Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Exchanging Notes

Almost everyone I talked to in Hong Kong asked me how the Beijing Olympics went.

They asked me which events I watched and what it was like in the Olympic Green.

However they were really surprised when I told them there wasn't much of a lively atmosphere where venues like the National Stadium, or Bird's Nest was.

Instead, it was quite sterile, despite having a well-organized and well-executed Games.

On the other hand, some of my friends told me there was a party atmosphere in Hong Kong, even though most people had no clue about the equestrian events held in Sha Tin.

Nevertheless, they were most impressed by the opening ceremonies. The choreography of all those performers working together in perfect time was amazing to them.

And it made these Hong Kongers proud to be Chinese.

That was the effect the Chinese government wanted to create, and definitely succeeded.

But with the ongoing milk scandal, people's opinions of China are wavering again.

It seems 11 years on after the handover of Hong Kong to China, Hong Kongers are still trying to figure out their identity, which is understandable.

While they are proud of Chinese culture and history, they are horrified by the scale and magnitude of challenges its motherland is facing, that in turn affect them.

Everyday there is a new report about the milk crisis, from another product found to have melamine in it and how products that should have been taken off the shelves were found a few days later for sale in supermarkets in China.

And this is only one of many issues that include pollution, work safety, freedom of the press and corruption to name a few.

Hong Kong people are not prepared to embrace China completely, which means Beijing has got a lot of work ahead to prove itself before winning more hearts than just a political takeover.

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