Khan’s husband even tried to persuade her not to remain friends with any men because he did not like it. However, Khan stood her ground and told her husband that he should accept it and that she would not follow his thinking. Khan, who speaks fluent Cantonese, says the proportion of Hong Kong Chinese to Pakistani friends she has is half and half.
“For me I am born and raised here [in Hong Kong]. But for him he is still…he spent some time in Pakistan.”
Khan says her life and marriage are tough but she chooses to remain positive in terms of her attitudes towards arranged marriage.
“Everyone has their ups and downs…things will get better.”
Abdul Kharim (not his real name) is another Pakistani who has been in Hong Kong his entire life. He sat for both the HKCEE and HKAL examinations and finished his bachelor’s degree studying part-time at the University of Sydney in Hong Kong. He is married to Isabelle Mok (not her real name), who is ethnically half-Chinese, half-Venezuelan. Both she and Kharim are 31. Despite the initial reservations of Kharim’s parents, they got married in their mid-20s and now have three children.
Mok met Kharim in secondary school during Form 4. Although she was not a Muslim, Mok says she was attracted to Islam and her relationship with Kharim motivated her to convert to the religion.
Ultimately, religion plays an important role in choosing a partner for marriage, be it love arranged, arranged or forced marriage.
“A Muslim has to marry a Muslim,” Kharim explains.
His successful love story stems from acceptance and openness. Shrusti Patel is another individual who believes in love over arranged marriage. Twenty-year-old Patel is a Hong Kong born Indian who is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in English Education at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). Her parents moved to Hong Kong in 1990 for business and have lived here since.