“Merry, merry Christmas

Lonely, lonely Christmas

In the waves of people I wanted to confess

But jokes were all you wanted to hear.”

You can still hear people singing the above chorus in karaoke boxes or at gatherings on Christmas, even though it was released more than 10 years ago.

While in the West very few shops are open on Christmas day, Hong Kong’s businesses basically run as usual, and many even prolong their hours or offer festive discounts. Even the city’s public transport extends its service hours to take the party-goers home. Except for the large crowds that you will certainly meet on the streets, there really is little reason to not go out on Christmas.

If you’re worried about heading home for Christmas to political arguments and family stress, Hong Kong can seem pretty enviable.

But a month or so after Christmas is the Chinese Lunar New Year, and THAT will be a whole different story. I will have to visit my all of my relatives, and face the inevitable litany of uncomfortable questions and confrontations, including “Why don’t you have a girlfriend?” “So, how much do people in journalism earn?” and “You didn’t go to the Hong Kong protests, did you?”

Just the thought of it is already exhausting. Oh well, you win some and you lose some. You can’t avoid your family forever, after all.

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