The next time you ride a taxi, there’s a one in 40,000 chance your driver could be from an ethnic minority.
That person behind the wheel would be Shehzad Mamood Khan, Hong Kong’s first and only non-Chinese resident who obtained a taxi driving licence last month.
Khan, who came to Hong Kong from Pakistan in 1995, drives a taxi part-time to supplement his income as a full-time construction worker to support his family of six.
The test is difficult enough for Chinese candidates who are known to sit it a few times before passing. But ethnic minorities face the added difficulty of getting their hands on English training materials as most classes are conducted in Cantonese and the materials are in Chinese, according to organisers of a taxi driver training programme for non-Chinese.
Khan was among eight non-Chinese who sat for the test and the only one to make the grade.
“It’s really difficult for ethnic minorities to find jobs in Hong Kong, so they will turn to social security,” said Khan in fluent Cantonese. “If there are more suitable courses for them, they will have more opportunities to support themselves.”
Khan, 39, said he wanted a taxi driver’s licence to widen his career choices, but none of the driving schools he consulted offered notes or mock exams in English… see more