Sunday, August 28, 2011

The top 10 things that annoy me about Hong Kong

I've just read this interesting blog article and I just thought I'd give it a try.  There are many things I like about about HK and there are many things I don't.  However, since I come from HK and my family's links to the region go back a long time, I can't really separate myself from HK.  I know that sounds funny, I suppose, because I'm not BBC, I don't see it any other way.

10.  People always have to be in a rush.  I'm sure people who know me will say the same about me, but actually I do find time to relax and unwind.  Hk'ers have at their disposal, the best transport network in the region, perhaps one of the best in the world.  However, there seems to be a massive need to rush everywhere.  People get tense, rude and lose themselves.  Why?

9.  Considering English is suppose to be an official language in HK, it is often spoken poorly.  The language ability of the average of the average HK'er is hardly great.  English is the international language to learn.  Most people elsewhere will speak it and even where it is not somebody's first language, English will be understood. Whilst we might find some Chinglish or code switching cute, it is not acceptable on many levels.  It is odd that British English or the Queen's English is not widely understood, yet there are many who speak with a funny American twang.  It doesn't work, it's not clever and to make it worst, they still get many words wrong.

8.  You can go to a number of shops in any shopping centre, large retail outlet or department store, and you will encounter annoying shop assistants.  From the greeting you walk through the door, to the "anything I can help you with?".  It is all rather repetitive and if I need help, I'll ask.  I know they're only doing their job, but it doesn't always work.  Unless I am actually interested, I'm not going to shop at such places.

7.  Tourists who decide to stop in the middle of a busy street to take pictures or just stand around and chat.  This is very annoying and it is like they have no idea that people live and work here.  I am fine to walk around such people when there is time and room on the pavement.  However, tourist seem to forget there is such a thing as rush hour in HK.  So whilst you're on holiday, the locals need to get to and from wherever.

6.  Mainland tourists are (almost) everywhere.  I have no issue with tourist of any colour or creed who come to HK.  However, Mainlanders are very often loud, rude, offensive and have no respect for the local HK (or Macau) residents.  You might have the brass, but you don't have the class.  Face and respect is earned, but they are winning very few friends in HK.  They don't really bring many benefits to the local economy.  They might create jobs via the retail and service sectors, but they also buy up a lot of property, many left empty and  resulting in many locals unable to get on the property ladder.  I'm no socialist, but the blame ought to be shared by the lame duck HKSAR government.

5.  The BBC prejudices.  The moment you say that you reside in Britain, you'll get the "you're BBC!" b/s.  If I said I live in Norway or Bhutan, I probably wouldn't get this.

4.  The general prejudice against Britain.  The majority of HK'ers have not set foot on British soil.  You know jack about Britain.  The food isn't bad, it doesn't always rain, not everything is expensive and technology wise, hardly in in the dark ages.  The only time some of HK folk have been to Britain would be to go shopping for designer goods or visit relatives.  Since the latter probably don't go out, they know nothing about what what Britain has to offer.

3.  The obsession with shark fin or the eating of any wild or exotic animal disgusts me.  Even eating cats and dogs annoy me.  You say how civilised you are, you say you now believe in Jesus and how Westernised you've become, yet there is this unhealthy and perverted desire to eat such things.  This sort of behaviour ought to be named and shamed.  It is good that there are pressure groups who are doing something, but there's is so much to do.  Let's face it, would Jesus consume shark fin soup?

2.  People are generally too materialistic.  People spend far too much time and hard earned cash buying things they don't need to impress people they don't like.  Which is why there are so many shopping centres (not malls, I'm not American), with at least one in every major town.  Some better than others and some are very posh.  The latter generally cater for the local and Asian tourists.  Anybody from Western Europe would not need to come to HK to buy designer goods that are likely to cost more.  What's the point?  That status symbol thing is also very annoying.

1.  Cultural vandalism.  This is something I find very annoying.  People who come to HK are not really there to see shiny skyscrapers.  They actually exist in many major cities in the developed and developing world.  Sure, some are quite impressive, but in reality, they are quite conservative.  London might not be covered in skyscrapers and they are hardly the tallest.  However, the ones that have gone up over the last ten years are least original or different.  What a lot of people want to see is some of the old.  They want to see what makes HK special, her past and the local culture.  That's the character.  Who cares about HK Disney?  The only one that really counts is the one in Florida.  Ocean Park is so much better value and much more to see and do.  When people ask me about HK, I'll always direct them to the older or working class areas.  That's the real HK.  Tony Blair in the earliest phase of his dictatorship had a policy of promoting Britain as a cool and trendy land of bars and nightclubs.  It didn't work.  People came to Britain to see her cultural gems, like castles and places of historic interest.  HK isn't Dubai.  Dubai has nothing much to offer, but new buildings and artificial islands.  HK should not be anything like Dubai, at least there is freedom that can't be enjoyed in many other countries.

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