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48
Hong Kong
48 finds out what makes this financial hub on the edge of China so special.
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2008 13:07 GMT

Amanda meets a group of Filipino domestic workers
In this 48, Amanda Palmer and the crew head to Hong Kong and hit the ground running - quite literally - when she meets a team of stuntmen and martial arts experts with a passion for free-running. The challenge? A race to the summit of Victoria Peak by any means necessary.

The free-runners set the pace, leaping and vaulting their way through the city.

Amanda and her two local guides, Sze and Tony, take a sneaky shortcut through the old markets and backstreets via the longest escalator in the world, learning a little of the region's recent history along the way.

Having well and truly worked up an appetite, Amanda meets Filipino journalist Tesa in the city's central financial district to join the multitude of Filipino domestic workers for their weekly mass street picnic, which has been causing traffic to be re-routed every Sunday since the 1960s.

Dinner with guides Tony, Tesa, Sze and Kevin
These migrants enter Hong Kong each year in their thousands, and live as a marginalised and poorly-paid underclass. Back home in the Philippines, the government calls them "New Heroes" for supporting their families - and the Filipino economy - from abroad.

Amanda is welcomed to a picnic and introduced to a Filipino delicacy which, she discovers, is something of an acquired taste.

The district of Mongkok on Kowloon peninsula - which means "flourishing corner" - sees a constant flood of locals shopping in the night markets and eating out in the most densely populated area in the world.

More affordable, are the New Territories where 45 per cent of Hong Kongers live in cramped tower blocks.

Mr and Mrs Mak fish in Tai-Po
Gary, guide Sze's boyfriend, invites Amanda to the compact family home on the 16th floor, where he grew up with his two parents, and has shared a tiny bedroom with his brother for the last 20 years.

Over a traditional hotpot, Gary's parents, who left mainland China in the 1970s to search for a better life in Hong Kong, explain how they see their identity now Hong Kong has joined China.

Meanwhile their children accept that they might have to make the opposite journey to their parents - with better wages to be found in the booming economy of mainland China.

The next morning the crew are up with the birds to travel North to Tai-Po, a sprawling new town deep in the new territories, once an important centre for harvesting pearls but now famed for its family fish farming and floating houses.

Happy Valley Race Course
Mr and Mrs Mak, who have fished together since they were teenagers, take Amanda out in their boat and explain how pollution and politics are changing their lives afloat.

The crew head back into the financial heart of Hong Kong Island for a stock market crash-course from a young financial entrepreneur.

He explains how stock market trading has become so popular, many people do it from public booths on the street.

It is clear the Chinese have a passion for gambling in all its forms, as Amanda discovers when she joins the guides for a flood-lit night at the Happy Valley races.

Watch part one of this episode of 48 on YouTube

Watch part two of this episode of 48 on YouTube

This episode of 48 will be broadcast at the following times GMT (subject to change):

Saturday 15th March 14:30, 22:30; Sunday 16th March 02:30, 12:30; Monday 17th March 00:30; Tuesday 18th March 13:30; Wednesday 19th March 19:30; Thursday 20th March 05:30 Friday 21st March 03:00, 10:30; 16:30 Saturday 22nd March 06:30


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