At a height of slightly over 6 feet, turbaned Sukhdeep Singh stands out from most Hongkongers and patients stare at him strangely, but when the aspiring Sikh doctor speaks to them in their own dialect, their faces light up.
Singh, 23, is a final-year medical student at Chinese University. When he graduates next year, he will become one of the few doctors in the gleaming city to ever wear a turban.
“Some people who assume I don’t understand Cantonese would comment on my turban in front of me, and on the MTR (Hong Kong’s public transport network), people would rather squeeze themselves into more crowded rows than take the empty seats next to me,” Singh told South China Morning Post.
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Singh grew up surrounded by Cantonese speakers, including his own father, a civil servant. But he only realised the importance of speaking the language when he enrolled in medical school.
“Patients look at me strangely, and that’s normal. But whenever I speak to them in their own dialect, their faces light up,” he said.