Local traditions and culture in Hong Kong

  • View through the bauhinias.
    View through the bauhinias.
    by IreneMcKay
  • Bauhinias
    Bauhinias
    by IreneMcKay
  • Smoking areas
    Smoking areas
    by ant1606

Most Viewed Local Customs in Hong Kong

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    All that glitters is not gold

    by Assenczo Updated Feb 25, 2014

    Hong Kong, the leading urban conglomerate of South Asia, busy financial center and bustling business hub has some uglier sides to consider. In general, the space available for dwellings is very limited due to the mountainous nature of the island. The buildings are forced into tiny sea-front areas and deep crevasses in the mountains. In these conditions the natural move is upwards. As a result, the apartment dwellings are shooting up almost as high as the business towers of transnational companies. The small lots are restrictive too and the apartments in high-rises end up being akin to cubicles. The wrong move in the bathroom could inflict you a serious injury due to a hit into the bathroom fixtures – so minute the space is. Bedrooms and kitchens are not of the giant variety either. While these problems might look like deficiencies, they are certainly not the worst of the bunch. Some people are stuffed into containers which could never be regarded as an asset unless they want to be shipped somewhere else quickly without having to move their furniture. The lowest of the low live in an open air setting with the only privilege of adhering to the best Feng Shui practices – facing the sea and backed up by the mountain.

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    Horse Statue.

    by IreneMcKay Written Jun 6, 2014

    The podium in the centre of a pond in Central near the cenotaph and statue square houses different sculptures at different times.

    On my previous visit it had an elephant standing on a man's back. Now it has a horse sculpture.

    This sculpture is known as 'Monument for a Horse' which is part of Le French May. The horse was sculpted by Jean-Marie Fiori. It depicts a horse but it is riderless with no king or hero on its back unlike traditional equestrian statues.

    Jean Marie Fiori was born in France in 1952 and now lives and works in Paris. He is a graduate of the Beaux-Arts and holds a master’s degree in Fine Arts form Paris Vincennes VII. A lot of his work focuses on animals.

    Monument for a horse. Monument for a horse.
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    Hong Kong's National Flower

    by IreneMcKay Written Mar 22, 2015

    The national flower of Hong Kong is the bauhinia. It is also known as the Hong Kong tree orchid. It is a large purple flower which grows on trees. It blossoms from around early November to around the end of March. The bauhinia is depicted on the Hong Kong flag and on several Hong Kong coins.

    View through the bauhinias. Bauhinias
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    !50 Years Of HSBC.

    by IreneMcKay Written Mar 28, 2015

    Apparently HSBC opened its first branch in Hong Kong in March 1865, so 2015 is its 150th anniversary in Hong Kong. To commemorate this it is bringing out a special 150 HK$ note.

    It also put up a great advert in the MTR showing some of the changes that have taken place in Hong Kong during that time. The adverts show pictures of the same thing in the past and present such as the harbour, industry, schools, housing. I loved these adverts and was sorry to see them coming down. Very clever.

    Street Scene The Harbour Housing Industry Schools
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    Hong Kong's version on the "7-11"

    by RoseAmano Written May 9, 2004

    The characters pretty much read "Seven-Eleven Convenience Store"..
    I have this strange fascination of visiting and purchasing snacks and things from the convenience stores, supermarkets and drugstores of my visiting country - which gives a lot of insight into the trends of the high-selling everyday items locally.

    7-11 Hong-Kong Style
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    All together now!!!

    by tvdm Written Jan 2, 2005

    As you can see from the picture, Hong Kong is a busy place where space is at a premium. Houses and hotel rooms are small and streets are crowded. However, for all its hustle and bustle, Hong Kong has a wonderfully organised feel to it!

    High rise en route to Chek Lap Kok

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    Piles of People

    by Gage17 Updated Apr 25, 2005

    Hong Kong is an incredibly crowded place. I could not get over how many people packed the sidewalks at all hours of the day. It was not oppressive (like the heat), but it was something I was conscious of daily.

    The masses at midnight in Mongkok

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    Hong Kong Movies-two great ones to check out

    by Smruti Updated Apr 28, 2003

    I feel that one of the best ways to learn abot a country's culture is to watch the type of entertainment they produce. Lately, I've gotten into watching Hong Kong movies. Two which I higly recommend are "Fulltime Killer" (2002) and 'Infernal Affairs' (2003), which swept the Hong Kong movie awards last year. I saw both at the San Francisco International Film Festival and loved them. Both movies are set in the world oif Hong Kong police and triad showdowns. HK heartthrob Andy Lau plays pivotal roles in both movies. Tony Leung Chiu-Wai(the one from In the Mood for Love) is wonderful in Infernal Affairs.

    by the way, I heard Hollywood is optioning Infernal Affairs with Brad Pitt in the starring role?? say it isn't so!!!

