The average Hong Kongese family unit is the . One child is the norm as most living spaces are in small high-rise apartments. Traditionally, the roles between husband and wife, parent and child, elder brother and younger brother are all clearly defined. For example, a husband/father is to exhibit dominance and kindness to his wife in return for obedience and love, and guidance and protection to his children in return for , respect and obedience. The mother’s traditional role is to fulfil domestic duties and care for the children. However, in Hong Kong it is common to hire a house helper to carry out the household and child rearing duties so the mother can work full time. By joining the workforce, many women have earned a higher status in the family. Wives tend to become the decision makers in family issues.
Age is the overriding factor of seniority in the family. The elders are honoured for their wisdom in accordance with and cared for by the family. Hong Kongers worship their ancestors multiple times a year in ceremonies that revere the previous two generations (parents and grandparents). This act of respect honours the belief that children are in eternal debt to their parents.
In cultures such as Hong Kong, families can be perceived as having a collective . In this sense, the act of an individual will impact the perception of their entire family by others. Therefore, individuals should strive to give their family a good name and honour their parents. They are also expected to be loyal to their family before any other connections.
Relationships and Marriage
Marriage practices are heavily influenced by superstitions and economic positioning, but the parents’ approval of a child’s future partner is very important. Often Hong Kongers reserve dates to get married years in advance that are considered lucky. They may also get legally married but wait until they are financially established before having a wedding or banquet. Divorce rates in Hong Kong are some of the lowest in the world as family loyalty is strong. However, they are rising in the up-and-coming generation.