I am back from 3 days Guangzhou – the city where I have lived for six weeks in July and August. Leaving from and returning to Hong Kong made me realize the differences between the two cities even more. There are differences in the amount of space, mentality, education, even language. Hong Kong and Guangzhou differ in the way they were developed, in the speed in which these developments took place, and in the results of these developments – mainly because developments happened in different decades and under the rule of different nations (a mere distinction between ‘capitalism’ and ‘communism’ does not cover this of course).
And then there is that other difference between the two cities, a difference that I wasn’t so fully aware of until now: The difference in level of ‘superstition’ – also called ‘popular religion’ by some scientists – and specifically the visibility of this ‘superstition’.
Hong Kong is the place where many buildings are built and decorated along the lines of feng shui.
Hong Kong is the place where vast amounts of people every day consult the many fortune tellers that have set up their businesses in temples, or on market streets.
Hong Kong is the place where the Earth God and Kitchen God are daily worshipped.
Hong Kong is the place where “the petty person” is beaten daily under the bridge at Hennessy Road.
The list can go on and on. Hong Kong is the place that – much more than Guangzhou – has many of these ‘superstitious’ beliefs. And it is the place where all this ‘superstition’ is visible and public.
My small trip to Guangzhou made me realize this visibility of ‘popular religious’ beliefs. And I’m glad to be back!