Hong Kong Musings

Hong Kong is an orphan in many ways, disconnected from China by colonisation and the culture of colonial rule. It was a British prize of the Opium Wars in 1841, that disgraceful era when government trading in human misery, including drugs and slavery, was a feature of many of the then most advanced and richest countries in the world.


My Hong Kong visits have usually been on the way to or from mainland China, with a resulting impression that Hong Kong is Asia Lite, an unchallenging place where westerners can experience a touch of the foreign but always be comfortable and close to their needs and desires.

Hong Kong is renowned for shopping. I always prefer a local market to the up-market marbled air-conditioned shopping malls that breed in capital cities throughout the world and feed off the modern fetish for brand names. The photo was taken at an unheralded and unfashionable neighbourhood market on Hong Kong island amongst the jumble of  local housing.

While publicity about Hong Kong frequently highlights examples of economic dynamism, the extremely wealthy, and expensive house prices, less focus is on the gap between the rich and poor, which is one of the widest in the world. This inequality was a major motivation behind the pro-democracy protests in 2014, the year I last visited.

I encountered the market in the photo while using the Central-Mid Levels escalator and walkway system, a free and excellent way to explore and enjoy the views as you ascend the sometimes steep slopes to 135 metres above the harbour. The economical and efficient ferries, trains and buses add to the ease of travel, essential for locating the best food and places of interest.

This is my contribution to Tiffin’s A-Z Guidebook, this month starting with the letter H.

A-Z-Guidebook-Badge.jpg (250×150)

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I like to travel while having a base from which to roam. Home is a small farm on the outskirts of Melbourne, Australia, where I grow organic vegetables and fruit, keep a few chooks (chickens) and Dexter cattle. The place offers some country peace and quiet, and wildlife, as well as quick access to the inner suburbs of the city for my regular contrasting visits. I enjoy walking, camping, swimming and snorkelling, photography, reading, listening to and playing music, and good food and wine. A major flaw in my character is being susceptible to sales of air flights.

7 thoughts on “Hong Kong Musings”

  1. I know Hong Kong was once the destination for cheap suits and Asian exoticism but I think it’s been left behind by Middle Eastern stopovers these days. I’ve never been to Hong Kong but love its history. After the handover, it was obviously seen as the token nod to capitalism but China has changed so much it has no doubt overtaken Honk Kong’s ‘capitalist ways’. I’m also fascinated by Shanghai and its colonial history.


    1. The post-handover issues for Hong Kong are fascinating. Shanghai is extraordinary. I first visited Shanghai in 1993, and managed to visit the famous Peace Hotel on the Bund (in the old colonial area). My major reason was to see and hear the jazz band that had been playing at the hotel since the 1930’s – through the colonial era (of the French, British, USA…), the Japanese Occupation, the post war Chinese KMT government, then the communist revolution of 1949 until now. It was a great night.


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