Books · China

No City for Slow Men – book review

Hong Kong is a more complex place than just being an international financial hub, but there aren’t much books that explore its issues and tensions. The Occupy protest, which is still ongoing but might be winding down, brought on a bit more attention from international media about these serious tensions and inequality.

I recently finished reading my first book about Hong Kong – “No City for Slow Men,” a book of essays written by a HK lawyer/author that looks the many facets of HK, both good and bad. Initially I’d thought the book would contain a lot of boastful articles, glorifying HK’s materialism and lust for money. But instead there were many thoughtful essays that examined problems like the lack of popular role models, the treatment of SE Asian maids and of course, mainland tensions. There’s a letter written by a mainlander working in HK that gives a touching account of how much it means to be in HK and the challenges and joys.
It’s not all serious and heavy stuff, though. There are a few odes to consumption, such as the absolute need for people to wear ostentatious expensive watches to be respected. And there are takes on peculiar and ridiculous aspects of HK culture/behavior, as well as stories about the author’s family and childhood.
All in all, the book does a good job of presenting a diverse take of life in HK, with a surprising touch of humility and poignancy. It’s a fun and interesting read and it’s most recommended if you want to learn about Hong Kong.

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