A recent report on the English proficiency of countries where English is not the mother tongue confirms a fact that should leave Hong Kong with no illusion.
According to the English Proficiency Index 2011 report released by Education First on 30 March, Malaysis is most proficient in English in Asia. In fact, it is the only Asian country given the "high proficiency" rating (out of the index's five levels of "very high proficiency", "high proficiency", "moderate proficiency", "low proficiency" and "very low proficiency"). Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan lag behind, ranked second, third and fourth in Asia respectively, and are all given the "moderate proficiency" rating. While Hong Kong is ranked above South Korea and Japan, the scores of the three places, at 54.44, 54.19 and 54.17 respectively, are really close. And if the fact that English is an official language of Hong Kong but not South Korea and Japan is factored in, Hong Kong's lead is even more shaky and questionable.
Given that English is an international language for communication, a report like this should serve to dispel any myth or hallucination that Hong Kong is an international city.