Hong Kong, often referred to as “The Gateway to China,” is the home of some of ancient China’s oldest practices. Traditional culture might be difficult to find in the mainland. But Hong Kong is a place where tradition and the modern world coincide.
1 Feng Shui
Did you know that feng shui literally means "wind" and "water"?
Hong Kongers believe that following feng shui's invisible force brings fortune and prosperity. The secret to harnessing this force? Order. From the arrangement of furniture to the architecture of buildings, Hong Kongers are obsessed with feng shui. Even tiny deviations from good feng shui practices could bring misfortune.
You can even see feng shui in full force over the Hong Kong city skyline. The buildings flow as if guided by wind and water. Sharp edges that can block luck are quickly fixed or countered with rounder shapes. Check out the HSBC building, Hopewell, Jardine House or Repulse Bay. The buildings really do glide!
In 2005, Disney Hong Kong even shifted its front gate by 12 degrees to better align with feng shui principles. The park also consulted with feng shui masters to ensure that its flow will bring greater prosperity to the park.
2 Kung Fu
Kung Fu isn't uniquely Hong Kong, but Hong Kong brought kung fu to the mainstream. Hong Kong movie stars such as Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan brought kung fu to the world stage through movies like "Enter the Dragon" and "Police Story.”
If you're ever in town, catch a glimpse of these locations:
1. The Tsing Shan Monastery in Hong Kong. It might look familiar- it is one of the locations for Bruce Lee's "Enter the Dragon."
2. The Wing On Plaza. It is one of the locations for many of Jackie Chan's stunts in "Police Story."
3. If you have time, make sure to visit the Shaolin Wushu Culture Center. You can learn all about Shaolin kung fu here.
3 Wuxia Novels and Comics
Japan has the Samurai, beholden to their code of Bushido. Europe has knights, bound to chivalry and honor. China's version of knights and Samurai go by "Wuxia" (Martial heroes). Wuxias are famed for their noble character and, of course, their martial arts.
Wuxia has been around for a long time, but it was Hong Kong that brought Wuxia to life. The Wuxia exemplify freedom and a break from the hierarchical social order. The first few Wuxia novels flourished in Hong Kong. Liang Yusheng and Jin Yong are some of the most prolific Wuxia novelists that established Wuxia as a serious genre. Their works include “The Book and the Sword,” “Condor Trilogy” and “The Duke of Mt. Deer.”
Other artists such as Ma Wing-shing and Fung Wan opted for another medium, with comics such as “Fung Wan” bringing the Wuxia into a new technicolor age.
You're sure to find such novels and comics in just about every bookstore or bookfair in Hong Kong; they're even sold along roadside magazine stalls.
Hong Kong is not just glitzy streets and skyscrapers. It is the culmination of over 5,000 years of Chinese heritage and history. Old China coincides with modern-day Hong Kong- from its architecture to its culture and its movies.
Let us know what other ways you see that modern-day Hong Kong has been shaped by ancient Chinese heritage.