香港人在香港的旅行 – Sing’s guestpost about being a tourist in your own hometown

Guess what? It’s my 100th post! And for the special post I finally forced Sing to write his guest post. Better after IMG_1104month and a half than never. When he was a teenager he was sent to study abroad and came back occasionally and after all those years he feels more like a tourist than a local. His feelings towards Hong Kong change through years, but read it yourself!

This has been two years since my last visit to Hong Kong. As the city named the pearl of the orient, two year can bring a lot of changes to my hometown.

Since this time we lived in Causeway Bay, I was expected a very hard time to find affordable things to eat. However, I didn’t expect it was that hard to find one because everywhere we went were asking $50-80 per dish. It made me think that how can people survive in Hong Kong with only $15,000 every month? No wonder many young people were stuck with their parents since nothing is really affordable.
Although the shopping malls are very nice in Hong Kong, I slowly feel that my impressIMG_0782ion of home is fading away. One day we revisited Tuen Mun park and instead of enjoying a moment of quiet, it turned into a gigantic stage with loud music playing all afternoon. We then went back to my middle school where I was kicked out which made me left HK, it still looks the same over 13 years.
I don’t know if it is a trend, all the famous shops are moving to all parts of Hong Kong which makes most of the shopping malls dull. What I miss HK the most is the carts on the streets that sells food. They used to sell items like the BBQ chicken wings, congee, fish ball right next to popular bus stop. I am sure that they are good memories of many HKers, sadly they are now all being replaced…empty streets at night.
Maybe I left HK when I was very young, I missed out a lot of entertainments in HK. This was my first time going to Happy Valley Racecourse. What I like is not gambling, I love the atmosphere instead. I never knew horse can run so fast! (He thought all dogs are males and all cats are females for most of his life so it’s not that surprising for me – Lina)  Also, the high tea at the Ritz-Carlton definitely brings me new experience, but I definitely felt more like a tourist than a local doing all those things for the first time.

IMG_0787Another thing is language – it changes so fast. Sometimes even I don’t know all the short forms, memes etc. I need to follow different sites, forums and news to keep up. Once we went for breakfast and instead of using 5 words to say what I wanted I used the whole phrase right from the menu. And it’s been just two years since my last trip!

At the end of the day, Hong Kong is still a very beautiful city, but my impression of Hong Kong keeps changing. It is like my home but feels very strange. I don’t sense the spirit of Hong Kong as I did before. Don’t want to offend anyone but I felt like lots of people around were soulless. Phones, Instagrams, brands. Losing local stores for another jewelry shop. I hope people still can sparkle up the original spirit of Hong Kong. 
Well, that was more personal than I thought it will be. I guess Sing treats you now like family, haha. Do I agree with him? I did not grow up in Hong Kong, the old Hong Kong I know is only from old movies – like Hui brothers type of old. But I have to agree with his grief over small local spots and I hope Hong Kong won’t lose its charm IMG_1085over hipster coffee shops – it’s nice to have a trendy spot, but it’s also sad that the good and cheap places are slowly disappearing.

What do you think guys? How do you feel about your hometown changing  over the years? We would love to read it! And thank you so so so much for being with me for past 99 posts! Now you can read them all – I changed the design of the blog a bit and added some categories that will help you browse it! 

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59 thoughts on “香港人在香港的旅行 – Sing’s guestpost about being a tourist in your own hometown

    1. when he was first making those small complaints I thought it’s because he’s tired of work therefore he’s grumpy, but more I talked to him and other Hongkongers who live abroad most of them feel pretty much the same. for me I don’t mind to sit in a nice coffee shop and eat my cake, but I don’t want to have that kind of place instead of good old local cheap spot. there were few places we wanted to munch at, but they were already closed due to high rents or some chain-company could afford paying more. pretty sad 😦

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  1. Ah, that is sad. The first time I visited HK was 2011, so whilst I absolutely LOVE it there, I guess I have no real idea of the ‘old’ HK or ‘real’ HK perhaps.

    I am returning to my hometown Birmingham in a few weeks and I can’t wait to see how the new railway station has changed the city centre. I lived right next door whilst they were building it and finally I’ll have a chance to see it finished and enjoy it 😛

    I like the new layout thumbs up

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    1. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. But watching old HK movies can give you a little bit of idea, I remember when Sing showed me some stuff and he was like ‘My dad used to sleep in those with other workers when you was young’. We’re not cool enough Sarah haha 🙂

      Is it fine for you to travel? I hope you will have a great trip 🙂 it’s nice to see that your hometown changes for what you feel is better 🙂

      oh and thank you! I wish the doodle of the harbour was better but I’m not a designer so it’s the best I could do with free wordpress haha 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I went to Hong Kong almost 10 years ago. The city didn’t really make a good impression on me though. It was crowded and everything was loud and expensive. I am not sure whether it was the one-day we chose or what but I did not like it. I rather go back to my hometown 90 minutes away.

