48 Hours In Hong Kong

48 Hours In Hong Kong

     The Association For Consumer Research, Asia-Pacific Conference 2015 was held June 19-21, in Hong Kong.  The Center For Global Business Research was represented by our poster presentation “The Discrete Emotions Theory Controversy in Psychology and Relevance to Consumer Behavior” authored by Dr. Louis Daily, Center Founder Professor Fiona Sussan, and Dr. Norris Krueger.  The conference showcased the Chinese University of Hong Kong, its splendid sprawling facilities and enthusiastic students.  Stimulating keynote speeches were provided by Professors Darren Dahl, Angela Lee, Mary Frances  Luce and Linda Price.  Papers covered a wide variety of topics, from cross-cultural issues to sensory information and branding, reflecting the diversity of the field.  A highlight was the bus ride to the gala dinner at the Golden Palace Seaview Banquet Hall in Kowloon. 

     Many fascinating research studies were presented.  For instance,  Dr. Gwenaelle Decré Briand, of the GRANEM Research Center, University of Angers, proffered "The Cross-Modal Effects Of Packaging Glossiness On Haptic Perception", which arrives at the surprising conclusion that glossy packaging is perceived as lighter and more thinly packaged than a matte bottle whether the volume is indicated on the label or not. 

     Hong Kong was an exciting venue for the conference.  The flight from the U.S. is long, but filled with visions of the world of Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Suzie Wong.  On the way, an internet search turned up the disappointing information that the Bottoms Up Club had gone out of business a few years ago.  From an intellectual standpoint, the excitement was seeing the world city which Milton Friedman thought was the quintessential laissez faire economy, driving its status as one of the four Pacific dragons.

    Take a taxi from the airport to the University area.  This will shake off your jet lag -- a fast and furious lane weaving experience right out of Bruce Lee.  That might have been the last similarity to New York.  By the next day, I realized I had somehow arrived in a land where there was little violent crime and everyone was polite.  A student at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, seeing I was having difficulty signing into the internet, offered me his account if I needed it. That night I took the MTR back to the hotel from the gala dinner in Kowloon -- this subway system has no panhandlers or disheveled people.

   Since there was no Bottom’s Up, I sampled the nightlife at the Hyatt where I was staying. Basically a luxurious, dimly lit and tame bar, a beautiful woman was singing a variety of pop numbers -- a Taylor Swift song I believe. The bartender had a lot of questions about Baltimore, police shootings, and mass killings.  Since I had been traveling, he had to give me the latest details on the South Carolina tragedy.  Here I was a representative of the West, struggling to explain any of it.

      Like Hong Kong itself, the Conference was very international.  As if I hadn’t been sufficiently enchanted, the next day at a presentation I met a pretty blond woman from Casablanca.  She told me Humphrey Bogart had never been to Casablanca, but a group calling themselves “the usual suspects” had faithfully recreated Rick’s Cafe, complete with a piano bar and a frequent rendering of “as time goes by”.  That night as I flew home, I worried about her living in Morocco.  I think she was more concerned about what I was returning to.

     I know I shouldn't finish a piece on Hong Kong by talking about Casablanca. But I can't help it -- Hong Kong does that to you. It is a world city, a crossroads.  You meet people from everywhere. The young Swiss woman at Charles de Gaulle Airport speaking heavily accented English, who was on her way to Hong Kong -- I couldn't find out why. The British woman who was concerned because I looked lost on my way to the University Area.  The young South Korean gentlemen who got angry with me because I was in a hurry and didn't properly take my leave -- and didn't know how.  Western buffoon he must have thought.  A lovely young Thai woman delivering her presentation. Sam from Ghana who seemed like he would be at home just about anywhere -- and knew the way back to the Hyatt from the gala dinner.  

     The woman from Casablanca was Christian and she assured me that Christians and Muslims (as well as others) get along very well in Morocco.  She obviously loves living there, although she probably is weary of Casablanca movie questions when she goes abroad.  Perhaps Morocco will be my next stop.

 

Image outside of Rick's in Hong Kong