On Saturday, 27th January, Hackney’s East Asian communities will come together to mark the Lunar New Year. The new cycle which honours the year of the dragon, begins on the 10th of February. The event will host the Asia carnival arts organisation Jun Mo Generation at Hackney Bridge, which will be helping to share Eastern cultural arts and activities as a way of building bridges with the local communities.
The Asian community makes up a large percentage of Hackney residents, with 10.4% identifying as Asian British or Asian Welsh; just 0.9% of individuals in Hackney identify as British Chinese. Chinese people have been living in Britain for over 160 years, with the first settlers arriving in areas along the East End such as Hackney.
Healthwatch elucidated challenges faced by eastern Asian communities in Hackney, reporting that over 70% of Chinese and Vietnamese people in their community require language support to access a healthcare service or rely on help from friends and family. Others seek help from the Hackney Chinese community service, which provides the majority of interpretation and translation support to residents.
In the same survey, 4 out of 10 respondents reported negative consequences of not speaking the same language as their doctor; those who had a language barrier were also more likely to have negative feelings such as embarrassment about going to the doctor. 3 out of 10 specifically mentioned that stigma, discrimination, and dismissive behaviour fueled their negative experience. However, it was also reported that all of the respondents who were not proficient in English experienced a significant improvement with the help of an interpreter.
Sindy Man, a member of the Jun Mo generation, stated the importance of the Lunar New Year celebrations: "It is an honour to have the opportunity to coordinate the Lunar New Year celebrations for and on behalf of the London Borough of Hackney. This acts as a platform to build bridges and encourage unity, understanding, and a deep appreciation for our rich and diverse cultural heritage. We recognise the influence of the community by creating and sharing cultural elements that connect us all'.”
The celebration will include a welcome speech by the Mayor of Hackney, Caroline Woodley, who wishes to highlight the importance of the community in Hackney: “The Lunar New Year is a great occasion to celebrate our diverse heritage and some of our East Asian communities’ cherished traditions, fostering togetherness and shared aspirations. Happy Lunar New Year to all; may this year be filled with joy, peace, and blessings for every resident”.
The event will be attended by people of all ages and will include an instrumental performance led by Mr. Choen Man of the Rayman Orchestra and the traditional folk Umbrella, Bell and Lion and Dragon Dances.
Edited By Sydney Smith
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