DMINLGP

DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Hong Kong culture

Written by: on June 18, 2015

Reading Kam Louise’s editorial book, Hong Kong Culture: Word and Image, raised my expectations about the upcoming advance in Hong Kong. Admittedly, as unfamiliar as I am with the Hong Kong’s history before and after 1997, the essays offer very informative and fascinating analytical insights illustrating the social and cultural life of Hong Kong. As I read through the pages of this book what struck me the most was the complexity and uniqueness of Hong Kong’s identity. What is fascinating about Hong Kong is the “confluence of various cultures from around the world.” (p.7). In fact, as Louise describes, “Hong Kong has been a cultural fault-line for centuries—first, as a colonial space wrested from the Qing empire by the British and second, as a prize won back by the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).” This, as an outsider, gives me an impression that this highly regarded global city is dealing with an identity crisis. However, Louise convincingly tell us that “Hong Kong found its firm cultural ground and became a translation space where Chinese-ness was interpreted for “Westerners” and Western-ness was translated for Chinese”(p.2). I wonder what it would be like to live in a “translation space” meant for everyday people. Again Louise asserts, “Hong Kong residents may even feel a sense of alienation and rootlessness as they are confronted daily by the fast-paced and never-ceasing transformations in their surroundings. Successfully managing this sense of the unstable is precisely what makes Hong Kong such a modern city, and its citizens such good survivors in the modern world” (p.3).

While I appreciate Louise’s perspective as an insider, I am interested to know how the habitants in this global city are managing to make sense of life in the midst of chaos and uncertainty. We are told in this volume that Hong Kong’s, though decolonized from British rule decades ago, return to Chinese rule “did not bring outpourings of patriotic sentiment or self-governance either” (p.3). This hints of fragility in their political power structure. I wonder where this divided political movement and power structure would lead these nations? As it is now, there seems to be a disconnect between Mainlanders and Hong Kongers culturally, where the former is more authoritarian and the later is open and diverse and treasures different views.

It is fascinating that the contributors of these essays view Hong Kong’s cultural dynamics specifically through films and literature. Doubtless, artists—musicians, poets, filmmakers, will play a role in conserving cultural identity. In Hong Kong, “Artists have embraced causes such as heritage conservation and humanistic concerns: promoting the values of human qualities in economic spaces amidst the rampant commercial development of the territory ”(p.3). We also know that artists and poets can be biased and overshadow the reality of everyday people. That may not be the case here but it is the undeniable reality in most politically divided and unstable countries, such as my own country. This is why I am very much looking forward to learning from churches and Christian leaders who are doing kingdom work in this rampantly changing ministry context. I am eager to hear their challenges and possibilities’ in this “liminal space” to use Leonard Hjalmarson words. Hopefully their stories and the experience of being in this strange city will take me out of my ministry context to have a better understanding of my ministry setting. I am also very excited to reunite with my LGP4 cohort, Professors and other cohort members. Peace to you all and see you soon.

 

 

About the Author

Telile Fikru Badecha

11 responses to “Hong Kong culture”

  1. mm John Woodward says:

    Telile, thanks for a wonderful post. It is really a blessing for us to get to go to Hong Kong, as I am finding so many of cohort are venturing into new territory. I certainly am! I’ve never been to the Far East and I know “zero” about Hong Kong or Chinese history. That is why this book was so helpful to me. I like how you stated it: “This, as an outsider, gives me an impression that this highly regarded global city is dealing with an identity crisis.” That is the best summary yet of this place we are going to visit. I had no idea what complex issues they were facing and how difficult it was to figure out. I also appreciate your insight (as an artist) into both the value and issues of listening to artist, realizing that in fact there many artist to promote political issues as well as those artist who reflect the “least of these.” It will be important, I think, for us to listen well, to make sure we hear well the concerns of people living through this identity crisis. Thanks for your helpful insights, Telile.

    • Telile Fikru Badecha says:

      Thanks John! Like you, I have never been to China and found this book helpful to learn a little about the Kong Kong history. You’re so right “It will be important, I think, for us to listen well, to make sure we hear well the concerns of people living through this identity crisis.” Blessings and look forward to our time together in Fall.

