I purchased my plane tickets for Hong Kong last week. I’ll be heading out a few days early and visiting my Uncle in Nanning. When I sent him my itinerary he sent a quick email back saying, “I keep thinking about things I think you would find interesting…I would like you to see old and new China. Do you have an aversion to any foods? Spicy etc.?” I’ve traveled all over the world but I’ve never been to China and the truth is I know so little about China. Old and New? I should probably know but the truth is I’m not sure I know what he means. And I love foods of all kinds but I sent a stereotypical American response saying, “I love spicy foods, I just don’t want to eat cat.” (-:
I know I have a lot to learn. Old and New China. I’m curious to learn and even more curious to experience it myself. Hong Kong Culture, Word and Image, edited by Kam Louie gave me a glimpse as to what we will get to experience in just a few months. Hong Kong seems to be a colliding of cultures. Not just two cultures colliding but two cultures colliding and making something new. In his intro Louie says, “What is Hong Kong culture? Anyone who has been to Hong Kong before and after 1997 would know that when it belonged to Britain, Hong Kong culture was not really British, and now that the former colony is part of China, its culture is not exactly Chinese either. It is a cliché to say that Hong Kong today benefits from the economic growth in China, without the political restrictions the rest of China has to operate under.” Old and new have collided and made something all together new. I can’t wait to experience it for myself.
I found Louie’s comments about Hong Kong re-defining itself to be very interesting. Louie says, “Hong Kong culture, while unique, has many facets that can be traced to Chinese roots and global influences…the city is haunted not just by the spectacular and more subtle changes that have occurred in recent times, it is also haunted by the urgency with which it feels it needs to re-define itself with reference to other cities such as Sydney.” David Clarke (Chapter 3) goes on to explain this “haunting” with more depth. Explaining that Hong Kong has ambition to be a World City, and because of that ambition they are “haunted” to have an unique, impacting, and powerful footprint in our world. After reading Clarke’s thoughts in chapter 3 I’m left wondering if ambition pushes culture? As our urban centers around the world build bigger and bigger skyscrapers, as they develop the arts, and craft their unique identity, are our cities really doing this to “one up” others or maybe just to fit in? I’m intrigued and I have a lot to learn. I’m now even more excited to visit this country and this city.
 Kam, Louie, Hong Kong Culture Word and Image. (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2010), 1.
 Ibid., 3
 Ibid., 43