December 21, 2004

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REDUX: Hong Kong

First posted: September 24th, 2003

Having been living in HK for 6 months makes me incredibly underqualified to comment on living in HK. But I'm going to do it anyway. I've been fortunate to travel to many places around the world and many of them feel the same. Same shops, same shopping malls, same products, same news, same same same. HK has elements of this, such as the ubiquitous presence of Starbucks and McDonald's. No problem with that - if that's what people want and these places can make a buck then great darts.

However HK feels different. It's fusion of Asian and Western is probably a guide to where many Chinese cities are heading. The skyline is magnificent - laissez faire architecture means some buildings are stunning, other horrible. But combined they make an incredible view. Every building is a high rise, whether it's an office tower or residential. The harbour is a working one - there are plenty of container ships and cranes to remind you trade works. There are a wide variety of faces on the street, especially downtown.

It is a city with a buzz. It lost it a little due to SARS, and the economy hasn't been too flash. In the last couple of months though you can feel a return to normal. There's more tourists, there's more visitors coming through at work, there's more to do. Sure there's been 5 years of deflation but there is even talk of property prices bottoming out. The people have realised they have a political voice (the July 1st march surprised everyone) and even more excitingly there was a reaction from the Government.

It is an easy city to live in. When we first moved here plenty of people of told us it would take a year to settle in. Not true. It took 3 months, and this was including the SARS period. JC is settled at kindy, we've found an apartment and helper, PB is doing baby things, Mrs M is getting into tennis and bridge. We've met some great people and work is going well with enough interesting personalities to keep each day interesting. The work itself is interesting and varied too. Most people speak enough English to make yourself understood, and if they don't they can gesticulate in the universal sign language that all people seem to understand.

Hong Kong is larger than you think, more cosmopolitan than you imagine and an ecletic mix of culture and people. It's a great place.

posted by Simon on 12.21.04 at 12:38 AM in the


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I'm fascinated by the fact that western bloogers in Hong Kong seldom if ever mention the local people. Let's here more about Cantonese people and culture. What do you like about thisCantonese city/find interesting?
It's as if someone going to Glasgow never remarks on the Scottish and didn't know the difference between Celtic and Rangers.

posted by: Mai on 12.23.04 at 01:57 PM [permalink]

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