  2. Telile, I too am looking so forward to seeing you and all of our friends that made our LGP4 truly a family of diversity yet deeply united through the blood of Christ. I too connected on the liminality space that we recently read about to Len’s work. I mentioned this connection when I commented on John’s post. What an amazing place Hong Kong is going to be for us as we will be surrounded by a people who are living between the Tiananmen Square massacre and the eventual full return to that communist reign that has so denounces democracy to which Hong Kong has had a long drink of. I’m excited that we get to be all there together. May that land and people teach us much as we become learners to her situation. Bless ya!

    • Telile Fikru Badecha says:

      Mitch! Thanks for commenting! I’m too excited about HK advance and looking to seeing you and the rest of our cohort. HK’s history is so interesting and can’t wait to learn more from leaders who are doing kingdom work.

  3. mm Ashley Goad says:

    Telile, I can’t wait to see you, too!!! What a wonderful reunion it will be. Are you going to join us in Thailand before we go to Hong Kong? Let me know, and I can get you the information! I loved your thoughts on this book. I, too, cannot wait to see what the people are really like. Having read these few books, I feel more confused than ever on who the real Hong Kongers are. Perhaps that is because they truly don’t know. And I would think that you could talk to ten people and receive ten different answers. What an excellent learning opportunity it will be for each of us.

    I cannot believe we are coming to the end of our journey. It seems like only yesterday we were meeting for the first time in our small room in London! Look at how far we’ve come! Hugs, my friend!

    • Telile Fikru Badecha says:

      Ashley my friend! Can’t wait to see you too. Thanks for asking me about Thailand trip before class. I’ll think about it and let you know. Like you, I found HK very interesting and complex to understand. I am looking forward to listening and learning from the real people on the ground.
      It is hard to believe this is our last chat. I agree, it does seems like only yesterday we were meeting for the first time in our small room in London!!! Grateful to His grace that carried us all through ups and down. Loves to you and hugs my dear friend!

  4. Telile,

    It was sad for me to read your last post of the year. Every one of your writings has been enlightening for me. I am honored to be on this journey together. Frankly, I think your posts were some of the best one in our cohort. You have become an excellent writer and communicator. I am so proud of you and am glad to have you as a friend and colleague.

    I look forward to this advance in September, but in spite of our reading, I feel ill-prepared for this time in Hong Kong. I hope I have some time to read and study more about this culture before we leave. I pray that we would learn many things while we are there together. It is hard to believe that we leave in only three months — that is right around the corner. I, like you, am looking forward to learning something new. Looking forward to hearing about your research there. I hope things are going well for you.

    If you are home this summer, perhaps we could meet for coffee soon. Let me know.

    • Telile Fikru Badecha says:

      Bill thanks for your kinds words! I share your feelings. Grateful for this incredible journey with you and the rest of our cohort. Looking forward to our time in HK. I’m leaving to Ethiopia next week and will give you a call when I return in late August. Keep me in your prayers.

  5. mm Deve Persad says:

    Telile,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Hong Kong. Like you, I look forward to seeing how all of this change has impacted real people in real time. I agree with your statement: “While I appreciate Louise’s perspective as an insider, I am interested to know how the habitants in this global city are managing to make sense of life in the midst of chaos and uncertainty. ” I hope to catch a glimpse of how the Lord is at work in the chaos.

    Your writing over these last two years has taught me much about culture clashes and about Ethiopian culture specifically. Thank you for allowing us to experience so much through your own history. I look forward to spending time with you and the rest of our cohort in a few short months.

    • Telile Fikru Badecha says:

      Deve, Thank you for thoughtful comments as always! I’m grateful for the opportunity of listening, learning and sharing our insights our through weekly blogs. Excited about KH advacne and looking forward to reunite with you and the rest of our cohort in Fall. Blessings!

  6. Telile…

    Several quotes from your post stand out: “I wonder what it would be like to live in a “translation space” meant for everyday people.” There is a sense of profound “wonder” in what you have asked. Certainly I wonder if you have not articulated the question many of us feel and perhaps why we are indeed in this particular program instead of another. We are living in a “translation space” and even at time the translator. A reminder that what we do too is for everyday people.

    “I am interested to know how the habitants in this global city are managing to make sense of life in the midst of chaos and uncertainty.” I will too because of the way that you worded this.

    “We also know that artists and poets can be biased and overshadow the reality of everyday people. That may not be the case here but it is the undeniable reality in most politically divided and unstable countries, such as my own country.” Ah, what is my bias, the privilege that I bring to situations or in what I read and do.

    Telile… It has been a privilege to learn aside you and to continue to do so. Blessings…

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