Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Culture – Hong Kong – Global World

Written by: on June 19, 2015

The reading Hong Kong Culture: Word and Image[1] edited by Kam Louie rounds out a trilogy of readings in preparation for a Hong Kong academic advance. The advance is an element in the DMin course of study with George Fox Evangelical Seminar that provides an encounter with local culture from a global perspective.

The readings treat various perspectives of cultural impact on social, economic, religious, and geopolitical aspects of life in Hong Kong. Simon Chan in Grassroots Asian Theology relates that Asian Christian theology is an expression of Christian life and practice in Asia. As theological beliefs and practices are formed, they are transmitted through “new cultural expressions … Local cultures do shape the way faith is received and expressed.”[2] The critically acclaimed Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom[3] is a window into the heart of the Chinese family model of parenting. In Battle Hymn, Amy Chua has dispelled any question as to how/why Chinese children excel and the impact of Chinese culture on one family’s life experience of living in American culture. It is easy to disagree with Chua and the Chinese model, however in a global world where we live together in multicultural community, Battle Hymn elucidates the significance of culture and how we can learn to understand and to some extent accept the cultural differences in local community.

Kam Louie brings together a brilliant composite of essays that irradiates the multilayered culture of Hong Kong. The author notes there is “quite simply nowhere else like Hong Kong” in terms of “particular localities and special contexts … intellect and emotions … it is a multifaceted, polyphonic culture that resists easy homogenization.”[4] Throughout the essays it is necessary to maintain some understanding of the process of British decolonization and the transition to a Chinese “one country, two system”[5] rule. In the book introduction, Kam Louie asks the question, “What is Hong Kong culture?” In referring to the years of transition beginning in 1984[6] to the present, he notes the impact of Hong Kong existing on a “cultural fault-line” such that “when it belonged to Britain, Hong Kong was not really British, and now that the former colony is part of China, its culture is not exactly Chinese either.”[7]

There were many factors that impacted change during the transition. In the essay “Ten Years Later: 1997 – 2007 as History,” John Carroll spells out the challenges that confronted and continues to confront the Hong Kong people.[8] The transition was peaceful, but the long period leading up to the transfer to Chinese rule created uncertainty and anxiety over financial, political, health related issues, and human rights conditions. Many emigrated from Hong Kong during this period. One characterization in evaluating the economic, political, and culture change in Hong Kong is Charles Dickens “This is the best of times. This is the worst of times.” Chu Yiu-wai refers to the Hong Kong rendition as “…the best has passed the worst will last.”[9] Chu’s reference is to changes that came about as a result of economies of Hong Kong doing business with mainline China. The characterization is portrayed in the film performance and production industry as, “I Fell in love with someone I despised.”[10]

A favorite essay for me is “Chinese English, English Chinese: Biliteracy and Translation” by Elaine Yee Lin Ho-. To some extent, I picked up the significance of translation in literature especially in combining the Chinese and English culture in a way that translation work reflected the cultural meaning (hybridity)[11] of both cultures. However, much of this essay is technical and I was “under-water” for much of it. What I did like and did understand some-what better was Lin Ho’s presentation and discussion of the poetry work of Leung Ping-kwan’s poem, “An Old Colonial Building”[12] and Tammy Ho Lai-ming’s “Going to My Parents’ Place on a Crowded Bus.”[13]

I anticipate visiting the “Old Colonial Building” on the University of Hong Kong’s campus and I would love to take a trip to the country on that bus.


Kam Louie has provided an outstanding list of resources and references that relate to the topics covered in each chapter essay. The resources consist of books, journal articles, news releases, movie reviews, documentaries, web sites and a host of other resources.

I was particularly interested in resources that relate to Asian culture especially in terms of the local cultural in a global world. One way this is most significant is how Asian society is preparing children and young people to live globally.[14] One resource is published by the Asia Society, “Expanding Horizons: Building Global Literacy in Afterschool Programs.” Written for teachers, parents and students, the guide spells out the challenge of living in a global world:

Today’s young people will be living and working in a world that is vastly different from the one in which their parents and teachers grew up. Rapid economic, technological, and social changes are connecting us across the globe as never before. To be successful in this global era, young people will need a new set of educational experiences that help them expand their horizons from their neighborhood to the world. … [15]

The intent purpose of the guide according to Vivien Stewart, Vice President, Education Asis Society, is to “better prepare our young people to succeed in this new global environment … to help our students excel in an interconnected world.”[16] In citing global trends and the challenges that face Asian children (by implication, all children of the world) the authors quote Hugh Price of the National Urban League in terms of preparing children to respond to the changing world in a global contest; “All children now are children of the globe, not just children of the neighborhoods where they live.”[17] One is made to consider how significant this material is in the context of our reading Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom by Amy Chua.[18] One resource in particular that complements the significance of reading with a global perspective, although not currently being updated, is PaperTiger.org.

