When I tell my friends and family that I get to study in Hong Kong this September, invariably the first question they ask is, “Why Hong Kong?” It has taken me a while to figure out how to answer their question, but this week’s book by Steve Tsang, Modern History of Hong Kong, A: 1841-1997,  has helped provide more solid answers. My appetite has certainly been wetted for our visit!
Our upcoming Portland Seminary advance schedule for Hong Kong 2018 states our reasons for studying in Hong Kong are “East meets West: Finance, democracy, mission” (whereas our Cape Town advance in South Africa said the purposes were “First world meets third world: Leadership, diversity, reconciliation”). Furthermore, the schedule says topics we will be presented include: Public and cultural leadership, church and non-profit ministry challenges, opportunities, and initiatives in Hong Kong and China, and Christian business leadership in Hong Kong and China. 
In my reading before our reading, I am learning this is a densely populated area, and my goodness, it must have more skyscrapers than anywhere else in the world. The strategic-ness of it’s location has to be prime, reminding me of important Biblical port cities like Corinth and Thessalonica. I can see why the book review found on historybookmix.com stated verbally on YouTube, “From simple fishing villages to a major capitalistic icon, Hong Kong is now prosperous and has been returned to the most powerful communist regime on earth.” 
Trevor Clark says Tsang’s bibliography “overwhelms” but then goes on to say, “a consistent narrative, neither overlooks nor exaggerates shortcomings.” 
It is my intent to use this week’s book to prepare for our Hong Kong visit, specifically as it relates to finance, democracy and mission. As I read Tsang, my bias was to discover nuggets that related to these three areas specifically.
First of all: Finance. It is important to understand Tsang’s comment, “Hong Kong was not picked for a colony by the government in London, and was ‘occupied not with a view to colonization’, but for diplomatic, commercial and military purposes”  Put another way, this time with a phrase not easily forgotten and rated at least PG-13 for graphic images, “It ought to be conveniently situated for commercial intercourse” with good harbors, natural facilities for military defense, and easily provisioned, especially well positioned for Chinese and British trade. 
Commercial intercourse indeed! Why else? That is where finance, yay the almighty dollar, enters the scene and becomes such a driving factor! Simply mention the words EAST INDIA COMPANY and all should realize that with this trade comes greed, malice, deception, speed and compromise. My first introduction to reading about the EIC was in a rather R-rated book recommended before I visited Hawaii on my 25th wedding anniversary. The East India Company was ruthless, dictatorial, monopolizing, and money hungry at the expense of the ignorant. No tactic seemed beneath them. Dave Ramsey would surely blush at their “build wealth” strategies!
Of course, also mentioned in the finances realm was opium! It is too easy to say not everyone used opium for ignoble purposes, as I understand opium was medicinal and not illegal originally in some British/Chinese circles. However, we know good and well it took a dark side route and became a driving force in the trade monopoly called the EIC. Jackie Pullinger described well the downside of opium that she witnessed and it was nothing short of a tool of God’s enemy. I hope those aren’t opium leaves in the Hong Kong emblem I displayed above.
However, understanding the promotion of trade, I accept Hong Kong being an imperial outpost for the promotion of exchanges with the Chinese. British jurisdiction provided stability, security and predictability which helped Hong Kong to flourish.  I get it!
Now, onto our second focus: Democracy. Interestingly, the original government for Hong Kong was on purpose “as small as possible” and was hardly a representative government.  To let the overwhelming majority of Chinese residents to dominate was unacceptable to the colonial government. It seemed expats received most of the attention and privileges. Ouch! I am not saying don’t trust your government, but I think we learned in this Cohort to VERIFY. That would certainly apply to Hong Kong.
It baffled me why the original government was then called an “autocracy” while the rest of the British dependents were nearly democratic.  Obviously, from my perspective, the autocracy served the mainland better, so let’s go with that. I get it! Ironically, no matter what the government actually was, or how it somehow survived in a type of partnership, the colonial society obviously now rests in the communistic arms of China…although Beijing was not completely aware of the complexities in Hong Kong.
Finally: Mission. The lowering of the British flag on June 30, 1997 unfortunately did not solve the social ills of Hong Kong, described in our previous book by Jackie Pullinger. I find it interesting that the following conclusion was made by the SAR’s Chief Executive,
Our foremost task is to enhance Hong Kong’s economic vitality and sustain economic growth. Only through the creation of wealth can we improve the living of the people of Hong Kong, and continue to contribute to our country. 
Skills in critical thinking should immediately question the above statement. Throwing dollars at social ills the size of Hong Kong seem shortsighted at best. As Christians we would challenge treating the symptoms of their problems, instead of treating the heart. Jesus provides the only eternal hope for Hong Kong!
I close with Dave Ramsey’s often used quote that he uses to end every radio broadcast, “Remember, there’s ultimately only one way to financial peace, and that’s to walk daily with the Prince of Peace, Christ Jesus.” 
 Tsang, Steve Yui-Sang, A Modern History of Hong Kong. London: I.B. Tauris, 2011.
 Kerns, Loren. “Advance Schedule | Leadership and Global Perspectives DMin.” George Fox University. June 03, 2018. Accessed June 06, 2018. https://www.georgefox.edu/seminary/programs/dmin/lgp/advance-schedule.html.
 HistoryBookMixCom. “History Book Review: A Modern History of Hong Kong by Steve Tsang.” YouTube. July 27, 2012. Accessed June 06, 2018. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAmx_5ePwi8.
 Luscombe, Stephen. “British Empire Book Review by Taylor Clark.” The British Empire. February 14, 2014. Accessed June 06, 2018. https://www.britishempire.co.uk/library/modernhistoryofhongkong.htm.
 “Hong Kong Emblem.” Wikipedia. June 05, 2018. Accessed June 07, 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong.
 Tsang. p. 20.
 Ibid., p. 21.
 Ibid., p. 56.
 Ibid., p. 24.
 Ibid., p. 26.
 Ibid., p. 268.
 “Dave Ramsey Quote.” A-Z Quotes: Dave Ramsey. Accessed June 08, 2018. http://www.azquotes.com/quote/813157.