/ hoeng1 gong2 /

Our home. Famed for its characteristic blend of traditional Chinese and Western culture, towering skyscrapers, and unwavering Lion Rock spirit.

Once a quiet collective of fishing communities and rural villages at the mouth of the Pearl River Delta, Hong Kong quickly developed into a major commercial hub under British colonial rule. The city became a beacon of hope and opportunity, and droves of migrants left their homes in mainland China to seek a better life in Hong Kong.

The city’s stunning mountainous landscape meant that the quickly growing populace had to be concentrated in densely populated urban areas, and the shared memories of the struggles and hardships of life in these times caused the city to develop its own unique identity and culture. The heartfelt depictions of these stories of perseverance and hard work in the classic television series “Below the Lion Rock”—named after the imposing mountain overlooking the Kowloon peninsula—caused the show to become a metaphor for the core values of Hong Kong itself. The late twentieth century also brought with it the golden age of Hong Kong popular culture, which saw many films and songs taking Asia by storm.

In 1997, sovereignty over the city was transferred from the United Kingdom to the People’s Republic of China after years of tense negotiations. The handover caused significant unease in the city, but it also came with a promise of a democratic future under the principle of One Country, Two Systems. “The horses will continue to race, and the dance parties will carry on,” China promised. But under Hong Kong’s unchecked crony capitalism, social inequalities rose to new heights, and Hong Kong’s unrepresentative government continues to turn a deaf ear to the cries for social and political reform.

They used to say that Hong Kong was a land of blessings—a place brimming with opportunities and where hard work was rewarded with social stability. That’s not so clear anymore.