The Chinese Diaspora


CHINESE DIASPORA :    Hong Kong - a case study

Hongkongers have a tendency to embrace the best in an exponential fashion - there is probably no city with more gold, Rolls Royce's and XO cognac per capita than in Hong Kong.    In contrast, Singaporeans approach to the concept of East meets West is in a less extreme fashion with more methodical approach yet embrace the principle of extracting the best of the West and positioning Singapore as a society based on many cultures.   Melting pot vs Mosaic.

The changeover in July 1997 to Chinese rule was a historical event with long term implications and wide reaching effects to the Chinese wherever they live.  The economy without borders within Asia and tendrils across the Pacific in Vancouver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, and New York.   There are an estimated 57 million overseas Chinese, 53 million living in Asia including Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore.  The vast geographically dispersed community is accumulating wealth at a furious pace with annual economic output of more than $500 billion - equivalent to the gross national product of Mainland China itself.   Consider the fact that fewer than ten percent of the population of South-East Asia are Chinese, ethnic Chinese make up 86 per cent of its billionaires.  They are a dynamic force for economic change.

Companies controlled by Li Ka-Shing, the legendary plastic flowers manufacturer to property multibillionaire immigrant from Guandong are said to receive five cents for every dollar spent in Hong Kong.  He is the success story of Chinese family businesses in East Asia.  His flagship, Cheung Kong Holdings and Hong Kong's largest conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa business activities cover three continents.  People's daily life are touched by 'brand names' like Hongkong Electric, Watson drugstores, Park'N Shop, Fortress, Hutchison Telecom, Hong Kong International Terminals.   With a success story like this, no wonder Hong Kong is like the American Dream gone wild! 

Hong Kong seems to attract some of the most interesting and adventuresome people in the world.  Hong Kong is a city that epitomizes the spirit of 'The Best'  Largesse.   Resilient and chameleon-like people in form and in substance Hongkongers have been able to improve their position with each crisis.  Witness democracy demonstrations after Tiananmen Square Incident in 1989 and the Changeover to Chinese rule in 1997.  The ability to respond quickly is an Asian trait which is best exemplified in the Chinese of Hong Kong.  They have adapted their own sense of law and order, a combination of British Colonial rule and Chinese values in a hybrid form.  

And now in Vancouver, the Honger's are complaining loudly about the unsophisticated but ca$h-rich PRC money that has landed and taken over the streets of Shaughnessy and Kerrisdale.   They are a new breed albeit repeating a similar pattern of wives and children in Canada for their very good English education system and political stability to 'park' savings from the last boom.   They too are concerned as their factories back in China are underutilized because of the global recession.  And so it goes again, a new set of hard working immigrants who are creating their vision of "The Best".  Vancouver has now the largest population of Asians outside Asia.   - 太太   2009 August 11 



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