In June 2019, I travelled to Hong Kong and Macau, and I am grateful for the Gateway Funds and Rosemary Murray Travel Exhibition for supporting this cultural trip.
As my flight was approaching Hong Kong, the bird’s eye view was a concrete jungle, much like other major cities in the world. There were tall buildings, and taller ones. “A suffocated city”, I thought.
My first night was free and easy as I took strolls about the streets. Like all major cities, Hong Kong is densely-populated and everywhere seemed crowded. I was rather surprised at how many shops were still open at 11pm and later found out that working long hours is common in Hong Kong.
Despite being a vibrant and modern city, Hong Kong has not lost its heritage roots. Museums, such as the Sun Yat Sen museum, as well as temples depicted the cultural and historical stories of Hong Kong, from the establishment of the Republic of China to the British colonisation of Hong Kong. The end of the British colonisation was a recent event in the history of Hong Kong, and this results in the difficulty faced by the central government in ruling over Hong Kong which had developed under a century of foreign rule. Disagreement between the Hong Kong people and the central government is common. In fact, coinciding with my trip was the proposal of an extradition bill by the Chinese government. This ignited protests (after the trip) and escalated to the use of violence.
A walk into the historical districts painted a harmonious blend of historic buildings, traditional street food and modern art. This well-capsulated both the passing down of customs and the acquisition of new knowledge from other cultures.
Overall, I really enjoyed the bustle and vibrancy of Hong Kong. It was very similar to Singapore in being an international city, but with more conservation of its heritage, an aspect that Singapore must improve on to construct its unique cultural image.