English Studies student BAKAR Fariha Salma Deiya (Barbie) dreams of becoming a Legislative Councilor at The Legislative Council (LegCo), Hong Kong’s lawmaking body. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Barbie speaks multiple languages – English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Bengali, Hindi, and the Filipino tongue of Tagalog. Picking up Cantonese since her toddler years, she now sounds like a native speaker. Her native-like accent helps her expand her social circle and integrate into the local community. To provide the environment for Barbie to master Cantonese, her parents chose mainstream schools and practiced the language with her at home. Barbie took numerous tutorial classes, reads local Chinese newspapers and watches local television show daily in order to improve her Cantonese and to ensure that she did well in her HKDSE Chinese Language exam.
Engaging actively at City University of Hong Kong and the community, she is the Human-Relations In-Charge of Project Ethnic Minority Empowerment Project (CYEP/PEME) which offer mentorship programs for ethnic minority secondary students and cultural integration platforms for local and international students at Universities. Barbie was also nominated to the Diversity List, consisting of ethnic minorities who are qualified and committed to serving the community and local government committees. She was appointed to the HKSAR Government’s Commission on Children as a non-official member. The Commission drives the work for the benefits of children through policy formulation as well as coordination and follow-up on the implementation of measures.
Photo 1: Barbie joining an International Conference on Combatting Human Trafficking in the capacity of a LegCo assistant.
With South Asian descent and a commitment to serving Hong Kong, Barbie’s aspiration to become a game-changer and to transform Hong Kong into a better place for ethnic minorities was admired by her current boss lawmaker Dennis Kwok Wing-hang at a forum, who invited Barbie to work for his office. That was how Barbie got her part-time job as a LegCo Assistant. Her work ranges from conducting policy research, writing proposals and press releases, to monitoring the development of policies and liaising with the media. All these allow her to hone her communication and research skills to professional standards. Barbie’s sense of purpose motivates her to strike a balance between work and studies.