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New Hong Kong banknotes

What we wish was on the new Hong Kong banknotes

Take these to the metaphorical bank

Written by
Graham Turner
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The recently revealed new Hong Kong banknotes have caused quite the stir. Due to come into circulation from the end of the year for the larger denominations and 2019 for the smaller ones, the notes feature a brain with binary code in it ($1,000), the Global Geopark ($500), Cantonese opera ($100), a butterfly ($50) and a yum cha meal ($20). While we don’t necessarily have a problem with what’s been chosen – though many others have astutely pointed out that the Geopark note makes it look like the city is sinking into the ocean – there's definitely an argument that better choices could have been made. Here’re some of the less ridiculous ideas we came up with.

RECOMMENDED: If none of these suggestions float your boat, maybe our best attractions or most beautiful buildings are options to consider.

What we wish was on the new Hong Kong banknotes

Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee

Not just Hong Kong’s most famous son, in many ways, the kung fu icon and movie star is representative of Hong Kong as a city of east meets west. A global pop culture icon, Lee was born in Hong Kong, raised in the US, and returned here to film a string of movies that would help catapult Hong Kong into the collective conscience of audiences all over the world. 

Bamboo scaffolding
CC BY-SA 3.0

Bamboo scaffolding

Intricate webs of natural artistry that support legions of workers which provide a quick and cost-effective means to support Hong Kong’s ever-changing face – bamboo scaffolding is an under-appreciated art form. Considering the lightning speed in which buildings are constructed or altered in Hong Kong – this scaffolding is the perfect representation of our city as a feat of engineering.

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The rooftop scene from Infernal Affairs

The rooftop scene from Infernal Affairs

C’mon, this would look really cool. It features not one but two local icons – Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Andy Lau – and it would placate the hipsters that think putting Bruce Lee on a bank note is ‘too obvious’ to be representative of Hong Kong cinema.

Temple Street
Photograph: Shutterstock

Temple Street

The smells, tastes and bustling atmosphere of Temple Street night market are so emblematic of the city as a whole that it feels like something of a perfect microcosm. It's a place generally loved by locals and tourists alike which, to us, makes it a perfect candidate.

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Star Ferry

Star Ferry

If being in operation and remaining relevant for 130 years doesn’t earn you a spot on our foldin’ then we don't know what does. Sure, it may not be the overly-romanticised wonder ride that it’s sometimes made out to be, but there's still something special about the Star Ferry that makes it an intrinsically Hong Kong experience. 

Tung Choi Street

Tung Choi Street

Tons of people, neon light all over the place and a frenetic sense of activity – is there anything more Hong Kong than that? This part of town is every bit as much a cultural icon as the likes of the Geopark, in our opinion.

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Batman

Batman

Specifically, Batman throwing himself out of that window in the IFC in The Dark Knight. You know you want it.

If the banknotes make you mad, this will too

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