“So why Hong Kong?” This is the question I have been asked the most since arriving in Hong Kong in December 2018. And the answer is, I did not choose Hong Kong, Hong Kong chose me. Never in a million years did I imagine that one day I would be living and working in Hong Kong. But having lived in Hong Kong for five weeks now, I can honestly and wholeheartedly state that I am loving every second of this unexpected twist.
I am a Global Mission Fellow serving in Hong Kong with Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants. I graduated with a degree in International Relations and French, and a passion for justice. Having spent a number of years learning about the inequalities and unfair and biased political and economic systems in place around the world, I left university tired of writing essays about the issues at hand, and ready to do something to help resolve them. I worked with Christian Aid for a year, followed by five years working with the Methodist Church in Britain, as part of the World Church Relationship’s team. During my time with the Methodist Church, I was exposed to various global issues, but one challenge all our partner organisations seemed to be facing was that of migration. At the time, I was increasingly absorbed by what the media referred to as “Europe’s refugee crisis”, and how this compared to global migration and issues of displacement.
It therefore felt like fate the day it was confirmed that I would be working with Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants on their domestic work programme. Despite all the research I carried out prior to arriving in Hong Kong on the issues relating to domestic workers in Hong Kong, nothing quite prepared me for my first day of work. I will never forget sitting in the Bethune House Migrant Women’s Refuge, and listening to the 20 or so women sat with me, sharing stories of some of the abuses they had experienced at the hand of their employers. I returned home angry, shocked, upset, and determined to advocate for the rights of domestic workers in Hong Kong.
So, what are my hopes for my time with APMM? In response, let me borrow the words of this Franciscan blessing:
“May God bless you with a restless discomfort
about easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships,
so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.
May God bless you with holy anger
at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people.
May God bless you with the gift of tears
to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish,
so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.
May God bless you with enough foolishness
to believe that you really can make a difference in this world,
so that you are able, with God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.”
While I have adjusted amazingly well to life in Hong Kong, since arriving, I have been perpetually uncomfortable, and I hope to continue to be uncomfortable, because that is a sign of growth. I hope to continue to be challenged to be better and do better. I hope to continue to gain a deep understanding of the causes of migration, and to share this knowledge with those back home. I hope to be fully involved in the life of APMM, to share as much love and kindness as I have received, and finally, I hope to have fun, to have as much Bubble tea as I can, and to see as much of Hong Kong as possible!