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Beijing vs. Shanghai vs. Hong Kong: showdown of China's big three (3)

(CRI Online)

10:16, June 13, 2013

Hong Kong's status as a bold economic leader is symbolized by its skyscrapers, such as this one at the bottom of The Peak's tramline [Photo: Wang]

Hong Kong

The way in which the Special Administrative Region of the PRC fits into the wider concept of "China," and the challenge it presents to traditional notions of national culture and economics, are sources of constant debate. Once under British colonial rule, contemporary Hong Kong represents a unique blend of east and west, a city that seamlessly synthesizes modern and traditional aspects.

Hong Kong's pop culture has been embraced by fans across the world; it has spawned its own characteristic genre of martial arts films and spewed out a string of international celebrities such as Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Jet Li, to name a few. It is also the birthplace of the wonderfully sappy love ballads of the Cantopop genre, with Hongkongers being well-known for their love of Cantopop.

However, Vera Song, a Shanghainese student at City University who has been studying in Hong Kong for three years, believes that materialism is also a defining aspect of the Hong Kong people. Her conflicted opinions mirror a love-hate relationship with the city; whilst she initially comments that Hong Kongers "are generally more polite than the Shanghainese in many respects," she goes on to add that, "Hong Kongers are the most xenophobic people I've ever seen." Indeed, it is widely known that the tribulations of learning Cantonese has always made it harder for foreigners or Mandarin speakers to break down barriers with locals.

"It really is a world-class cosmopolitan city," counters Yu, citing it as a launching point to Thailand or Western countries. Its natural scenery, exemplified by aqua blue ocean waters, dove white beaches and jagged cliffs somehow remains in the shadows of its blazing urban world centered on making and spending money, in the context of soaring real estate prices.

The city may have once been an opium war victim, but today it feels more like city on speed. "You're always working hard and playing hard," says Yu. "Hong Kong is a city built on money. It's not about culture or community. It's really about making as much money as you can, as quickly as you can" Business laws that reach international standards only encourage this flow of money.

"But Hong Kong is no longer the vantage point of China," Yu continues. He believes that when China's mainland was still closed, Hong Kong was the gateway to the mainland. But right now the Chinese mainland is open. "Slowly but surely, Hong Kong is being eroded and becoming just another Chinese city. It's still a good city, an exciting city, but you can feel that its go-go days are behind it," he says.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:LiXiang、Ye Xin)

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