I have lived in Hong Kong for a total of 17 years and four months , but – despite spending more than a third of my life in the city and acquiring permanent residency – my heart and, by extension, my home is not here.
My rootlessness in Hong Kong is informed by many factors, including external circumstances, personal preferences and cultural differences. There are many in Hong Kong who, like me, see their years here as a temporary sojourn, and home is still in Europe, North America or elsewhere.
Conversely, there are many Hongkongers who, despite having lived abroad longer than in Hong Kong and become citizens of other countries, regard Hong Kong as their home and an acquired passport as “just a travel document”.
Similar sentiments were shared by the Mongols who founded the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) in China. Despite ruling over the whole country for almost a century, their home was still the Mongolian steppes. Most Mongols did not learn the Chinese language nor the Chinese way of life, and when they were driven back north by the armies of the subsequent Ming dynasty, they took to the steppe as though they had never left it.
Where one’s home is seems to differ according to the individual, and is often inexplicable even to the person in question.