I am at Hong Kong Station to catch the Airport Express to Terminal 2. In Hong Kong you can check-in for your flight in the city centre, enjoy lunch in a top class restaurant and catch the train to the airport in time for your departure.
As I hoist my bag onto the scale, I can’t help noticing a large sign at Air China, which reads. “It is an offense to take more than 1 kilogram of milk formula out of Hong Kong”.
The Mainland Chinese have slowly but surely made their way across the border to infiltrate the prestigious, aspirational Hong Kong.
I lived and worked in Hong Kong for 7 years. Bery Siu, a former colleague of mine is 41 years old now and trying to start a family.
“We need HK$ 4 million if we want a child”. Bery says sipping her coffee and shaking her head. “The Mainland Chinese are filling all the hospital beds so it’s difficult for us to have the baby delivered in the first place. It’s so expensive! So it’s better to just not have one!” she exclaims.
This vibrant city, formerly a British colony, is one of the most densely populated but it has a colonial charm that stands head and shoulders above the crassness of the mainland. It’s been 17 years since Hong Kong was returned to China.
There is a protectiveness and pride when you are from this elite society. The old colonial establishments remain. There is status and power when you can claim to be from Hong Kong and the British heritage still flows through the city as the traditions continue.
The Mainlanders are not interested in heritage. They want medical expertise and anything else they can now claim to be theirs. They are obsessed with international brands and shop till they drop in Queen’s Road in Central, Times Square in Causeway Bay, Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui. Shopping bags are laden with designer clothes, handbags, shoes, skincare products, watches, and electronics. It’s as easy as catching the MTR across the border. If they have more to spend they fly or join a bus tour.
As they arrive in their philistine droves, Hong Kong continues to thrive. It is said to have excellent Feng Shui. Its location relative to China symbolises a place where everything prospers. The mountain ranges of southern China are considered to be the pulses from a dragon that flow into Hong Kong and the water of Victoria Harbour is in visual harmony with the sky.
No matter what the future looks like, Hong Kong’s success is here to stay.