People’s Patience

Today I experienced a situation that demonstrated the amount of patience people in Hong Kong has.

This being a Sunday morning (10:00) and the 2nd day of a long weekend, I was at a HSBC “Day & Night Center” to deposit some money.

I will explain for those who do not know what a HSBC “Day & Night Center” is. It is simply a proprietary term made-up by HSBC to describe the banking centers where everything are automated. One can withdraw cash, deposit cash, deposit cheques, update a bank book and pay bills via ATMs. For this particular “Day & Night Center” I was at, had 7 ATMs for withdrawing cash and paying bills, 2 ATMs for bank book updates, 3 ATMs for cash deposits and 2 ATMs for cheque deposits, which makes it one of the larger “Day & Night Centers” for HSBC.

Given that it was early morning and in the middle of the week, when I arrived there were already armored guards there refilling the ATMs.

Oh… before I forget this “Day & Night Center” is located near the bar / Red Light district of Hong Kong with a US battle ship in town. So you can imagine that these ATM most likely are all out of cash and needed to be refilled.

Normally the procedure for the armored guards is to close the center temporary while they refill the ATMs, which makes a lot of sense. The last thing they need is to have people in there while the ATMs’ safes are opened. Mind you they also have 2 guards with shot gun standing on guard at each entrance, with signs on the doors informing the public that the center is temporary closed, and they also have a wooden bar on the door to temporary prevent it from opening. Mean while they have 4 other guards rapidly servicing the ATMs, and they also have 1 guard going back and forth to the armor truck, parked right outside, with another armed guard escorting him to the truck.

So I patiently waited outside for the center to reopens, since I had time and I really wanted to deposit the money I had in my pocket, plus there is just no where else to do so other then finding another “Day & Night Center”, which there would not be one near by.

While I was standing there outside the door, numerous people walk up to the door and tried to rattle the door open. Even though there is a armed guard inside pointing to the “Temporary Closed” sign as they approach. Of course many realized their mistake, looked at their watch, mumble something to themselves and walked away. Half of these people would smile at me embarrassed for not seeing the guard, the sign and the large wooden bar preventing the door from opening. Of course 100% of these people who smiled or spoke to me were westerners. The local Chinese people would pretend they did not do anything wrong and walked away frustrated.

Of these people who came up to the door and Chinese, many of them would even go to the other entrance and tried those doors to see if they can get into the same “Day & Night Center”. Then there are these Hong Kong (locals) people who came to the door, peeked into the center trying to look around the guard, with the shot gun standing at the door pointing to the sign.

The most surprising reactions were from these people (local Hongkongees of course) who came up to the door rattled the door, then when the armed guard point to the sign, they would swear at the guard for closing the center and say things like, “… can’t believe it is closed again. It was just closed last week at the same time….” and “… how inconvenient for closing, and they call themselves a convenient center, frustrated and swearing….”.

I just don’t understand these last group of people. If they were in the center only an hour or two earlier, they would be the same people who complain that all the ATMs are closed, because they ran out of cash. So what do these people what the guards to do.

Most people in Hong Kong just don’t have enough patience and they are used to and want everything to happen quickly. The only time I see Hong Kong people having patience is when they are lining up for some “jecso”; a Cantonese term to refer to getting something for nothing.

All in all, if Hong Kong people can be more relaxed, they will have more patience for everything things and everyone will be much happier.

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