Its hard for Hong Kong to accept

Hong Kong folk do not like Mainland Chinese.  There you have it. But we already know this, right? ( Tell us something new!)  So with all the news of what is going on with HK and China, I thought I’d put this to paper.   (I could never live with Twitter)  Hong Kong and Mainlanders have been having problems for quite awhile.  The charm….the sympathy of the former for the latter has long since dissipated.  (Hong Kong women now understand their Man loves China for all the wrong reasons.)   

Hong Kong folk are thus both condescending, and arrogant towards Mainlanders.  The relationship in my view is irreparable for many generations to come.  There are several reasons for this. 
Let’s try and crystallize why that may be:


Hong Kongers think little of Mainland Chinese:  they smell, are dark skinned, dress poorly and worst of all, don’t speak Cantonese.   (they also have lots of gold teeth) They have little or no sense of decorum, are especially loud and with little to no sense of self awareness.  They walk around like they own the place and have zero cultural sensitivity.  Quite often, one sees large groups of tourists either at customs or on the streets of Nathan Road, in large clusters, blocking up the sidewalk, yelling to each other in their local dialect.  Rotten teeth, with wide brimmed hats to block out the sun(you are no longer in the fields, you understand this, right?) These are usually Peasants.  And this is the only time they have ever or will ever “leave” China.   Trips to Hong Kong are a big event for them. 
For many Hong Kong people, these tourists obviously give a negative impression.   Never mind they fact they bring money and spend it in Hong Kong. 

What are other differences a politically incorrect blog can put down on paper?

Different world view 

There is no doubt that due to its geographical location, that many Hong Kong people have travelled abroad.  Especially during the CNY.   Travel to Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan is both easy and quick.  Of course, for Chinese on the mainland, it has been historically difficult for many people to travel abroad.  I remember vividly when I lived in Guangzhou in the early 90’s how fellow students, etc, looked at me with awe when I casually mentioned “I was going to Hong Kong after class” .

I remember one fellow in particular.  He was the husband of our tender young, Ayi.  We had two Ayis, an older, darker lady who never wore makeup, with graying hair who I later discovered was only in her mid 30’s and a younger very light skinned and pretty young lady probably the same age as me(I was 23), with a young, equally cute baby girl.  Enter Husband:  at least 15 years her senior, swarthy and alcoholic.  He drank rice wine for breakfast(which wasn’t that uncommon).   He was constantly getting drunk and lamenting to me 香港我们中国人去不了。  I couldn’t stand the guy, but I admit I got his point and did somewhat feel sorry for him.

Obviously that has all changed.  Still, Hong Kong people from birth have been able to freely travel to America and Europe etc.   Thus they have mingled with people from different cultures since birth and to them it is second nature.   Indeed, many of us do not even look at them as “Chinese” per say.  

Rather as “Westerners”.  That’s a silly thing to say, I know.  But you understand my point.  Their “way of thinking” vis a vis “Proper China” was like night and day.   Many of them spoke English with a British accent. It’s like suddenly finding out abt a brother you never knew you had.  We are related…..and that’s it.   There are no emotional bonds between us.   As such, there are no emotional bonds between Hong Kong folk and Mainlanders.

Having been brought up the “British Way” has made Hong Kong more importantly very much Western in its outlook.   And it’s way of looking at the world.   As such, Hong Kong is a rule by law society.  Relationships do not carry the importance they do in those societies absent such mechanisms. 


This is another aspect of Hong Kong that is much different from China’s.  Hong Kong’s population did not grow up idolizing Mao, or the feats of the Communist Party. It did not grow up anti Taiwan.  There was no Cultural Revolution in Hong Kong, and there were no Red Guards rampaging through the streets with Little Red Books in their hands.  No HKG official had a placard put around his neck.  

In effect, Hong Kong grew up with far more stability than China did.  Thus confident.  How could someone from Hong Kong not disdain someone from China?   Hong Kong’s disparity of wealth has historically been much smaller than China’s.  Hong Kong has had a strong middle class.  A People confident in its dealing with the West.  As such it’s governing class is very Westernized in both outlook and approach.    Corruption in Hong Kong, though inevitably on the uptick, is both still Nil and an Exception to the rule, not vice versa. 

