When the typical post-1990’s HongKonger talks about where to go on vacation next, first choice is usually either South Korea or Japan. Next round of destinations may include Taiwan or Thailand. Those with more dough might head to Europe (especially London after devaluing of the pound sterling after Brexit). Or maybe stay in a hotel in Bali or Maldives. They want to “expand their horizons” and “see the world.”
Let the Facebook games begin
Next thing you know, you will get the quintessential selfie with the digital flight departure gate “sign” at the Hong Kong International Airport with their flight number, time and destination and/or a picture of their tickets and passports. They will fight for a place in their typical tourist destinations with other mainland Chinese tourists for an obligatory selfie : (insert location) – (checked). They are now the envies of their friends.
“Godfrey has never seen the world”
I’ve been criticised in the past for “not having seen the world” (沒有見過世面). You can criticise me for many things. Heck, you’re probably saying the truth and I’ll even respect you for it. But insulting me for “not having seen the world” after I told a fellow HongKonger, who spent all her entire life in Hong Kong but loves going to touristy destinations, that “I don’t particularly enjoy vacationing,” is perhaps a little ironic.
Why I am not big fan of vacationing
I’m not against going on vacations. But most so-called “vacations” are stressful. When you go on vacation with others, you are forced to go to certain touristy destinations and fight amongst others to get a good spot for pictures, and forced to eat at overpriced restaurants. Worst of all – waking up early. What’s the point of having a vacation where you have to wake up early? If I wanted to wake up early, I can go to the office at 9 a.m.
If I can plan my “dream vacation”
Don’t get me wrong. I love learning about other cultures. And if I can plan my own dream vacation, I will probably buy a one-way ticket to the Solomon Islands in the Pacific and find Vaturanga tribesmen where my anthropologist heroes had lived. I want to find these hunters, live amongst them and learn about their nomadic lifestyles. Imagine going hunting with these hunters-gatherers with spears and arrows.
If I go on a vacation, I want to learn about the spirit of the people I’m visiting. To do this, one have to learn their history, culture and symbols. These things are not found in tourist destinations, but in the ordinary homes of the very people who live there. You find them in their home-cooked meals, festivals, traditional sporting events, but not in shopping districts, hotels or resorts. This is probably not a “vacation” in the minds of many young HongKongers.