Page last updated at 08:50 GMT, Monday, 13 February 2006

Culture of respect: The Kwong family

The Kwong family, from north London, have their roots in Hong Kong.

Left to right: Anthony Fung, Karen Kwong, Sumye Fung, Stanley Fung

Karen Kwong, 40, a community worker, spent most of her childhood in the former British colony.

She came to the UK as a student in 1983. Eventually her entire family - six siblings and her parents - relocated permanently to the UK.

Her children are twin sons, Stanley and Anthony Fung, 17, and a 13-year-old daughter, Sumye Fung, all of whom are students.

Karen Kwong

"My cultural background influences how I view respect a lot. I grew up in Hong Kong and my parents were much stricter than I am with my children.

"I try to pass respect for our culture on to my children by insisting, for example, that they also know how to use chopsticks. I say to them 'if you can't use chopsticks it's like English people not knowing how to use a knife and fork'.

"Within the family I think respect also means respecting other's choices.

"I am the only one of my siblings who has children but no partner, which is getting more common in our community, but my parents still find that a bit difficult to deal with. Perhaps they are worried for me.

"I tell my children it's not a problem if people are different from us, you respect their choices."

Anthony, Stanley and Sumye Fung

Anthony: "When adults say children have less respect now they can't really blame the children because it was the way they were brought up.

"But I think different authority figures get varying degrees of respect. Young people may respect police more because they can put them behind bars whereas teachers just keep them back for half an hour and that doesn't scare them."

Stanley: "I don't think there's less respect among our age group, that's just adults' opinion.

Some people are brought up more strictly, they're brought up to show respect. I think Muslim and more traditional Chinese families - in fact traditional families in general - particularly encourage respect.

Sumye: "I think young people are more likely to respect someone they share some common ground with but it's down to people's own free will.

"If somebody really doesn't respect someone or something you really can't force them to. You have to make them willingly respect someone for it to be true respect."


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