You never hear anyone in Hong Kong say “I had to take the bribe, or I would have stood out and my life would have been in danger

If anything it’s educational system is certainly different from China’s.  There is no “victim” mentality.   Rather, Hong Kong has accepted it’s history with the West, and “moved on”.   The problem with China’s educational system is that the people are not “allowed” to move on.    The people must continuously understand the ugliness and thuggery of the West in its dealings with China, to better keep them united as a whole.   (alas, the eternal struggle of the Chinese leadership!  How to keep the people united!)

There is no such thinking in Hong Kong.  As a result Hong Kong very much lacks both the xenophobia one sees in China today toward the West as well as the vestiges of any inferiority complex that drive the former in its dealings with Westerners. 

The Chinese by contrast are both relatively uneducated and uncouth compared to the Hong Kong people.  However, this needs to be put into context.  The Mainland Chinese are far more worldly than twenty years ago.   And sophisticated.  And knowing.   Yet there are so damn many of them, it simply takes time for China’s wealth and progress to wash over everyone.  Simple statistics would tell you that the majority of China’s tourists would be peasants.  From Guangxi, or Henan, or wherever.  

Coming to Hong Kong is literally the highlight of their life.  It is a place they feel comfortable going to.  They would never consider going to Korea, or Japan.   China has plenty of sophisticated people that visit Hong Kong on visas all the time.   Most of them live in Shenzhen or Guangzhou, and quite a few of them speak Cantonese.  But these are far and few in the minority. 

Different value system,

Hong Kong people are always saying things to the Mainland Chinese such as 我们都是中国人but it’s a farce really.  It’s a lie.  What they mean to say is “We are all Chinese, but if I had my choice you’d go away and I’d never have to see you or deal with you again.” (Unless I’m a guy and you are a twentysomething female) It’s something you frequently hear about when the Hong Kong(or Taiwan) guys go across the border either on business, or when they have to deal with Mainland Chinese for one thing or another.   But in my view it’s a hollow comment.   Nothing to be believed.  Hong Kong people despise Mainlanders to the core.   The condescension wafts in the air like a heavy blanket.  HK folks simply have no patience for the ways of ordinary Chinese.  The value system of the ordinary Mainlander repudiates everything Hong Kong stands for.  Corruption is ok and is a part of life in Mainland China.  The emphasis on relationships and not ability is abhorrent to the people of Hong Kong.   

Especially to the average Manager. 

If I ruled China(I don’t think I do), I’d immediately put into place a system to attract highly competent and capable Hong Kong managers in every aspect of Chinese business life:  the banks, construction, and simple administration.  Instead of relying on laowai I’d rely on Hong Kong and Singapore’s well trained managers to help me solve my problems.  I’d pay them well, and they would have an opportunity to “contribute” to the Prosperity of the Motherland.
If I ever opened a factory in China that is exactly what I’d do.  I’s staff every department with a Hong Kong manager as head.   And that is exactly what China will never do.  Any seen reliance on “outsiders” is a loss of Face to the mainland ChineseRather than seeing it as an opportunity to “learn”, the locals become defensive and belligerent at the well paid(deservedly so) managers that know their job better than they themselves do and very much resent the perceived obstructionism of the uppity HK’ers, that keep them from making decisions not on price or quality but relationships alone. 


What really drives the attitudes Hong Kong folks have towards Mainland Chinese?  In my opinion it is Fear.  Simple as that.  Fear that “these locusts” will simply overwhelm Hong Kong’s way of life.  This fear is coming true, and has a basis in fact.  Corruption has increased. The price of luxury goods and real estate goes up, and even worse becomes scarce.  Suddenly Hong Kong people have to “compete” in their own backyard for resources that “belong to them”.  (Nevermind that Hong Kong depends upon Mainland China for nearly all it’s water and pork.)

