HONG KONG–When Amir was eight years old, he was big enough to go to school alone, to cross the city to grandpa’s, to fight with other boys. But he couldn’t remember his father, Gurbaksh Singh. This Delhi boy could only see father when Chinese Lunar New Year came. In son’s blur memory, his father was a short man who didn’t smile much. But there was one thing he knew for sure, father was in somewhere named Hong Kong.
Amir’s father, Gurbaksh Singh, 49, a restaurant manager, left Delhi for “a better paid place”—Hong Kong in 1991. Speaking no Cantonese, Singh can only work in an Indian restaurant as a waiter, lasting for five years. “Language, is always the hardest thing for making a living here.” 21 years later, Singh’s face wrinkles when smiling but still he can only speak few words in Cantonese.
“I guess it’s because I have an India face,” Singh pauses, “People simply waved me away when I ask for help, say, looking for direction.”
Not even knowing who is bride, in 1997 Singh married with a girl whom his family chose. One year later, Amir Singh was born. “When I worked alone here, I missed my family.” Singh said, “So I work harder, make more money and we can build a home here.”
Last year, two decades from his departure from Delhi, 13 years after little Amir’s birth, Singh brought his wife and son to Hong Kong. “It was very hard to start a life here. But where else isn’t?” Singh crossed his hands together, adding “You stop working and you will be starving. This is true everywhere.”
Wearing a plaid shirt, leather shoes shinning and hair combed back, Singh said, “India, for me, is only a place to visit. I am a Hong Konger.” He smiled and said, “I will stay here till death.”
Indian community in Hong Kong is estimated to be more than 45,000 and approximately half of them hold Indian passports, according to the India Consult. They work in the service industry, finance, shipping, etc and help build a prospective Hong Kong. Suffering long time separate with their families back home is common seen and only few can be able to bring their relatives here.
Gurbaksh Singh’s boy, Amir, is currently studying at a middle school in Hong Kong. “He can speak some simple sentence in Cantonese but he is learning it very fast,” Singh said with a smile, eyes sparkling.