With the increase of anti-China sentiments within the rising generation, more and more people are identifying themselves as “Hong Kong-ers”, as a way of distinguishing themselves from the “Chinese”.

It would appear that people from Hong Kong like to make this distinction as a means to separate themselves from those pesky, uncultured, but rich mainlanders, who seek to reek havoc all over the globe by buying truckloads of baby formula, Louis Vuitton handbags and Omega watches. I have also had friends from the UK that have made the unforgivable mistake of calling someone from Hong Kong “Chinese”, which resulted in what he described as a fracas.

I have no qualms with how people want to identify themselves, but this “Hong Kong-er” phenomenon appears to stem from a lineage of cultural stereotypes against the behaviour of “mainlanders”, which is deeply ingrained into our everyday culture, found in our language(slang), discussions and behaviors. What does it say about a self-proclaimed “international city”, which culturally discriminates against people, simply because they don’t act like us “cultured” Hong Kong-ers?

Sure, we all feel frustrated towards the noisy mainlanders who peruse ever high end shop with a Union Pay credit card that has a credit limit high enough to purchase a whole house in our city, but does that give us the right to feel morally and cultural superior? Our media, too, like to portray the negative and extreme aspects of mainland tourists, which feeds into the stereotype. There are 1.3 billion Chinese from the mainland, and they can’t be all bad. All cultures have their own customs and faults; maybe next time we should pick another culture we Hong Kongers can judge on our high horse. There is also a mirror on the horse that we can use for self-reflection, but unfortunately few will dare to look at it.

We are all guilty of stereotyping cultures that are different to our own. I am currently stereotyping the general sentiments of the Hong Kong people, but since I am from Hong Kong, I believe I do get a free pass at this.

Isaac Lau
KCLPASS Subcommittee 2015-2016
(The view of the author does not represent the position of the Society)