Hong Kong has a hard time admitting that it depends upon China for its economic and financial survival.  Those scruffy looking “peasants” keep Hong Kong viable.  Hong Kong needs their money like an alcoholic needs whiskey.  It’s a hard thing to swallow.

The middle class is also anxious.  Want to buy that new apartment?  Not so fast.  Because now you have to compete with Mainlanders for one as well.(it goes both ways…Hong Kong folks are increasingly buying property in China, too, as an alternative)

Hong Kong’s pride has taken a big hit.  It’s very future is at stake.  Its status is in peril.  Hong Kong is quite frankly insecure. Increasingly insecure.   And doesn’t want to sit at the table with someone it morally and culturally despises.  Even worse, in a very short time not too far in the distant future, it will have to ask to sit at the table with China.

Mainland China’s sense of decorum and awe towards Hong Kong is still alive…if you live outside Guangdong Province and Shanghai.   Hong Kong’s “wow” factor just isn’t what it used to be.   For decades Southern China would take HKD for payment on anything.   A few years ago while at a coffee shop in Shenzhen I found myself short of coin.  I proffered up HKD, and was denied.  More up to date than myself, I was told the HKD was no longer being taken, and actually hadn’t been taken for awhile.

As such, the deference just isn’t there anymore.  At the beginning of the Planet of the Apes, stranded on a new planet, Charleston Heston says “in 6 months we’ll be running this place”.    And that is what Mainlanders think of Hong Kong.  “Hong Kong belongs to us now”.   It’s only a matter of time. 

Fear…Chinese folks are more focused and have a hustling mentality.  They’ve seen what Hong Kong has achieved and they want a piece of the same pie.   Not afraid to step on somebody’s toes to get what they want.  In short, they are similar to what Hong Kong was a hundred years ago, even 50 years ago.   Didn’t Li Ka Shing get his start in HKG?  Hong Kong people have lost their edge.  It’s a city with the barbarians at the gate.   Too civil to survive.   China is no longer just a place people would travel up to Lo Wu to gaze out upon on Sunday afternoons, seeing more water buffalo than actual people.

This Fear of the Swarm is wrapped inside a local knowledge that Hong Kong will never be the same.    How long will it take China to “assimilate” Hong Kong?  We are in the process of finding out.  It will be a very public process.  Unlike other places, far away from the Roving Eye, Hong Kong’s assimilation by the Mainland Han will indeed be nasty and brutish.  But it won’t be short.  


  1. A politically incorrect blog about China? A compradre in thought. OK, about HK. Two things. One is that while living in China, the best thing about visiting Hong Kong, for me 美国人老外, was the newspapers. English, Hurray!! But more so, the freedom of the press. Was there during the peak of Bo Xilai's situation, and reading those papers was like a breath of fresh air. We've seen how the CCP deals with political freedom in HK, and can imagine them being more coercive in controlling editorial freedoms. I wonder how the Hong Kong-nese will react when that happens. What, if anything, will cause enough people to say, "NO, you've gone too far." More likely, the Hong Kong part of the "two systems" will die a death of a 1000 cuts.

    Secondly, by the time the mainlanders finish taking over Hong Kong, they will look around and wonder what happened to Hong Kong. Where did it go? Right now, mainlanders want it both ways: they want it to be special (or else there's no benefit to having their babies born there to get the HK hukou) but they want it to be (mainland) Chinese (hurry up and lose your language, say the mutually un-intelligible mainlanders) in daily practice.

    So, the pressure is on HK from the top (CCP) and the bottom (mainland tourists and "ex-pats") and the middle (in terms of affordable housing, getting a bed in a hospital or a desk in a school).

    They are right to be afraid. They are screwed.

  2. Mike, I think your phrase is both apt and dead on: "death by a thousand cuts". China has never used this method towards a society with a tradition of openness before. We shall see......


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

KTV in China

The worst sex I've ever had with China Girl is with China Wife

Pros and Cons of a Chinese Wife