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八  公


        This blog is by two expats, one American and one Brit. The blog not only has some information and advice for the would-be expats, it also has a survey of the local culture, folklore, history, customs, dos-and-don'ts, and so forth in its archives. For their native-level understanding of the above topics, the reviewers suspect the two bloggers got a lot of help from their HK Chinese wives (one for each). By the way, do they really know what "Bat-Gung ( 八公 )" means in Cantonese? It is likely the wives named the blog. We must say they have a wonderful sense of humor.

        With some showings of cultural sensitivity to the locals, these two affable bloggers' bearings are of our colonial time. Their views of Hong Kong and its people are mostly from the perspective of an expat who was bred and raised in a bygone era. The colonial Hong Kong springs back to life in this blog, BATGUNG, albeit in a much diminished fashion.

        On a list of their recommendations, of the only two HK English-language newspapers -- one is now on its deathbed; it has to give away its newspaper for free, just to stay in business -- the bloggers went out of their way to criticize one and favor the other. Between these two English newspapers, which one they recommend and which one they advise their readers to avoid tells something about these two bloggers. And there is something that can be said about these two relatively low-circulation English-language newspapers' readership in view of the fact that dozens of very profitable Chinese-language dailies roll off the press in this city every day -- choked with ads.

        An interesting phenomenon:  an English newspaper that writes stories about the Chinese that few of the Chinese read and the expats who read this newspaper have little or no social connections with these Chinese, the HK natives who make up 96% of Hong Kong's population.

        The bloggers' fellow expat readers' comments appearing on BATGUNG are eye-opening -- they are revealing. These people have a "language" of their own. Among various topics, these readers talk about the Chinese natives as if the HK Chinese are the foreigners, not the other way around. By reading the comments, it is evident that the expats who frequent BATGUNG have not much more than superficial social interactions with people outside of their own social circle. It is astonishing to find out how isolated and disconnected they are from Hong Kong's mainstream.

        Being husbands of HK Chinese women, the two bloggers are naturally expected to be open-minded. But contrary to expectation, in a city with a population of seven million plus people, of which non-Chinese are only about 4% of the population, you cannot find one single blog by a Chinese on BATGUNG's blogroll or its recommended list (of these small 4%, more than half of them are Filipinos working in HK).

        This blog is true to many aspects of HK's colonial social order. Hong Kong Blogs Review recommends BATGUNG to those who are interested in our colonial history and the goings-on in one of our insular communities in Hong Kong.

        Time stands still in  BATGUNG.

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