Hong Kong
Where East meets West
Hong Kong Society, Hong Kong culture

Society & Culture

Fusion of Chinese traditions and Western lifestyle

Hong Kong is the classic "East meets West" city... A meeting which is well reflected in its economic infrastructure, education and street culture...

 

Few are the big cities that boast such a unique cultural coexistence, where English-style pubs, traditional Chinese herbalists, hightechish computer-game shops, Taoist temples and churches can all be seen, one next to the other, on the same stretch of street...

 

The territory's official languages are Chinese (mainly Cantonese but also Mandarin) and English. Signs in both languages can be seen throughout Hong Kong. The government, police and most workplaces and stores conduct business bilingually.

British rule may have ended more than a decade ago but Western culture is deeply ingrained in Hong Kong and coexists seamlessly with traditional philosophy and practices of the Orient.

Hong Kong holds an identity of its own: It can best be summarized as an upbeat, hi-tech and fashionably conscious culture in a super city.

 

Hong Kong's residents spend much of their free time out of home, mainly because most apartments are too small to invite guests over. The metropolis' "Out of home culture" is extremely rich and diverse and includes many leisure activities which the locals enjoy.

 

Here are some examples :

  • Going out to a restaurant with family and friends is a very popular pastime.  The City, known as Asia's gourmet capital, has thousands of restaurants and eating-houses, representing an array of cuisines from all over the world.  The people of Hong Kong take their food seriously and many top chefs make their way to the city to show off their talents to these discerning diners.
  • The Country Parks and the Nature reserves attract many locals on weekends, either for a picnic with family and friends, or for the nature walks.  Beaches are also very popular on weekends and tend to get crowded.
  • Yoga and Tai chi are well-liked by the city's residents and during early morning hours, one can see groups of people practicing together in the park or at the waterfront promenade.
  • An evening out can also include a visit to the cinema or going to a Cantonese Opera.  While some Westerners may consider the Cantonese Opera as nothing but an assortment of noisy screams, the Hong Kong film industry is well known and has gained international recognition. Several top-notch Hollywood performers originate from Hong Kong cinema : Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh, Jet Li and Leslie Cheung, just to name a few...  The city cinemas feature both local and international movies.
  • It is almost unnecessary to mention that the people of Hong Kong, youngsters in particular, are "addicted" to the Internet, as well as to video games and multi-function electronic gadgets... The elderly, on the other hand, seem to prefer traditional Chinese games such as Mahjong, Chinese chess and Checkers.
  • Shopping is a national sport and a way of life in Hong Kong and the city residents fill the fancy shopping malls and the exotic markets.
  • Themed parks became very popular in recent years, especially after the Hong Kong Disneyland was opened. 

Did you know ?

In spite of its modern way of life, Chinese superstitions still play an important role in Hong Kong.  Concepts like Feng shui are taken quite seriously and large construction projects often include the hiring of a well-known consultant, who is believed to make or break a business. 

  

In spite of its relatively modernized way of life, Chinese superstitions still play an integral part of the culture. Concepts like Feng shui are taken quite seriously.  Expensive construction projects often include the hiring of consultants, that are believed to make or break a business. Other objects like Bagua mirror are still used regularly to shield evils. Numbers in Chinese culture also play a role in people's everyday life. Numbers like "4" are avoided at all cost. Other rituals like not using scissors on Chinese New Year are also still around.

 

Traditional Chinese Holidays are also playing a significant role in Hong Kong's culture: Spending time with the family, visiting temples and participating in colorful street-parades are some of the popular holiday-time activities.

 

Sport is quite popular in Hong Kong and features an interesting integration between East and West, as the city's residents seem to like both the Chinese traditional sports, as well as the Western ones.

 

Watching the horse races can not be considered as a real sport activity, although it is extremely popular. The racecourses in Shatin and Happy Valley are among the world's best and the gambling industry around the races is the world's largest, in comparison with the population size.

 

Football used to be well-liked in the old days but its popularity declined in the last few years, especially after the handover.

 

Other sport activities, participated by the average resident include Bowling, Table tennis, Cricket, Badminton, Karate, Kong fu, Swimming and Volley ball.

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