The Wandering Voice
A 9-year-old Refugee's Heartbreaking Letter to Hong Kong’s Leader
Tens of millions of stateless "ghost citizens" are struggling for survival in the corners of prosperous cities.
A 9-year-old Refugee's Heartbreaking Letter to Hong Kong’s LeaderBy The Wandering Voice
Editor's note: The Wandering Voice, co-founded by Crossing's columnist writer Jessie Yang, is a media platform based in Hong Kong, and is dedicated to telling stories of migrant domestic workers, refugees and ethnic minorities.
The following is a letter from a 9 year-old boy, Shadid, written to The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region with the help of The Wandering Voice. The letter is published with the author's permission.
Dear Madam Carrie Lam,
My name is Shahid. I am nine years old and studying in primary 5 in Tuen Mun area. I was born in Hong Kong but my parents are from Sri Lanka. My parents hold a recognizance paper given to them by the Hong Kong Immigration Department. I don’t understand much about their status in Hong Kong. Whenever I ask my parents about it, they always tell me that I will understand when I grow up. Even my birth certificate says that I am not established, so I am confused!
Who am I? Is my nationality Hong Kong or Sri Lanka? I always see my parents fill forms, but when it comes to me they always leave it blank. I am a normal boy, I can even speak Chinese very well. I can speak five languages well, so I think I am talented as people say it is not easy to speak so many languages.
I never go to extra tutorial. We cannot afford it because my parents are not allowed to work in Hong Kong. I learn everything from my school and home. My parents always help me with my studies. They always try to do their best for my sister and I. My sister is 6 years old now and she already knows four languages. As a family we are a happy family. I love music and I have been playing trumpet for 5 years now, and I am also in my school band team. I am a proud gold medalist for inter school contest.
My school team which I am also a part of has been invited to participate in the final round at the International Performance Challenge 2017 on 28 December 2017 in Okinawa, Japan. I am feeling very sad because I just learnt that I cannot join my teammates. My parents told me that I am not allowed to go out of Hong Kong. I asked them to help me but no one could help me. I feel so sad. Luckily I saw your article on my school newspaper about Hong Kong policy address and an idea came to me that I should try to talk to you and maybe you can help me.
I have many certificates and awards from music. I can also play the piano and saxophone. The school is nice to me, I borrow a trumpet from my school because I do not have my own trumpet. I am so grateful to my school and my music teacher. My music teacher always tell me that he understands my situation and he always does the best for me and offers to teach me for free.
My mom and I walk and ride bicycles because we want to save money. We save the little money we get from ISS(International Social Service) for my examinations. We never wear new clothes, we always wear second hand clothes we get from Christian Action Center for Refugees. I am also happy that I can have clothes and I am grateful to all the people who donate the clothes we wear. I do not want new clothes, I want to succeed in my education and also go to university. I am so sad because my mom told me that it is impossible to go to university and the cost is too high.
My parents always remind me that education and respect to elders makes a man complete. If I get a chance in life and get to go to university, I would want to change one thing in Hong Kong. I think keeping older people in nursing homes is not right, and I would encourage my friends to respect parents and older people, and stay with them in our homes. It is so hard to be a parent. I can see my parents are really having a hard time raising me and my young sister. They try to give us a good future but I am beginning to see that it is so hard for them.
My mom always say that she has spent 17 years in Hong Kong. She does nothing for herself, all she does is for me and my sister.
I hope Madam Carrie Lam you will read my letter. I feel I am a citizen of Hong Kong but there are so many things my friends can do that I am not allowed to. I hope you can help us kids, I hope you can help with refugee kids’ education. I am not asking for food or clothes, I need help to study and I want to be a part of Hong Kong. I was born here and this is the only home I know, I do not know any other home.
Letter edited by Innocent Mutanga.
About The Wandering Voice
The Wandering Voice is a media platform based in Hong Kong, and is dedicated to telling stories of migrant domestic workers, refugees and ethnic minorities. We publish bilingual articles and produce videos which humanize the depiction of these communities.
Our primary target region is Hong Kong, but we also hope to expand to Macau, Guangdong, Taiwan and beyond.
Crossing features more than 200 (still increasing) Taiwanese new generation from over 110 cities around the globe. They have no fancy rhetoric and sophisticated knowledge, just genuine views and sincere narratives. They are simply our friends who happen to stay abroad, generously and naturally sharing their stories, experience and perspectives. See also CrossingNYC.
This article presents the opinion or perspective of the original author / organization, which does not represent the standpoint of CommonWealth magazine.