One of the outcomes of our program is to “gain an advanced understanding and integration of ministry in relation to the dynamics of globalization and leadership.” Culture helps to define situations, attitudes, values and sometimes our careers. When we look at culture, it helps us to identify how we fit in based on our behavior patterns. In this blog, I share a personal experience during my recent trip with George Fox Seminary to Hong Kong. With hundreds of pictures, videos, and audio recordings, it was impossible to share everything.
How Do You Travel?
When you leave baggage claim, your next most important task is getting an “Octopus Card.” The card is reloadable and used to pay for all your public transportation, most markets, 7-11 stores and if you are feeling for a Big Mac at McDonald’s. In a crowded Hong Kong, this saves time in trying to figure out the currency for tourist but for natives, it allows them to remain fast paced. Traveling the waters of the harbor is virtually impossible without this card, and you won’t want to visit Hong Kong without touring the harbor. You travel the harbor by many modes, but we went on the famous Star Ferry.
What Do You See?
Whether it is harbor view, sea peeps, green view or open view, Hong Kong has an excellent view from anywhere. Looking up at the skyscrapers and high-rise buildings, you would think most people’s view is their neighbor’s wall. However, when you look out the window of any of these buildings, beauty awaits whether the million dollar harbor or the cityscape. Traffic often seems daunting, but Hong Kong is pedestrian-friendly so you can find a way to cross traffic-filled roads safely and get a bird’s eye view of the traffic from the sky bridges.
Lights At 8 pm…
Maybe you have never been to New York; rumor has it that it is a city that never sleeps. Well, Hong Kong would be the city that never gets dark. At 8 pm every night, a light show can be seen from any high-rise building or anywhere on the harbor. While it only lasts for a few minutes, it is a spectacular event. The light show never gets old, and it seems like they design the buildings intentionally to entertain the residents and tourists. I watched the light show almost every night for two weeks.
How Much Do You Know?
Hong Kongers are very conscious of their rights so any attempts by the government to take away their rights may cause a nonviolent protest. We were there to witness the anniversary of the “Umbrella Revolution.” People were in the streets singing, sitting and dancing peacefully. These protests are also colorful and theatrical because different colors represent different things. The yellow ribbons (support the movement), blue ribbons (counter protest in support of the police), green and purple (shows a combination of stances) and when they overlay ribbons on top of each other, they are calling for peace or solidarity of the protest.
Let me emphasize this point…Hong Kong is hot and crowded. How did I survive he heat? I used the air-conditioned walkways whenever possible. If you have a general idea of where you are going, you can get to almost anywhere in Hong Kong’s Central Business district via their interconnected, fully air-conditioned walkway system. Forget about the rain, heat or pedestrian traffic…uses the walkways.
The adventure is worth it because when you get to the top, you see the beauty of Hong Kong from an eagle’s eye view. Did I mention that I got a few souvenirs? Just so you know, Loren (Dr. Loren Kerns) will take the group to the top and give you directions to get back…yep, you are on your own. Ahhh, pull out the map and Octopus Card…then you will be good to go. The only way to get down is with the Peak Tram (remain seated or else you will fall to the floor). The tram takes you from the Peak to the city in minutes
The Power of Music
We have had several moments of inspirational devotions but this moment was special. We stayed at the Mariner for approximately two weeks but this was the only night that we even touched the piano. Each year a banquet is held to close the advance and it started out as a concert with the entire group. However, an hour later and this group is in deep worship as we sang songs in English, Nigerian and Spanish. Unrehearsed harmonies, the singing of hymns, cohort integration, generational integration…it was a great cultural exchange.
Markets – Just in case you feel like cooking something different or wet
Hong Kong has two distinct markets – goods markets (clothes, watches, handbags, et.c) and wet markets (the picture speaks for itself). Can you guess what some people might buy to eat?
Can you just say…Interesting?
This is Shocking!!!
History shows that this is the most expensive basketball court in the world. It doesn’t look great but the land alone is worth more than the Staples Center in California.