October 29, 2003

Slice of HK Life

Hong Kong people (and no doubt greater China too) has a particular attitude that runs something like this: "I come first, my family second, the rest of the world can sod off." This is reflected in ways great or small. I choose to dwell on the small.

Entering a lift involves trying to beat the doors closing while whoever is in the lift is frantically hitting the close door buttons. They can see you. They often look you in the eye as they hit the close door button. But if you get in you might get off on an earlier floor, and that would delay their much more important journey by 3 seconds. It would be disastrous.

Exiting a lift is even more difficult. There is no such rule as waiting for those in the lift to exit before the waiting hordes enter it. The same applies for trains. Now of course waiting for those inside to leave is a) courteous and b) an easier and even c) quicker way of doing things. Again this would make one look weak and you may give up your chance to frantically push the close door button on the lift. So everyone rushes in. How do you exit? The only way is to use your body as a battering ram. I kid you not, you actually have to physically push people out the way. I've used my squash racquet and gym bag as battering rams too. They tend to deflect the path of those entering but not by much. Just enough to squeeze out before you get trapped inside.

Lest you think this is overly-dramatic I was explaining this to a fellow expat in a lift yesterday. Sure enough we arrived at our floor and as we made to exit the lift 2 local co-workers barged towards us. Not strangers but people we sit with, work with and share water cooler with. I banged into the lady in front (I'm non-discriminatory in these matters) - there's no "excuse me" in these situations. The other person with me was trapped behind while the new entrants started hitting the close door button. I had to reach behind them to wrench him out. A little shaken but wiser for the experience he laughed and agreed that it is a no-beg-your-pardons life in HK.

Posted by Simon at October 29, 2003 04:11 PM | TrackBack

Mainland China people are more rude.

Posted by: Ron at October 29, 2003 05:32 PM

Dang! Move to Japan, dude, I hear they're pretty obsessed with courtesy.

Posted by: Tuning Spork at October 30, 2003 09:27 AM
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