Some of you, well informed or pretentious, might be thinking why on earth would this culture vulture go and give herself such a name. I mean, Kim isn’t exactly an original name now is it. In actual fact, my chosen pseudonym, or like Jackie Chan’s name, my stage name, is, yes, well, quite common in and around Hong Kong. But it’s not entirely Chinese now, is it. Sounds more Korean to me don’t you think. Or did you? H’mm, well, that’s what this quick post will be about then. It’s going to take you on a quick tour of Hong Kong’s amazing multicultural world.
Quick glance at our cultural heritage
We have our famous melting pots of cuisine to fall back on whenever we get tired of western-inspired, or should that be money-inspired, takeouts are concerned. That’s not a fair analogy, because go down any of the hundreds of alleys and visit any of our off-beat cultural and traditional markets, and if you’re a takeout junkie like I am, you’ll be in seventh heaven. No, it’s not going to be anything what you thought, coming from the famous brands.
Just stand by patiently and watch how quickly the locals scrap together something from their hot and deep-fried oil. Cantonese cuisine remains the top choice among both local and visiting diners. That’s something for the Cantons to be proud of, I guess. Among this heavily congested Diaspora are also a rather superstitious lot. Or there were, the last time I checked. The Ba gua is an object regularly used by believers to ward off evil spirits. Some have even outrageously suggested that the lack of such accoutrements could have contributed to Bruce Lee’s mysterious death.
It’s really where East meets West
Now, this is something really weird, but it’s been with us ever since Hong Kong starting growing as an industrial and commercial urban city hub. In fact, this weird superstition has been with us ever since buildings started to build up in storeys to the degree that you now see our iconic skyscrapers dotting the city skyline as you wing your way into Hong Kong. Go to the elevator to climb the highest building in Hong Kong. Well, perhaps not that one then. Try another much older building then. See if you can get to level four.
Nope, you couldn’t could you. That’s because there is no floor number four. It comes from an old superstition in which the word ‘four’ was found to sound too close to the Chinese word ‘die’. How about that then. Useless bits of information for curious-minded culture vultures and tourists like me and you. A lot of that is confined to the older parts of town, all well worth exploring. Most of the Hong Kong and Chinese citizens have moved on from that and adopted Western ways in their business and cultural dealings. I suppose that’s just how strong the legacy of British colonialism is then. Or is it more a case of Hong Kong and China’s inclusion in the global cultural and economic melting pot.
Cultural appreciation centers
I’d like to remind you all to visit our cultural appreciation centers, that’s what I like to call them. For your convenience, I’m simply listing them below.
• Leisure and Cultural Services Department
• Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts
• Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
• Hong Kong Museum of Art
• Hong Kong Heritage Museum
But for true cultural appreciation, I still say go and visit the old world of Hong Kong before modernity swallows it up whole and it’s gone forever.