Dylan Jones: The vibrancy of Hong Kong is extraordinary

Talk Of The Town

Share
Related Topics

"Fly normal," said Roger, as we sank beers in Hong Kong's China Club. "Fly normal every bloody day in China." The phrase has become the ex-pat's way of expressing dismay at China's occasionally shambolic infra-structure, a modern-day version of SNAFU (Situation Normal All F***** Up).

Sitting on the terrace of the China Club is as good a place as any to watch Hong Kong cope with the credit crunch. In fact, for a lot of ex-pats, Hong Kong is a good place to sit out the economic downturn. You wouldn't know there is a recession from the look of the women hoovering up handbags in Milan Station, or the number of Maseratis outside. And while they have culled 10 per cent of their staff, from the rooftop offices of Goldman Sachs opposite, it's still possible to feel like a Master of the Universe.

Espresso martinis keep them awake, foot massages at Happy Feet calm them down, and when they're feeling flush, helicopters take them to Macau for a dirty weekend. The government has done such a good job turning Macau into Las Vegas's bigger, uglier cousin, that they're now trying to limit the number of Chinese who visit by only offering one-day visas once every six months. They'd rather people spent their money on the mainland, thank you very much. Which is what everyone else appears to do, as HK isn't interested in entertaining the global recession (not with so many Chinese tourists). The vibrancy is extraordinary; skyscrapers shoot up like fireworks on reclaimed land.

Since the Chinese took it back, crime, even among the triads, has shrunk so much that gweilos (or caucasians) never worry about wandering the streets at night. The island is like Switzerland, and street crime is as rare as graffiti; it's also one of the few places in the world still unencumbered by Russian minigarchs. Hong Kong is Manhattan, Nice and LA all at once – and if you can tear yourself away from the restaurants, galleries and malls, it's a secret jungle too, with some of the most beautiful walks on Earth.

Hong Kong is not an easy place to leave, but luckily I was flying Air New Zealand rather than flying normal.

Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: Outgunned by a lack of military knowledge

Guy Keleny
Ukip leader Nigel Farage in Tiny Tim’s tea shop while canvassing in Rochester this week  

General Election 2015: What on earth happened to Ukip?

Matthew Norman
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions