A Macau resident’s meandering journey to Hong Kong

Street view of Hong Kong Photo: Sino-US.com

A successful businessman living in Hong Kong, Mr. Mo, now in his 60s, was born in Macau and graduated from Meiji University in Japan in the 1970s. He had Canadian citizenship before becoming a “true” Hong Konger at the age of 40.

“Life is just so unpredictable,” said Mr. Mo, recalling his long journey to Hong Kong.

The youngest child in his family, Mr. Mo has five brothers and two sisters, most of whom have immigrated overseas. Following in the footsteps of two of his older brothers who went to study in Japan in 1964, Mr. Mo went to study in Japan in 1973, four years after working in Macau.

Graduating in the 1970s, Mr. Mo said college students were quite welcome throughout the world at that time, and so in Japan. It was often the college students who chose jobs, instead of vice versa like today, according to Mr. Mo. He was also presented with many opportunities, but his goal from the beginning was to work in a Japanese bank which had offices in Hong Kong.

Unfortunately, although he smoothly passed the interview of Bank of Tokyo, he failed to get the permission to work in Hong Kong due to his Macau identity.

Being encouraged by the speech of the then Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping about China’s opening up in 1977, and with many international merchants regarding Hong Kong as a gateway to enter Chinese mainland market, Mr. Mo thought it as the right moment for him to move to Hong Kong. However, his application was again denied by the British Embassy in Hong Kong at that time.

After that, Mr. Mo went back to Macau where he stayed for 10 years. He said he even thought of working in a gambling house there and serving Japanese tycoons. But he still decided to work in a bank which offered only a little more than 1,000 Hong Kong dollars.

During the 10 years in Macau, Mr. Mo did several jobs, but he finally decided to migrate to Canada in 1988 following his two elder brothers. He said that when he left Macau at that time, it was a low key affair, as the boss he worked for ran away from debt, which could have easily caused trouble to him.

By that time, Mr. Mo was both a husband and a father of a four-month old boy. After living in a big city in the southwestern part of Canada, Mr. Mo thought that his son should receive education in Chinese, and he himself also wanted a breakthrough in his career. Therefore, he tried the third time to apply to work in Hong Kong.

Mr. Mo’s opportunity came during 1989 and 1992 when the economy in Hong Kong suffered and there were large outflows of capital and talents.  

However, it took at least 14 years to finally settle down in Hong Kong, Mr. Mo recalled. And his first job in Hong Kong was in a joint venture company of Japan, the United States and Hong Kong.
“No matter where I go, I always feel that I am a Chinese,” said Mr. Mo. “People tend to feel confused about when they are seeking jobs or a life direction, but I never felt a sense of fear, no matter it’s before or after 1997.”

Mr. Mo said he is quite positive about the return of Hong Kong to China after over 100 years of colonial period, and it should be noted that Hong Kong has also been incredibly helpful to the mainland’s development.

 “It is necessary for the Special Administrative Region to further communicate with Beijing, instead of complaining about the government all day long,” said Mr. Mo, sitting by the desk in his trade office located near Kowloon streets.

After several “failed” contacts with the Immigration Office in his previous experience, Mr. Mo said he has become quite familiar with the procedure of applying to work in Hong Kong for a foreigner and he has helped many of his Japanese friends to work in Hong Kong.

Now running his own trade office which is specialized in China-Japan trade, Mr. Mo said his main job is to export bento boxes manufactured in the Chinese mainland to Japanese self-defense troops.

An humble person, Mr. Mo called his business a small one, the success of which should be attributed to his understanding about the language and culture of China and Japan.

Now over 60, Mr. Mo said he is not a merchant who would die for business, but he said he would keep working diligently for the rest of his life and loving the city he lives in as usual.

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