Being in-between

As a third-generation Nepali in Hong Kong. (The first generation of my family to move to Hong Kong was my grandfather, a British Gurkha stationed there), I was never really able to fit in with both my Nepali and Hongkonger identities.

I do speak Nepali at home. But since I never learnt my native tongue, I don’t understand the more complicated words.

And all my life, I have been studying in EMI(English as the medium of instruction) schools. So I would say English is my first language as I am most comfortable with it.

Because of this, I have never learnt Chinese(Cantonese) very well. Most of my Cantonese knowledge comes from:

  1. Watching local TV channels when smartphones did not exist.
  2. Playing in the playground when I was younger.
  3. Being forced to speak it in a working atmosphere where I had to work with people who did not understand English.

I am also forced to speak Cantonese when I go out because I have East Asian features. Therefore, HK locals talk to me in Cantonese instead of English since they think I am a local. I am grateful for this as this pushes me outside my comfort zone to speak more Cantonese.

Even then, I feel like I do not fit in both cultures properly. Not being Chinese, it is difficult to relate with the locals when it comes to traditions. The locals and minorities grow up in different backgrounds from culture, to schooling, to media exposure. When there are public holidays, we spend them differently. It means more to the locals because it relates to their culture. For us minorities, it is just an extra holiday. We are also exposed to stuff from our own countries in the forms of movies, TV, songs, religions. Although we may get along well, there is still something that differentiates us.

This is also true for my Nepali side. I am not familiar with the language. It is enough to get by in Nepal. But I do not understand anything when watching a news report there with the advanced use of language. I still remember needing to sign my name in Nepali when I went there for some official work where they were sardonic when I did not know how to write it. “How can you call yourself Nepali when you can’t even write your own name?” Those were the words the officer said to me. I realized then that most people live in a bubble where they are ignorant of people outside it. It was also a great way to make me question my identity.

I don’t feel “local” anywhere. In Hong Kong, you are “local” if you are Chinese and your family has been in Hong Kong for generations. I was also asked by my local friends when I was “going back” to visit Nepal. I understand that they did not mean any ill will. Since I am not Chinese, they must have thought I am not originally from here. But Hong Kong is my home. If you sent me to Nepal right now, I would be lost. I would be like a tourist there.

Back in 2019, when the HK protests were still going on, one of my friends at work told me that the locals were protesting because they had no other place to go. Most of them simply couldn’t. He told me that if HK became an undesirable place to live, I could go to Nepal and even other countries because I understood English. But the locals were indeed living in a bubble that was entirely their own. Being a Special Administrative Region that had an autonomy of itself. As well as being apart from the mainland for a century and a half. Obviously, this caused the people in Hong Kong to have their own identities.

I believe there are a lot of people like me who are in-between. Not only in Hong Kong but everywhere in the world. We manage to find our own smaller group of people with who we can relate. And even introduce the “locals” into our lives. Because although this is an identity crisis, not everyone may encounter it. The present is what binds us all together. Spending time together, getting to know one another. There is a beauty in learning more about each other that I have experienced both in Nepal and Hong Kong. Even though cultures and traditions may be different. In the end, we are all the same. We are human. So we should find comfort in our differences because that is what makes us unique. Our shared experiences allow us to connect with different parts of ourselves.

This blog was inspired by personal experience and talking with friends who relate. As well as the 2017 Wong Fu Productions short film: “In Between”.


Assessment 1 – Blog Post : Narrative Reflection

The coronavirus affected us all. Those whose life spiraled down in a big way felt this impact the most. I was here working my kitchen job full-time, contributing to my family with studies pushed aside somewhere in my mind. I was eventually planning on returning but I just didn’t know when I would. Things were not looking well for universities at that time with what was going around in Hong Kong.

And then boom! Out of nowhere, we got news that our restaurant and a few more from the same company were shutting down. The situation in Hong Kong was looking pretty dire. This was just bad for not only me, but also my colleagues who were suddenly out of jobs. I had no job, I was not studying at that time, my life felt so out of control. I applied for jobs here and there but it seemed like I would never find one again. The small light at the end of the tunnel seemed to get smaller and smaller. Never mind I thought, these things happen. I will just pull up my trousers and go on with life.

