I no longer serve as much as I used to in the Church but I valued the time that I have interacting with the people that I serve with.
Few Sundays ago I was counting offering with Ms. S and we started talking about bits and pieces of the Hong Kong we used to remember. Ms. S is just a bit ahead of me in terms of life experiences and she told me about an interesting conversation she had with a friend.
This friend and her family came & lived in Vancouver for a few years before moving back to Hong Kong just before the takeover in 1997. Shortly after China regained control, Ms. S received an email from the friend and was told that “things have changed.” When asked to elaborate the friend could not provide an explanation or an example, only to say that she “noticed it” and “felt it.” Ms. S had read one of my first loaves where I wrote,
“…….I realized the Hong Kong I remembered and grew up in was nothing but a distant memory.”
So the question was asked, “Can you explain what has changed?”
Like the friend, I couldn’t answer it.
After lunch, Pie Pie Lo and I went to Queensborough Landing (Btw, lots of new shops there) for a bit of grocery shopping and I made a detour to the Marble Slab Creamery for a frozen treat. While I was eating and staring at that bowl of blob (Vanilla ice cream mixed with Skor, Oreo and Butter Finger in a white chocolate waffle bowl), it came to me.
My answer to THAT question.
Hong Kong has lost its uniqueness.
For people who grew up in the colonial era, we were told, indirectly, we were different and we aspired to be different from those living in the Mainland because we stood for something China was not. We had, supposedly, better education, better opportunities, better infrastructure, better economy, better living standards, etc. We told the world that we were from Hong Kong, not China. We projected the image that we were forward thinkers, not backward farmers. We used to have a specific term in Cantonese to describe those from the Mainland –「阿燦」. Inherently, we believed we were different and, in many ways, superior.
The takeover (Noticed I used that word instead of handover) took away that uniqueness. Hong Kong was no longer the exotic British colony; no longer the thriving economic nerve center of Asian Pacific; no longer the pearl of the East orient. It is now just another city in Southern China that’s dependent on the Motherland. It is now Hong Kong SAR, China「中國香港」instead of Hong Kong「香港」.
Granted the 14 years I lived in Hong Kong were all during the colonial era so my perspective is likely to be skewed. And I didn’t write this to disrespect any “Mainlanders” because I’ve known and worked with a lot of them who are geniuely awesome people. Having said that, I cannot deny these are my own personal feelings. Like Jason Bourne, I’m just trying to figure out what happened in the past that shaped my identity today.
Btw, Happy Canada Day!
Item du jour
Watched the ceremony live 12 years ago and it actually brought tears to my eyes.