Hong Kong beginnings

I am indeed in Hong Kong, as was reported on the local news. (Given
the parochialism of some of the stories in the supposedly venerable
local English-language daily, the South China Morning Post, that might not be untrue).

I am already working hard, as is the local custom. My office is in
Cyberport, which is — by local standards — nowhere near the
densely-populated and famous parts of Hong Kong. Twenty to thirty
minutes on a bus would transport me to said parts, so obviously I’m in
a different universe to them. The view of Cyberport from the road can
look like this:

Cyberport

The urban majesty of the place never ceases to please me.

Cyberport is famous locally for being a Government-backed white
elephant project [that is when it’s actually known about. It’s
possibly even more famous for not being famous, despite its size and
expense.] The Government decided around the year 2000, during the
Internet stocks bubble, to spend lots of money on building a dedicated
office park for all those crucial cyber-businesses that would employ
everyone and their bionic dog. Of course, that didn’t happen, so
instead Cyberport is now mostly a standard business park with cheap
office space and pretensions. All very un-HK. Or is it?

I am yet another one of those annoying “ex-pats” who keeps commenting
on how everything is different “back home”, and usually better too.
But I hope I’m not really. I do want to learn about what is different
here and understand how else society can be structured and run than
the British, mainland European, American or indeed mainland Chinese
way. Hong Kong deservedly holds the number 1 slot on the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom, but
I’ve already seen worrying signs that this might not be sustainable,
with calls in the newspapers, by local politicians and by local
“green” activists for a more socialist system. The recently passed
minimum wage legislation is a case in point, and I can already smell
the socialisation of the housing market. Special interests are as
vocal here as anywhere, but I don’t know yet how powerful.

Feel free to join me on this Voyage of Discovery (if this is a
registered trademark, please don’t sue). Or you can click the Back
button. The next post will probably be about my attempts to rent an
apartment, navigating what everyone locally considers to be the most
expensive and volatile Hong Kong market: property.

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