Manners of Hong Kong

People around the world frequently take manners for granted.

The definitions of good manners are as diverse if not more than there are different cultures. These manners are localized and most of the time defined by the society as a whole, and bad manners in one place may be accepted in another.

From the perspective of a North American or European (I believe), the manners of Hong Kong citizens in general are not that great; some may go to the extreme and call it dreadful.

I am sure many of you have experienced the following examples:

1. Door Way – When people in HK approach a doorway, they will choose the quickest way through it; reminds me of air released from a balloon. If one of the doors is opened by a pedestrian, everyone from both directions will cramp into this same opening. I don’t know whether this is fortunate or not, but this behaviour applies to both men and women without discrimination.

2. Elevator – While waiting for an elevator to arrive, people will storm to the elevator doors for prime position, making sure that no one will get in front of them. In the mean time they never stop to think the people will have to step out of the elevator before they enter.

3. ATM – Why do people have to queue so close to me at the ATM, such that they can see what I am doing? This brings to mind another complaint, but I will talk about that in another blog.

I can keep going, but it is already obvious from the above that the key factor in these behaviours is the need for speed.

Having been back to HK for 5 years now, these daily encounters have confirmed my previous stereotypes of HK citizens of having any patience, especially with things that do not benefit from.

I think if everyone in HK could improve their behaviour, then HK could be a much friendlier place to live in.

2 Replies to “Manners of Hong Kong”

  1. I couldn't agree with you more. Initially I would say “Chinese” are generally without manners but now living in Hong Kong these many years I have come to notice even “Caucasians” are like that. This is no longer a Chinese thingy but more of a Hong Kong culture thingy.Back in the old days when I was living in Canada, whenever we see Chinese looking persons barging their way through the subway doors looking for vacant seats, we would say “they're from Hong Kong!” and we were most often correct (we assume they were from Hong Kong because they were speaking Hong Kong Cantonese). Mainland Chinese didn't usually apply because we didn't see a lot of mainland Chinese and mainland China didn't have subway back then. BTW, I am Chinese and was born in Hong Kong, so don't bother going on the racism route. It won't work!

  2. Actually I too sympathizes with your experience in Canada. I too was born in Hong Kong and also a Canadian who lived in North America for 20 years. So on the contrary I do know what you mean.

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