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    Alias for Hong Kong Currency

    by tangymp Updated Dec 13, 2003

    Impress your Hong Kong friends by knowing these money terms in Cantonese!

    $1000 note: Gold Cow (Gum Au)
    $ 500 note: Big Cow (Tai Au)
    $ 100 note: Red Snapper (Hung Sam)
    $ 10 note: Flower Crab (Fa Hai)
    $ 10 coin: Rolex (Gum Ngan Yun)
    $ 1 coin: Big Cake (Tai Pang)

    A Fa Hai
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    The Chinese Zodiac (continued)

    by Sharrie Written Nov 25, 2002

    Just as signs in the Western zodiac carry different personality traits, so do the signs of the Chinese system. There is, of course, disagreement as to the precise character of each of the signs, but their general traits are as follows:THE SNAKE (1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001):
    The snake is thought to be the most intellectual & tenacious of all the signs. He enjoys the finer things in life & tends to be deeply religious & psychic on one hand, & hedonistic & superstitious on the other.
    THE HORSE (1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002):
    A person of great charm, wit & sexual appeal. The horse tends to be very sentimental, quickly falling in & out of love. He is also quick-tempered, self-indulgent, self-reliant, astute in monetary affairs, & somewhat unpredictable.
    THE SHEEP or RAM (1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003):
    The most gentle of the signs, the sheep tends to be righteous, mild-mannered, artistic, creative & even clairvoyant. He's also rather fussy & is seldom happy with those around him. Well-mannered, the sheep tends to be religious.
    THE MONKEY (1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004):
    The closest in character to man himself - thus endowed with both intelligence & a capacity to deceive - the monkey is a born opportunist. Positive qualities are affability, cleverness, good sense of humor, articulateness & strong self-confidence. The negative aspects include selfishness, vanity, deceitfulness & a streak of jealousy.

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    The Chinese Zodiac (Continued)

    by Sharrie Written Nov 25, 2002

    Just as signs in the Western zodiac carry different personality traits, so do the signs of the Chinese system. There is, of course, disagreement as to the precise character of each of the signs, but their general traits are as follows:

    THE ROOSTER (1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005):
    Like its namesake, the rooster likes (& deserves) to be noticed, & speaks his opinion regardless of who's listening. Despite his obvious pride, the rooster is perhaps a little insecure. Excellent with finances.
    THE DOG (1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006):
    A champion of justice, the dog is loyal, honest, intelligent, courageous & sexy but also enjoys keeping his own company. While he cares little for money - & might even be considered a bit lazy - he's very good at finding it when he needs it.
    THE PIG (1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007):
    Like the dog, the pig also has high ideals & little concern for money making. However, the pig can be rather stubborn & takes forever to make a decision. Not as flashy as some of the other signs, the pig is nevertheless one of the most popular animals of the zodiac.

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  • Bamboo Scaffolding

    by lachydragon Written Feb 18, 2003

    I found it fascinating to see the widespread use of Bamboo in all the building works through Hong Kong. Coming from Australia where all out building sites are an ugly tangle of steel scaffolds it was quite nice to see the softer lines and colours of Bamboo adorning building sites.

    The use was widespread and the scaffolding could eually be seen on a flashy expensive department store in the Wan Chai district to a ramshackle housing development in the poorer districts.

    The building workers were also very agile in manouvering around their scaffolds.

    Bamboo was also widely used for washing with poles strung out of most windows covered in small items drying.

    Bamboo acaffolding on a CBD building

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    Bank of China lions

    by IreneMcKay Written May 28, 2013

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    Just for conrast with Stephen and Stitt the HSBC lions, next door the Bank of China lions are very Chinese in character. They remind me of the lion costumes used in the lion dance.

    Bank of China lion
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    That duck again

    by IreneMcKay Written Jun 4, 2013

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    On a rare clear day in Central looking towards TST could not resist taking a picture of that duck again.

    That duck again. And again.
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    Tai Chai

    by Jim_Eliason Updated Jan 3, 2009

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    A lot of Chinese practice Tai Chai in the mornings. Here is a Tai Chai Class that is offered in Kowloon outside of the HK Cultural Center every Monday and Wednesday mornings.

    Tai Chai

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