kowloon.jpg

We Can Do This

I am in Hong Kong this week, a fitting perch from which to watch the polls brighten at home. America’s fascination with hope and change is finally dissipating, evaporating like overnight dew on a Kowloon skyscraper.

Hong Kong is a place where, even today, the hustle and bustle of unfettered capitalism is everywhere apparent. Private sector investors here are still working daily to change the world for the better and profit by doing so, not grimly hanging on, as at home in these last days of th…

  1. EThompson

    I hope you’re staying at the Regent and enjoying that magnificent view and impeccable service!

    This, too, was my first and lasting impression of HK:

    Hong Kong is a place where, even today, the hustle and bustle of unfettered capitalism is everywhere apparent.

  2. David Williamson

    Hurry back and vote – the future of Capitalism in the US depends on it!

  3. Byron Horatio

    Definitely on the short list of refuges one day.

  4. Shoshanna

    In 1980, my elder sister moved to Hong Kong and established her own architecture and design company.  Fast-forward to 2012, and the company she’s built now has 12 major offices around the world, numerous satellite offices, and a client list that reads like a global “Who’s Who” of big business.  Through tremendous hard work, laser-like focus, guts, determination, considerable intelligence, and with the non-interference of a government that had the sense to stay the hell out of the way, she’s created a remarkable success.  For nearly half the years she’s been in business, Hong Kong has been under the control of Beijing, and I find it fascinating that her company is subject to far fewer punitive regulations and strangling restrictions than it would be had she attempted to grow the same business in this country.  Under Obama, certainly, it couldn’t be done.  But in Hong Kong, they know better than to kill the geese that lay so many golden eggs.   It’s a lesson this country needs to relearn.  My fiance and I have it on our short list of places to which to relocate should the unspeakable occur in November.

  5. Shoshanna

    Just as a further note, she continues to vote absentee!

  6. GreenCarder

    I spent 2 weeks there last April for business and I think you’ve taken the measure of the place just right, George. To me, the sheer atmosphere of opportunity – and the sense of urgency to exploit it – was remarkable. And a jarring contrast with the status quo back home.

  7. DocJay

    Is that the Star Ferry?

    An amazing city.  If you’re up for an adventure, head up to Sai Kung and pick your meal out of some tanks wriggling with life and they’ll do it up for you.  

    Capitalism is in the air there for sure and it’s a beautiful thing to behold.

  8. Lavaux

    You expats who want to vote, get yourselves over to http://www.fvap.gov/ and follow the directions, and don’t delay.

    By doing so I was able to fill in my King County, WA ballot online, download and print it out, and sign and mail it to the correct address. And I’m not even dead or in prison : )  Very simple, so get it done because there won’t be much of an America to come home to if Obama gets another term.

  9. EThompson

    @genferei:  It was always about Kowloon, but some of the most authentic Mandarin and Szechuan cuisine can be found on HK Island. Some of the best references I received were from Kowloon hotels such as the Regent, Peninsula and Shangri-La.

  10. Michael Labeit

    Funny how our much lauded American exceptionalism still lags behind the apparent exceptionalism of a small island district of a former communist country.

  11. Mr Tall

    I’ve lived pretty much my whole adult life — over 22 years — in Hong Kong, and I love it more than ever. I still have days when I’m walking through Central or Mongkok and think, I can’t believe I’m here.

    George, thanks so much for your efforts at trying to explain just how unusual and valuable Hong Kong really is. I have traveled a lot over the past two decades, and believe more than ever that Hong Kong has no real rivals in terms of economic dynamism, physical beauty, and of course food, food, food. 

    Two things, I think, make Hong Kong economically great. One is the rule of law, bequeathed to Hong Kong by the Brits, and which has been strenuously maintained. The other is the HK government’s choice to maintain a minimal welfare state, and an incredibly simple taxation system. 

    One last word: Hong Kong is also a very good place to raise children. Schoolwork is demanding, but there is much less forced precociousness  in Chinese child-rearing. Kids here seem younger and more innocent than their western peers, and as the father of a 10-year-old daughter, I treasure this every day!

  12. Southern Pessimist

    To add to Mr. Tall’s note, in 2004, the less pessimist and I rambled around Hong Kong for a few days. On Sunday morning we went to the Catholic church recommended by the hotel. We got there about 20 minutes before mass because we were not sure if we could find it. At communion we were amazed that the line went on and on and on. There were about 500 people inside of the church but at least 2000 patiently waiting outside.

  13. Southern Pessimist

    It is good to hear that the confident excitement of capitalism survives in Hong Kong. I have been worried from what I read about the troubles of the economy of the People’s Republic. If Romney/Ryan follow through with fiscal restraint, tax and entitlement reform and development of our natural resources, we might experience some of that excitement here. 

  14. genferei

    One of the secrets of Hong Kong is that it has more often prospered despite China, rather than because of it.

    Anyone have any suggestions of hot new places to eat in HK?

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