Portraits

The fact that the Cantonese insist on the freshest ingredients when preparing the daily meal – be it a simple family affair or an imperial-style banquet boasting innumerable courses – ensures that impromptu wet markets and food bazaars flourish in Hong Kong.

 

Mini-cheongsams that revealed slender legs, plus a disco designed as a turn-of-the-century opium den was the talk of the town when the Hong Kong Hilton opened in 1963. Besides bringing a fillip to tourism, the Hilton was Hong Kong’s first major infusion of ‘selling’ hospitality – the American way.

Confucianism, emphasising moral order and harmony, has shaped Chinese society since ancient times. The absolute rule of the emperor over his people was reflected in the small world of the home or clans and villages and in the unquestioned authority of the father. Filial piety was defined as the loftiest of all virtues, the one from which all other virtues spring, and was fundamental to the sage’s philosophy. In the hierarchy of the family a woman deferred first to a father, then to a husband and later to her son. This young woman, arm in arm with her Grandfather, exemplifies this most important of Chinese virtues.

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