That is the standard question I would get when meeting someone for the first time in college. Or I think it’s how students get connected to each other – Oh! I grew up in XXX/ Oh! Do you know XXX?
It’s fun to see how small the world is. Many people told me they have relatives/ friends living in Hong Kong when they found out where I am from, and that happened both in Utah and Michigan! Maybe Hong Kong is just a very attracting city – people love to live there.
It’s also interesting to see people’s reactions when I tell them I am from Hong Kong.
“Oh! So you speak Japanese?” No… Hong Kong is not in Japan.
“Really?? How cool is that!” This is the most common comment they give, and I agree with it!
“So do you speak Cantonese or Mandarin?” I must say I was very impressed when I figured people actually know there’s Cantonese AND Mandarin, not just Chinese. Or I just have to think people are actually not that uninformed…
“So you are Chinese? Why don’t you say you are from China?”
My expression was like… Huh…?
I was frozen. I have never thought about it. It was so natural to tell people I am from Hong Kong! Should there be a reason?
But now I think I know why we only say we are from Hong Kong in stead of China…
- I am from Hong Kong because that’s really where I am from…
Just like you would say you are from Michigan/ New York… Our concept of “home” is the city. Just like your concept of “home” is the state. Growing up in Hong Kong, we would not agree with the entire system in China. Our cultures and civilisation level is a bit different.
(Some people think we should be proud of being Chinese. They think China made Hong Kong strong and wealthy that we should be thankful and rely on our “Mother.” I agree that China has helped Hong Kong by sending us tons of tourists and boosted the sales – but it also boosted the price of grocery/ land. This issue would need an entire post to discuss about…)
- Hong Kong is (a little bit) different from the rest of China
Hong Kong was still a British colony when I was born, and it got turned over to China in 1997. I know Hong Kong is part of China but it’s just so different. Cantonese is my native tongue (which I know they have started to diminish Cantonese in HK). If I say I am from China, you would ask me to explain my not-so-perfect (you know what I mean) Mandarin. My mainland Chinese friends told me, “You are from Hong Kong right? I can tell that from your heavy accent!”
Not only is the language different, there is also differences in currency, legal system (or no…), environment, freedom …
Or let’s be honest here… I think Hong Kong is a big city that people can recognize without stating the country name (like how they do it in AP style). Is there anyone who hasn’t heard of Hong Kong……?
P.S Most people thought I am Korean.