While I was in Levi, a South China Morning Post article reported that Chinese tourists in Lapland have increased dramatically in the past few years. The writer somehow linked the surge to growth of Christianity in China, which was “expected to become the largest Christian country within 15 years,” according to some Professor Yang (a Chinese name! He must know!) of Purdue University, Indiana. “As more and more people become Christians, Christmas celebrations will become even more widespread.” Prof Yang evidently didn’t know that in Finland, as in many parts of Europe, Christmas had been a major pagan festival long before Jesus slipped out of his virgin mother. To the largely secular Finns, Joulu, their most important annual festival, has more to do with winter than Christ. Well, it was an SCMP article.
Hong Kong’s prejudice against mainlanders carries all the classic symptoms of “racism”, except that race is not a distinguishing factor. Outside minorities are often perceived a threat by insecure locals. The problem gets worse if the newcomers were once considered “backward”, even “inferior”, but are doggedly catching up at a ferocious pace.
Another decade on, Chinese tourists started travelling to HK quite freely, in much larger numbers, pockets stuffed with fresh money. They lined up outside fancy ripoff shops for ludicrously priced vanity products, raising unlikely eyebrows from brand-worshipping Hongkongers. “Mainlanders! Nouveau riche! Yuck!” Hong Kong had abruptly acquired a strange good taste, loudly deploring vanity in an ostentatious kind of way. Fake Rolexes on Temple Street were left to European and American tourists who complained about intellectual property infringements, and bargained hard for counterfeits.
Guo Du 7.1.2015