an accent and rejects him because he is not Chinese.

I met a group of ethnic minorities who want the government to cater for their poor language needs so that they can enter the civil service without needing to pass Chinese. They claim that they get discriminated because they can’t pass the Chinese test. I met a person who claimed he couldn’t get a promotion in the civil service because of non-existent Chinese reading skills. Its 11 years since 1997 and instead of learning to read Chinese, he’d rather complain for 11 years that the Government discriminated him. On the other hand, he said he would need 7 years to learn written Chinese properly. To me, its pretty obvious if he didn’t spend 11 years complaining that he couldn’t get promoted for poor Chinese, he could have already mastered Chinese and been promoted.

Regarding this article, Mohammad quit his previous job because he wanted to take leave to act in a documentary about race discrimination. When his boss didn’t allow him to, he decided to quit. This is the real world, and obviously he doesn’t have his priorities straight. I couldn’t imagine asking my boss for random leave so I could act in a TVB series. One has a commitment to their job and why would it be any different for Mohammad, just because he wants to act in a race discrimination video.

Many Chinese people get rejected for jobs all the time. Even I know many who don’t get phone calls either. Even I applied for work and been rejected, I don’t believe its discrimination because I’m a Westerner. For Mohammad who is a Form 5 Graduate, demand for jobs would be quite competitive in today’s economic market. I’m sure there is a huge pool of job seekers who can speak and write both Chinese and English. So it makes more sense for Mohammad to find his own competitive advantage. I’m sure not many employers would want to hire sub-par employees.

I don’t deny there isn’t discrimination in Hong Kong as I’ve been a victim of it in Australia and Hong Kong. Though I think that one should only blame themselves for their own language limitations. I see many job postings relating to my previous/current experiences on JobsDB, which I believe I could do well. However, due to having Written and Spoken Chinese requirements, I know that I am not suitable. Instead of complaining that I was discriminated because of my foreign name, I took out my copy-book and practiced several pages of Chinese.