The 10 Hong Kong lifestyle stories you liked best in 2017, and some of our own favourites too

From the African-American woman who successfully tracked down her Chinese grandfather to the confessions of an unrepentant, underage drinker: we round up some of our most read lifestyle stories of the year

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 December, 2017, 1:00pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 December, 2017, 3:20pm

Eclectic, nostalgic, fun and saucy are just a few of the diverse adjectives we like to use to describe the South China Morning Post’s culture and lifestyle coverage. Our readers agree, if some of the most popular stories we ran in 2017 are anything to go by.

In case you missed them, here are 10 of your – and our – favourite stories of the year.

Why Hong Kong passengers are a flight attendant’s nightmare

At Christmas time, many expats in Hong Kong head home for festive family reunions, while locals use the holiday as an opportunity to take an overseas trip. So it’s peak season for airlines and one of the most stressful times of the year for flight attendants – as are the summer holidays. Here’s what crew members told us about the challenges of the job, and troublesome travellers.

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Hong Kong’s part-time girlfriends (and a boyfriend) tell their stories

The phenomenon of “part-time girlfriends” made headlines earlier this year when 10 young women (including a schoolgirl) were arrested for advertising sexual services on their social media accounts. We met up with some PTGFs – and a part-time boyfriend – who told us about their experiences, and what their clients expect from the relationship.

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Six luxury hotels that are no longer with us

Hong Kong’s luxury hotels didn’t always just provide accommodation for overseas visitors: they were a part of the city’s social fabric. In days gone by, residents came together at hotels to socialise when there were fewer other entertainment options available. We trawled the archives to revisit local institutions that have been lost to redevelopment.

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How an African-American tracked down her Chinese grandfather

African-American Paula Madison told us the amazing story of her search to trace her Chinese grandfather, Samuel Lowe. It was a journey that took Madison from her home in California to the Caribbean island of Jamaica, and ended in the southern Chinese boomtown of Shenzhen, where she met her oldest living relatives in their ancestral village.

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The top 10 Hong Kong skyscraper nicknames

Hongkongers have a penchant for nicknames, whether they’re given to people in the public eye, particularly politicians, or the architecturally intriguing buildings that tower over the city. From the descriptive (such as the Ahma’s Tooth) to the downright rude (the Hong Kong Finger), we perused the skyline to bring you some of the best.

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Hong Kong’s Taoist funerals: the superstition and symbolism

Arcane rituals, obscure symbolism and ancient superstitions are characteristics of a Taoist funeral service, the most common choice for relatives of the deceased in Hong Kong. Funeral homeowners gave us the rundown on how malignant spirits are appeased and mourners safeguarded during the sombre ceremony.

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Suzie Wong: 60 years after the Hong Kong icon was created

It’s been 60 years since British author Richard Mason wrote a Hong Kong love story about an artist who falls for a “yum yum” bar girl that was later adapted into a West End theatre show and then a legendary movie. In a 1993 interview, four years before his death, Mason told the Post how The World of Suzie Wong came together during his stay in a sleazy Wan Chai hotel.

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Confessions of a Hong Kong underage drinker

Lily, 14, candidly shines a light on the “typical Friday night” of underage international school students in Hong Kong and how she wakes up hungover on Saturday mornings looking forward to next week’s adventure in the bar and nightclub district of Lan Kwai Fong. Concern groups say local teenagers don’t understand the dangers of alcohol abuse. Lily begs to disagree.

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The Chinese Indonesians with long memories and escape plans

When former Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Purnama was jailed for two years on blasphemy charges in May, treatment of the Christian Chinese Indonesian opened old wounds. His sentence came 19 years after the May 1998 riots targeting Chinese shops and homes. Purnama’s case sparked fears of a return to violence among Chinese Indonesians.

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Property, sex, nudity and the MTR

The list of readers’ 2016 favourites was itself a popular read a year ago. It had it all: food, bare bottoms, grisly murders, crazy rich people, colourful MTR stations and property speculation – all unrelated, unfortunately. Now that is what we call variety.

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