Singapore vs Hong Kong: a true melting pot vs the once uniquely Cantonese
I’m amused to see Peter Kammerer write another article about the age-old perceived “rivalry” between Singapore and Hong Kong (“Stop comparing Hong Kong with Singapore”, March 27), without adding anything new.
Having lived in each city for several years, it seems to me that you’d be hard pressed to find two more different places in Asia.
Apart from a similar colonial past (which ended in Singapore more than 30 years earlier), and having a predominantly Chinese population (even though Singapore is much more mixed than Hong Kong), their government, culture and lifestyle couldn’t be more diverse.
Singapore is a true melting pot, due to its ethnic mix, in all aspects of food, language, traditions and culture.
Probably the greatest achievement of modern Singapore is to have built a mainly harmonious society where groups share in the culture of “being Singaporean”, in a happy mix of English and Singlish, while still holding on to remnants of their Chinese, Malay, Indian or European heritage.
Government policies, like offering multi-ethnic public housing, played a major role in achieving that.
Hong Kong, on the other hand, used to be uniquely Cantonese, with its own freewheeling, no-nonsense, business-first culture, together with a sprinkling of British colonial influence which never quite managed to influence Chinese life and quite happily existed alongside.
Each city has its unique character and charm, and simplistic comparisons based on a visit years ago do neither place justice.
Jorg Dietzel, Singapore/Munich