In the latest random update on life, I’m back in Hong Kong (after a flying visit a few weeks ago to pitch for the project I’m now here to kick off). Hong Kong is both lovely and very, very odd. There’s a clear and large gap between ex-pats and locals and between those with and without money (often the same two groups, but not exclusively). Everything feels both new and shallow – although I think this is an ex-pat / moneyed view, and probably contrasts with a deep vein of culture and warmth if you are lucky enough to know and be part of local HK Chinese culture.
Dinner tonight with an ex-pat friend of a colleague was fun, but I can’t begin to understand his world or views. Drinks afterwards on the rooftop terrace of an exclusive bar was excruciating. The view was amazing, but the rest was a million miles away from where I’d want to be back home – let alone where I’d want to be on the other side of the world – and distinctly uncomfortable. I was just too aware of the haves and have nots (the latter being crammed into tiny boxes of apartments in the cityscape beneath us), and of how many people around us were there to be seen.
Tomorrow will see exploration / research (yes, shopping counts as research on this trip – we’re formally instructed to visit 4-5) followed by dinner and drinks with a colleague (also an ex-pat, but not British). I’ll be interested to see whether the experience is less jarring.