Category: Hong Kong Books

Jul 21

Hong Kong Guide : As I See It

I came across an extremely good read about Hong Kong. The writer is Jason Y. Ng and he owns the blog, “As I See It“. He is the bestselling author of Umbrellas in Bloom (2016), No City for Slow Men (2013) and Hong Kong State of Mind (2010). These 3 books form a Hong Kong trilogy that tracks the city’s post-colonial development.

Personally, I have read many Hong Kong travel guides, blogs and books which introduce this dynamic city to their readers. However, the majority focuses on providing information about Hong Kong tourist attractions. While I am sure many tourists will benefit from these resources, I often feel that the full picture is still missing. Specifically, what is it like to live in Hong Kong? How do we describe our intangible culture and identity?

Jason’s books, on the other hand, provide deep insights into Hong Kong’s local culture.  I am impressed by his thoughtful observation and strong conceptualization. For example, in Hong Kong State of Mind, there was a chapter titled, “Why must all our Minibuses be yellow?”.  At the start, Jason briefly introduced Hong Kong’s iconic minibus by describing it as it is, “painted a soft hue of yellow”. Then he went on further to discuss social segregation and discrimination issues in Hong Kong. In his final paragraph, he intelligently concluded with a meaningful sentence, “perhaps every minibus should be repainted in rainbow colors as a reminder to all of us that yellow, after all, is no longer the only color around here”.

If it may interest you, here’s another short excerpt from one of his blog posts, Maid in Hong Kong:

“By law, employers are required to pay their live-in helpers a minimum monthly salary of HK$3,580 (US$460). The amount reflects how much our society values the economic benefit of freeing up a parent from domestic responsibilities to earn a second household income. For the price of a couple of piano lessons or a monthly parking space, we get to hold a fellow human being in captivity while we are out in the world making 10, 20 times the salary we pay them. Though much of the city’s economic success is built on the backs of these migrant workers, they remain one of the most grossly mispriced commodities in our economy.”

*The above is an objective and non-sponsored review. Big Foot Tour was not paid to advertise for Jason Y. Ng even though we wish we were.

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