Peer Review by Grace Maneein (United States)

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Hong Kong

By: emma115

Hong Kong is known for being the city for shopaholics. Though this is true, there are so many more sides to Hong Kong. 

In Hong Kong, our most popular form of transportation is called the Mass Transit Railway, the MTR. The most frequented of these interconnecting railway lines is called the Island Line. I'm going to bring you along to each of the first eight stops and give you a small tour along with a list of the things that you absolutely cannot miss. 

Kennedy Town
Kennedy Town is a residential district, home to thousands of Hong Kong's locals. The first thing that you'll encounter as you resurface from the MTR station is a ton of high rise residential buildings. Though you won't be aloud to tour these, they make for excellent pictures. Another thing that Kennedy Town is famous for is its night life. Rows and rows of bars form neat and orderly lines that are wonderful to wander through during sunset all the way into the early hours of the morning. 

The HKU station was created specifically for the convenience of Hong Kong University students. This is an extremely youthful district. The streets are filled with fast food and little shops selling drinks (non-alcoholic ones). Students in Hong Kong will rarely ever buy hot drinks; it's pretty warm all year round here anyways! If you should visit the HKU district, one of the most important things to try is bubble tea / boba tea. Though this drink originates from Taiwan, Hong Kong's multicultural food scene was quick to turn into a sensation.

Sai Ying Pun
Though directly next to an extremely youthful district, Sai Ying Pun is a district that holds Hong Kong's long-standing culture close. The roads are busy with streetcars, buses and taxis, while the sidewalks are lined with apothecaries, tailors and convenience stores. I would say that this district is best observed from the top deck of our streetcars, called trams. These are one of the oldest parts of Hong Kong's culture. Running through the whole city, one ride on these streetcars costs less than $0.3 USD. 

Sheung Wan
This district is extremely complex; it features many old shops selling sharks fin, dried scallops and other dried Chinese delicacies. But on the other hand, it also features an extensive shopping scene, home to many clothing outlets, CD places and even Stamp Street, an alleyway where you can design your own stamps. 

The hub of Hong Kong and where it gets its shopaholic-friendly reputation from. Central is where you will find high end fashion stores, jewellers and cafés. If in Central, it's important to visit IFC, the tallest building on Hong Kong Island. Though the top 60 floors are offices, visitors are permitted in the shopping mall section and also onto a beautiful viewing deck where there's a stunning view of Victoria Harbour. This is also where the nightly 8pm light show is best enjoyed.

Ah... the working district. Not manual labour, more like law firms, dentistries, bankers. All in the same building. There is only one reason for tourists to be drawn to this district. The AMC Cinema; the first in Hong Kong to feature an Oval Lounge where comfortable recliners and massage chairs fill the room, and drinks and food is served before the movie even begins. The only reason for students to be drawn to this district is a Starbucks. The Starbucks in Pacific Place is one of the hundreds of branches in Hong Kong, but it is always packed to the brim with studying students. The modern design of the coffeeshop features a two storey tall window, overlooking the busy Hong Kong streets. The bar seats near this window offer the optimal place for individual study.

The beauty of WanChai is how purely local and Hong Kong it is. Unlike other districts, it doesn't serve to provide for tourists. And ultimately, it's this factor that makes it an amazing place for tourists to visit. The shops that line the streets and alleyways of WanChai are not for retail therapy, but more for locals to go and buy the very specific things that they need at any given time. For example, WanChai computer centre, home to a hundred small computer and electrical accessories stores, all crammed into a small three storey building. Locals can visualise the floor plans of these three stories, including all one hundred of the stores and they know exactly where to find the cheapest phone cases, the cheapest polaroids, the cheapest gaming consoles and the ones of best quality too. It's also place where locals get friendly with shop owners and in the process get the blessing of receiving the friends and family discount. 

Finally, CausewayBay. The district of incredible food, incredible malls and the busiest district on the Island Line on school holidays. This district is popular amongst students because of how affordable the entertainment is. A favourite of the Hong Kong youth are the two karaoke bars, RedMR and Neway. Both offer a different experience, but an undoubtedly fun night. 

Visiting each district in Hong Kong is like entering an entirely new world each time. This is only eight of the many many districts that Hong Kong has to offer. There are too many places in Hong Kong that I know better than the scars on my legs or the crevices in my face. My city is nothing if not consistent – everyone here has a never-ending routine that repeats day after day. Me included. But despite that fact, there is a new adventure behind every corner, if you're brave enough to look. 

Peer Review

My favorite aspect of this piece is the subject matter of Hong Kong. Being a small town girl, I've always wondered what it would be like to live in the previously democratic sector in the most populated (communist) country in the world.

The "Admiralty" section of this piece is what really caught my eye, for it's the one where the writer most directly brings attention to everyday life for its inhabitants, as well as the fusion of pop culture.

The way this essay was formatted is both a blessing and a curse. While you get to cover more ground, it leaves the reader a less complete feel of the setting, and more of a patch-worked idea. No, I did not have a strong sense of setting.

As the competition guidelines stated, it's important to show and tell! However, I find that you tend to tell much more than you show.

Reviewer Comments

As you're from HK, I believe it's safe to assume that English is not your first language. I am awed by your diction in a language that is not native to you.