Culture of Hong Kong By Dianna Ho
At the top of the popular tourist attraction of The Peak, you can see one of Hong Kong’s most famous views, and from the promenade of Harbour City you can witness this amazing long stretch of brightly lit sky scrapers and huge neon company logos such as Panasonic and Samsung. In this 24/7 buzzing Metropolitan City, where nothing is ever shut and even in both day and night, one can see the energy this famous city brings to whoever goes there. If you stop at Mong Kok, where the people are so many you can only see the thousands of heads bobbing here and there, as hagglers and stall assistants call for your attention in the famous ‘Lady Street’, showing you their merchandise as you bask in the warm heat, smelling the aromatic smell of street food stalls selling spicy fish cakes to hot-from-the-oven ‘eggy ‘ pancakes.
That is the difference between Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. The culture. The culture is rich and diverse in Hong Kong ranging from a variety of ethnicities and backgrounds from the Portuguese culture in Macau to the Western bars in Soho.
One of deepest culture, however, lies within the busy chaotic streets where these people work hard every day for a living and would do their very best to get a customer to buy one of their goods. Whenever you pass by a stall, even if you glance at their merchandise, they would come near to ask you to come and look closer, even if you don’t want to buy you can still look. To gain a living is very important to these people, unlike the culture here in the UK, if one is unable to work then they can receive benefits and other help, but in Hong Kong there are none or little benefits available. So everyone is required to work and earn a living. Along the narrow streets, one is able to spot an old lady selling her home made yummy dumplings and desserts, or a crooked elderly man picking up rubbish or collecting cardboard which can be exchanged for money.
This is just in the city area, if you go to the rural areas where there are no big malls or big towering buildings, you would be faced with a calm and serene place dotted here and there with old crumbling yet strong houses with traditional doors and courtyards, where mainly the older generation sit outside and watch the world go by; and there still remains the fishing occupations of some of the elderly members, using their known means to fill the table with food.
The people there, are a lot different than those in the UK, other than the obvious that the majority in Hong Kong are Chinese, there are differences in which the people act. The British are deemed to be one of the politest countries stereotypically, with the language full of polite vocabulary and queuing up in an orderly fashion. Of course, this is like this in Hong Kong, but in the streets everywhere people are bustling about and shout to other neighbouring stalls and people they know, everyone they greet is either an ‘uncle’ or an ‘aunty’, which links in to the emphasis on the closeness of family traditions and respecting elders. As the old saying goes: ‘everyone is a Chinese person here’, meaning that since everyone is Chinese we must help each other; similar to the British saying of ‘I scratch your back, you scratch mine’.
Due to worldwide globalization, many people are similar to that of the culture in the UK; they like to go out and shop, spend money and time on their interests and with their friends. Whilst there are a lot of popular night scenes which is similar to UK, there are arguably more activities available for people to do. For example, visiting the neighbouring islands like Lama Island or Cheung Chau, where you can take the famous Star Ferry there from only 50p per trip. Arriving there, one can savour the delicious dim sums, especially the well-known dish called Cheung Chau dumplings, and take a fun ride in one of the tricycles, and explore this exciting place where the origin of ‘bun snatching’ comes from.
And of course, we cannot forget the two popular tourist attraction of Ocean Park and Disney Land, which is brimming with people from all over the world. Ocean Park just celebrated its 35th year anniversary whilst Disney Land only opened in 2009. Ocean Park has improved the viewing area for the giant pandas, which are absolutely adorable, whilst Disney Land has many amazing attractions from the Light-year Rollercoaster Mountain to the Winnie-the-Pooh fun ride. Hence this city is definitely bustling with constant things to do, boredom is not an option! Especially in the time of the Chinese New Year, where the place would be teeming with people preparing for the days of celebration and feasting, of joy and happiness, of fire crackers and lion dance. One would be sure to check out the fireworks and late night events during this period.Another difference in culture is that the young people like to spend time in the amusements, and of course, spend a lot of money on the latest gadget; everywhere you turn one can spot someone with the latest mobile or ipad, with the phone shops buzzing with people from all ages checking out the
new technologies and also keeping up with the latest ‘style’ is a must too. Another difference is the timing of the lessons of their schools; usually the children get up about 5am since classes start at 6am and ends about 12pm which is quite different from that in the UK, and there is an importance to do well. Small children about the age of 5 can be seen carrying rucksacks bigger than themselves with many heavy books inside, and attending extra classes from piano lessons to language tutorials.
In the afternoon you can see many young people going around eating, shopping together or doing another popular activity which is to go out to the beaches and have BBQ’s, or hotpots (food cooked in a big bowl of soup) in the busy restaurants. Speaking of food, you can never go hungry when you are in Hong Kong; the culture there emphasises on FOOD. Everywhere you go, you can be sure that you will find a little stall selling some hot wonton noodles or a huge buffet restaurants offering tasty grub. Another cultural difference is that whenever it gets really busy in a restaurant or in any café, you are given the choice to ‘dap toi’ meaning to join on to another table with people you don’t know. This is a very common practice in Hong Kong, unlike in the U.K where one would just wait for another free table, but if there is absolutely no tables free and you are in a rush then you must ‘dap toi’. In Hong Kong, it also very common for the people to wake up from as early as 4-5am, not only for work but to buy groceries and ‘chui sui’ (chatting and gossip) with the locals. Be sure you go to the local bakeries and find the freshly baked scrumptious goods such as the famed egg tarts ad sausage buns or to the local market cafes and eat the renowned ‘boatman’s’ congee.
Basically, the culture of Hong Kong is that it is all about living 24 hours, 7 days a week. Someone once said that Hong Kong is the City that never Sleeps, it is always brimming with activity and with life. The people there are hard working, waking up early to buy groceries and to go to school. They are crazy about their gadgets and especially love their food, which is absolutely delectable and there is so much to do there, and most of all the culture is rich and deep made even more prominent by the people who lives there.