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I lived in Hong Kong for 9 years, and while I’ve since relocated back to the UK, I rem...
I lived in Hong Kong for 9 years, and while I’ve since relocated back to the UK, I remain a permanent resident and as it’s the HQ of my business, Elliott Scott HR, I am lucky to visit 3 or 4 times a year. Last week was the first time that I’ve been back since the protests started and what I saw and heard surprised me.
What did I see?
Really, not very much. I can’t say that I saw a city in trouble and it amazed me how the dramatization of the news had given me a truly conflicting message about what was happening. There is a little more graffiti that I am used to seeing and on Wednesday night I could hear protests but in all honesty I saw a city that wanted to get on with being the great place that it is.
What are people saying?
I was lucky enough to meet Invest Hong Kong and while they couldn’t tell me exactly what is going to happen they were adamant that Hong Kong remains a region that is committed to the global community. They want businesses to thrive and invest and they will be launching further stimulus packages to ensure that this remains the case. The expat community that know Hong Kong well are not worried, they have to plan their weekends a little more around the protests and with the MTR not functioning as efficiently as it usually does it is a minor problem, but life goes on and these people believe in the city. Those that had got caught up in protests said that it was a little worrying but, on the whole, it’s peaceful and if you’re careful, you will be ok.
The local community is slightly more divided. Some are clearly supportive of the protests and will continue this fight. However lots of others are losing sympathy as it is starting to damage the city. They are reaching a point where they are struggling to see what it is they are fighting for and where it will end. People have sympathy for the cause but they also have a family, they have lives, and they want to be able to live them without fear that protestors are going to bring the economy to a standstill.
This is key, most people that I spoke to believe that Carrie Lam has to leave before anything gets resolved, but people want a resolution soon. Life and business is continuing, we see that, but at some stage it will impact the economy in 2020 and if people start losing jobs and livelihoods suffer as a result all sympathy will be gone, whatever side you are on, and that will not be a good place to be.
Final thoughts Don’t let what you see on the news scare you, Hong Kong remains a city that has so much going for it. The people are wonderful and if you do go, you’ll see very little (if anything) of the protests, just lots of people that want to welcome you to the city. Like Brexit, it’s a situation that‘s going on too long and people really are keen to just get on with their lives.