I feel like I’m learning something new about old Hong Kong every day. But the more I think I know the place, the less I really understand it.
Since I started this blog less than 4 months ago, I’ve come to realize that many of my old perceptions just don’t hold true.
For instance, when I lived in Hong Kong, besides one summer on Hong Kong Island, I mostly stayed in the New Territories. Although the New Territories isn’t as well known as swanky Hong Kong Island or bustling Kowloon, it’s still Hong Kong, right?
Maybe not. According to people I’ve discussed this with or ads I’ve seen from 40 or 50 years ago, the New Territories may as well have been China. And for many people, it still was.
Although Britain leased this huge land mass from China for 99 years in 1898, the New Territories and even the land north of Boundary Street (the original British Hong Kong–China border) was still viewed as foreign land in the 60s and 70s. Even Hong Kong Island and Kowloon phone numbers had special prefixes back then, but those in the New Territories didn’t.
Now that I think of it, when I lived in the NTs just 12 years ago, the taxis there were pained green, but the rest of the territory used red taxis (beside the blue ones on Lantau Island). Seems very us versus them, but I can see the rationale behind zoning the taxis. It minimizes the congestion and the unnecessary back and forth taxis would otherwise have to endure.