Meeting Place: Encounters across Cultures in Hong Kong, 1841–1984 presents detailed empirical studies of day-to-day interactions between people of different cultures in a variety of settings. The broad conclusion—that there was sustained and multilevel contact between men and women of different cultures—will challenge and complicate traditional historical understandings of Hong Kong as a city either of rigid segregation or of pervasive integration.
Given its geographical location, its status as a free port, and its role as a center of migration, Hong Kong was an extraordinarily porous place. People of diverse cultures met and mingled here, often with unexpected results. The case studies in this book draw both on previously unused sources and on a rigorous rereading of familiar materials. They explore relationships between and within the Japanese, Eurasian, German, Portuguese, British, Chinese, and other communities in areas of activity that have often been overlooked—from the schoolroom and the family home to the courtroom and international trading concern, from the gardens of Government House to boarding houses for destitute sailors. In their diverse experiences we see not just East meeting West, but also East meeting East, and South meeting North—in fact, a range of complex and dynamic processes that seem to render obsolete any simplistic conception of “East meets West.”