And then the next big thing hit us. The dreadful pandemic we all have grown accustomed to. All the negative energy seemed to just manifest around me. The clouds seem darker in the sky, it just felt like everyone lacked common courtesy and compassion for one another. Seeing the ugliness of people come out like when supermarkets were empty from hoarders, people leaving their masks everywhere. All these just ticked me the wrong way and my faith in humanity kept plummeting deeper and deeper.

I think the thing I hated the most was myself in these times. Normally you would expect someone to try to make life better for themselves by being able to find a stable and well-paying job. But I just grew apathetic to life because I could not see myself do better. I lost interest in everything. I was only eating for sustenance, I could not find enjoyment in music and I only browsed the Internet to pass time. I felt like my life was meaningless and that I was a complete disappointment to my family.

I was glad I had people in my life I could always talk to. We would meet up and just chill. Maybe eat together and watch something, or go outside and walk along the seaside and grab a beer. When life seemed to spiral out of control, I had friends I could rely on. I could see them grabbing onto a sturdy branch and reaching out their hand for me to grab. Life seemed to slow down, and I felt calmer around them. I could enjoy food and music around them. Just being able to laugh and fool around with no care in the world in each other’s companies. I think that was the thing I missed the most in these dark and turbulent times.

One thing I realized was that things were shit for all of us. We could all relate to one another and find comfort in talking about what was going on with ourselves. By talking things out, we were able to help each other stand and come into realization that life goes on. It also helped us face reality and helped us normalize what was going on. In a few years(hopefully!) We would be done with the coronavirus and be able to walk in the streets without masks. We would be able to travel outside again and life would be back to normal.

Trying to look at my own standpoint like Arthur Frank said, I think of myself as an honest person, but I also admit I find it hard to open up to people so if I have done so. That’s why I have tried to not omit anything from my experience while I write this. But if I have done so, it’s probably something I feel is too personal or something that would serve no purpose from other people knowing. I know we are always going on about how this year is always worse than the previous. But I do not like that mentality. I want every year to be better than the year before so we are constantly improving ourselves. I hope 2020 has broken the cycle of thinking that way. I guess in a way I have 2020 to thank. If you are rock-bottom, the only way to go is up.

I have noticed that when humans face situations of danger or uncertainness. They are prone to being emotional and the ugly side inside of them may show up. As in the case, with the outbreaks of corona. First with China from not containing the virus. I agree China should have done a better job of containing the virus, but I do not condone the negative treatment of mainlanders. I have noticed this mostly from young Hongkongers.

The same with the incident of some posts I have seen on social media about whose fault it is for the recent spikes of the virus in Hong Kong. I have always believed in the case that one bad tree does not make a forest. There are bad apples on both sides, but that is not the point. If we search hard for bad stuff, we will find it because that’s what we want to see. Things should not be a competition between “us” and “them”.

If we are expected to have to be seen as a region with autonomy and a shared sense of identity. Shouldn’t we learn to respect one another and treat each other like we’re part of the same family? Whenever something like this happens, it is always better to show empathy and understanding to someone. To educate them, instead of insulting or arguing with them. Because only by seeing their own wrongdoings will a person truly change, not by forcing them into a defensive stance.


Ahmad, A. (2020). Why You Should Ignore All That Coronavirus-Inspired Productivity Pressure. [online] . Available at:

Hynes, W., Trump, B., Love, P. and Linkov, I. (2020). Bouncing forward: a resilience approach to dealing with COVID-19 and future systemic shocks. Environment Systems and Decisions, [online] 40(2), pp.174–184. Available at:

Philippot, P. (2013). The regulation of emotion. New York, Ny: Psychology Press.


A life well lived to me is one where you were close with your loved ones.

A life well lived is one where you could say you were a good person in life.

A life well lived is one where you made a difference to other people in a positive way.

A life well lived is one where you came into terms with yourself and loved who you were.

A life well lived is one where you were happy in the end.

A life well lived is one where you accepted other people despite their differences and hardships.

A life well lived is one where you loved with all of your heart.

A life well lived is one where you made time for the people you care.

A life well lived is one where you were loved.

A life well lived is one where you felt.

A life well lived is one in which you mattered.