Seven Years of Glory
Having lived in Hong Kong for 7 years may not only mean a status of permanent residency to new immigrants, as long as they have goals and are ready to fight hard, people from different places can find something more valuable than a recognition of identity – sense of achievement. The two protagonists of this episode are Japanese Yusuke HATANO and KWAN Ka-lee from Hoi Ping, they both managed to find their own world in Hong Kong through their perseverance and unyielding spirit.
As his father has to work in different countries, HATAMO has to live in different places since his childhood: he was born in the US, returned to Japan when he was 10, lived in Malaysia and Singapore from 15 to 18, and later went to study in a university in Australia, where he met his wife Jean. After the two got married, they returned to Hong Kong in 2011 and have been here for 7 years.
HATANO, who studied music, got his first job in Hong Kong as a pianist in a hotel. Not only did this job help him expand his music horizon, but it also provided great help for him to enter the film music industry. In 2017, HATANO won the Best Original Film Score award at the Hong Kong Film Awards with Maestro Peter KAM for the film “Soul Mate”. In addition, he also made soundtracks for a lot of movies, including “Mad World”, “Full Strike” and “Happiness”. He always keeps in mind his mother-in-law’s words – “One minute on the stage, ten years of practice off the stage”. As such, he never let go of any opportunity, and he practices hard to do his best. And for this reason, no matter how busy his work is, he still insists on continuing to play different types of songs with his piano in the hotel one night per week.
HATANO thinks that when he came to Hong Kong, there were a lot of new directors in the film industry, and the fact that they like to work with young musicians has created a lot of opportunities for him.
KWAN Ka-lee, now a secondary school teacher, came from Hoi Ping to Hong Kong when she was 15. The year that she graduated from university happened to be the year that she had lived in Hong Kong for 7 years and became a permanent resident here. Looking back at 2006 when she arrived in Hong Kong, her biggest challenge was to look for a school. As her parents were busy with work, she has to hold her younger sister in one hand, while holding information and maps of schools in the other, and went to different schools to ask for acceptance. She finally found a school that let her study Form 4 there, after countless rejections. Luckily, KWAN adapted to the school environment in Hong Kong quickly and became the top student in the science class. At the same time, the Chinese Language teacher found that she wrote outstandingly well. Finally, with the encouragement of the teacher, KWAN decided to drop Science and take Arts, and studied Chinese Language in the university.
At present, KWAN teaches Chinese Language, Chinese Literature and Chinese History in a secondary school. No matter how busy she is, she never gives up writing. In 2015, KWAN participated in a creative writing competition for young writers. She wrote “7 Years”, which concluded her feelings in her 7 years in Hong Kong, and she was one of the prize winners. And “7 Years” was even published. This year, KWAN participated in a literary creative writing competition again, and she used the plant Boston Ivy to serve as a metaphor for his father’s bravely to stand up again and re-establish relationships with his family members after his stroke. KWAN feels that the vitality of Boston Ivy is just like her past, when she had to start all over again.
Generally speaking, 7 years can be considered long or short. Yet for HATANO and KWAN, they have given their 100%. As KWAN said, if new immigrants can adjust their mentality, not belittling themselves, believe in their own abilities, and actively strive for the best, they will be able to carve out a niche for themselves in Hong Kong, where there are opportunities for everyone.