Hong Kong Globalization
by William Bossen Photography
I hear people complain about globalization, about the Westernization of the world’s cultures and cities. The other day Allison and I were sitting in Hong Kong and it got us thinking about this. Is it so much of Westernization? Is it a bad thing? Do the great cities of the world not retain their own customs and culture?
When you go to Paris do you not say how French they are? They are certainly western but uniquely French. When people visit the Sates do they not comment on how American we are? We discussed this topic for some time over a bottle of good Argentinian wine and two bottles of bad French and Australian. Needless to say, fueled on this mix of alcohol and the unique cultural mix that is HK our tongues loosened and minds freed, at least for a bit.
The west has been importing spices and Easternizing our foods for thousands of years. I wonder if the Romans sat around and lamented the loss of the food culture they were accustomed to to those imported spices. I would think they would have been happy that their rancid meat tasted better and now exotic.
So we sell modern Asia and Africa blue jeans and dresses, I think they just say how nice they look. Walking through the streets of Hong Kong I can’t help but notice how Chinese they wear their western clothing styles. The t-shirts and watches emblazoned with Dragons, the popped collars of their shirts. The girls with their ridiculous high waist short legged pants sagging in the ass look and feel Chinese though I don’t think it is a traditional wear. The food still looks and tastes like this place. So what if we sell them a McDonald’s burger? They sell a fish ball burger too. You don’t find that in the States. Don’t you find it exotic to have general Tao’s Chicken or Fried Tofu? Maybe not, being that it is so usual to Westerners now. Speaking of General Tao’s Chicken I never did find it on any menus here in HK. I don’t think the Chinese eating a burger makes them less Chinese, only human. We all like to eat something different on occasion, well most of us anyways. There are always those bland people that hate change and don’t like new things. I hope they aren’t the majority.
I think that Westerners just want to see little brown people running around in traditional wear living in mud brick homes like the pictures we see in 19th century National Geographic articles, all primitive and poor. Maybe view a royal in extravagant clothing with well dresses attendants in tow. Maybe we are all so stupid and arrogant to believe that all these Eastern peoples lived in silks and ate fine foods before we came. That we are their downfall or their saviors depending on who you ask. I think it is simply that the world in Globalizing and we have to except that. What we have in common as humans is exhibiting itself and what differences we have are culturally still expressing itself. We are growing and changing together in our own unique ways. Germans no longer wear lederhosen but you know they are German. As long as cultures retain what make them unique then our growing together makes us stronger, with a better understanding. Maybe in the future we won’t have so many conflicts because we will know each other. See in one another what we have in common and make what differs less important.
After a few more glasses of wine Allison and I head out to the Temple street night market for some late night dinner. We ordered Fried seafood noodles and salt and pepper bean curd. We couldn’t read the menu and had to order by pointing and what we wanted. For how Western Hong Kong is, with all the lights and commotion, Cantonese language music blaring, and the distinctive food the experience was very Chinese.
Next off to Singapore!