Language and Culture

Four things about Hong Kong you may not know

Hong Kong night view

When most people think of Hong Kong they think about the beautiful cityscape or the interesting food markets. Which is true, but there’s much more to learn about this vibrant city. Let me introduce my homeland, Hong Kong.

1. The deep influence of British culture

Like Australia, Hong Kong was a British colony. Hong Kong was a British colony for 156 years – the people of Hong Kong became open-minded and more accepting of British products, food, culture and language. We typically have an ‘English-style’ breakfast with toast, baked beans, ham, sausage and fried or scrambled eggs. Popular drinks are milky tea, coffee, lime water or lemon black tea. These options are easily found in local restaurants or fast food outlets. English is our second language and we study it from the age of 3, so it is not uncommon to see English words on road signs, menus, government letters and documents. Sometimes Hong Kong people joke that we insert lots of English elements into Cantonese when we are speaking. In my opinion, since the British Government made many changes and developments while in power, the people of Hong Kong have a sentimental attachment towards Britain.

2. Keeping our Chinese culture

Although we have a deep influence from Britain, we still remember we are Chinese. We speak Cantonese and write Traditional Chinese. We study Chinese literature and Chinese history, like The Four Books; The Great Learning, The Doctrine of the Mean, The Analects of Confucius, and The Mencius The Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literatures; Journey to the West, The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Dream in Red Mansions, and Heroes of the Marshes. And the history from Shang Dynasty (c. 1600-1046 BC.) up to now.

We celebrate the traditional Chinese festivals, such as Lunar New Year (Spring Festival), Moon Festival (Mid-Autumn Festival), Dongzi Festival (Winter Festival) and Lantern Festival (Chinese Valentine’s Day). We cook and eat cantonese cuisine like Yum Cha, which means ‘drinking Chinese tea’ in Cantonese, where we eat dim sum and have Guangdong dishes with Chinese tea. So next time if you have Yum Cha with your friends or family, it means you are enjoying Cantonese cuisine!

3. ‘Unhappy’ Hong Kong people

Have you ever met people from Hong Kong at university? Do they have a poker face? Are they too quiet? Sorry about that, but it is one of the characteristics of many Hong Kong people. Hong Kong is an international city with an overpopulation problem. We are too busy focusing on our life and work and worry about our future. People are always stressed because Hong Kong is very competitive. We are not used to showing our friendly image in front of strangers. You can say it is protection for ourselves.

In that kind of intense environment, people are not smiling all the time. In fact, in the World Happiness Report 2016, Australia ranks number 9 and Hong Kong ranks number 75 in the world. Now we can see the difference between Hong Kong and Australia. However, Hong Kong people can be really nice to you if you become their friends. We can be friendly and full of kindness as well so don’t be afraid to meet Hong Kong people and be friends with us.

For the Hong Konger, please don’t use your poker face anymore because it scares people who want to be nice to you! It is better to show your smile to new people and it really helps you to make some new friends.

4. The world most unaffordable on housing

Have a look at the photo of my bedroom in Hong Kong. It’s very small, isn’t it? It is my bedroom and it is my study room as well. According to the 13th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey: 2017, Hong Kong has the world’s most unaffordable housing. Despite the relatively small land size of the city, there are seven million people living in Hong Kong, and there is not enough Public housing. The expensive housing market makes it hard for the younger generations. According to the report, if the annual income of a resident is $50,000, the cost of their home will be $900,000. Although Sydney has the second most unaffordable housing market, the rooms in Sydney are not as small as those in Hong Kong. When I first came to Australia I was really satisfied with the size of my bedroom.

So now you understand more about Hong Kong! It’s an interesting city, isn’t it? If you want to visit, you should read 10 things you must do in Hong Kong from Tiana Hill, our guest blogger.

To know more about Hong Kong, please feel free to chat with me in the comments!


– Chin


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  • Smith S
    February 10, 2018 at 8:39 pm

    Hey, Chin Thanks for this wonderful post on Hong Kong. The main thing a traveller notice is the type of food that a country offers. Hong Kong has a huge variety of sweet foods to taste that can lure taste buds of any foodie. I recently read about Tong Sui at; I am dying to try it.