The summer reading has created and added dimension to the Hong Kong Advance … Here we come! I am glad I have the summer to follow-up on understanding better/deeper the Hong Kong culture.

[1] Kam Loluie, Hon Kong Culture: Word and Image Kindle ed. (Hong Kong: Hong Cong University Press, 2010).

[2] Simon Chan, Grassroots Asian Theology: Thinking the Faith from the Ground Up Kindle ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2014), 99-100.

[3] Amy Chua, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother Kindle ed. (New York, NY: Penguin Books, 2011).

[4] Ibid., 187.

[5] Ibid., 177, 2765-3086.

[6] The announcement of plans for decolonialization was made thirteen years before the transition to Chinese rule, Kindle 384.

[7] Ibid., 169.

[8] John Carroll, “Ten Years Later: 1997 – 2007 as History” in Hong Kong Culture: Word and Image, Kindle, 313-605.

[9] Chu Yiu-wai, “One Country Two Cultures? Post-1997 Hong Kong Cinema and Co-productions” in Hong Kong Culture: Word and Image, Kindle, 3046.

[10] Ibid., 2974.

[11] Elaine Yee Lin Ho, “Chinese English, English Chinese: Biliteracy and Translation”  in Hong Kong Culture: Word and Image, Kindle, 1161.

[12] Ibid., 1300.

[13] Ibid., 1500.

[14] See for a variety of programs for global teaching and learning, accessed June 15, 2015, http://asiasociety.org/global-learning-beyond-school

[15] Asia Society, “Expanding Horizons: Building Global Literacy in Afterschool Programs” Asia Society Partnership for Global Learning PDF, accessed June 15, 2015, http://asiasociety.org/files/Expanding%20Horizons%20guidebook.pdf

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid., 5.

[18] Amy Chua, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom (.

About the Author


6 responses to “Culture – Hong Kong – Global World”

  1. Ashley Goad says:

    Ron, you’ve knocked it out of the park with your final essay. This pulls together perfectly the three Hong Kong books to prepare us for the advance. I always love reading your thoughts, as they are concise and clear and written with such authenticity. I, too, loved the chapter on children of the global society. I think this is so very important, yet we, in the USA, are not necessarily teaching our children the same thing. I’d love to visit an elementary or secondary school in Hong Kong, simply to observe what a typical day is like and how the children are taught.

    Ron, it’s been a pleasure being with you in this journey. I can’t wait to be reunited in Hong Kong! Until then, happy Father’s Day…and happy writing!

  2. rhbaker275 says:

    Thanks Ashley,
    Especially for your prayers from time to time. It has been a great learning journey made rich and rewarding as we have shared as a cohort and even more so as you have been encouraging and uplifting.

    I have started to look at some of the websites, Facebook, and other opportunities to understand the city and culture. Here is a great website (no hot link – copy and paste) of St John’s Cathedral – it is already one site I might want to visit for our Sunday worship opportunity – –http://www.stjohnscathedral.org.hk/index.aspx — If you go to this site, take the 360 degree visual tour…

  3. Go, Ron! Thanks for sharing here. I especially appreciated how you tied all our summer readings into your post. I found that very helpful.

    I too am glad that we have done some reading in preparation for our Hong Kong Advance. This is giving us a least a small foundation on which to stand as we prepare for this upcoming time together. All of our destinations, London, Cape Town, and now Hong Kong are all tied to the British empire. I just thought about this recently. Thus, all of these places have connections. It will be interesting to see what that means. I am very interested in the present-day Hong Kong culture. I think it will be a great learning experience for us all — truly a mix of world views that will be fascinating. I am glad that I will be sharing this experience with you and with our wonderful cohort.

  4. Deve Persad says:

    Hey there Ron, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this reading and the way in which you’ve synthesized it with the other two books we’ve read in preparation for Hong Kong. There’s so much that is foreign to our understanding with this area, it will be an awesome privilege to get a first hand look.

    Over the course of these two years, you have demonstrated such a thoroughness for all of our readings, writings and research. I appreciate so much the way in which you have persevered through the technical challenges. Your life experiences and continued desire to grow in leadership and in the Lord has been inspiring to me.

    I look forward to seeing you again in Hong Kong.

  5. Ron,
    I join our colleagues in voicing appreciation for your insights and reflections over these past two years! You, my friend are a learner! I also want you to know that even though there have been times when you might, as you have expressed it, felt overwhelmed or “under the water” I encourage you to continue to step into what you are doing (and reading). You are a scholar to go with your heart for the Church.

    Your ability to draw from our reading this past week and interface with our prior two readings to see the themes was so very helpful!

    Blessings friend!

  6. Ron, terrific job you have done here on this your final post. The inter-weaving of the previous books along with other material certainly highlights your scholarly ingenuity. I remember in London you were so cautious and apprehensive about your place in this program. If anything you have proven to be both a scholar and a hedgehog regarding your academic work. Each post has been filled with your labor of love and attention to details. Once again great work and I too look forward to seeing you in Hong Kong.

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