30 December 2008

Kowloon Complex - Part 1 九龍的心結-上卷

Kowloon is to Hong Kong as Brooklyn is to Manhattan.

The analogy is uncanny. Brooklyn is a reluctant sidekick to the much more glamorous Manhattan Island on the other side of the East River. Although Brooklyn is just one subway stop away from lower Manhattan, that two-minute train ride is what separates the men from the boys. Snooty Manhattanites, convinced that there is nothing in Brooklyn that you can’t find back on the island, would never voluntarily cross the river unless some extraordinary reason warrants the inconvenience, such as to visit a friend who has thoughtlessly moved to the “boroughs.” Brooklyn neighborhoods like Williamsburg and Brooklyn Heights are often touted by real estate agents using self-defeating sales pitches like “the city view on this side of the East River is so much better. Look how gorgeous Manhattan is!”

The sister rivalry between Brooklyn and Manhattan is a staple for New York-centric TV series like Friends, Will & Grace and Sex and the City. And the same rivalry exists between Kowloon and Hong Kong. If you still don’t see the parallel, read the preceding paragraph again and replace “East River” with “Victoria Harbour,” “Williamsburg” with “Whampoa” and “Brooklyn Heights” with “Olympic City” and you’ll get my point..


Read the rest of this article in HONG KONG State of Mind, published by Blacksmith Books, available at major bookstores in in Hong Kong, on Amazon and at Blacksmith Books.


  1. I do not know NYC, so the comparison wasn't speaking much to me...and I am not a fan of Sex and the City either and really don't know who is Miranda is...but this post is quite interesting !

  2. I am officially following your blog now and your blog is linked in my blog in the column "the blogs I read regularly"...cheers, Jason. Keep writing !

  3. Gee, i almost persuade myself to move to Olympic City...


  4. My Mom told me that:
    U can hardly see ppl chat loud n yelling in public area in the Island compare to Kowloon.
    "They" seems to have better behavior than "Us".

    Well, i don't care where ppl come fr since they're polite n having a good heart~

    So, why don't I wave my hand from my windows to
    ppl whose live in Hong Kong Island?

    Hi~ Jason, can u see it?

  5. In the end, aren't we all cohabitants of HONG KONG in its entirety? Why compare?

    Your blog is very well written & I enjoy your quirky observations!