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  3. I came to HK before the handover. Now I am leaving. Sing is right. It is becoming soulless. It is just a glorified shopping mall until you get beyond Kowloon. And now the government wants to ruin parts of the country parks to provide yet more unwanted and unneeded development. We can’t turn the clock back but a decent leadership team could do a lot more for HK-ers. It is death by a thousand cuts.

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  4. I think you can say what Sing said about anywhere in the world. Shopping centres are becoming the same, everything is becoming sanitised and universal. We have Starbucks, McDonalds, H+M everywhere. Travel money exchange shops every other street. Coffee shops every few metres. It’s so…regular.

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    1. Sing will surely read the comments when he wakes up. I still think it’s not as bad in Poland as in Hong Kong when it goes to all the chain stores and shops (we have like only 3 starbucks in my hometown and its one of the biggest cities in Poland), but who knows, maybe next year when I come I will feel the same. Globalization has its pros and cons 😦

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  5. Being a Hong Konger, same as Sing, I also believe Hong Kong is changing too fast. The skyrocketing land prices keep soaring that many local stores are hard to survive nowadays. Shopping centres continue springing up and have been replacing those local stores by monopolized property land owners. Shops of well-known brands are flourishing, catering for the tourists especially from the Mainland. Plus, some cultural heritages, which we regard as “collective memories”, have been demolished in recent years. All in all, it is really a pity that the local colour is dimming away.

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  6. I guess Kuala Lumpur (my home town) is like the Southeast Asian version of HK then. Every time I go back, I feel that something has changed and something is lost. Same issues, cheap old school coffee shops has been replaced by expensive western cafes and restaurants, majority Cantonese speaking has turned into Chinese speaking, and all the stupid malls open up like nobody’s business. I love KL, but I also hate it. It is confusing.

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  7. It’s so great to read Sing’s guest post and his thoughts about Hong Kong. Why did he get kicked out of middle school lah? That was sad, too. I can see how Sing would feel like his beloved hometown has changed. I experienced that with my ex-husband Cai when he went back to China after living in Hong Kong for a while. He was so sad to see people become so money-hungry and Westernized. It’s hard to understand this, but he actually missed the days when he grew up during the Cultural Revolution. Back to Hong Kong, though, I was worried about going back after 14 years (2 years ago), but it’s still my favorite city hands down. I could see that there was less neon and fewer independent shops. That made me sad. But when I went back in 2014, I was so pleasantly surprised to hear my HK friends support the Umbrella Revolution (this was just 10 days to 2 weeks into it) and not mind taking an extra hour to get to where they needed to go because roads were blocked. I never thought I would see that in fast and efficient Hong Kong, and it brought tears to my eyes. Happy New Year and happy 100th post!

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    1. I don’t know if it’s still like this but at the time when he was growing up Hong Kong schools gave two paths – art and science. He was a genius from science classes but anything connected to art he almost or actually failed so the genius education system let him chose which path he can take at the end (better overall score faster you could choose) so an art-retard (with all the respect to my husband) had the only choice of art-path since everyone was taking the science path. Momzilla got mad and sent him to Australia haha.
      the organization of the protest was really amazing, I agree!

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        1. I’m afraid one day when I have a baby she will put all those things she missed with Sing onto the baby. She is funny, he got a slipper slap for bad grades but when she heard someone was bullying him in Australia he had to call her 483513531 times so she doesn’t come there to take care of him haha. Polish and Chinese parents are very alike.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a very touching post by Sing, I really enjoyed reading it. It always hurts to see your hometown change over time. I used to go to school in Singapore and when I went back a few years ago, there were so many new skycrapers around my old town. I guess it’s the same with Hong Kong – getting harder to hold onto sentimental value. Congrats on your 100th post!

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  9. I think the same people many people got who have been away from their home so many years. Whenever we are in Xi’an my wife has no clue about the city anymore, just what she remembers from 9 years ago. Sure few things still hold true but the city changed so much that she really doesn’t know anymore about good local spots,restaurants and so on…
    I have a similar feeling with my hometown however my city is so small that their are nearly any visible changed, but the mentality and the people themselves changed very much during the past 12 years….

    I wonder what I expect of HK when I visit. Hope I am not too influenced by all the old Hong Kong movies I watched in my youth…(

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      1. She is more the type who sees changes when it comes to food in her favorite restaurants or slight adjustments in tv shows. To see the differences for example in her hometown I actually had to ask her about it and give examples until she realized them 😛

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  10. I feel for him. I went back to Hong Kong this year and was amazed by how much it had changed. (I went to school there in the 80s). I hadn’t been back since 1997. I also spent a day in Macau which has kept the old town and yet is also very ‘ Vegas’ – big contrasts there.

    I, too, miss fish balls (with satay sauce) from the street sellers. Jx

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  11. This post had so many feels.
    I come from a small country town with not much to do. Most of the people that live here are either Mexican or Native American. After I left to study in school I noticed my small town developing more into a city. I don’t want it to lose it’s charm and calm atmosphere either. Highways are being built, chain restaurants, and large department stores. Sometimes I feel more like a passerby as well. I don’t recognize the faces anymore, the community is becoming more diverse, and I don’t even speak the way I use to either. There are times when people think I’m a tourist. I guess not only do our hometowns change over the years so do we. Time stops for no one. It’s such a weird feeling.

