HK culture - a contradiction in terms?

Hong Kong is a Club Med for professionals. Seeing street after street of an army of white collar ('white' collar being the overwhelming description) letting their hair down and desperately craving a good time in the funky bar district of Lan Kwai Fong, one gets the feeling that deep down there's a sense of homesickness. By virtue of the fact that so many of its population are transient, Hongkongers for now but who-knows-where next, Hong Kong has a very peppy, up-beat nightlife with people freed from the obligations of family, children and domestic responsibility that acts as a choke on any good time when at home. The expat community of HK love to have a good time, and they love to do it in a very western way.

Rather than adapt themselves to the Chinese temperament, westerners here have worked tirelessly to adjust their environment to be a replica of life back home. This is not a new phenomena, of course, and goes back to the start of British colonial rule in the 1840s. The streets are given quaint English names, shops advertise themselves as offerring a European experience, and by far the most popular bars in town are the ones that are so international that they lose any pretence of being Hongkongian.

Hong Kong therefore lacks a clear identity of its own. It is a cultural vessel, filled with the identity of whichever particular international cosmopolitans happen to be occupying it at the time. Still, the coffee is nice and the beer moderately priced, so who am I to complain?

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