Culture Shock in Hong Kong



Most expats with little exposure to Asian culture might find Asian societies to be conservative and sometimes unique in this day and age.

In Hong Kong, dinner as an invited guest means having to follow a seating arrangement to be dictated by the host. Not touching the last piece or serving of food on the tray is also expected and burping is taken as more of a compliment that shows the person liked the food that has been served. When giving gifts, both hands are used, but the gift may not be opened when received.

Local languages and customs

When dealing with locals, one will find both English and Cantonese being widely spoken. Hong Kong's two official languages: Cantonese being the common, day-to-day language and English being the backbone of business communication. The Chinese names of their local friends are also something to learn for expats. As it is with Chinese customs, surnames are written before their first names. There are many Chinese, however, who now have Western names and would prefer to be called by them.

In general, Hong Kong locals are still some of the warmest people around, with their core Chinese values of family solidarity and courtesy still very much intact. And expatriates in Hong Kong are happy to have it that way.

Despite the heavy tradition of the locals, there are quite a big number of expat communities in Hong Kong. It is also a melting pot of culture in Asia, despite the dominance of Chinese culture. It has also been under the control of the UK until 1997, giving the city a significant British cultural influence. 

The city is a perfect example of east meets west, and due to the increasing number of immigrants from all walks of life and different parts of the world, it maintains its image of diversity.



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