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Hong Kong

ByKristin Trapp

    Hong Kong’s urbanism was a lot easier to see than I had imagined it would be.  As I was walking through the many streets of Hong Kong I began to look for distinct markings and buildings that really shouted transnational or vernacular urbanism.  To my surprise they were everywhere.  I then decided to look a little closer at some of the dimensions of global cultural flow including ethnoscapes, mediascapes, and finanscapes most of them were as easily visible as well. 

            Ethnoscapes are the ways tourists, immigrants, refugees and guest workers move about a city, as explained by Short and Kim in their book Globalization and the City.  This was a not a challenging observation since a good portion of Hong Kong’s population consists of many people from the Middle East, Philippines and Britain.  As a tourist I felt it was much easier to travel in Hong Kong as opposed to Japan, because the majority of the people spoke English and the street signs were written in English.  In this context refugees and guest workers were also not that difficult to spot.  Sundays in the town centers are saturated with Filipino women all socializing on their only day off from their jobs as domestic workers. My visit included a Sunday visit, so I was able to see the women chatting, exchanging foods and doing each other’s hair...  Still wanting to learn more about the city I looked to another dimension, for instance mediascapes.

            Mediascapes are the worldwide distribution of information through newspapers, magazines, TV program and films.  This was not as hard to observe since there were TVs, newspapers and magazines everywhere, the only problem was I don’t speak or read Mandarin or Cantonese, so to the best of my knowledge the mediascapes for Hong Kong do have a world wide distribution of information.  This brought me to my last dimension, finanscapes.  Finanscapes are the global capital flow.  Hong Kong really shocked me when it came to their cities.  I never did make it to Beijing but I do not really feel that I missed out since I really feel that I experienced a good deal of what that Hong Kong had to offer. photo

Every square inch of property is covered with concrete and skyscrapers fill the skies.  This aspect really was not a surprise to me since I had just visited Japan, another skyscraper country.  The most shocking observation I made about Hong Kong was the age of a lot of the buildings.  Walking down any given street I noticed more older buildings than younger ones, in fact some of the apartments that were still in use today were seventy-five years old.  They did not have central air conditioning or even elevators so their residents had to climb all seventy floors every day.  I also noticed that there was not a shortage of international businesses, as a consumer I could find every amenity that I could find in the United States.    

            Hong Kong was very interesting to visit.  The shopping is fabulous, the history is incredible and the ethnic diversity is fairly broad.  The technology that is present in the daily lives of the residents of Hong Kong reminded me greatly of home.  All in all I had a wonderful time in Hong Kong.  Even though my travels didn’t lead me to the Great Wall I do not feel that I left the country with a shortage of memories and a good glimpse of a global city in full effect.        

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