Saturday, June 30, 2007

Ten years on

To those who don't know, Hong Kong will be celebrating its tenth anniversary of its handover from United Kingdom to China. Naturally there has been a big fuss over this anniversary. Many events and shows have been organized over the past few months, with Hong Kong Disneyland offering free entry to children born in 1997 and Hu Jintao, China's president, in town for the festivities. At this very moment, a celebratory concert has just finished. In attendance was various big wigs watching many of the leading singers and stars performing. It is set to continue tomorrow in rather appalling weather.

After ten years, it is right we have a large celebration. Hong Kong has managed to thrive despite various obstacles - the Asian financial collapse soon after the handover; the SARS epidemic in 2003 plus the massive political rally soon after that. Hong Kong has changed quite considerably over the past decade. The region has become more wealth despite the initial setback and people have become more aware of their rights.

Yet there are drawbacks of living in Hong Kong. Everybody who knows me I hate Hong Kong with a passion more than Hitler hated the Jews. But I can see why Hong Kong appeals to some people. Some of these reasons were highlighted in a recent BBC News article. It has a nice tropical climate, most material goods are reasonably cheap and the transportation is efficient. Yet most of this is coming from Caucasians who interact little with the local community. Once you live the locals you start to know that not all is well in the state of Denmark... I mean Hong Kong. I'm going to try to highlight some of the things I hate about Hong Kong. I know some of these may happen somewhere else in the world but it seems exponentially heighten in Hong Kong.
  1. Hong Kong people are naive and stupid: A few years ago Jiang Zemin, then President of China, responded to very stupid questioning from Hong Kong journalists by saying they were "simple and naive." I totally agree with him - although Hong Kong people are famed for their memorization and dictation, they lack any logical thought or creative thinking. The environment they are brought up in just suppresses that.
  2. Hong Kong people care only for themselves: Although there are many people who perform voluntary service and donate to charity, a vast majority of people will not offer their seat to the needy in a public transport setting. It is the same with doctors - we are told to cover our own asses more than to think of the patients' needs.
  3. Hong Kong people care only for money: In a city where the majority of its wealth is generated through the finance sector, unfortunately this is the end result. My father, a university chemistry professor, is rather disgusted by the attitude of his students. Most of them view their degree as just a means to get a good job, so they don't attend most of his classes and expect him to provide all the notes they need for their exams. The same attitude is politics as well - they will tend to fund areas in education which have tangible results, such as business, law and engineering rather than history, science and arts.
  4. Hong Kong people lack any creativity: I don't think we have any creative people at all in Hong Kong or they are just not well known or well paid enough. We have very few stand-up comedians in Hong Kong, with the general public tending to laugh at what I call low-grade toilet humour. The Hong Kong film industry is a mess thanks to film piracy and the lack of creativity. You look at our culture and it is just an amalgamation of American and Japanese influence... which leads me on to my next point.
  5. Hong Kong people have not national identity: You ask Hong Kong people and they will say they are proud to be Chinese but necessarily proud to be from Hong Kong. This comes from the fact that a lot of people living in Hong Kong have immigrated here from various parts of China and are just here for the money.
  6. Hong Kong people lack guts: This comes from the Chinese concept of not wanting to "lose face." Hong Kong people rather play it safe and not risk anything. I look at my peers and see that none of them don't want to answer a question in case they get it wrong, even if they are not being assessed on the result.
I'll stop here because I know people are getting bored but at some point, probably tomorrow, I'll go on with my list.


My brother got Live Earth London tickets and decided not to go just because my Dad was going to be in town on his way to a conference. The whole family thought he was crazy and told him so. Finally we have talked some sense into him and he is going to Wembley.

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