It is common for ethnic minority people to have their words lost in translation. Even with body language and other non-verbal communication, there are still many misunderstandings, like mistaking a stomach ache for diarrhea.
Ethnic minority people cannot read user information in Chinese. Even though they are surrounded by recreational facilities, it is hard for them to benefit from these public resources.
The language barrier is also a problem for elderly ethnic minority people who need to see a doctor. Often they have to wait until their children or grandchildren get off from work so that someone can translate for them. However, this is not always a viable option as the wait could be fatal in the case of emergencies.
Many Pakistani women can speak neither Cantonese nor English. At most they will be able to say ‘How much’, ‘I want this’ or ‘Cheaper please’. Clearly, conversing with hawkers in markets to get their groceries done can be an arduous task, so how can they be expected to fully engage in the community?
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