I’ve Got This Unofficial Hong Kong Anthem Stuck in My Head

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When I posted about the Hong Kong International Airport 15th anniversary flash mob, among the popular Asian and Western songs, one was new to me: Kowloon Hong Kong.

I did some digging and it turns up at various events promoting Hong Kong. From what I can tell, it goes back to the 1960s from a group called The Reynettes:

I confess when I have to read traditional Chinese characters instead of simplified I get lazy so haven’t done extensive research on the song’s history. I am not sure the extent to which this song is known in contemporary Hong Kong or seen as an unofficial anthem. I never heard it when I lived there. It’s catchy, so let’s roll with it anyway.

The lyrics are transcribed here:


Kowloon Hong Kong

We like Hong Kong

That’s the place for you…

The song was adopted as an anthem by singer Frances Yip:


I only visited Hong Kong once before the 1997 handover to China. By the time I studied there in 2001 the spark had dimmed slightly as my classmates had fallen into pessimism about their future prospects. Now we are at a political point where Chinese security forces *allegedly* feel free to abduct people from the territory, most recently the Chinese New Year’s eve tale of billionaire Xiao Jianhua, replete with Gaddafi-esque female security guards and a redoubt at the Four Seasons Hong Kong.

Despite the looming shadow, the Hong Kong people have maintained tremendous resilience and pride in their home and culture. Peaceful protests such as the Umbrella Revolution have summoned courage from even the youngest in the territory. I have not visited in nearly two years and this song has me eager to get back!

How many cities have better unofficial anthems? New York is untouchable. Every other is fair game.

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