How to Walk Down the Street in Hong Kong

For anyone who is new in town or returning after the summer away and needs a refresher:

1.You may feel that everyone is walking towards you and deliberately knocking into you. They are.

2.Walking towards a Hongkonger on a narrow pavement or in a crowded shopping mall is a game of chicken. You will never ever win.

3. The little old woman who can hardly walk and the smartly turned out Tai Tai will be your most fiercesome opponents.

4.A sturdy shoulder bag is not just a status symbol, it’s both armoury and weapon. Channel Margaret Thatcher.

5. Watch out for those low hanging carrier bags. The vertically challenged stature of a Hongkonger means those sharp edged paper carrier bags they like to swing with wild abandon will hit a Gweilo right on the shin. Ouch!

6.When waiting at a pedestrian crossing, if you have left a millimetre of space between you and the edge of the curb, someone will stand in front of you. They may also turn and glare at you for not taking up that millimetre and being such a space hog.

7.When you open a heavy glass door towards you, a Hongkonger will barge in straight pass you. Without even thanking you. They won’t even acknowledge you’re there.

8. On the other hand, don’t be surprised if the person in front of you slips in just behind someone opening a heavy glass door leaving said door to slam in your face. Nice.

9. In fact don’t ever expect a Hongkonger to hold a door open for you – male or female – or thank you for doing so – male or female. They will just think you’re weird and a bit of a wimp.

10.A bunch of teenage school kids will see no reason to get out of your middle-aged way – or give right of way to your elderly mother who’s visiting – leaving you to step off the pavement into the busy road.

11. Filippino or Indonesian maids can be the worst culprits. When they’re out with their little charges, they seem to think they are as important as whoever their employers are and expect you to get the hell out of the way. File under annoying.

12.You need to be quick when getting into a lift/elevator; the person standing next to you will have dashed in and pressed the “close” button before you even notice.

13.Talking of lifts, when you try to exit at least one person will steam roller in before you get the opportunity to get out.

14. When approaching loved up young Singaporean couples on holiday – you can tell them by their sloppy shorts and flip flops and dazed expressions – beware of the girlfriend blindsiding you with a shoulder barge thinking they’re safe with their boyfriend. It’s fun to see their shocked faces when you push back – and their wussy boyfriends don’t do a thing.

15. If on the other hand you’re faced with a gaggle of Mainlanders, keep a wide berth. It can’t end well.

Addendum: I thought I’d covered everything and then yesterday this happened: a Chinese woman around the same age as me tried to get into the lavatory cubicle as I was trying to get out.

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