Student life is considered as one of the major steps in life. It is the time when young people start enjoying their autonomy and experience a lot a various activities. In Europe, going out at night is seen as a must do, an actual part of the whole student life and a sign of being a grown-up also. When I came to Hong Kong, a very dynamic, western-rooted city, I would have thought I would find the same spirit and same drinking culture. I was wrong. In the streets surrounding the “party areas” I almost only got to meet some exchange students or young expats staying here for a short period of time and basically taking the most of Hong Kong nightlife. What about the local crowd? Is it just invisible? Not interested in going to these areas? What about bars and cafés? In Europe, in every corner of a street you can find a café or bar where you can chill easily with your friends until 1 am and more. Here I could not find such places and I don’t see much group of friends hanging out together at night. Furthermore, some historians think that cafés and “public sphere” were places where men could escape their role as the Church's or a sovereign's subjects, and exercise and exchange their own opinions and ideas. They say that nocturnal sociability and volubility accelerated Enlightenment thinking. So even though it might have a bad image sometimes, nightlife is still an important moment of social interaction and can also contribute to major evolutions in our societies. Thus, when the time came to define our topic for Contemporary Europe and Asia, I was really curious to talk about this particularity with the members of our group. During our discussion we found out that Europeans and Locals really did not have the same way of spending time with their friends and that the rules of social interactions were completely different. That is why we decided to focus on how the nightlife is organized among the youth in Europe and in Hong Kong and what are the implications behind these two different ways of life. [By Claire Couturier]
What we do at night
Partying as a majority in Europe
In Europe, most of the students and youngsters go out at night in order to spend some time with their friends. We can list three different places where the European youth likes to go during the night time. Alcoholic Activities
In Europe bars and cafés are very common places Craig Koslofsky, author of Evenings Empire: a History of the night in early Modern Europe, says, the elite shifted their bed time between 1500 to 1700, starting to go to bed at early hours in the morning. Cafés and bars changed their opening hours till late at that time. Thus, going out to a café or a bar is something very traditional in Europe. The main purpose of this kind of gathering is to share a nice moment with some people in a neural but casual atmosphere. Usually students would get a beer at the end of their day of class or later. It is a time for the participant to share their thoughts and lives around a drink. These kinds of talks are usually facilitated by subdued lighting and comfortable seats. Bars are also a gathering point for sport teams who are usually really eager to share beers in a pub for the “third half” after a match or simply after training. Sitting in a café or a bar should be then seen as the extension of the daily social interactions: people would go to a bar with their acquaintances and usually stick with them. It is not really a time to meet a lot of different people. The accent is set on the sharing of a moment of joy between a somewhat close small group of people that is why bars and café usually close down before 2 in the morning. Thus, consumers in bars are not seeking drunkenness in the first place. However this tend to change a bit with the appearance of themed bars, to be found mostly in big cities: the whole place is decorated with a common theme and the names of the cocktails served would also be related a specific...
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