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Hong Kong as it was

Here is a long, very good article about Hong Kong as it developed after WW2 under relatively hands-off British rule. That is all fading away, very sadly, at least in terms of its civil liberties. Quite what the future holds for the jurisdiction, I don’t know.

Check out the photo in the middle of a Boeing 747 flying above the roof-tops. Makes the hair stand up from the back of your neck.

9 comments to Hong Kong as it was

  • So pleased my visit to Hong Kong was before they moved the airport.

    Yes, it really was that hair raising coming in to land with what seemed like the possibility of collecting Mrs Wong’s washing line on the wingtip if the pilot banked a fraction…

  • llamas

    I remember that flight path into Kai Tak, I went to HK with my father when I was 12 or 13. Innocent tyke that I was, I thought it was both normal and reasonable.

    Cathay Pacific flight attendants, wearing black bowler hats . . . happy days. Shopping for silver on King’s Road. Brings it all back.

    A safe, peaceful and happy Christmas season to all here. Heading home past Brookings on I29 in blowing snow and a blizzard warning but the Super Duty is trundling along nicely and I’ll be home tonight.



  • Dr Evil

    Even more white knuckle when you have the pleasure of landing there as I had once some years ago. It was wonderful then. The locals were saying they wished the British were back in charge. The Chinese Emperor and his Imperial government as ever is always authoritarian and have been for about 3000 years. Nothing really changes. Ming the Merciless is always in charge.

  • Nemesis

    I was a stewardess and flew into Kai Tak many times. The enterprising locals would find the crew in the hotel bar later in the evening and sell us framed photos of our actual flight landing. I still have the picture…..happy days.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Heartbreaking. I was only there for ten days or so, but I fell in love with the place. I had no inkling that the apparently stable semi-free equilibrium I saw only had a couple more years of life left in it.

    Matthew Brooker’s experience that people there were a little brusque, but “underneath that calloused exterior, an unexpected kindness can often be found” chimed exactly with my far more limited experience. Sure, Hong Kongers love to sell you things, but in the first hour of our arrival a taxi-driver who spoke scarcely any English went to considerable trouble to show my jet-lagged family where the free bus to our hotel would stop, rather than taking an easy opportunity to grab a fare. I could list other examples.

    I hope Brooker’s slightly more optimistic take at the end of the article turns out to be right. It is within the realms of possibility that the rest of the PRC leadership might realise that Xi’s excesses have done much to bring into being what they most wished to avoid, namely a separate Hong Kong identity.

    The PRC’s attempts to suppress the Cantonese language in favour of Mandarin are also contributing to the emergence of separatist sentiment.

    I would like to think that the PRC’s heavy-handedness would inevitably backfire – but sadly history gives no guarantee of that.

  • Lee Moore

    The guy is obviously a clueless lefty (see “journalist”) without the smallest idea about economics. Or anything much.

    1. By the time he arrived in 1992, the average Hong Konger was already as rich as the average Briton
    2. He’s ashamed of Brexit and thinks Bill Clinton ushered in the 1990s tech boom
    3. Cartels and monopolies are entirely consistent with free markets. Free markets and perfect competition are different ideas
    4. High property prices are not taxes

    and last but not least, how can you possibly write an article about the economic vitality of pre handover Hong Kong without mentioning Sir John Cowperthwaite ?

    Tripe on toast.

  • asiaseen

    Civil liberties in Hong Kong are not fading away, they are being ruthlessly stamped out.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    Lee Moore, maybe I was a bit too kind on the author, but I was going with the overall flow of the article. You are indeed correct to state: High property prices are not taxes. They are not.

    Yes, not mentioning Cowperthwaite was a foolish omission.

    With monopolies, the key is that they are not maintained/defended by the coercive role of the state. Witness the errors that the anti-trust brigade get into over the competition model.

    He obviously does have a “clue” about Hong Kong to some extent, however. His observations about the locals are spot-on.

  • Paul Marks

    What has happened to Hong Kong will happen to the West as a whole.

    Basic Civil Liberties such as Freedom of Speech and the right to a fair trial, being allowed to present evidence (not something American courts allow, any more in the case of Election Fraud – or in other cases) will soon be things of the past, they are already dying.

    The international community greatly admires the People’s Republic of China and wishes to introduce some version of its Social Credit system around the world – and most Corporations (including the banks and payment processors) are strongly in support of this.

    It is very unfortunate – but I have no idea what to do about it.

    The key problem is the control of the “education system” (the schools and universities) by the collectivists – this has produced an international generation of officials, “experts” and corporate managers who have no regard for basic liberties, indeed regard them as a silly barrier in the way of Sustainable Development and Inclusive Capitalism (“Inclusive Capitalism” is the new name for “Stakeholder Capitalism” – the Corporate State with free competition, and freedom generally, utterly crushed).