- 04-10-2012, 09:54 AM #17Registered User
- Join Date
- Jun 2010
There are many wonderful things about living in HK, but this is not one of them. When I was pregnant, my blood used to boil watching able bodied young people fix their eyes determinedly on their phones in the MTR or pretend to sleep so as to avoid giving up their seats. I would stand there, sometimes in front of the happy sticker urging people to give their seat to someone in need, pleadingly staring. Sometimes someone would notice and get up, and often it was an older person. There have been times when elderly people would get up for me and I'd insist they sit back down. There have also been times when I, pregnant, would give up my seat to an elderly person with a stick because I could not bear to see them jerking around in the train. It never occurred to the young people to get up, even when they saw this happen.
My husband suggested I just request someone to give me a seat but I never felt comfortable doing that. Well, except when my baby was a month old and I needed to take her to a doctor in Central. A couple of times I requested someone for a seat and they were nice about it though I always had to ask. In a very crowded train, once an elderly man gave me his seat willingly. The last time, though, I was in for a shock when I requested a young lady for her seat as I was carrying my baby. She got up and then after a moment told me off for being rude and asking her when I should have waited for someone to offer. I pointed out that in my experience during pregnancy noone would offer and her response was she had also been pregnant and noone offered (apparently she thought this was the right way for things to be). She also said she was doing something and showed me her phone (I had not interrupted her talking on the phone, she was merely playing with it as everyone seems to do in the MTR, nothing that could not be done standing) and then asked "why me?" as if I had targeted her for some henious activity. I was gobsmacked especially when it turned out she was getting out at Causeway Bay, meaning she only had to give up her seat for a couple of stops. It really left me with a bad taste in my mouth, because it was the culmination of so many experiences of selfishness out and about in HK such as people pushing past me for a seat when I was pregnant during peak hours in the MTR, able-bodied people crowding into the elevator when there are elderly people and those with strollers waiting.
Like someone else said, I do try to focus on the kind souls that are helpful and considerate but they are really few and far between. There is something wrong at the heart of the society and it's not just me or expats who notice this. My Chinese colleagues asked me if people offered me a seat when I was pregnant and when I said no, they were not surprised. I work for a university and one of the things being discussed is how to imbibe these values in young people since they seem to have not learnt them thus far.
Also, as someone above said, we have to be watchful that we don't become the same ourselves. I restrain myself from reaching for the "door close" button these days. I make a conscious effort to be alert in the MTR to people who might be in need, and to offer my seat even if they might turn me down. I smile if people make eye contact with me.
- 04-10-2012, 11:12 AM #18
Once I was pregnant and a guy gave me his seat. It wasn't until I was sitting down that I noticed that he was using a crutch and had a foot in a cast!! I felt really bad for taking his seat...
I've seen people completely push past a wheelchair, taxis deliberately ignore them so they don't have to deal with the hassle of a wheelchair... one time I saw a guy in a wheelchair at Sheung Wan MTR station - people were pushing past him to go to the lift before him, he actually went in his wheelchair up the escalator!! He rolled on, put the brakes on and held on tight to both hand rails. Obviously he'd done in a million times before...
After those experiences, I do try to keep an eye out for people who might need my help as well. I know that the rudeness here can jade you and I've seen myself being rude/pushy/impatient with people here which is quite out of character for me (usually, I'm very easy going) so I try to watch myself and my own responses/attitudes as well. It's not easy though ;)
- 04-10-2012, 05:11 PM #19Registered User
- Join Date
- May 2011
- Tung Chung
Was enjoying reading all the replies!! Thank u.. I was venting cos I don't understand why after a year in hkg I still can't get use to their "manners".. Haha
Leta I'm a Singaporean Chinese too. And trust me some Singaporean are the same too..all about upbringing right?
My hubby's niece is already 14 years old, local hk girl in a very good school, top in class every year but totally no manners! Spoilt brat! Talk back at elderly and always arguing n shout back at parents. So what will become of her in future? She may be polite out there but what about to own family members? My husband told her off twice and her parents aren't happy about it. Having a daughter himself my husband swear that he will let the relatives know what is manners n discipline. I feel sad for his niece cos no one tell her is wrong no one stood up instead let her be cos her mom is the eldest among all and was the only grandchild/ niece!!!
- 04-10-2012, 06:08 PM #20Registered User
- Join Date
- Jul 2008
- Hong Kong
I agree with the responses, of course you will experience rudeness or non helpfulness as I call it in any part of the world but it is the frequency with which you experience in Hong Kong that bothers me. Yes, in Australia and the States I have come across times when people don't hold the door open or don't give up their seats but it was the exception rather than the rule. In Hong Kong getting no help and in fact having people try to squeeze past a door when you are holding it open for your littlies is all too common - one time I asked a lady at the HSBC bank (Chinese one) - actually I roared" Are you serious?" when she tried to sneak in front of me as I opened the door and asked my daughter to slip through as I tried to haul my stroller through the door alone. She cowered and fell back into the crowd, the people behind also hung back a bit and I hope it made then think.....
One thing that I have observed though and am not sure if others agree with me, is that some of the rudest (and I'm genuinely surprised by this) people I have met have been long term expats (sorry Cara- I am NOT referring to you). It's like they have taken on Hong Kong characteristics +++. Not all but a few.
All in all, I find the helpful people to be expats and helpers...sigh....sad but true.
- 04-10-2012, 07:01 PM #21Registered User
- Join Date
- May 2011
- Tung Chung
Yes agree mummymoo.. Most times helpers with their employer's child they helped me with the door!! So I really hope the children here pick up good habits from the helpers!!! N their parents may pick up from children hahaha.. I know too far fetch. :)
- 04-10-2012, 10:02 PM #22Registered User
- Join Date
- Jul 2006
- hong kong
oh now i feel bad about my 'pushchair rage' comment! i only do it occasionally when people are really really annoying! But it is so frustrating how people can be so oblivious to others who need help. But like i said, i have noticed an improvement over the past few years, and when i have asked to sit down or asked someone to help me carry the pushchair up stairs, they have always been happy to do so. I think that it just doesn't occur to them, or maybe they worry that that are interfering?
anyway, i agree what other posters said that it is better to rise above it and be a good role model to my children by showing them how to help others.
- 04-10-2012, 10:05 PM #23
- 04-10-2012, 11:03 PM #24
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