15 September 2011

So far, although I can find different bits of information floating around the Internet, I have not yet been able to track down the illusive Hong Kong Esperanto Association. It’s a bit like tracking down the Yeti. I know they must exist because I’ve seen websites from over a decade ago, with pictures, events and more - but then it all suddenly stops. It’s like they all up and disappeared.

Chinese or English?

Now, I think one of the reasons I’m having this problem is because I’m not literate in Chinese. Not too surprising when I can’t speak it either. However as I suspect a lot of people would have learned Esperanto rather than focusing on English, it’s quite possible that the pages I need don’t even exist in my language. Needless to say, this would make finding them pretty damn hard.

Still, I would have thought something would be in English, if for no other reason than it’s an official language in Hong Kong and there are many expats here who whilst they can speak English cannot speak Chinese (like me) who would be very interested in learning Esperanto.

Esperanto ĝi estas

However, I can search for “Hongkongo Esperanto Associo” but this brought me to two main websites. One an offshot of esperanto.org - http://www.esperanto.org/hkjea/  hasn’t been updated in eleven years. The Chinese encoding used on the page is so old that Firefox and Chrome can’t render it out of the box. The next site is hosted on Fortune City (http://www.fortunecity.com/victorian/university/9/) and it hasn’t been updated since 2002. The site was originally put up in 1996 and it really shows. Still at least they put up a site which is nice enough in itself. However it’s just a few links, all of which go offsite and require you to “Skip the Ad”. It offers an email link to a Lycos account but when I sent an email it (unsurprisingly really) bounced right back.

Hopefully getting closer…

I’ve found a contact name for the HKEA but unfortunately she seems to have left Hong Kong. The website details are at least three years out of date based on her LinkedIn profile but that’s a lot better than eleven years out of date. I’ve sent her an email so hopefully I’ll hear something back.

I also emailed the World Esperanto Association. I did that a week ago but so far no response yet. The question was an easy one - is there a HKEA and if so, who is the contact? Alas, nothing yet but you never know…

I admit that I didn’t expect to find many Esperanto speakers in Hong Kong. I admit that I would be very happy to find just one that I can talk to, practice with or learn from. But honestly, I did not expect it to be this hard just to track down what in theory is the “official” association for the language.

Let’s be honest here. Esperanto really needs all the help it can get. It needs people to push it, it needs people to speak it and quite honestly it needs to make its presence felt. People like me need to be able to find information and get help. Am I being selfish? Well I suppose in a way I am, but come on if Esperanto wants to be taken seriously, it needs to have a presence and ten year old websites hosted on free ad supported hosting platforms just is not going to cut it…

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