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Hong Kong's Top 10 : Peoples and Cultures in Hong Kong

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  1. Chinese

    With a history of revolution, migration, organized crime and incessant trading, the witty and streetwise Cantonese are the New Yorkers of China, and make up the majority of Hong Kong’s population. There are also large communities of Shanghainese, Hakka (Kejia) and Chiu Chow (Chaozhou) people.

    Chinese fisherman

    Chinese chequers
  2. British

    Colonial power may have vanished, but a large British population remains, including a small but influential community of native-born. Influences are everywhere, from street names (“Lambeth Walk”, “Rutland Quadrant”) to school blazers.

  3. Eurasian

    The traditional role of this community of mixed European and Asian descent – as cultural and commercial brokers between East and West – remains undiminished. If anyone can claim to truly embody Hong Kong’s intriguing duality, it is this young, wealthy and internationally-minded community.

  4. Portuguese

    In the Pearl River Delta since the arrival of traders in the 16th century, the Portuguese have inter-married extensively with the Cantonese. Aside from a clutch of surnames (da Silva, Sequeira, Remedios), a lasting influence has been the fostering of an addiction to egg tarts and pastries.

  5. Indian

    The history of Hong Kong’s substantial Indian population (there are Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs) dates from the arrival of the British in 1841. Like the Eurasians, young Indians have rejected purely Western or Asian notions of identity, pioneering instead a synthesis of both.

  6. Jewish

    Hong Kong has one of the oldest Jewish communities in east Asia, producing patrician business dynasties (the Sassoons, the Kadoories) and one of the most colourful colonial governors (Sir Matthew Nathan, 1903–1906).

  7. Russian

    A few now elderly descendants are all that is left of the former émigré community. Hong Kong’s White Russians were once numerous, and you still find borsch on the menu of every takeaway and coffee shop.

  8. Overseas Chinese

    The surging growth in British, American- and Canadian-born Chinese (nicknamed BBCs, ABCs and CBCs respectively) has been a characteristic of the last two decades, as the well-educated children of emigrants return in search of roots and white-collar work.

  9. Filipino

    Most members of the largest ethnic minority stoically perform the low-paid occupations that Hong Kongers shun, working as domestic servants, drivers, waiting staff and bar room musicians, and remitting most of their income back home to the Philippines. Filipinas promenade in their thousands every Sunday at Statue Square .

  10. Australian

    Working mostly in business and the media, the size of this community is reflected in the fact that it boasts the largest Australian Chamber of Commerce outside of Australia, and one of only two Australian International Schools in the world.

Top 10 Patois and Lingo in Hong Kong

  1. Chinglish

    The local patois, which freely uses sinicized English words like sahmunjee (sandwich), bahsee (bus), lumbah (number) and kayleem (cream).

  2. Portuguese

    Many borrowings, including praya (waterfront road), joss (a corruption of deus, or god) and amah (maid).

  3. Anglo-Indian/Persian

    Several words, including shroff (cashier), nullah (channel or watercourse) and tiffin (lunch).

  4. Mo Lei Tau

    The impenetrable slang used by young Cantonese. Based on surreal and seemingly nonsensical phrasing.

  5. “Jaihng”

    All-purpose slang term meaning “cool”, “excellent”. (As used in the Hollywood film Wayne’s World.)

  6. “Yau Mehr Liu?”

    Translates roughly as “What’s your talent?” but used as a streetwise greeting; a bit like “what’s up?” or “wassup?”

  7. “Godown”

    Hong Kong English for warehouse or storage facility; a contraction of “go put your load down”.

  8. “Whiskey Tangos”

    Hong Kong police slang for “white trash”.

  9. “Aiyah!”

    The universal exclamation of disappointment, surprise or regret.

  10. “Ah-”

    Prefix added to names when denoting affection, as in “Ah-Timothy”, “Ah-Belinda”.

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