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8 best songs that get Hongkongers pumped

Celebrate Hong Kong by spinning this list of anthems and songs

Written by
Time Out Hong Kong
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A cultural melting pot with a long, turbulent history, Hong Kong has encountered many ups-and-downs throughout the years, be it political or financial. In times of crisis, music has the power to inspire and lift the spirits of the people. Over the years, many Hong Kong artists, from icons like Roman Tam and Sam Hui to hip-hop groups like LMF, have penned some great tunes and bangers that have resonated with Hongkongers. Here are eight songs that celebrate our SAR for every occasion, from karaoke sessions to marches. By Kaitlyn Lai

RECOMMENDED: Learn more about the Hong Kong hip-hop genre with this curated playlist

Songs that get Hongkongers pumped

Beyond – Boundless Oceans Vast Skies《海闊天空》

If Hong Kong only has one anthem, it’s undoubtedly this classic rock ballad by Beyond. As the title of the song suggests, it's all about freedom. It was initially written to express the artist’s frustrations of not being able to create music freely under industry censorship. Over time, this song has become Hong Kong’s freedom anthem, and its melody often fills the air during democratic movements.

Roman Tam – Under the Lion Rock《獅子山下》

What started off as a theme song for a TV series in the 1970s became known as Hong Kong’s unofficial anthem when lyrics from the song were quoted by the former financial secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung to encourage Hongkongers during the 2002 economic crisis. The 'Lion Rock Spirit' has gradually become a symbol of Hong Kong identity, encapsulating perseverance and solidarity.

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Michael Kwan – Pearl of the Orient 《東方之珠》

This track was written in 1986 during a frenzy of panic and worry in Hong Kong following the Sino-British Joint Declaration. The term 'Pearl of the Orient' refers not only to the city of Hong Kong but also its people’s resilience and beauty despite the vicissitudes of governance over the past hundred years.

Beyond – The Glorious Years《光輝歲月》

Beyond have a knack for penning songs that strike a chord with Hongkongers. The Glorious Years, in particular, was inspired by Nelson Mandela and his fight against apartheid.  This song praises not only the revolutionist’s love for his people but for humanity as a whole. The tune remains as popular as ever as a way to express the socio-political aspirations of Hong Kong, as well as being a great banger. 

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Sam Hui – On The Same Boat《同舟共濟》

This ’90s hit by local favourite son Sam Hui reflected the thoughts of many Hong Kong people were feeling prior to the 1997 handover. The optimistic lyrics remain words of encouragement to Hongkongers today, assurance that we are indeed on the same boat. 

Various – Umbrellas in the Night《撐起雨傘》

Written during the Occupy Movement 2014 by various local artists including the likes of Denise Ho Wan-see and Rubberband, Umbrellas in the Night is a tribute to those who spent countless nights on the streets of Hong Kong fighting for the city’s democracy and future.

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LMF - Holding the middle finger tight 《揸緊中指》

Hong Kong hip-hop group LMF, aka Lazy Mutha Fucka, are unapologetically out-spoken (and explicit), and their songs are often satirical, touching upon issues like life in the underclass and working class. The track Holding The Middle Finger Tight《揸緊中指》(2009), in particular, encapsulates Hongkongers’ struggle for freedom. The vocalist almost screams the lyrics over a bass-heavy beat. The track is as timely and relevant as ever and works great as a backing track for a gym session. 

Various – W.T.F.H.K.

Speaking of LMF, as a tribute to the hip hop group’s 20th anniversary of their formation in 1999, a team of local rappers collaborated on an updated version of their famous anthem WTF, titled WTFHK, to pay tribute to the OG artists. When LMF first rolled out the song in 2003, it provided commentary on government corruption and social injustice; this new track, led by Matt Force, Dough Boy, Geniuz F the Future, Seanie P, Heyo and a new generation of rappers, are keeping LMF’s fire burning and bringing the city’s ongoing issues to light. 

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