Archive for the ‘history’ Category

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Hong Kong

December 19, 2007

I’m in Hong Kong! I got in last night and on Friday I will leave for Beijing where I’ll meet my mom.

So far, mostly what I’ve done is get lost. I’m sure no one who knows me is shocked. I did finally figure out how to get around though, so I hope to fit in a few more sights tomorrow.

Today I went to Avenue of the Stars, which is like the Hollywood Walk of Fame for the Hong Kong film industry. I learned important things, such as the fact that my hands are considerably larger than Jet Li’s but about the same as Jackie Chan’s.

I also went to the Hong Kong Museum of History, which is about the best history museum I’ve been to. I would definitely put it on a must-see list for anyone spending time in Hong Kong. It was very interesting to me how Taiwan and Hong Kong, although they are very similar and could both be considered to have a Chinese culture, have very different histories. On the one hand, Hong Kong had a closer relationship to China for most of its history. Taiwan’s original inhabitants are Austronesian, not Chinese, and for centuries the Chinese people who came to Taiwan were criminals or ethnic minorities or people displaced from their homes for other reasons. No Chinese government was established in Taiwan until the 17th century. Hong Kong, it seems, was under Chinese jurisdiction beginning in the Qin dynasty, which was in the 3rd century BC. On the other hand, Hong Kong has obviously had more western influence, having been a British colony from the Opium Wars until 1997. Taiwan was colonized by both the Spanish and the Dutch, but you might say that neither colonization really took. The Spanish were there for 17 years and the Dutch for 38. Both Hong Kong and Taiwan were also occupied by Japan for a while, but in Hong Kong the occupation only lasted 4 years and in Taiwan it lasted 50.

OK, I am going to quit now before I give away how rudimentary my grasp on East Asian History really is.

I will let you wait in eager suspense to find out what I do tomorrow, but here is a small taste of what’s to come: I plan to ride… (drumroll….) the world’s longest outdoor covered escalator. Oh, what an amazing cross-cultural experience that will be!