i‑Learner Education Centre

Steps to Success » New Cultures

Appreciation for Differences and Similarities

The world we live in is vibrantly colourful. Every day, we get the chance to meet different people, eat different cuisines, and speak different languages. Yet with the spread of globalisation, these differences are blending into our lifestyle, becoming part of our own culture, and generating similarities between us.

I used to teach Cantonese to non-native speakers as a volunteer. I had the chance to meet immigrants from other countries. I visited their homes to conduct lessons, and we often became friends. It was a pleasure to join them for dinner and talk about all kinds of topics. Through this, I discovered a great deal.

As a resident of multinational Hong Kong, you may have come across cultural diversity in your daily life. Food and clothes are tangible items that you can see and experience every day. Have you ever tried an Indian curry, or Lebanese dumplings? The spices and ingredients used in these cuisines are very different to those of traditional Hong Kong cuisine, and they can surprise and delight with their flavours. You might also have noticed different traditional clothing styles from the cultures around yourself. Have you seen Indian saris in Hong Kong? You might also have seen people leaving the beautiful mosque in TST wearing a hijab or other traditional Muslim outfit. From exotic ingredients to colourful clothing, the elements brought to Hong Kong from other cultures make our city ever more vibrant.

As well as noticing and appreciating the differences between us, there’s one thing we all need to have in common in order to make our lives together work – respect.  Our respect for each others’ differences makes our world harmonious and peaceful. If we respect other cultures, we are able to appreciate and learn from them, joining in with festivals and big events (e.g., Christmas, Holi, and Ramadan), as well as bonding over good food and other wonderful experiences.

Every one of us contributes to the magnificent diversity of the world. By embracing the differences, acknowledging the similarities between us, and giving more understanding to each other, we can build a harmonious society and enjoy our lives together.