Kam Louie’s book, “Hong Kong Culture: Word and Image” is timely since it will not be long before I will be boarding an air buses to Hong Kong. In many ways, Louie’s work seems like a reputation course since I have close friends who currently live in Hong Kong and have given me many crash course about the culture in Hong Kong. Louie introduces his work and collection of essays on Hong Kong’s culture with a question:
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. 
Louie’s approach to explicating Hong Kong culture from history’s perspective is refreshing as opposed to an attempt to interpret culture only from an artificial grid. It is usually the cause that people make culture and culture can also make people. Louie captures such a dynamic already in his theme of “word and image”. Louie notes:
… Our conception of “word” and “image” also includes visual culture, such as protest art, and architecture. In so doing we recognize that “words” and “images” are products of particular localities and spatial contexts as well as the intellect and emotions. … Whether measured in demographic, political, economic or cultural terms. There is, quite simply, nowhere else like Hong Kong; so it is no surprise that the cultural products of this unique locality are imbued with a uniquely Hong Kong flavor.
I highly agree with Louie’s well rounded view of Hong Kong’s cultural landscape because without a panoptic paradigm to a people’ culture, one is bound to miss the breadth and complexities of culture. The complexities and contradictions that are often observed in cultures around the world are necessary for the appreciation and respect for culture. That which is both simple and difficult about culture can help a person appreciate certain contexts even to the extent of embracing a humble attitude. I appreciate Louie ability to deploy diverse voices in the research element of the book and thus the authors’ successful portrayal of the diversity of Hong Kong’s culture. According to the Louie the “ … contributors are Hong Kong-born Chinese as well as long-term residents of Hong Kong from Scotland, England, the United States, Italy and Australia. This diverse group held a wide variety of opinions about Hong Kong’s culture but it became clear that they all regarded it as a multifaceted, polyphonic culture that resists easy homogenization”
Louis’ approach is one way to avoid a one size fits all outlooks towards culture. It is necessary to consider various points of view and that’s a positive way to learn about culture.
 Kam, Louie, Hong Kong Culture Word and Image. (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2010), 1.