The Scary Thing About Hong Kong


The scariest thing about Hong Kong is how fast time warps.

Perhaps it because of how far ahead Hong Kong is of California—a 16-hour time difference—or maybe it’s the bustle of the dense crowds, or the very nature of my job, which requires me to write for our real-time newswires. Whatever it is, as I’m still figuring it out, there nags the sense that, despite being awake long before Europe and America, which would imply a head-start on the world, I am failing to catch up.

In January 2015, I moved to Hong Kong. The passing of one year has felt like the drag of two, and not because of bad experiences, though there were certainly moments of frustration as there were of happiness and joy, but more so because I tried to fill as many adventures and friendships as I could into my own timezone, while balancing the relationships of another. I’m clearly physically present in only one location, but emotionally, my heart is in two.

The thrills of meeting new people in Hong Kong from many countries, of traveling to Southeast Asian countries for the first time and of working for an international paper are tempered by a longing to do and see even more as the days feel short, and by the regret that I can’t see my family or friends in the U.S. as frequently as I would like. Conversations with them via FaceTime are always backward-looking, for as they start their days, I am already one day ahead. So there is a slight feeling that I am living in the past as Hong Kong surges forward, and to me the lurch feels even quicker by everyone’s urgent desire here to divine the future of our global markets and the future of China and of Hong Kong’s perceived sovereignty. I often feel like I am losing control of time, and though of course I can’t bend it to my will, these days I am wishing even more so that I could.

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