When I was in Hong Kong on Monday, I stopped in to visit some friends in their office in Tsim Sha Tsui. I hadn’t seen them for awhile, so we had a nice time catching up over a cup of tea.
I told them how much I loved Hong Kong, and since all of them were locals, they were curious as to exactly what it was about Hong Kong that I like.
First off, I told them, my affinity for Hong Kong was sentimental since it is the city that inadvertantly launched my China career. In the summer of 1979 I did a three-month internship there, teaching English in some local community centers and doing transcription work at a research center. Even though I had grown up in Asia, this was my first foray into East Asia; and I loved it, I think because it WAS still Asia, but more developed and without the strong Islamic culture that I had grown accustomed to in Pakistan.
On weekends I would explore the city, getting on random busses, riding them to the end of the line, wandering remote neighborhoods, then reboarding for the trek back home. As a result I got to know my way around.
In the 1990’s, by which time I had actually taken up residence in China, I made an annual trek to Hong Kong during China’s Spring Festival for a teachers conference. A good friend of mine lived there, so I would always go down early and stay with her. When she wasn’t working, we explored the city.
The second thing I like about Hong Kong is that even though it is one of the most densely populated pieces of real estate on the planet, it is a highly livable urban environment. The public transportation system is beyond efficient; the crime rate is low; there are lots of parks and nature preserves; and the social services are good. For that, the Hong Kong government should be commended.
Oh, and Hong Kong is the city where I had three screws installed in my knee to keep my kneecap from wandering about.
The following photo is roughly the same shot as the photo above, looking in roughly the same direction. Gotta love that Ektachrome!