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As earlier migrants Lei and Wong point out, people in the mainland are no longer so keen to acquire Hong Kong identity. This is because of China’s growing economy and international influence. In fact, Lei says she would not consider moving to Hong Kong if she was still living in the mainland now.

This view is echoed by Betty Yung Au Wing-kum, who is responsible for the administration of the New Immigrants Service Centre. Yung says that while migrants might have thought that Hong Kong’s streets were paved with gold in the past, they soon find this is not the case. Encountering language problems, cultural differences and differences in the way of life between Hong Kong and their hometowns, many female migrants find life here stressful.

Emma, Cherry, Kuen and Kei gather at the New Immigrants Service Association every week to take courses in Cantonese, computer skills and to chat. They are all homemakers and say they prefer life in the mainland to life in Hong Kong. The women say they only came to Hong Kong for the sake of their families and have no desire to acquire Hong Kong identity.

Emma came from Henan in 2002 because her husband wanted their child to be educated here. Emma says she enjoyed her life in her hometown. She had a lot of support from her family and she lived in a large duplex apartment.