Have you heard of the saying that “Hong Kong is a place that welcomes you quickly, but also forgets you quickly“? That’s what many of my foreign friends say.
When they first arrive in Hong Kong, they immediately feel welcomed by everyone. Shopkeepers and restaurants staffs are friendly; co-workers are keen to hang out together out of office; friends of friends are eager to meet up for drinks and exchange contacts; everything is so efficient and convenient. Suddenly, their small group of friends is evolved into a much bigger circle (which usually expands substantially after a junk boat trip) in just a couple of weeks. That’s when the cycle of continuous drinking and partying begins.
And then it comes those Tuesday after-work happy hour gathering which eventually turns into dancing in an unknown bar at 3am; or those weekend boat trips where everyone gets drunk before the sun goes down. Nonetheless, as long as you show up, people remember you and they will ask you out, and they will remember you more if you also show up the next time, and the next time, and the next… That’s the foundation of building initial close friendship for some of the people.
Then there’s one day you just don’t feel like going out anymore, people might forget you once, and they don’t ask you out the week after. If you don’t do anything to get yourself back to the cycle, eventually you might just disappear from the circle of friends without a trace.
As a Hong Kong local, sometimes I feel like my foreign friends are living in a bubble. People are considered two types: either energetic party animals inside the bubble, or passive homey person outside the bubble. Of course, I could find myself doing the same thing (translation: that’s called being young) before as you just feel bored not to be around with your friends. But I also think that, once you step out of that bubble, the world is not only NOT terrible, it’s actually pretty amazing that you could sip a cup of nice coffee and read your favorite magazine on a nice Saturday afternoon, instead of still staying in bed feeling hung-over. It’s all about how you perceive your life as a fruitful one.
Hong Kong is a place of opportunities. Eventually, there will be friends who stay and friends who leaves. If you stay in that bubble forever, you will make a lot of friends but probably no time for making a few real friends. Quality is always above quantity, for everything in life.
(Photo by Bryant Lee | Me crossing a busy street in Central)
P.S. If you’re curious, you can read about what Hong Kongers love to do as well. But don’t take it too seriously.