By P Chong Tuesday, 16 March, 2010
In a glittering and poignant ceremony on 1 July 1997 Hong Kong passed over as the last jewel of the British Crown. It then became the eyes of the emerging Dragon. Ten years & three on, it is as vibrant and spectacular as ever – constantly progressing, initiating and setting the impetus for its motherland’s growth. The sunshine is ever so bright through a clear blue sky with more towering structures, both residential & commercial.
While in the past Hong Kong served as a drainage port to the British Crown, today it rightly and timely contributes to the economic engine of Mainland China. It was a devious scheme of Opium War devised by the British in securing its foothold in Hong Kong. Whatever loss China suffered, “Hong Kong has helped set up 57,500 factories, employing 9.6 million people in the Pearl River Delta. About 70% have been opened in the past ten years.” (Source: Austin Ramzy’s The China Connection in The Time Magazine, Vol. 169, No. 23/2007). It is without doubt that Hong Kong will continue to spearhead the growth of the Greater Pearl River Region.
The Chinese population of Hong Kong is the key factor and the vibrant crux of it all. It is a known fact and verified truism that the Chinese people are the most assiduous in their economic pursuit, resilient to the core and diligent beyond all comparisons. It is this trait and character that made China to stand tall and erect without outside support since the dawn of its civilization many thousands of years ago.
With empty hands and frugal means, and armed essentially with a great desire to succeed, the Chinese immigrant stock had and has been drifting and settling in what was largely a rugged farming land amidst a “Fragrant Port”, and hence its name “Hong Kong”. Beyond the New Territories lies Shenzhen which is also depicting the same success story in transforming itself into a vibrant city.
In the opening up of Lantau Island, with bridge and tunnel connections, a world-class international airport Chek Lup Kok, Disneyland, and other tourist attractions such as the world’s largest Buddha statute with cable car access, the Hong Kong Government has plan for the Island in absorbing a greater population target of ten million. Whether Lantau Island Discovery Bay residential area will remain tranquil and vehicle free is something for the environmentalists to debate upon.
Hong Kong never goes to sleep and with the awakening Dragon for its motherland, it will be even more so sleepless and vibrant. It boasts of great rags to riches success stories in the likes of Li Ka Shing, the late eccentric Nina Wang and others. I first visited Hong Kong in 1970 and stayed in the then five-star Hilton Hotel. Today that same Hotel is no longer there. It was demolished and in its site stands Li Ka Shing’s Headquarters bearing the prestigious landed address as No.1, Queen’s Road Central.
As a Special Administrative Region, Hong Kong appears to be no different playing its role in the principle of “One Country, Two Systems”. In fact, it shows now to have a closer affinity with its motherland. It demonstrates clearly too that there can be unity in diversity. Hong Kong needs its motherland as much as China needs Hong Kong.