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By Suzie (Su Guangping)
As an immigrant from Pakistan, Azhar Ali, is fighting for a brighter future, not only to achieve his own dream but also for his family, in this city of dreams.
The high salary is one reason why he chose to move to Hong Kong. The average salary for an engineer with MA degree in Pakistan is around 60,000 PKR per month, equal to 4,300 Hong Kong dollars (HKD).
Now he earns 13,000 HKD per month, working for a mobile phone shop near Kowloon Park. But he said he felt satisfied and happy with his job and payment, and absolutely not willing to change his job.
Born in 1985, Ali has two children: a one-year-old and a two-year-old. His wife needs to stay at the apartment they rent in Hong Kong and look after their kids, because the kids are too young, which makes him the only one working to support the family. Dream to open his own mobile shop, he is willing to work from morning till 9.30 p.m. to get experiences and earn money for it. “I come here for a brighter future, if I open my own shop, I want my kids to inherit my business”, said Ali, “it is not easy, but I will work hard for it.”
Ali said that Hong Kong is a good place, “When you talk, somebody is listening; when you face some problem and you call the police, the police come and help.
“In Hong Kong, you feel safe. In Pakistan, you cannot feel safe. It does not mean I do not like my hometown. I love Pakistan and my people. I still remember the moments there. The people there are good, honest people; the place is good; the only thing they lack is good governance.”
Refused to talk about his old days and how governance was in Pakistan, Ali did admit there were some problems in Pakistan, the privilege of ordinary people were not guaranteed and police were not really helping or protecting the civilians, people can hear gunfire in Karachi. “We felt so unsafe”, he said.
Sometimes, the electric power supply was unstable, like once it was out of electricity, “how can my kids withstand, they are too small. I don’t want my kids grow up there. They will be well-educated and freely grow up in Hong Kong.”
A problem he was persecuted now is the eduction of his children. He found out that education could cause a lot of money, “but in Pakistan, the fundamental education is free”, said Ali. Also, he used to think about buying a house in Hong Kong but now he realized, “it was impossible, that’s too expensive”.
“Most people here are nice, but some don’t like us”, Ali said, “my uncle and cousins have lived in Jordan, Hong Kong for more than ten years since they migrated here.” That was one reason why he moved to Hong Kong. He said that near Jordan, there are many Pakistani migrants similar to him.
Will he consider going back? He said he would like to stay in Hong Kong and never go back, as many other Pakistani immigrants would do, “because Hong Kong is a safe place.”
The 2011 census stated that there were 18,042 Pakistanis in Hong Kong, accounting for 0.3% of the total Hong Kong population. Possibly, there are more Pakistani here in 2013, and Ali is one of them.
“The migrants from south Asian or southeast Asian countries are plenty, even some of them have ancestors moved to Hong Kong a century ago, they still don’t have equitable treatment”, the founder of Hong Kong Unison (an NGO focus on migrants’ equality), Fermi Wong said.
According to the data from Hong Kong Immigrant Department website, 1,274 foreigners applied to be Hong Kong citizens. Wong considered the colored immigrants might face more difficulties in Hong Kong than those white people, and Hongkongees don’t like them because they would rap the working opportunities.