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Eastern harmony

Features |

Peter Phillips crosses the island by tram but doesn’t spend his savings on gambling in Macau

Were you to find yourself wandering late at night, with trouser pockets stuffed full of cash, through a city whose streets were known to reflect a big divide between rich and poor, where in the world would you feel most able to believe the remark: ‘Well, at least you won’t get mugged’? The answer would have to be Hong Kong and Macau.  The secret behind this harmony would have been familiar to the residents of those empires that predated the present-day organised forms of nationalism, visas and religious bigotry, places where citizens were left alone to live as they wished. These innocent folk didn’t fear people who didn’t look like them, or react dismissively to the sound of languages they couldn’t speak. The residents of Hong Kong, who to my certain knowledge lack nationalism, visas and religious bigotry, have learnt to be tolerant of everybody, a tolerance embodied in Chungking...

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