Hong Kong's "Lion Rock Spirit": Background information when reading The Impossible City

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The Impossible City

A Hong Kong Memoir

by Karen Cheung

The Impossible City by Karen Cheung X
The Impossible City by Karen Cheung
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  • Published:
    Feb 2022, 352 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Erin Lyndal Martin
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About this Book

Hong Kong's "Lion Rock Spirit"

This article relates to The Impossible City

Lion Rock mountain with large yellow banner featuring Cantonese charactersIn The Impossible City, Karen Cheung references a cultural code of conduct in Hong Kong called Lion Rock Spirit. Lion Rock is a 495 meter (1,600 ft) granite mountain in Kowloon Park in the urban area of Kowloon, in southern Hong Kong. but the idea of Lion Rock Spirit as a set of values has a more unlikely origin story. In the 1970s, a TV show titled Below the Lion Rock premiered in Hong Kong. The series ran from 1972-2016 and featured stories of working-class Hong Kongers. Its theme song is slow and earnest, unlike the catchy jingles of many TV shows. Yet, the song, "Lion Rock Spirit," felt apt then, and has persisted into the present day. That's right — a significant part of the Hong Kong national ethos comes from a 1970s TV program.

"When we are together at the ends of the skies and seas / we can all conquer our difficulties hand in hand / We as one can overcome hardships and strive to write down / the timeless story of our home" goes one verse. The song's overall message ...

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