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People Next

The city never sleeps; its streets constantly kept busy by 'nocturnal' beings. To the Hong Kong people, time is money, and a minute lost is a step away from fortune. Life here is addictive, and no matter how stressful and assiduous it may be, people will return to this small yet captivating island.

Rush hour is the time when you get to experience the real hustle and bustle of the city's lifestyle. Relentless crowds of people, both students and workers alike, crush themselves into trains and buses. At noon when it is time for lunch, thousands of working people will aggressively race to restaurants, noodle houses, and fast food joints to have their one-hour break. As a tourist, it is advisable not to venture out onto the main city area at this hour to avoid being dragged into the stampede.

Being a major trading port, and dubbed as one of Asia's leading Tigers, Hong Kong has attracted a myriad of immigrants who seek opportunities for a better life. Everyday, newcomers arrive from China and overseas hoping to make quick money and enjoy spending it. The massive immigration of new blood into the country continues to heighten Hong Kong's ado and vigor.

Ninety eight percent of Hong Kong's population consists of Chinese, mainly Cantonese from mainland China. Nevertheless, the younger generation prefer to view themselves as Hong Kong-born citizens, rather than Han Chinese. The Cantonese dialect, cuisine, and customs are more significant compared to other Chinese dialects. The Cantonese are reputed to be aggressive, rebellious and spontaneous, and will take action if offended. There have been numerous revolutions and rioting in Hong Kong for the past century, some instigated by famous leaders, such as Dr Sun Yatsen.

The next group of Chinese is the Hakka, Hong Kong's oldest landowners. These people emigrated from central and southern China aeons ago, defending villages around the island against piracy. The Hakka tradition does not permit women to inherit land, which are passed down through some sons only.

Hoklo and Tanka are 'boat people' who live in junks floating on the waters off Aberdeen, Yau Ma Tei, and other typhoon shelters. Although most of them have come ashore to dwell, there are still the older generations who continue to carry on their traditional way of life on their narrow junks. The Tanka are supposedly descendants of General Lu Tsun, who staged a revolt against the emperor, and upon the general's death, his people were persecuted and sent offshore. On the other hand, the Hoklo people are native to the Fuzhou Province and are primarily fishermen and manual laborers. These people celebrate the birthday of the sea goddess, Tin Hau, on the 23rd day of the third moon by decorating their boats with colorful ornaments and sailing to her temples to pray for protection at sea.

In the 1930s, many immigrants from various parts of China ended their journey on Hong Kong shores, the majority being Shanghainese and Chiu Chows (Fuzhou). These two groups of people formed a society of their own, and are known for their shrewd business skills. In fact, many of the country's top professionals come from these regions.

The diversity of people living in Hong Kong is beyond imagination. Although all Chinese may look alike, the different Chinese dialects adhere to different customs and traditions, as well as way of life.

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