Big Lychee, Various Sectors - formerly Hemlock's Diary
Our Original Review:
Hemlock's Diary is one of the best Hong Kong blogs. Hemlock knows Hong Kong like the back of his hand. He is keenly observant, and uncommonly unpompous for a Brit. His blog is witty, entertaining, informative and all rolled into one, even with occasional wisdom. Don't let his acid tongue fool you, he genuinely seems to care about the city he calls home.
The reviewer says, Hemlock is a rare breed.
• • •
Our Current Review:
The above review on HEMLOCK'S DIARY, now known as BIG LYCHEE, VARIOUS SECTORS, was written years ago. Many things have changed in this fast-moving city during the intervening years.
After more than two decades since the British retreat, in terms of Hong Kong politics, the reins of power, rightfully so, rest in the hands of the Chinese; any meaningful political influence of the Brits in HK is now nonexistent. As it should be, under majority rule, Hong Kong politics of any importance nowadays are conducted by the Chinese and in Chinese.
Judging by the comments and the majority of their writing styles — indirect, bitter, dismissive, and sarcastic — in this blog, one should keep in mind that the people who frequent this blog are in a minute percentage of the HK population and almost all of them are Chinese-illiterate. They do not and can not read the major Hong Kong news publications — in native tongue — that the natives generally read. Traditionally, they have little or nothing to do socially with HK's majority population. Because of the cultural and social barriers, they could be out-of-step and out-of-touch with Hong Kong's mainstream, and hold contrary views.
The steady decline of their political clout — what little they still have — and the shifting of political wind combined with their legendary exclusive nature only further increase their isolation from the everyday life of HK's main population. Living in an insular community of their own, it is plainly evident from these regular readers' comments that they show no due respect to the people whose city they now dwell in. Civility is a scarce commodity in Hemlock's BIG LYCHEE.
This blog, BIG LYCHEE, is a magnet for the "sour grapes" and "has-beens", incessantly talking about a people they spend little time to talk with.
Some would contend these readers are the relics of our colonial past.
The reviewer refers to "Chinese" in general terms
throughout this review, not as any sub-groups.
This current review is mainly pertained to Hemlock's
readers who regularly comment in his blog in general.
We stand by our original review and do not
believe Hemlock is a racist in any
shape or form.
In this early part of the 21st century, where else in
the world you can find comments writtten by a group
of expats in such a manner and in such a tone
like the ones in HEMLOCK-BIG LYCHEE
about the native people?
Reading a variety of Hong Kong blogs would provide you with a broader view and a more accurate picture of Hong Kong. On the other hand, if you read only blogs by people from a small HK minority, you would get only a partial view of this dynamic city.
Hong Kong is said to be a "world city", but it is not a Western city. It may come as a surprise to you that Westerners compose merely 2% of HK's population; this small minority is highly transient. HK's main population, the Chinese majority, do not speak English at home; English is not the natives' mother tongue. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, nearly all the Westerners living in HK can speak a few words of Cantonese at the most. With a population of seven million plus, Hong Kong is now a one-English-newspaper town — we don't count the free-of-charge one that is now struggling to survive — while dozens of daily newspapers in Chinese roll off the press in this city everyday choked with ads. This sole English-language daily, which has a steadily declining circulation for decades, publishes in a language that most Hongkongers cannot read and its target readership is not the city's majority population.
Image can be deceiving. Unlike the image usually projected and perpetuated by the so-called "HK lifestyle" websites and some Western media, Hong Kong is largely a segregated city by class and race. It has always been and still is. You need not look further than the blogrolls of the English-language blogs based here in the city to see how socially segregated Hong Kong actually is.
You have to look far and hard to find a male native's blog on an expat's blogroll. This fact is even more startling, considering the large number of English-language and bi-lingual HK blogs by the Chinese available. You can also tell how socially integrated the two groups are by the way the HK Chinese write and speak English. When Hongkongers need to speak our second language, we generally speak it in a form of regional English that has its own distinctive syntax and pronunciations. This could well be caused by the lack of any meaningful social interactions the two groups have with each other. The reality is that the two groups, the majority and the Western expats, by and large, do not socialize with one another on the Internet or in person. To be fair, both groups tend to be clannish and exclusive; or, perhaps it is only human nature. Believe it or not, seeing a Chinese man having a casual social dinner with a Westerner is one of the rarest sights in Hong Kong. However, that being said, we must remind our readers that through our works, we have met a fair number of amiable Westerners both in person and online.
Our purpose of pointing out the facts here is to dispel a common myth about Hong Kong — truth ought to be told. As for the reason of this social phenomenon, we will leave it to the others to analyze or speculate.
Hong Kong Blogs Review, as the premier blog reviewer in Hong Kong, encourages you, our readers, to read blogs by people from all segments of our society, including our minority groups as well as the majority. As the saying goes, "variety is the spice of life".
Go forth and spice up your life!
"If we wish to know the force of human genius, we should
read Shakespeare. If we wish to see the insignificance of human learning, we may study his commentators."
- William Hazlitt
Our Latest YouTube Pick
Since you made it this far, here is a treat for you, a very familiar song sung by two Hong Kong daughters:
海 闊 天 空
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<! yau - 8lWP9t2gYBI >
We love their soft rendition of this now widely known as a protest song written by a native son we lost. The edges are mostly gone; the emotional impact is still there.