Test Your Hong Kong I.Q.

30 08 2011

We’ve put together a little quiz to test your overall knowledge of Hong Kong.  As you’ll see, it covers a wide range of issues that will challenge your may or may not have seen lately in the news.  The answers are listed below (we’ll use the honor system here!). How much do you know about Hong Kong?

1) Which of the following is the correct translation of the Chinese characters for Hong Kong – 香港?
(a) Happy Valley   (b) Fragrant Harbor   (c) Seaside City   (d) Barren Rock

2) What is the predominant language spoken by people in Hong Kong?
(a) English   (b) Japanese   (c) Cantonese   (d) Mandarin

3) Which of the following items would you order at a Hong Kong restaurant?
(a) Cheong Sam   (b) Dim Sum   (c) Dai Pai Dong   (d) Lai Bun Dim

4) Hong Kong is on the same latitude as which one of the following cities?
a) San Francisco, CA        (b) New Orleans, LA
(c) Havana, Cuba            (d) Caracas, Venezuela

5) What symbol currently appears on the Hong Kong flag?
(a) Yellow Stars   (b) Chrysanthemum   (c) Bauhinia Orchid   (d) Union Jack

6) Hong Kong was ceded to Britain by China as the result of what war?
(a) Boxer Rebellion          (b) Second Sino-Japanese War
(c) World War I                (d) First Opium War

7) The 8 million residents of Hong Kong live on about the same amount land as which of the following?
(a) Los Angeles   (b) Luxembourg   (c) Maui   (d) Rhode Island


1) Which of the following is the correct translation of the Chinese characters for Hong Kong – 香港?
: (b) Fragrant Harbor.
In Hong Kong’s early history, camphor wood from an incense plantation in Sha Tin (New Territories) was transported to Tsim Sha Tsui (TST)(Kowloon) before being shipped to other parts of the region.  The camphor wood gave the area a pleasant smell and TST at one time was called ‘fragrant wharf’.  The large island to the south of TST was (and is still) called Hong Kong (fragrant harbor).  Hong Kong’s deep water harbor continues to be one of the busiest in the world with 250,000 ships visiting the harbor each year. Hong Kong has one of the busiest container terminals in the world. Interestingly, when Hong Kong was first occupied by the British navy in 1841, Captain Charles Elliot (the first governor) described it as nothing more than a ‘barren rock’.

2) What is the predominant language spoken by people in Hong Kong?
ANSWER: (c) Cantonese.
Both Cantonese and English are official languages in Hong Kong, but nearly 90% of the population speaks Cantonese.   Mandarin (also referred to as Putonghua) is the official spoken language of Mainland China.  Cantonese continues to be used as the primary mode of instruction in most Hong Kong public schools but Hong Kong is moving towards becoming a trilingual city (Cantonese, English & Putonghua).  After the handover in 1997, roughly 30% of Hong Kong people had a working knowledge of Putonghua – now it’s estimated that the figure is around 50% and growing.

 3) Which of the following items would you order at a Hong Kong restaurant?
ANSWER: (b) Dim Sum.
Dim Sum is small treats (literally translated ‘touch the heart’) implying that you can eat ‘to your heart’s content’ and are usually eaten sometime between mid-morning and early afternoon.  The dishes include such delicacies as steamed or fried buns, dumplings, or spring rolls with a variety of fillings – meat or shrimp as well as vegetables. It goes without saying that you will share a pot of tea (Oolong, Chrysanthemum Jasmine or Green) with your meal of dim sum!

FYI: Dai Pai Dongs (literally – “restaurant with a big license plate”) are open-air food stalls that sell a variety of ‘fast food’ to their customers including congee (watery rice gruel with peanuts and/or bits of meat); instant noodles with ham, egg, luncheon meat or sausage; milk tea; sandwiches, to name just a few.
Lai Bun Dim is Cantonese for a souvenir store.
Cheong Sam
is the traditional high collar, one piece sleeveless Chinese dress for women.

4) Hong Kong is on the same latitude as which one of the following cities?
ANSWER: (c) Havana, Cuba.
Hong Kong is located just a little south of the Tropic of Cancer, and is on nearly the same latitude as Havana, Cuba; Kolkata, India; Mandalay, Burma; and Honolulu, Hawaii.  The climate in Hong Kong is classified as tropical monsoon. From January to April the weather in Hong Kong tends to be cool and humid, but from May through September it’s hot and rainy, with the humidity taking its toll on many people.  By October the weather begins to cool down and dry out, providing more temperate conditions through the end of December with sunny days and cool nights.

5) What symbol currently appears on the Hong Kong flag?
: (c) Bauhinia Orchid.
The symbol on the current Hong Kong flag is a white Bauhinia orchid on a red background.  The ‘Bauhinia Blakeana’ was named after the British Governor of HK (1898-1903), Sir Henry Blake, who was a keen botanist and discovered this genus of orchid on Hong Kong Island in 1880.  Prior to 1997, the Hong Kong flag included the Union Jack, as it was one of Great Britain’s colonies.  The flag of the PRC (Mainland China) is red with five yellow stars – one large star surrounded by four smaller ones.

