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The Urbanist’s Hong Kong: Talking Points

Three topics dominating conversation.


Opus Hong Kong  

Many Hong Kongers think China is overstepping its bounds when it comes to governance. One hotly contested issue is a proposed curriculum that would require HK students to take a course tinged with pro-China propaganda; another is how to stop mainland moms from crossing the border to give birth. (With HK residency comes better education, freedom of speech, etc.) To express their anti-China sentiment, some protesters even wave the old British colonial flag.

Not a day passes that Hong Kongers don’t moan about the astronomical cost of real estate. Despite legislative cooling measures, prices remain sky-high—both to buy and rent. (A 500-square-foot apartment in ritzy Mid-Levels averages $2,000 to $4,500 a month.) Young people worry they’ll never be able to own—a fear exacerbated when Opus Hong Kong, a residential building designed by Frank Gehry, sold an apartment for $58.7 million, or a record $8,789 per square foot.

Property magnate Cecil Chao made headlines last fall when he offered $65 million to any man who could woo his 33-year-old lesbian daughter, Gigi. (Never mind that she was already married to a woman in France.) Thousands of would-be Casanovas responded to the call, some heading to Cecil’s office to try to proclaim their love in person, others mailing in nude photos or bombarding Gigi on Twitter and Facebook. To date, no love connection has been made.


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