Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Hong Kong's Return to China, 1996

Hong Kong was where my late father grew up as a young boy before moving to Singapore in the early 1910's. He had a sister who lived there and nieces and nephews. I was fortunate to have met all of them on my 1st visit there back in 1972. And they showed me around, brought me to one of the best "Dim Sum" restaurants in Kowloon.
The people here speak mainly Cantonese, a dialect of people from Kwangtung province, China. As a Cantonese myself ,I have no problems making my way around Hong Kong on my visits.

This particular trip we made after our 1st-ever visit to mainland China in December 1996. We wanted to be there to soak in the atmosphere of the handing over of the former British Colony to the PRC. I remember speaking to local people and friends there about their feelings then. There was unbridled joy for some who believed that it was for the be part of Great China. But for the majority I detected a deep sense of insecurity, fear and trepidation.
A fear not without foundation, after all they had lived through a period of relative peace under the protective British umbrella. Top most in the minds of many people were what would become of them. Would they be better off? Would there be excessive central controls over the economy, finance, education, industry etc.? What would be allowed and what would be changed drastically? Those were all genuine fears and apprehensions.
But as practical folks, most everyone joined in the festivities and celebrations while D2 and I were there. We caught a spectacular fireworks display over HK harbour area. In the aftermath, we swooned with the crowd, over the euphoria of witnessing the end of a mighty era and the beginning of a new dawn and a new age for Hong Kong.

Photo: Top - The skyline of Hong Kong from Victoria's peak

Bottom - The Big Buddha at Lantau Island

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