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Stranger in Hong Kong

Cognitive dissonance hits when familiar meets foreign in Hong Kong.

I don’t speak Cantonese. Not a word of it.

As I set foot into Hong Kong, in the middle of the bustling streets, bright lights, and people hurrying around, as the sound of this foreign language surrounds me, a mix of comfort and alienation overwhelms me.

It feels like home; but it isn’t. Familiar, but foreign.

  

The underground trains passing from Central to Hung Hom, the high-rise flats such as Chungking Mansion, the roadside food stalls near Tsim Sha Tsui, even the elderly men, reading the paper at Sheung Wan district, or resting in between forgotten spaces near the flower market. These are all familiar things.

But things are different.

Everything is faster, brighter, louder, and more colorful in Hong Kong.

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And of course, I can’t speak Cantonese to save my life.

That’s the difference.

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