HKOSA wants to make Hong Kong a more harmonious place with Project Resonance

HKOSA wants to make Hong Kong a more harmonious place with Project Resonance

Social responsibility is part of our founding statement, and social harmony is one of our main missions. As we prepare to launch Project Resonance 2015 in July, let's review the evolution of our harmony-themed projects

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Students visited the South African consulate in Hong Kong.
Students visited the South African consulate in Hong Kong.

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Tasting exotic food to get a better understanding of a new culture.
Tasting exotic food to get a better understanding of a new culture.

The beginning: International Convergence

More than 10 years ago, the Hong Kong Outstanding Students' Association (HKOSA) set up the International Convergence project based on the city's dazzling ethnic and cultural diversity.

By visiting different national consulates and taking part in hands-on workshops, students experienced some of the lesser-known cultural treasures of Hong Kong.

Tasting exotic food is one of the best ways to get a better understanding of a new culture, so since the first International Convergence in 2005, delicious treats have become a fixture of the project. Most memorably, International Convergence 2010 saw students learning to cook Indian curry - at an outdoor school playground and under the guidance of an Indian secondary school student.

The best part of International Convergence is that it makes new experiences accessible to students.

Consulates and leaders of the city's different ethnic groups are usually out of reach for the ordinary student, but HKOSA managed to provide our youngsters with these eye-opening experiences.

Going local: Uncovering native diversity

Last summer, HKOSA re-invented International Convergence to embrace a greater challenge. We explored some of the hidden cultural aspects of Hong Kong, and worked to revive some of the lost traditions of the city. These included fading cultural relics such as walled villages and fishing villages.

Our inquisitive young members presented their "findings" at our Carnival Showcase, where they set up booths and sold handcrafted products to promote their respective cultures.

"Our aptly titled 'Project Resonance' embodies our goal to find resonance among differences," explained Gary Lor Cheuk-yin, one of the leaders of Project Resonance 2014.

Being a summer project, Project Resonance 2014 was also called "Summer Carousel". This worked well with the "resonance" theme because, just as a carousel - or merry-go-round - contains many different parts working together to ensure a smooth ride, different communities working together will create a harmonious society.

A daring step forward: minority cultures

Encouraged by the success of the first Project Resonance, we have decided to embark upon a journey into another exciting feature of our city - our minority cultures. This year we present Project Resonance 2015: Summer Lagoon.

A lagoon is a shallow body of water separated from a larger body of water by barrier islands or reefs. Its beautiful natural scenery can be used as a symbol of peace, happiness, and harmony. This echoes the wonderful relationship between Hongkongers and ethnic minorities, as they strive to make the city a better place.

The Pearl of the Orient is a melting pot of different cultures and people. Hong Kong's multiculturalism has allowed different social groups to live together peacefully.

However, the city's minorities are being neglected.

Differences can easily become an excuse for us to ignore the more vulnerable groups in society. It's much easier to plead ignorance rather than muster the energy and courage to question these differences, and we often choose to label people we do not understand as "the others". This simple label immediately relieves us from the burden of having to empathise with their concerns.

When we ignore "the others" and their struggles, we also miss out on their joys, and the wonderful things they bring to our society. HKOSA hopes to enlighten students about the many faces of our community in Hong Kong.

Natalie Cheuk Kwok-wing

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Creating a more harmonious Hong Kong

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