One of the things that I love at CUHK is how many field trips we go on. I loved the latest one I went on so much that I’m now writing my final paper on it. The field trip we went on was to visit Operation Dawn, a faith-based drug rehabilitation centre. Operation Dawn is situated on Dawn Island, an incredible remote island.
The journey to the field trip only enhanced my love for Hong Kong, as our lecturer hired out a private boat to take us across to the water to the island. The hour long journey was amazing as it was a really sunny day and we could sunbathe on the top deck.
Operation Dawn is a Christian organisation, although it receives funding from the Hong Kong government. The focus of the programme is faith-based, with bible worship and activities being placed over clinical methods of curing addiction such as the use of methadone. Due to language barriers, we mostly spoke to the Nepalese patients rather than Chinese as they could mostly speak fluent English. I had mixed feelings towards the Operation Dawn programme, whilst the lack of clinical support and forceful religion definitely seemed weird, the patients looked healthy and seemed to be really happy.
The reason why I enjoyed the field trip so much was the experience of being able to speak to the Nepalese men, as they are ethnic minorities in Hong Kong. Ethnicity is a complex concept anywhere, especially so in Hong Kong. Listening to their experiences of Hong Kong gave me a new insight into the way different groups of people experience Hong Kong.
Overall, anthropology at CUHK allows you to engage with a huge variety of people in informal settings, which is why I love it.