Have restricted travel and closed borders been a positive thing for Hong Kong culture?
Douglas Young: YES
“By not being able to travel overseas easily [since the pandemic began], I have realised that Hong Kong is full of diversity. I’ve been exploring the New Territories, the outlying islands and even the sea around Hong Kong. In the New Territories, there are ancient villages that I never appreciated before, and these places are never in travel guides. It’s funny that it took a pandemic for me to realise that there are such wonderful things in my city. I’ve been to beaches on the southside of Lantau where you can dig for clams and have them cooked at nearby restaurants for very little money. There’s also an island, Yim Tin Tsai, in Sai Kung with the grade II-listed St Joseph’s Chapel, inaugurated in 1890 by Portuguese Catholic missionaries when they first came to Hong Kong. The island is now an art island and, every year, artists are invited there to create installations. There is also a private dining restaurant, which is known to bring in Michelin-calibre guest chefs. The restaurant operates salt fields that have existed since the Ming Dynasty, so all the salt used on the menu comes from the island. It’s because of the pandemic that I have suddenly realised Hong Kong is a diamond: dense and full of value.”