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Last Updated: Friday, 22 June 2007, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
Hong Kong during the 1970s
On 1 July, Hong Kong marks the 10th anniversary of its return to Chinese rule after 156 years of British administration.

KEN WAI, ENVIRONMENTAL WORKER

Ken Wai
We worked hard to survive and we did better than most countries around us
I was born in Hong Kong 70 years ago. I lived in Kennedy Terrace. As the last colony, Hong Kong marked the end of the colonial era.

Hong Kong has seen many changes. The Japanese came here when I was only four years old. They took over the city, and with it - the big beautiful building that was our home.

We were driven out. They didn't care where we went. We went to Macau. I was away for many years. I returned home in 1972.

I returned to Hong Kong as I wanted to find my way. You try, you fail, you wipe your tears and sweat and try again. Everyone has had a hard time but we have tried to establish ourselves and find our own way. That's how I believe Hong Kong has managed to prevail over the years.

We never had protection and protective tariffs. We had to work hard to survive and yet somehow we did better than most countries around us.

When I returned in the 1970s, that was when Hong Kong started major changes. It was the end of the cultural revolution in China. China was very poor at that time and a lot of people came here, which meant that Hong Kong had low cost labour.

Everything started booming. Export was good and the governor at that time introduced a lot of social changes. Murray MacLehose was a remarkable governor.

He intensively promoted the building of more government-subsidised houses and introduced a sense of social equality.

SERGEANT YEMBIR GURUNG, RETIRED SOLDIER

Sergeant Yembir Gurung
My life as a British soldier in Hong Kong was very hard
Hong Kong has changed very quickly but has been a good place for me. People have more freedom these days than those under British rule.

I joined the British Army in 1972 and completed my training in Hong Kong. I then enlisted with the Queen's Gurkha Signals Regiment and retired as a Sergeant in 1988.

I trained as an electrician in the army and now work for a company that specializes in providing lighting and power supplies for big events like trade fairs and concerts.

My life as a British soldier in Hong Kong was very hard. When I think back to the past, I don't know why I joined the army.

We had community projects when stationed in the Shek Kong Barracks although we didn't have much contact with civilians.

It was much busier back then and there was a weekend bazaar. Now, under the Chinese People's Liberation Army it is much quieter - which makes me feel sad every time I go pass it on the bus.





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