6) Hong Kong was ceded to Britain by China as the result of what war?
ANSWER: (d) First Opium War.
Hong Kong became a crown colony of the United Kingdom in 1842, when China lost the First Opium War (1839-42).  Hong Kong slowly replaced Portuguese Macao as a key port for those wanting to bolster their trade with China, and eventually became one of the leading ports of Asia and one of the most successful colonies of Great Britain. The areas of Kowloon and the New Territories were granted to the British in 1898 as part of a ninety-nine year lease signed by the Peking Convention.  In 1984 the British, under Margaret Thatcher, agreed to return the whole territory of Hong Kong to Mainland China.  The Joint Declaration of 1984 promised that Hong Kong would retain its system and autonomy under Deng Xiaoping’s slogan of “one country, two systems”.

7) The 8 million residents of Hong Kong live on about the same amount land as which of the following?
ANSWER(a) Los Angeles [469 mi2 of land] which has an estimated population of 3.8 million people.
With a total area of 426 square miles (including the harbor and sea) Hong Kong has one of the highest population densities in the world. And yet, since much of Hong Kong’s terrain ranges from hilly to mountainous with steep slopes, less than 25% of the territory’s land mass is developed, and about 40% of the remaining land area is reserved as country parks and nature reserves. Most of the territory’s urban development exists on the Kowloon peninsula, along the northern edge of Hong Kong Island, and in scattered settlements throughout the New Territories.
Here’s the area and population data for the three other places in the quiz: Luxembourg – area of 998 mi2 (population: 511,000); Maui – area of 727 mi2 (population: 118,000); and Rhode Island – area of 1,045 mi2 (population: 1 million).

Let us know how well (or badly) you did on the test!

Until next week.

Joel & Debbie Chute


Janelle safely returned to the USA (Azusa Pacific University in LA) this past Thursday.  We PRAISE God for His guidance in providing housing for the coming year – one of her roommates is an MK from Peru! PRAY for God’s enabling and strength as she re-adjusts to the new time zone (jet lag – yuck!) and as she prepares for another semester of classes that will begin on September 7th.
This Friday (Sept. 2nd) Debbie will attend an ICS school-wide leadership retreat focused on discussing plans and strategies for the future.  PRAY that we would all have ears to listen to one another and that God would guide us to cast a unified vision for the school.


Find Us Faithful

22 08 2011

Clarence Jordan was a very gifted man.  With his two Ph.D. degrees, he could have done anything he wanted, but he chose to serve the poor. In the 1940’s, he founded a farm in Americus, Georgia that was devoted to helping poor people from every walk of life.

His efforts weren’t always appreciated by the local town people, who tried a variety of things to stop him over the next fourteen years.  They tried boycotting him, and slashing his workers’ tires when they came to town – but Clarence Jordan wouldn’t give up.

Finally in 1954, the locals decided to get rid of him once and for all. They came one night with their guns and torches.  They chased off all the families except one black family, and set fire to every building on Clarence Jordan’s farm, except Clarence’s house, which they riddled with bullets.

The next day a reporter for the town paper came out to see what remained of the farm. He found Clarence cleaning up the rubble that still smoldered and trying to do some hoeing and planting on the land that was scorched.

“I heard the awful news,” he said to Clarence, “and I came out to do a story on the tragedy of your farm closing.”

The reporter, who was sympathetic to Clarence’s opponents, began asking him questions that were more aimed at agitating the situation instead of hearing his side of the story.  But Clarence was determined to continue, and was planting instead of packing his bags.

So, finally, the reporter said, “Well, Dr. Jordan, you got two of them Ph.D.s and you’ve put fourteen years into this farm, and there’s nothing left of it at all. Just how successful do you think you’ve been?”

Clarence stopped hoeing, turned toward the reporter, and quietly but firmly said, “About as successful as the cross. Sir, I don’t think you understand us.”

“What we’re about is not success, but faithfulness. We’re staying. Have a good day now.”
Beginning that day, Clarence and his companions rebuilt the farm there in Americus, Georgia. It’s still in place today – and they called it Koinonia Farm.  They survived all the opposition of those early years, and over the years have been instrumental in starting other organizations including Habitat for Humanity.

Vance Havner summarizes it this way: “True faith shows up in faithfulness. Not everyone can sing or preach, but all can be faithful.”

The apostle Paul put it another way in 1 Corinthians 4:2.  He wrote, “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.”

Lord, wherever you place me, whatever my circumstances, by your Holy Spirit give me the power today to be faithful follower of you in all I say and do.

Until next week,

Joel & Debbie

Debbie – International Christian School: We are now into our third week of school and as teachers we are beginning to get to know our students. Pray that we will have wisdom and grace to challenge and guide them to grow in their relationship with Jesus. Pray for students who do not have Christian support at home and have questions about putting their faith in Christ.

