22 April 2016 - I grew up living in Hong Kong as an expat and am now a Discovery Bay resident, having relocated back to the city last year with my family. Upon searching for a home, I was admittedly hesitant about the suggestion to look at Discovery Bay properties. I found myself echoing the familiar stereotypes that surprisingly many (non-DB’ers) project when talking about the place – particularly those who have also grown up in Hong Kong.
One year on, I could not be happier with our decision. Rather than espouse on the obvious attractions however, it is the not-so-obvious that I’ve grown to appreciate.
The notion of not owning a car was daunting for someone who has spent a significant number of years in the United States and Europe, and yet, both the efficiency and abundance of options that connect Discovery Bay with other Hong Kong districts have been a truly pleasant surprise. Other than one fateful trip to IKEA in Causeway Bay in the first months after the move, I cannot say I’ve missed the perceived convenience. Instead, I revel in the comfort of the Discovery Bay ferry to and from Central, offering a rare opportunity to read or reflect. Weekends often see us taking the bus to Tung Chung or Sunny Bay followed by the MTR to other parts of the city, with each and every trip offering an occasion to connect with dozens of other Hong Kong residents who move about every day.
Specifically, professional diversity. Over the course of this year, I’ve met politicians, journalists, engineers, athletes, hair-dressers, lawyers, bankers, architects, entrepreneurs, teachers and yes, one or two pilots and crew. Beyond the nationalities represented and languages spoken, the variety is far more representative of a larger population than what first appearances might suggest. DB is still a relatively small community and the opportunities for exposure to other residents are abundant, which makes each new social encounter that much more interesting.
You will likely not find as many active voices as those on the DiscoveryBayForum or the many DB Facebook groups amongst the residents of Sai Ying Pun or Kowloon Station! People in DB are open, welcoming and encouraging, and are also vocal about their views on everything from the environment to the discovery bay ferry price. In short, they care very much about the place they call home. At a smaller-scale, the engagement displayed by parents towards the schools that educate their children, or by the many individuals who participate in the sports teams and other organizations in DB is truly unique. The Team Fear Challenge event that has been held since 2001 epitomizes this – 300 volunteer parents support more than 750 children as they run, swim, climb and bicycle their way across Discovery Bay. As a spectator to the event in 2015, it was impressive to see the commitment of everyone who took part.
As we embark on our second year in Discovery Bay, I look forward to continuing to enjoy the pros of living in DB and to further explore all that the area has to offer. Alongside this, I shall continue to celebrate the great decision to call this district our home.