The ‘tiny’ Asia’s World City?


Painting the Asia's World City

Windows and air conditioners


Mom at the bus stop

Our Hong Kong government had successfully branded Hong Kong as the Asia’s world city. To many people’s eyes, especially eyes from the West believes Hong Kong is one of those exotic places to land on. It’s a multicultural former british colony etc. On many occasions I found images/media of Hong Kong running on foreign movies and drama, such as the Korean drama I watched tonight (in the set I found postcards on a fridge were actually Hong Kong) and even the movie I recently saw in the cinema (Fast and Furious 6, they borrowed scenes of Hong Kong to tell the story). Personally, I do not get a lot of chances to travel. To be honest, I’ve only traveled to the U.S Midwest during my studies. Besides, a spring break to the East Coast D.C. That’s about it. To me, the world I see is on the TV. Just like today I’ve seen programs guided on Thailand and Syria. What I see is what they show. They show me the good food, great places, spectacular landmarks. I’d imagine they’d do the same about Hong Kong in their countries.

We can travel as far as I want to. Without getting to know the locals or even a guide, we can simply be just traveling but not experiencing. I was honored that I got to know about Macao because of a colleague. He’s a Portuguese that has been residing in Macao for nearly two decades. Last few times I was working in Macao, we had amazing dinners. When eating with the locals especially an European, it does feel like I traveled to Portugal. All the food and wine immediately felt authentic. Conversation during the car ride also helped get to know about his life, the city, and all. Those were my high times. That gave me good memories.

If the role has switched, I’d be a terrible guide in Hong Kong. 7-8 years ago, I was guide for my dear Korean friend I met back in the U.S. Not sure how they felt besides glad to see each other again after her graduation. Facebook wasn’t popular back then, we actually lost contact. I’d love to see how she’s doing with her life.

The unlit neon signs during the day

Behind the bars


Life is like a drama. My story begins with: I needed to do an extra shift that required traveling to an location across the Harbor. I googled out the transportation needed to get myself there. It took a couple swipes, it actually gave a few suggestions with the minibus route number. Hong Kong has some messy minibus network around here. It takes a genius to figure that out and Google did it. Next time visiting Hong Kong, try trusting on the Google Map transportation direction search. It worked every time. So I got on the minibus just in time on a rainy morning. Not a lot of passengers aboard at my stop. I was listening to music and playing the mobile game Tower of Saviors. That’s what our generation would do to kill time while commuting. There were couple other stops to pick up passengers in the zone. Everything felt ordinary until someone was sitting next to me, that man hit my elbow and said sorry. I was concentrating on my cellphone without taking off my sight. He then hit me again and I looked. He’s one of my schoolmates I knew back in the U.S. He always took me out and we made trips to the mall almost every weekend back then. We had not contact each other after his graduation. We’ve not met in Hong Kong ever, to look back it was about 10 years ago as long as I remember.

That minibus route number was 8, a fortunate number (meaning to be prosper) to Chinese. Was it just luck or Hong Kong is tiny?

Standing and walking

Wooden pillars of an construction

Hong Kong can be full of life or can be a dull hopeless prison. It’s up to us where to exploit. I’ve seen the dirtiest part of the city but not the worst part. I’ve seen the glamorous part, but not the richest part. I’d seen people party next to me, but I’d never been in one. I’ve seen pretty ladies walk by me, but I don’t know them and probably won’t see them again. I’ve eaten in restaurants I like and close down without telling anyone. You see your colleagues at work, but you don’t really know them. You could chat with your colleague daily, and won’t see again in life after their resignation.

I chose to capture photos little by little to help me remember my surroundings and show it to the world. Here you find my story.

11 thoughts on “The ‘tiny’ Asia’s World City?

  1. When I was a schoolboy, commuting across town by train every school day, my brand of distraction was a walkman–cassette tape and earphones. That was high tech back then. Your description of traveling through places and seeing experiences as a stranger to those experiences is familiar too. I took many walks alone as a boy, on top of my cross-city school commutes, and wondered about the lives I passed by.

  2. Very poignant thoughts. What a special meeting with your old school friend. I hope you had a nice reunion. With Facebook I feel some connections that would have been deeper and more treasured in the past, have become more frivolous. Facebook gives a somewhat unhealthy feeling of security as though we feel we will never lose our friends and they will be there for us to check on any time we feel like it. In reality people still live in real time and people still want real contact and for friends to care about their real lives and struggles. Facebook smooths off too many edges. I’d love to quit but it feels like part of your description of Hong Kong – so small and crowded, it can feel like a prison sometimes!

    1. I think photography had taught me things like it’s not about the size of a country, city, area, home you live in. It’s about how we enjoy, appreciate, interact, look, feel the place. Macao is a place that’s much smaller than Hong Kong. I found tons of things that I fascinated about. Same thing I found in an area where I spend time in. Some people would go to the most crowded, most beautiful places around town. I tend to find beauty in some other places such as public estates, i found people actually spend time there enjoy the sunshine and environment they actually live in. The public estates are like prisons to many, it’s still their homes, where they find comfort and familiarities nearby. As for me, the location/area I live in; it’s almost impossible as there’s NO public space for us to gather. Lots of it has to do with the high price value to every inch of the land properties developers/government want to make good use of, and forgetting the fundamental needs of a sane human being.

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