There is, I don’t think it would be too unfair to say, a certain type of Hong Kong expat that views Kowloon as ‘the dark side’, and possibly anything outside Central as ‘a bit far away’. Wan Chai at push, because one must have a taste for the exotic.
What surprised me was where else I should find this brand of ultra-parochialism. Attending a conference billed as international, I was left wondering just what Hong Kong meant by that word. At one point, mention of the New Territories seemed as un-local as it was going to get.
But that isn’t entirely fair. There were presenters who had come from outside Hong Kong, even if not really from another country: there were Mainlanders. Wonderfully, one senior researcher from the Mainland appeared to have been briefed not to answer any questions at all. No matter how concise and precise the question asked, this particular researcher would ask for clarification. With the obviousness of the question then unavoidable, he would look around the room panic-stricken, waiting for someone else to answer for him. Perhaps even he felt slightly embarrassed by his performance; once the question had been dealt with he would come forward to ask if he might add a few words himself, only to mumble on some unrelated topic until confident we had all been put to slumber.