First of all, I am embarrassed to reveal that this reading has been the totality of my encounter with the history and culture of Hong Kong. After this reading, I feel I have a greater understanding of why this advance is so important. I have used the reading of A Modern History of Hong Kong as an opportunity to prepare for the upcoming trip and have not been disappointed as my anticipation has certainly grown.
Hong Kong is an excellent example of East meets West. Unfortunately, I knew so little of Hong Kong that I did not realize it was once a British colony. Tsang describes Hong Kong rejoining China in this way: “it had indeed acquired a sense of identity, way of life and value system in its British period that set it apart from those prevailing in mainland China.” While the development of the city throughout its history was closely linked to China, its culture was still British. Essentially, Hong Kong embodies “east meets west.” I can’t imagine what it was like to live in Hong Kong when it was returned to China…one country merging two cultures.
I am still working to assimilate my reading, but there are several leadership questions I have as I read through this colorful history. For instance, how would history be different if the leadership of British Hong Kong had been more sympathetic to Chinese culture and context? What would have happened if the people had been represented at the transfer of power back to China? Is it possible that a bridge of trust could have been built from the very beginning that would have allowed for mutual respect and understanding?
How does this translate to our missional efforts around the globe? From missionaries who bring the culture of their country of origin with them into global efforts to urban pastors attempting to lead a rural church revitalization effort, perhaps we could all learn from Hong Kong and be more intentional as we listen to people while we attempt to lead them in a particular direction.
Just as Hong Kong grew from a collection of fishing villages to a thriving metropolis, it is possible for the organizations we lead to grow from fledgling ideas to healthy, missional outposts. If we are willing to learn from the tapestry of culture that makes up our ministries and organizations, we will certainly be stronger than when we started.
It seems I am left with more questions than answers, but my knowledge is greater than when I started and I am excited to add the Advance experience to my own tapestry!
 Steve Yui-Sang Tsang, A Modern History of Hong Kong (London: I.B. Tauris, 2011), 268.