Land, People and Culture

The mountains contribute in a special way to the growth of Hong Kong. Since there is so little level space to build on, for many years, workers have been blasting loose rock and earth in the mountains and trucking it down to the coast. There, it is dumped out onto the shore and bulldozed into the ocean to enlarge the land area. This long and difficult process of reclaiming the land has created space for thousands of houses and businesses. Forty percent of Hong Kong is made up of green, undisturbed park-like land. fifty one percent is built up with small houses and business structures. Only 9 percent of Hong Kong is covered with the soaring skyscrapers shown in the picture above.

 

There are many forms of transportation in Hong Kong. Double decker buses,trams, ferries and cars transport people throughout the busy streets and waterways. However, in more rural areas, bicycles and carts are a popular mode of transportation. How might a cart be useful?

The people of Hong Kong work very hard. But there is always room for celebrations. The dragon boat festival is a spectacular race between colorful dragon boats, which are rowed to the loud beating of drums. The hungry ghost festival in August marks the occasion when the Yen Lo, or "hungry ghosts" are said to roam the earth. People burn special paper and put food on the roadsides to keep the "ghosts" happy. Chinese New Year and Buddha's birthday are colorful celebrations held each year.

 

98 Percent of the people in Hong Kong are Chinese. Cantonese is the language spoken in Hong Kong.

The Chinese believe one's family includes parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews. Family is most important, and family members must show respect for their elders and honor traditions. Hong Kong Chinese worship their ancestors, and make burnt offering when someone dies.

The people of Hong Kong enjoy sports such as soccer and basketball. The table game of mah jongg is played with 152 tiles marked with Chinese characters and look like dominoes. Walking through the narrow streets of Hong Kong, visitors will see men at sidewalk tables playing the game. The Chinese believe that exercise is very important. Tai chi requires great concentration to keep the body in constant movement withour losing balance.

Chinese Opera began 900 years ago. It can be seen outdoors or indoors. Musicians play instruments such as drums while performers in elaborate costumes and with heavily made up faces act out the ancient plots. The stories are usually based on legends or historical events.

Shopping in Hong Kong is a must! One can purchase anything from ancient pottery and art to electronics. The best known of all the traditional Chinese art forms is their handicrafts. The artists are famous for jade carvings and silk fabrics. Leather goods, Ceramic vases, tea sets, porcelain and pottery are just a few of the crafts that can be taken home.

If you prefer something more modern, Hong Kong makes a wide selection of electronics from the smallest household gadgets to

high-tech computers.

the "Made in Hong Kong" stamp appears on a huge range of items. Goods are often less expensive because Hong Kong is a "duty free" port.