11 June, 2013

Social etiquette rules for the non-HongKongese...

(Pic courtesy : cartoonstock.com via Google)

1.       People talk loudly.  They screech, scream and yell at each other in an effort to hear their own voice.  Rest assured, they are not fighting with each other.  Pssst !! They’re actually sharing a secret.

2.       People assume that the whole world around them wants to and are willing to listen to loud Chinese Opera at 7 am.  Don’t you worry if it gives you a headache.  That’s what Panadol is for.  Please be thoughtful enough to remember that the whole world is their little oyster.

3.       People have enough self- importance in them to assume that everybody around them wants to know what game they are playing on their cell phones and which level they are at.  It is indeed a matter of supreme importance, one of larger than life proportions.

4.       When heading towards a lift, if you want to get in do try and make yourself invisible.  People in HK have a simple rule if and when they see people walking towards open lift doors.  They stub on the “door close” button repeatedly and if they get the timing right, the lift doors will close right in front of your nose.

5.       If you do manage to get inside the lift, please remember that one is not to move to the back of the lift.  In doing so, you will inadvertently create open space in the front of the lift which will enable more people to get in.  Cardinal mistake, that one !

6.       When you spot an empty seat on the bus, please do not assume that you are free to sit there.  You have to be rather sensitive and aware that the seat next to a person belongs to his or her bag. 

7.       If you have been occupying the window seat and need to get off at your bus stop, please don’t expect the passenger sitting next to you to move his or her bag (which often is gargantuan in size).  For that matter, I’ve realized that it is a luxury to even expect them to move their feet.  Carry some of that magic potion in your bag which can help you shrink momentarily like Alice in Wonderland.  That will help you squeeze through that little space without disturbing your fellow passenger.

8.       When the person sitting next to you on the MTR (sometimes) or the bus (many a time) fall asleep, please bear in mind the fact that you are meant to act as a pillow for them.  It is a straight rule.  Confused ?  Hell, you shouldn’t be !!  Be sensitive to the needs of your fellow passenger who needs to catch up on his/her sleep. 

9.       When the person sitting next to you snores, refrain from reaching for those earphones to plug your ears with.  Instead, sympathise with them and the fact that it is considered a perfectly acceptable rule in the non- existent book of social etiquette that the locals in HK are brought up with.

10.   When the person (or if it is your lucky day, it would be persons) sitting somewhere in your close vicinity belches or burps loudly, please do not cover your nose or throw them dark looks.  Now now, that’s bad manners on your part.   That’s just their way of telling you what they had for breakfast.

11.   When waiting to board the MTR, do not fret and fume if you are elbowed or shoved aside by one of those many elbows that stick out at right angles.  Look at the positive, I say.  They’re just helping you keep fit. 

12.   When waiting to get out of the MTR at your designated station, remember the physical fitness bit when you have to squeeze and push your way out of the train against a whole tide of people rushing to get into the train (as if it is the last train in the whole wide world).

13.   When waiting to hail a cab, do not get upset if someone just cuts in and hops into a cab that has just stopped in front of you.  Density and obtuseness is something  that is cultivated lifelong here.

14.   When shopping at the supermarket, do not get upset over trolleys that are parked between aisles in such a way that they block the whole aisle.  Looking for the person in charge of the trolley will not help because if the trolley is parked in the rice section, the person shopping will probably be found in the cheese section, which, by the way, would be some four or five aisles away.

15.   When shopping at the supermarket, do not, I repeat, do not take offence if someone parks their trolley and stands next to it in a straight line, thus blocking you off from the entire apple section or the orange section or whatever.  (Knowing how Murphy works, it would be the very same thing that you have on your shopping list.)  Just consider it a lesson in garnering patience.

16.   When walking, especially at a brisk pace, do not take offence if the person walking just ahead of you suddenly decides to come to a dead stop.  You’d probably walk into them because you did not expect them to stop suddenly but then, that’s your fault for not having seen that coming.  So brush up on your manners and say “solly aaa”.

17.   When at the cinema watching a movie, please do not ‘tut tut” if you hear a whole random assortment of mobile phone ringtones going off at full volume.  Get used to the fact that people around you lead lives much more important than your need to watch a movie in a cinema where people are supposed to turn their phones to the silent mode.

18.   When anywhere in HK, please do not resent it if you get coughed or sneezed on.  Happens quite a lot here.  Just focus on the positive and think of all the immunity that your body is gathering, being exposed to all those different kinds of germs and virii.

19.   When eating out in a restaurant, do not crinkle your nose in disgust when you see people popping a large piece of whatever meat there is on their plates, into their mouths and then noisily spit out the bones onto the table.  If you do let disgust show, remember that they respect tradition and that you don’t !!!  

20.   When eating out in a restaurant, do not let your irritation show if you hear people chomping away on their food or slurping noisily.  That’s how food is meant to be eaten here.  It’s you that doesn’t know the rules !

21.   When walking on the road or shopping in the vegetable market, if a trolley bag (heavier the better) happens to run over your feet, please stop and say sorry to the person pulling the trolley bag, for, it was your feet that came in the way.  Accept that stinky look that will surely be thrown your way, with as much grace as you can possibly muster right then.

22.   When travelling on the MTR, please do not consider it your right to use the bar in the middle of the train compartment as something you can hold on to.  It is not meant  to be held on to.   It is a bum rest or a bag rest.  It is definitely not meant for people to hold on to. 

23.   When anywhere in HK, if you see people (better if the person is standing or sitting next to you) yawn loudly without bothering to cover his/her mouth, do not take offence.  Remember, they are just walking ads for their dentists and are presenting you with an opportunity to look at their mouths wide open.  Now, not everybody would do that for you, would they ?  Go ahead and thank them for their solicitous behaviour.  Such kind-hearted unselfishness is becoming increasingly rare in the world of today.

Welcome to HongKong, folks !!  'Tis indeed, as the ad claims, Asia’s World Class City !!! 

1 voice(s) said so:

Swati Raman Garg said...

sharing a secret! i love that one...