Leaving Your Mark

16 08 2011

Earlier this summer, we heard a pastor tell the story about an experience he had with his young son many years ago.

The two of them were in their backyard together – it was a gorgeous day, with beautiful blue skies, and just a few clouds. At one point, they laid down on the grass and were staring up into the sky – enjoying the beauty of God’s creation

As they looked up into the sky, the son noticed several white streaks across the sky, and asked his dad: “Who scratched the sky?”

The father went on to explain that what his son thought were scratches in the sky – those white streaks across the sky – were not caused by someone, but rather the vapor trails left by a passing jet.

This pastor reminded us that we are all like that passing jet. We all leave behind a mark in life – and it is up to each of us to decide what that mark will be.

In Matthew 5, Jesus encouraged his followers to let their good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise our Heavenly Father.  In Ephesians 4-6 and Colossians 3, the apostle Paul has written some good advice for us to follow if we want to have a positive impact on those around us.

May we be those people who allow God to continue to be at work in our heart, so that we in turn can have a significant impact with our family, in our community, and where we work.

Until next week,

Joel & Debbie

The first week of school is completed at ICS in Hong Kong, and Debbie is encouraged by the good start to the school year with her students.  Pray that Debbie and her students would both adjust to each other and come to understand and relate to one another as the school year begins.
Joel is scheduled to arrive back in Hong Kong on Thursday this week.  Pray for God’s enabling as he re-adjusts to Hong Kong’s climate and pace of life, and as he re-connects with pastors and church leaders in China.

Full Speed Ahead?

5 08 2011

For the past several weeks most people in North America have been fixated on the debt ceiling debate.  But that has not been the case in China.  Instead most of the people there have been fixated on a train crash – and the outpouring of opinion by ordinary citizens.

China’s high-speed rail line between Beijing and Shanghai opened to great fanfare on July 1st, timed for the Communist Party’s 90th Anniversary celebration.  However, over the next several weeks, this much heralded technological advancement was beset by glitches and breakdowns. High-speed train service on the Beijing-Shanghai line was suspended repeatedly as a result of bad weather, power outages and a variety of other problems.

And then on the evening of July 23rd, a bullet train traveling south from Hangzhou (the capital of Zhejiang province) slammed into the rear of another stalled high-speed train, killing 40 people and injuring another 192. The crash, which occurred near the city of Wenzhou in eastern China, sent four coach cars hurtling off an elevated section of track to the ground 70 feet below.

Maybe more importantly, was the public outcry that grew in the days following the crash. The accident, and the government’s bungled handling of the aftermath, triggered national outrage, much of which was expressed on Internet microblogging sites. In spite of efforts by government agencies to muzzle the media, questions were raised about the causes of this tragic accident and whether it was the product of a style of governing that recklessly pursued rapid economic growth above all else.

This deadly accident has highlighted a paradox facing China’s leadership. In order for them to remain in power, they need high-speed growth that creates jobs and keeps social tensions in check. But rapid growth has spawned regime-threatening risks – deadly accidents, many of them preventable, and an upsurge of scandals in areas like food safety and illegal land seizures.

China had a similar experience at the start of the 20th century, when the government of the day made a desperate bid to transform the country into a modern, industrialized power. Using foreign loans, the imperial court attempted to create a national rail network. But the attempt to nationalize the few local railways was met with angry resistance by the middle class populace. When added to the growing discontent of the Emperor’s inept handling of other events, the upheaval from the ensuing riots contributed to the downfall of the Qing dynasty, a century ago.

The recent high-speed train disaster has fed a growing cynicism and despair among many Chinese. They’re concerned about the corruption and regulatory problems that have led to numerous scandals in the past several years, from poisoned baby formula to bridge collapses to embezzlement and other abuses of power by officials and their families.  Today, it is China’s new middle class, just one part of the estimated 485 million Chinese regular Internet users, who are venting their frustration and expressing their opinions almost instantly to networks of friends and “followers” on the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

While there is no indication that this crisis over China’s high-speed rail network shows any sign of directly threatening those currently in power, Communist Party leaders are anxious to avoid the fate of Chinese emperors who were traditionally deemed to have lost the “mandate of heaven”—the divine right to rule—in times of national crisis.

In 1 Timothy 2:1, the apostle Paul wrote: “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

Pray with us for China, and for the leadership on every level of their government.  Pray that God would give them wisdom in resolving the systemic problems that have contributed to this accident and other recent scandals.  Pray that the Lord would continue to raise up followers of Christ across China to be His messengers of peace and reconciliation in their local communities.

Until next week,

Joel & Debbie

Joel is scheduled to speak at Olympia, WA this weekend.  Pray for God’s annointing on him as he shares about our ministry in Hong Kong and China.
Debbie is back in Hong Kong preparing for another school year which will begin next week.  There will be a number of new students coming to middle school, who will be experiencing even greater transition and stress – pray that they will be welcomed and quickly find friends & support.