CHINESE DIASPORA : Hong
Kong - a case study
Hongkongers have a tendency to embrace the best in
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 $500 billion -
equivalent to the gross national product of Mainland China itself.
Consider the fact that fewer than ten percent of the population of South-East
Asia are Chinese, ethnic Chinese make up 86 per cent of its billionaires.
They are a dynamic force for economic change.
Companies controlled by
Ka-Shing, the legendary plastic flowers manufacturer to property
multibillionaire immigrant from Guandong are said to receive five cents for
every dollar spent in Hong Kong. He is the success story of Chinese family
businesses in East Asia. His flagship, Cheung Kong Holdings and Hong
Kong's largest conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa business activities cover three
continents. People's daily life are touched by 'brand names' like Hongkong
Electric, Watson drugstores, Park'N Shop, Fortress, Hutchison Telecom, Hong Kong
International Terminals. With a success story like this, no wonder
Hong Kong is like the
American Dream gone wild!
Hong Kong seems to attract some of the
most interesting and adventuresome people in the world. Hong Kong is a
city that epitomizes the spirit of 'The Best' Largesse.
Resilient and chameleon-like people in form and in substance Hongkongers have
been able to improve their position with each crisis. Witness democracy
demonstrations after Tiananmen Square Incident in 1989 and the Changeover to
Chinese rule in 1997. The ability to respond quickly is an Asian trait
which is best exemplified in the Chinese of Hong Kong. They have adapted
their own sense of law and order, a combination of British Colonial rule and
Chinese values in a hybrid form.
And now in Vancouver, the Honger's are
complaining loudly about the unsophisticated but ca$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. -