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    1. I had pretty similar feeling seeing a town where most of my family is from (very little, ~5k people). When I was small everyone would recognize me, knew my parents etc. but now there are so many new faces, things close down, some new open (somehow still they don’t have good public transport haha), but it feels weird there

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  12. I have a similar feeling with my trips back to the UK. So many things stay the same, yet so many things change. I have no idea of the TV shows my family talks about, the supermarkets have too much choice of the bad stuff (i.e. not as much fruit and veg as I’m used to in Spain), Costa Coffee is everywhere, I get strange looks if I don’t have a points card and ‘you’ll loose out if you don’t have one’ tone of voice. Not even saying I don’t live in the country deters them from pushing a points card on me. Sometimes I wonder if my native tongue is understood at all! But I’d love to visit Hong Kong one day!

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  13. Congrats on reaching 100 posts! 😀 It’s great that your husband agrees to post as a guest on your blog – happy wife; happy life? 😉
    There is constant change. Some for the better. Some for the worst. It is always a pity when the familiarity of our childhood is gone. The world is now sadly so commercialised.

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  14. Congrats on your 100th post! Woohoooo!

    I think Sing’s feelings are shared by anybody who grew up in a Chinese city. Everything changes so fast here! The place where I live now in Suzhou used to be the countryside 18 years ago and my bf used to swim in the lake (there was a kind of beach). Now this is the most modern district in the city and I wouldn’t even want to dip a toe in that disgusting dirty lake!

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  15. Hiya Sing and Lina! Congratulations to you for your 100th post! It’s particularly special that the 100th post happens to be guest post by Sing. 🙂 Yay!

    I’ve never lived or grew in HK, but my family lived there and I grew with older HK films and TV. So in some sense, I have this idea of HK and it probably resembles to the HK that Sing once used to know. How I long for good late night inexpensive Canto/HK food when I’m up burning the midnight oil. But alas that may be going away too from the sounds of what Sing wrote. With less of the “old” stores and the advancing fancy/chain stores, more parts of the neighborhoods are losing their character. Sad that people and city may be turning soul-less.

    I can’t imagine what it was like for my mum/dad when they visit HK and Guangzhou. I remember us trying to find mum’s old house…we had circled around a couple times around the block to make sure we were in the right area, let alone be able identify house. Grandpa’s old work office….was of course….replaced by a large shiny glass structure. Sad.

    having formerly lived in Chicago, it is full life and vibrancy. Sure it’s not as big as NYC/London/Tokyo/HK but surely has it’s own character. Thus far each time I return, luckily things continue to cultivate it’s own culture. Now I live in much smaller city that doesn’t have a subway (I suppose at least it has public buses 😛 ). Food selection is smaller and more expensive. (sorry i love talking to about food…maybe because I love eating).

    My brother has been away in Japan. I wonder how he felt when returned home and visiting friends. Maybe he felt similarly too? Nonetheless, great post and very honest and insightful thoughts from Sing!

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  16. Regarding the unfortunate life changes and costs reminds of my experience of returning to my hometown to visit post World Cup in Rio. It’s crazy how nobody can afford it!

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  17. It’s always difficult returning “home”, I think. We perceive the things that remained the same differently, and the not-so-new are completely new to us. I can definitely understand Sing’s feelingsーsome of the changes we witness aren’t always for the better, and it’s always awkward not quite fitting in, even if you’re from somewhere.

    Interesting post and I hope you can convince Sing to keep writing in the future! 😀

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  18. There’s so much development in Hong Kong. Everywhere you look, construction work is going on, buildings are being erected. Try to stay away for a year or two and when you come back you’ll find so much has changed. And it’s not always for the better.

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  19. When my parents visited me in Hong Kong, they said it was unrecognisable from when they had last visited about 20-30 years before. My mum said everything is taller now.

    I can’t comment on whether it is changing for the better or not, but I loved living in Hong Kong and really hope to return one day.

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  20. I loved Hong Kong last year in July, but will love to be able to see it some time back, as you did. As I saw, it is changing indeed 😦 everything changes, but is sad to loose the identity, its soul let’s say, the localism

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  21. oh gosh. a fellow blogger here on wordpress, who is a friend of mine who lives in bangkok, went to HK this past december and visited the ritz carlton for high-tea too. and he posted a blog about it, with pictures. so your blog is the second blog i’ve read that mentioned about high tea at ritz carlton HK. sigh… i’m envious. i must try it out the next time i find myself in HK.

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    1. it all depends, I see people earning in GBP saying HK (aside of properties) is soooo cheap, but in my mind, since I come from Poland and I always convert everything to my own currency, it’s sooo expensive haha 🙂 now I convert from EURO to PLN then to HKD haha

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