Jul 03 2007

Hong Kong, Vancouver and the love of my life

Even before the United Kingdom handed Hong Kong back to China ten years ago, jittery residents of that plucky capitalist (but by no means democratic) outpost packed up and set up new digs on the other side of the Pacific Rim in Vancouver.

I’m glad they did. For one, if they hadn’t, I never would have met my wife. On a less selfish note, her family was part of the wave of immigration by educated, hard-working, entrepreneurial people who have helped transform Vancouver from a sleepy Victorian-Canadian burgh into a thriving multicultural metropolis.

Meanwhile, it seems as though everyone’s predictions about the fall of Hong Kong following the handover are best extremely premature and at worst just plain wrong. The one country, two systems arrangement is working out pretty well. Hong Kong’s democrats aren’t any closer to electing their local representatives ten years on, but commentators likely would have said the same thing if the Brits had somehow extended their stay. Meanwhile, its economy is still humming along. Perhaps it isn’t quite the land of opportunity it was before, but that seems to have more to do with the low cost of labor in the mainland than any sort of communist regulations.

In any case, China’s loss has absolutely been Canada’s gain. As we celebrated the 140th birthday of the Canadian nation on the west coast, we’re reminded once again of how great this country really is, thanks to people from across the ocean who have chosen to be a part of it.

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