By Hans Ebert
Until she mentioned it, I had either taken it for granted, or else, had completely forgotten about the diversity of the Chinese food available in Hong Kong- Cantonese, Shanghainese, Fukien, Hakka, Chiu Chow, Peking etc etc- and just how far this goes in describing what makes the city so unique.
Add to this, all the other types of cuisine available here- Italian, French, American, Indian, Nepalese, Danish, Greek, German, Swedish, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Malaysian, Singaporean, Indonesian, Middle Eastern…
Margaret is one of the most popular and creative chefs in town. She and I were in advertising around the same time and started talking informally about how we might rebrand Hong Kong.
It was when she mentioned the variety of Chinese cuisine available here and how this underlines Hong Kong’s internationalism, something I had lost sight of by allowing in the Covid Lockdown- and everything else that has reared its ugly head and hobbled “Asia’s World City”- did this come rushing back into view.
Many of us longtime Hong Kong Belongers know all about how international this city is. Always has been. We attended international schools. Our friends came from here, there and everywhere. Without realising it, we probably taught each other more about the world and its people and different cultures than any geography lessons.
We dated, lived with and married those from completely different backgrounds. It wasn’t something we needed to think twice about. Perhaps our parents did, but not us. We were a different generation in a very unique city at a very different time in space.
Think about the Age Of The Eurasian. Hong Kong gave birth to this, and many of us are proud parents of this intoxicating East/West mix.
Hong Kong also gave the world Bruce Lee who kicked down walls and barriers and turned his back on Hollywood to make himself the superstar he became.
There’s the success of Andrew Bull and Tony Law in the Made In Hong Kong portfolio and their vision for Canton Disco.
Let’s not forget David Tang and his Shanghai Tang brand, The China Club and the renaissance of Chinoise Chic.
Sometimes there’s the feeling that with the ongoing 24/7 reality shows on mainstream entertainment news channels with its cast of oddballs elevated into obscene levels of the fame game, and being sidetracked by a bumbling Hong Kong cheerleader incapable of leading, all muddying the waters, many of us here tend to forget what made and makes Hong Kong so darn unique.
Maybe we take it for granted and don’t bother to see what else it can become. How there’s so much more to Hong Kong than Disneyland, Ocean Park and, once again, trotting out ageing Canto Pop “idols” and paying them millions to “endorse” this city. Please.
As has been said recently, People make a city. Hong Kong still has many of those people who can bring about strategic and relevant Change along with, more importantly, the next generation of game changers.
These are individuals who need the support to move things forward. They need more than a voice. They need the groundwork with the four pillars, a ceiling and the inspiration to make their dreams come true. They need this, Hong Kong needs this.
The days of this city travelling on auto pilot are over. The rebuilding process must start now. Waiting for the government to kickstart this will only mean shuffling to the same old well and pulling up the usual suspects. This. Does. Not. Work. Anymore. This formulaic thinking has run its course. It’s like taxpayers continuing to subsidise the completely useless CreateHK. Never heard of it?
What was heartening to read yesterday was news about the first bilingual Cantonese-Hindi film produced- “My Indian Boyfriend”- and scheduled for release next month.
Based on the true story of its Hong Kong based director Sri Kishore and now wife Fanny Ng, and filmed entirely in the city, it’s about a Hong Kong Chinese girl who marries her Indian boyfriend despite the many cultural differences.
Some might say, “And?” Well, it’s a start to breaking new ground. Some might not see it this way, and that’s okay.
If, however, continuing to be a Hong Kong Belonger, the question is what you might be able to bring to the table other than rolling over, giving up and wanting a free handout.
Forget blaming the government. We’ve sung this same old song for longer than the Four Tops.
It’s now about us- all of us who can- to lead by example, stop talking in pat clichés and change the narrative that only shows a lazy and yawning world of Gumby type la las.
Gumby never has and never will be what Hong Kong is.
#hongkong #cuisine #eurasian #cantondisco #shanghaitang #brucelee #myindianboyfriend #gamechangers #hkgovernment #createHK