3G in Hong Kong

For those of you who do not know what is 3G, please allow me to give you a simple explaination.

The symbol “3G” stands for “third generation”. It is the 3rd generation of the modern cellular phone technology development. At the present time most of the world’s carriers have already upgraded their cellular technologies to 2.5G.

3G, as it is known, will allow its subscribers fast video quality data transfer either between cellular handsets or between handsets and content providers. With the arrival of 3G technology the types of services available on cellular handsets will greatly increase.

The Japanese telecom providers are already experimenting with 4G and 5G technologies.

Has 3G technology become mature enough to be offered in Hong Kong?

Well this should have been the question asked by the carriers offering this service to the public.

Recently 3 HK launched 3G service to the Hong Kong public, but the services offered are really not for the average subscribers. The handset itself is ugly (personal opinion of course) and expensive. It is not until now, almost one month later, that 3 HK began to offer a less expensive handset to its subscirbers.

Design is an important aspect for new technology adoption. Why doesn’t 3 HK take a lesson from NTT DoCoMo? DoCoMo just launched a new line of 3G phones 900i series, and it has been a great success.

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.

Speed Traps in HK

I have been driving in Hong Kong for a year now, and I have not driven more than 10 km/hr over the posted or unposted speed limit over the year. This may sound unusual to people who know me from my days in Canada.

I have always driven a sports car in the past on the wide and straight roads of Toronto that have lots of room and many lanes. If you drive on the 401 in Toronto at speeds less than 100 km/hr you would be considered slow, because the common driving speed is 130 km/hr or more even though the posted limit is 100 km/hr.

So you would think that driving in HK, with their so-called highways of 70km/hr speed limits, and a single highway with 110km/hr limit, would be a diffifcult transition for me.

What is keeping my speed legal? First of all the price of a speeding ticket. For any speed exceeding the posted or unposted limit by 15 km/hr or less the fine is, HKD320.00 (approx. CND64.00). The fines go up rapidly from then on for every 10 km/hr above the limit. Also, driving points will be deducted for any speed exceeding 15 km/hr.

You may say the fines in Toronto are much higher, and they start deducting driving points after exceeding 10 km/hr. So what is the difference? Why are so many people still speeding in Toronto; driving at speeds of 130 km/hr to 160 km/hr on the highways.

Well, the difference are the “speed traps” and photo radars which the Hong Kong police put up along the highways and roads. Speed traps are police officers armed with laser speed radars. They set themselves up at positions where by the time you see them, it would be too late. They also have a massive number (8 – 10) of supporting officers, as compared to Toronto standards, to chase after speeders caught on their radars.

I have yet to look into the viability of using a radar detector like the ones used in Toronto, but even with a radar detector I doubt it would be too effective given the narrow and curvey roads.

Based on the above you would think that no one in Hong Kong speeds, but that’s not true. The professional drivers have their ways to counter this. Such as call stations for Taxi drivers that will report all speed trap locations upon request. For private car drivers, Pager Operators periodically send speed trap locations to their subscribers. Even regular radio stations would report so called “leng jai wai” (literally translated as “handsome location”) at the end of regular news broadcasts.

So the lesson is simple – don’t bother to speed in Hong Kong unless you have lots of money to loose.

Drive safe…