SPANK GOLD: Year Of The Monkey 1997: Handing It Over
As gobsmacking as my 1993 visit to China was, I knew at the time that it'd be a good few years before I'd be able to muster the resources for a return visit. (More on that soon.) But Hong Kong? Of course I'd be back. No special visa requirements, widespread use of English, and one of my favourite film cultures on the whole planet – it was just a question of when I could make the time to go there.
Four years later, 1997 gave the idea of returning to Hong Kong a little more urgency. After 150 years of British rule, the colony was to be handed back to the Chinese in a ceremony on June 30th. The frequent quoting of the late Deng Xiaoping's mantra 'one country, two systems' suggested China was aware of the advantages of giving HK a degree of autonomy from the mainland, but for all we knew they had a battalion of tanks ready to roll into the New Territories on midnight July 1st. With the clock ticking away, I went over to Hong Kong for a five day holiday at the tail end of May 1997. As with my previous visit, most of my documentary evidence of the trip is on video, and I've put up selected clips for you on a YouTube playlist. (Good news: access to digital editing tools meant that my 1997 holiday video only lasted 40 minutes, rather than the tedious 100 minutes of its predecessor. Bad news: access to digital editing tools mean that much of it is cut like a Nine Inch Nails video, especially the opening titles.)
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