Behind the splendid lights

Behind the splendid lights

Hong Kong is the place I have lived in my whole life. It is a beautiful city. Other than the splendor, it is a shopper’s paradise where prices are no match for other countries, and a food heaven with the fusion of international delicacies. The free economic system, the convenience of various transportation systems and the legal structure are also some of the best features of Hong Kong.

I’m sure everyone is impressed by the dazzling skyline of both sides of the Victoria Harbour at night, especially during festivals like Christmas or Chinese New Year. Almost every building is illuminated by a different colour, the small dots of lights are like iridescent pearls under a soft light. When the shadow of the skyline is casted on the sea, it was like an artist had painted a spectrum of colors on a huge black canvas. The iconic skyscrapers shoot straight, powerful beams of light into the night sky, turning the sky into a dark luscious mauve.

Weaving through the dynamic downtowns of Hong Kong, everything from quaint little boutiques to huge shopping malls can be seen. The most stylish and chic clothes of the season fitted on expressionless mannequins, handbags and shoes displayed on high-end glass shelves. Step into a jewellery shop, you will find yourself shielding your eyes from the spotlights for the exquisite pieces of extravagant luxury: diamonds rings, silver chains, pearl necklaces, gold watches…

The glitz and glamour aside, this is causing severe problems of pollution. Over the fifteen years I have been in Hong Kong, I have never counted more than five stars in the night sky all at once, let alone constellations. Once, I was walking down one of the bustling streets of Mong Kok with my family on a Saturday night. Neon advertising lights overhead of red, blue and green go on and off. Crowds of people scuttled around and spoke in annoying high-pitched voices. Car horns went off occasionally. The noise wasn’t deafening, but it was like a bee circling you and buzzing non-stop, definitely enough to make you go insane after a while. I wonder how the residents living above the shops feel. With all the commotion going on, I wonder if the atrocious environment had something to do with a crazy man spilling corrosive acids onto the street.

The densely-built high-rise towers that form the amazing skyline of Hong Kong look amazing at a distance. But zoomed in, it is almost suffocating to live in an environment that is so overwhelmed with people and buildings. Have you ever read a story or a poem with a scene describing the majestic blue sky and the power, creativity and ambitions it inspires? I know I have. And when you do, you cannot help but sneak a glimpse above, hoping to get just a tiny bit of what the sky provokes. You look up, and all you see is a tiny strip of chalky grey sky peeking through the big chunks of concrete, glass and steel. You look down, can’t help feeling a little dejected, and notice a moldy wad of chewed gum has stuck to the bottom of your shoe.

I love my hometown, that’s for sure. But is it perfect? Nothing is.

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