Religion and Ethnicity in Hong Kong

The Religious Environment of Hong Kong is based on two things:
Practicality and superstition
Oh, by the way, yes, there is freedom of religion, so don’t worry
 Practicality
means that religion is only a
way to an end, not an end in itself. If a
God doesn’t “perform”, it gets thrown out
 Superstitious is exactly what it says
 Chinese religion is syncretistic,
combining ideas from Daoism,
Confucianism and Buddhism
Christianity came with the
British, holds steady at around
7% of the population
Christian schools have made
large impact in society
Many prominent HK leaders
are Christian
Very powerful shows of
support like Jesus marches,
large prayer gatherings, etc
Seen as a bit westernized and
proportionally greater
influence than its 7% would
Use of churches for
weddings very popular
for non-Christians
 Seen as “too western”
 As a significant
minority, most Hkers
have a basic idea of
what Christianity is,
and conversion is not
overly difficult.
 Christians portrayed as
goody-two shoes
ISLAM: 200,000 IN HK
ABOUT 45,000
 Muslims
in HK come from many
backgrounds, but the large influx of
Indonesian domestic helpers means
Islam is increasing in HK
 Sikhs and other Indians came to HK with
the British to work as policemen and
soldiers. Many stayed after 1997 and
today the Indian community is so local
that they speak Cantonese perfectly
A cultural mosaic (to borrow a
phrase Canadians love so much)
Being in China, the
Chinese are 95% of the
 HK can be considered
“China for wimps” for
travellers who want an
“easier” travel
 The Chinese in HK
come from all over
China, but
Guangdong (Canton)
The three largest groups
of Chinese in HK come
from Canton
(Guangzhou), Chiu Chow
(Teochew or Chaozhou)
and Shanghai
businessmen have been
a longstanding part of
the HK scene
Lee Ka-Shing, richest
man in HK, is Chiu Chow
Our own grandfather
came from Canton
The Chinese groups have intermingled
for generations and are quite
comfortable with each other
Hardworking, thrifty
Can work at extremely high speed
Single-minded pursuit of money, but that
has changed post-SARS
Devoted to family, superstitious
Adores food and drink due to history of
Blunt to others but doesn’t mind
personal questions themselves (also
Tends to be very loud in conversation
compared to North Americans
Openly flaunts wealth, very materialistic
and calculating with money
Values education highly, often too highly
Very competitive business atmosphere
As former colonials, the
British of HK are another
longstanding community
Traditionally Anglican,
now mostly secular
Aussies and Kiwis more
numerous post-1997
Hang out around bar
district and get drunk
Many are Young
professionals nowadays,
old colonial generation
dying off
Starting in the 1980s, Hker’s busy lifestyles made them hire women from
the Philippines and Indonesia as domestic helpers
Filipinos speak English, and Hkers wanted their kids to learn English
Filipinos were usually hired by young families for their children, as
parents were too busy to take care of kids.
Indonesian domestic helpers were hired to take care of seniors and
families, and were trained to speak Cantonese and cook Chinese food
Filipinos are mostly Catholic and Indonesians are mostly Muslim.
Every Sunday is their day off and parks in HK are full of laughing, playing
and relaxing domestic helpers
Quite a sad situation as many domestic helpers are university graduates,
but can earn more doing these jobs in HK than in professions back home
 Came
with the British
to work as police
 Slow but steady
immigration over the
 Assimilated into HK
society by speaking
Cantonese, opening
 (Guy on right is
speaking Cantonese)
As a cosmopolitan city, HK attracts
ppl from all countries in Asia,
Europe and North America
tens of thousands of Koreans,
Japanese live here for work. Most
integrate decently enough as
Korean and Japanese culture
shares many traits with Chinese
Another several thousand
Europeans live in HK for work or
study. An increasing number of
European students are studying
in HK
Yes, there are many Americans
and Canadians too.
ABCs and CBCs come here for

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