Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hong Kong Report: Part I

After Christmas we spent 6 days in Hong Kong. Arriving Sat. Dec. 27th, we spent two days in downtown HK, exploring this European-Chinese city. The mountains meet the sea in HK, and the high rises are tucked in the land area right up to the water. There were many stunning vistas. The 60 degree weather was cold for Hong Kong, but a delight after the cold Beijing weather. (See Harbin report for quite a different experience.) There were many more English speakers in Hong Kong than Beijing, which made logistics much easier. Yet even with the European feel, this is a Chinese city. The small diner on the corner displayed its cooked food, with ducks cooked with the heads attached. Having food look back at you tends to suppress our appetite. Yet you cannot help admire the honesty and efficiency reflected in the display.

We took a half day tour of HK, which took us up to Victoria Peak, down to Aberdeen section (for a sampan ride), and the Stanley Market. This allowed us to visualize Hong Kong and its many islands. We also took a ferry ride across the harbor to Kowloon, enjoying the lights as they twinkled on at sundown. There was an aesthetic coordination in the skyline and lights so it created an amazing and beautiful display at night.

One of the highlights for Judy was having lunch with two BC Law School alums, Eugene Chow and Laurence Ho. Eugene had graduated in the 1970s and Laurence just a couple years ago. Their description of the legal practice in HK suggests that they face the same shifting legal practice that US law firms face: competition over work and bar regulations that feel sometimes like the goal is to suppress competition. The economic downturn has hit Hong Kong, but it is a nimble city, every watchful of new opportunities. It will likely do better than most financial centers.

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