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Kentucky Fried Chicken and communism

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/sbmj.0306198 (Published 01 June 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:0306198
  1. Neil Stone, fourth year medical student1
  1. 1Guy's, King's, and St Thomas's School of Medicine, London

For his elective, Neil Stone went to Hong Kong; the province was handed back from British rule to China in 1997. He contrasts the east meets west atmosphere with the communist capital, Beijing

I did my elective in obstetrics and gynaecology at Hong Kong University, in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China. Academically, the elective was excellent. Queen Mary Hospital is a first class facility, beautifully located on a hill on Hong Kong Island, overlooking the western shore. The hospital is modern and well equipped, clean, and well maintained.

All teaching was in English, despite the fact that in some cases the students and also doctors had fairly poor spoken English, and as soon as the teaching session was over doctors and students alike would revert to their mother tongue of Cantonese. The language barrier did cause difficulties in outpatient clinics, as taking a history was virtually impossible. Nevertheless, I did have ample opportunity to examine patients and managed to learn a few basic phrases of Cantonese, but it is undoubtedly a difficult language to pick up.

Hong Kong was an enormously interesting city, and after teaching each day I took the opportunity to explore the city. From the congested, neon lit mayhem of Kowloon, to the sophisticated shopping avenues of Hong Kong Island. The great cliché--east meets west--was surely invented for Hong Kong. In many areas you could …

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