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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 June 2007, 22:46 GMT 23:46 UK
Hong Kong during the 1980s
On 1 July, Hong Kong marks the 10th anniversary of its return to Chinese rule after 156 years of British administration.

DONNA WAN, RETIRED GOVERNMENT SERVANT

I was born in 1950 in Hong Kong. I've lived all my life here. I used to work as a government servant.

Donna Wan
Our society was more harmonious and people were more considerate to each other
I have very nice memories of the 1980s. All my three children were already born and I was looking after them. Life was very comfortable and secure.

People were very much focused on their own life and work and they were contentment.

I have worked in government both before and after the handover and the major difference for me was that before we had many British colleagues and we used to speak mostly English.

After that the speaking of English waned gradually. Now Cantonese is spoken widely and many people are learning Mandarin.

I am so fond of the 1980s because I can now compare them with the changes that happened in our society in the last 10 years.

People are now a lot more on the edge, quick to voice their protests and fight for their rights.

I think during the 1980s there simply was no need to be so politicised. People minded their own business and enjoyed having a steady living.

Everything was so much more secure. Our society was more harmonious and people were more considerate to each other.

People have become very impatient, they want things now.

On the other hand, the city is now so much better developed. We have a new, grand airport, we have Disney. There's a lot more development and it's much better for the city.

STEVE VINES, VETERAN JOURNALIST

I came to Hong Kong in 1987 and was the Far East Correspondent for The Observer newspaper.

Steve Vines
Everybody was stamping on the floor in appreciation of his impressive speech

There were 4 of us covering the handover back in 1997 and apart from being a very busy day, what really sticks in my mind is the pouring rain. I spent nearly 24 hours being wet.

At the British farewell event Chris Patten gave a speech tracing the history of Hong Kong.

I thought the end would be marked by a little bit of polite clapping however, everybody was stamping on the floor in appreciation of his impressive speech!

The big change is how people are prepared and anxious to be involved in civic affairs. That's why we have extremely large but peaceful demonstrations on the streets of Hong Kong.

They come out to protest because they care and I don't believe any of that would have happened 10 years ago.

Hong Kong still has a notably freer media than the Chinese Mainland, but it's not as vigorously independent as it was.

It's very disappointing to see so many young people in the Hong Kong media industry bothered by this, so much so that they want to get out of the industry.

IAN WINGFIELD, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, HONG KONG

I came from the UK in 1982 to join the Department of Justice here in Hong Kong.

Ian Wingfield
It seems improbable that I will go anywhere else now until I retire

Before that I'd been in the British Government Legal Service for six years.

Although 1st July 1997 was a public holiday, we worked that day. We were up most of the night for the ceremony celebrating the reunification.

Over time, the expatriate population of the department has diminished but that's mainly due to the age of the people concerned.

The Chinese government has spent a lot of resources to ensure that their officials are highly trained. The people I speak to quite often have degrees from universities in the UK or the US.

I did think about leaving Hong Kong at one stage, partly because it didn't occur to me that I would be allowed to remain. However, it became clear that if I wanted to stay, I would be allowed to do so.

I imagined I would stay for another five years, but now it's nearly 10 years since I thought about leaving. It seems improbable that I will go anywhere else now until I retire.

The most obvious change over the past 10 years is the quality of the air. It may not have been harmful but it has resulted in an improvement to our quality of life.

The new airport makes life travelling in and out of Hong Kong a more pleasurable experience. We have noticed an increase in tourists from mainland China, the number of Hong Kong people working on the mainland has also risen.

Where do I see myself in the next 10 years?

My wife is in New Zealand now so I guess I will have a home in more than one place: one in Hong Kong, one in London, and one in New Zealand.






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