A Hong Kong policeman of Indian ethnicity, who was the second non-Chinese since 1997 to qualify for probation as a police inspector, said he was willing to serve as a mediator to enhance communication among the police force, Hong Kong Chinese and the city’s ethnic minorities.
Singh Gimandeep, a 23-year-old inspector at Tsim Sha Tsui Police Station, said many people in ethnic minorities could not speak Cantonese and it was difficult for them to integrate into the community, according to a feature story published by Metro Daily on Friday.
This disadvantage can mean they are easily exploited by crime syndicates, he said. He will try to explain to members of ethnic minorities when they encounter difficulties that their behavior might break the law in Hong Kong, which wasn’t the case in their home countries.
Gimandeep, who was born in Hong Kong, said learning Cantonese was very important for anyone living in the city. He said he was lucky to have had people around him who helped him learn the language, especially his primary school and Project Gemstone, an initiative launched by the police.
Gimandeep speaks fluent Cantonese but still has some difficulty with written Chinese.
He went to Yaumati Kaifong Association School in Kowloon’s Yau Ma Tei area, which is a school mainly serving lower-class non-Chinese students. He said that while attending the school he became familiar with different cultures, which helped him a lot as he grew up and once he started working.
Cheung Yee-mei, the principal of the school, said it wanted to train its students in Chinese language skills so they could better integrate into the local community, or to get a job when they grew up.
Gimandeep also benefited from Project Gemstone, an initiative to enable aspiring non-ethnic-Chinese police officers overcome language barriers and widen their career choices. He improved his Chinese language skills through the course and successfully enrolled as a police constable after passing English and Chinese written tests last year.
Gimandeep said he wanted to share his experience with ethnic Indians and other minorities by telling them not to give up their dreams, as there are many people in the community who are willing to help and support them.