Born in New Territories, Hong Kong, 1879, how would you spend your life?

Oct 2017
383
America ??
Very important to the question is just how this hypothetical late 19th century fellow would learn & know of information & opportunities, let’s discuss that. The technologies & means of communication would no doubt be very different from a century or even half later, let alone with today’s internet.

Btw wonder why OP specifically used the year 1879, rather than the neater digit year 1880, or more general timeframes like 1870’s, 1880’s, late 19th century, or turn of the centuries? Would they all make any significant difference?
 
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May 2019
366
Earth
Very important to the question is just how this hypothetical late 19th century fellow would learn & know of information & opportunities
Hong Kong had established maritime connections with North America and Europe by the 1880s. Steamships carrying mail and passengers were making regular runs across the Pacific, and word of "Gold Mountain" and other overseas opportunities were able to spread to southern China quicker than you might expect. Even if you were illiterate and couldn't read the papers, you'd still be able to hear rumours from people whose relatives had gone off to make a living somewhere else. The California Gold Rush started booming in 1849; by 1851 there were already 25,000 Chinese moving there to seek their fortunes.

Btw wonder why OP specifically used the year 1879, rather than the neater digit year 1880, or more general timeframes like 1870’s, 1880’s, late 19th century, or turn of the centuries? Would they all make any significant difference?
I think the OP was inspired by Futurist's thread: What would you do with your life if you were born in the same place as in real life, but 100 years earlier?
OP was probably born in 1979 and is projecting 100 years back.
 
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VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,861
Florania
Hong Kong had established maritime connections with North America and Europe by the 1880s. Steamships carrying mail and passengers were making regular runs across the Pacific, and word of "Gold Mountain" and other overseas opportunities were able to spread to southern China quicker than you might expect. Even if you were illiterate and couldn't read the papers, you'd still be able to hear rumours from people whose relatives had gone off to make a living somewhere else. The California Gold Rush started booming in 1849; by 1851 there were already 25,000 Chinese moving there to seek their fortunes.



I think the OP was inspired by Futurist's thread: What would you do with your life if you were born in the same place as in real life, but 100 years earlier?
OP was probably born in 1979 and is projecting 100 years back.
That's correct; with some cursory historical knowledge of New Territories, Hong Kong, I at least understand that in 1879, that part was not urban in any senses.
Staying in New Territories might be quite a dead end.
Even though "borderline mental functioning" or other relatively minor disabilities were quite common (and still common today), assuming normal mental and
physical functioning would highly improve the chances of surviving or thriving.
With the historical situation around Hong Kong, China, and Southeast Asia at this period, staying in the Chinese territories almost meant dead-end.
Let's assume the character has a lifespan of 70, and we should choose a place of relative peace and stability.
Since our character was of Chinese descent, he will definitely face discrimination in North America.
South East Asia became immersed in WWII as well.
Australia also had extreme discrimination against Chinese immigrants.
Sub-Saharan Africa? South Africa was known as the most violent place at peace; Mauritius and Reunion might be considered.
Other parts of Sub-Saharan Africa was known for extreme epidemics.
Latin America was less strict in policies; then, many parts were as violent and volatile as South Africa. (No tropical parts of
Latin America, please!)