Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thoughts on Hong Kong 1

So, I am in Hong Kong. Thoughts!
1. Busy as! The place is teeming. People everywhere. Traffic makes Auckland look like a quiet day in the office. People going everywhere. People people people.
2. White faces are rare. There are few Europeans here.
3. Relaxed Frenetic! An oxymoron I know. The place is continually on the move. Yet people seem ok about it. there is an absence of the anger and frustration I feel in NZ.
4. Pollution! Man this place is polluted. The readings are so high! (http://www.epd-asg.gov.hk/) I have yet to see the sky, yet it is not cloudy! Not healthy. If the warming of the world's atmosphere is caused by humanity, we are in serious trouble. This can't be healthy either. Apparently they sometimes have to close the schools it is so bad.
5. Different schedules. The world goes from 11am to 11pm. In NZ it goes from 9am to 6pm, with the odd late night. The night life here is rocking. It is as busy at 10pm as at any time of the day.
6. Public Transport Rocks! Every city I visit I realise how appalling Auckland public transport is. Undergrounds are awesome. We need something like this in Auckland. One can get from place to place with consummate ease.
7. Apartment Living! People live in small apartments. They cost a bomb. They are comfortable but by Kiwi standards small.
8. Maids! Many families have maids. They are usually immigrants who come for the work. They must do the job well or are sent home. Many left their own families to come here and do this, work, send the money home. Bizarre. The Scriptures speak of master-slave relationships. This feels close to it. I feel guilty as when I ask her to do something like iron. She does the dishes. Cooks. Does your washing. It feels wrong, but it is another vocational pattern I suppose. It gives her a better income and her family. It means the 'masters' can be more productive I suppose. But it feels classist and offends my Kiwi egalitarianism. I think those who have such people working for them and who worship Jesus, should ensure that they are treated with equality, grace, justness, dignity and fairness. I tell you what though, I want one... no more housework! Wow! One person I spoke to here said that when he left home to live overseas he didn't know how to do any housework at all! That's what it produces. Mmmmm.
9. China is opening up big time! Man oh man (woman oh woman), China is opening up for the gospel hugely. Nicky Gumbell comes twice a year to help get Alpha into China. The demand, even from secular schools, is relentless. There is huge mission opportunities here. There are something like 350m Christians. The need is for theological training now for this growing edge of world Christianity. Andrew Gardner has dreams of a college of some sort here in Hong Kong. Interesting opportunities.
10. Consumerism. Oh my! This place is out of control capitalistic consumerism. Went for a Thai meal yesterday. As we entered a mall type place, 5 people came at us with menus. We chose one. The others deferred. I looked and saw all were Thai restaurants, side by side, competing for the dollar. This context makes them quite proactive, handing out leaflets, seeking custom. It is full on here. The middle class is on the rise.
11. USA corporates. It is funny to see Starbucks, MacDonalds, Burger King, Subway etc everywhere. The Americans are everywhere.
12. Kiwi Stuff! The Kiwis are here too. Fisher and Pykel are here. There is a New Zealand Centre. Faskinating!
13. High Rise Buildings! Wow, there are high rise buildings everywhere. Apartments, businesses etc. The churches are in high rise buildings with levels for worship, levels for offices, levels for counselling centres etc.
14. Infrastructure and Security. This has the effect of ensuring a great infrastructure. Don't need a car here. People go to everything on public transport. The place is safe at night because there are so many people here. You can't isolate a young woman as easily etc. Ironical. I feel far safer here than Auckland.
15. Malls! There are some amazing malls for shoppers too!
16. Joggers are in trouble! Not sure where a runner runs. First of all, you will die of air pollution. Secondly, you willl get run over or run into someone. So, I am not sure the next Paula Radcliffe will be from Hong Kong. You can run around the race course near the home.

So, that is all for now. Off out into the smoggy city for more.

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