Posts Tagged ‘civility’

Is asking this question a sign of ageing?  I hope not, as the targets I studied aren’t only the Generation X and Ys, but also people of my age or above.  I just cannot get over ladies dragging their ankles walking around the office floor with disturbing clunking noises (don’t mistake that with heels please), people chewing their food loudly like cows next to me, commuters screaming into their cellphones on the top of their lungs yapping about meaningless gossips, or professional athelete-type passengers who compete for a new Olympic Games category of jumping into occupied elevators or subway cars, holding the poor exiting souls hostage.

If you think we can just be chilled over all this nonsense and smirk over it, look me in the eyes and tell me you aren’t shocked and disturbed by the well suited man who jumped into the subway seat one second before you even had the chance to offer it to an elderly woman.

It’s not like we are at war times.  Most of us live in adequately provided environments and more often than not, nobody really owes us anything.  I don’t get how parents will inflict this upon their kids by encouraging them to be selfish, misbehaving snobs.  Alright, it’s probably because the parents themselves are like that, at work and at play. 

For me how a person carries himself or herself speaks a lot about their character.  Maybe I shouldn’t, but I do count people out by the negative traits I observe, and I don’t think I am alone.  To me, I cannot entrust them in anything if I feel that they do not even respect themselves. 

If you can think of a constructive way to steer the city back to the right direction, do let me know.  It will be a cause that I will stand proudly behind.  For now, I am doing my small part in my own professional space, so that I can sleep better at nights.

I wish. 

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I’m On Reality TV

I have written more than once about my experience at Starbucks in town.  In fact, I think I deserve a token amount of sponsorship fees from the popular chain.  Lounging at any one of the 100 plus establishments in the city proves to be both relaxing and entertaining.  Other than my last psychic experience, today I found myself assuming the entertainer role.

Chatting with a friend over green tea latte and cappuccino is a treat of itself, particularly when it’s over 32 degree celsius outside, and we were happy to finally have the opportunity to sit down catching up rather than endless texting.  2 minutes down our conversation, we couldn’t help but noticed a couple of teenage girls staring our way.  Yes, literally staring and listening intently.  It’s a wooden bench type of seating, so I accepted that privacy was never warranted.  Yet listening while looking straight at us was certainly far from discrete.

The girls were not talking amongst themselves.  They were not flipping through magazines, and it felt like my friend and I were a giant television screen right in front of them.  They heard all of our gossips and juicy exchanges, but no one other than the two of us should be able to make sense over what we were yapping about.  Strangely, the girls giggled when we laughed.  Okay, this was downright creepy.

My friend signalled me to lower my voice, since I admit I do have the tendency to get overly excited when I am deeply involved in a conversation.  However, it seems that the quieter we muttered, the more appealing our apparently secretive conversation became to our audience.

I feel that the curious duo should pay for our drinks.   When we left the cafe, I could see them looking our way laughing and mouthing apparent judgements on us.

Yes, we all judge.  We all like to pass judgements over people we hardly know.  My friend and I probably have a million punch lines waiting to be abused by the observant onlooker.  Yet, it’s my first time experiencing it in my face, and in broad daylight without the slightest attempt of coverup.

Maybe this is just a tip of the iceberg.  If we hadn’t left that early, we might find ourselves captured on YouTube tonight.   They could have called for their parents to physically enjoy the free entertainment and mockery session.

My conclusion is that Starbucks is a hotbed of interesting (creepy) personalities, and I should really go back more often to get inspirations for my writing.  If I can’t avoid being the freelance entertainer at times, maybe I should at least erect a signage of http://corporateshopaholic.com  on my coffee table, as a desperate attempt to promote my blog while being featured.

Starbucks, here I come.

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I was totally stressed out the other night – but in a good way.  I was relaxing at home after midnight when a good friend of mine informed me of some unbelievably good deals on Cathay Pacific Airways that are only valid for a week.  Seeing that this is a fantastic opportunity to see the world, I jumped on the chance and booked a trip to Paris this May. 

The story doesn’t end here.  There are still so many other attractive destinations that I would like to go or revisit, namely Seoul, Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Moscow, Phuket, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Johannesburg, Shanghai, London and New York.  I had been flipping through my calendar, browsing hotel deals, texting my friends, checking seat availability, for a good 3 hours.  I haven’t yet made any confirmed decisions yet, and that planning will continue tomorrow and the few days ahead, provided, of course, that there are still seats available for the dates I am picking.

So this afternoon I was visiting a friend on Kowloon side.  Walking on the busy Nathan Road I could actually hear two separate conversations of people passing by chatting about the exact same online promotion.  Talk about Hong Kong people’s obsessive compulsion to get out of the territory, with every chance we get.  Why is that the case?

  • the fact that we work 14 hour days and still finding it hard to sleep at nights due to immense stress from work
  • we are living in shoebox-sized apartments that we can hardly see the sky
  • we have forgotten about how clean air smells like
  • we find ourselves pressed like sardines in shopping mall elevators even on supposedly relaxing Sundays
  • we cannot get our foot into any electronics stores because every one of the 38 available sales reps were mobbed by our mainland Chinese neighbors
  • tons of rude, impolite, inconsiderate and selfish pedestrians on the streets and on practically all forms of transportation, and most of them are locals
  • news programs are flooded by retarded policies and tactics of the government, and increasingly violent protests spearheaded by our post-80s and 90s
  • another excuse to take 15,000 digital pictures of yourself with exactly the same pose and gesture, in front of landmarks of the world but with hardly any real appreciation of its history or importance
  • one more excuse to take 3,000 more pictures of all the foreign food you are going to eat beginning with the in-flight meals
  • way cooler to check-in at impressive foreign landmarks on FaceBook rather than Central MTR station in Hong Kong
  • experience how checking work e-mails, twittering, and FaceBooking abroad is like
  • witness how devalued the Hong Kong dollar is
  • feel the victory and accomplishment of successfully grabbing the few Hong Kong Chinese newspapers on return flights from abroad
  • another chance to wear NorthFace down jackets together with oddly colored crocs and huge alien-like sunglasses
  • read as many Hong Kong tabloid magazines as possible while laying by the hotel pools
  • a chance to continue being selfish and rude to unsuspecting service people overseas

Alright this may be way too much ranting in one post, but what’s the point of repeating the same old routine or even bad habits when you have a week of vacation time to unwind?  Let’s relax, let our guards down, take a few steps backwards, and be positive and appreciative in our travel adventures.  Take a deep breath, soak in the nature and culture, and teach your children a lesson or two about civility and consideration.  Amen.


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Civility & The City

I admit I walk fast, and I mean really fast.  I seldom wander around aimlessly on the streets of crowded and densely populated Hong Kong, and walking in the city for me is a mission to get from point A to point B.  Yes I know it sounds robotic and industrious, but to me there’s not much fun rubbing shoulders with thousands of strangers, be stepped on by people behind me, or bumping into people who have no intention looking forward when they walk.  I am rather impatient with people like that and hence walking on the streets for me is like steering myself in a video game: sliding through as many pedestrians as possible while picking the shortest, more direct routes.

It’s exactly the opposite when I am in the countryside.  I want to soak up all the fresh air, scenery and the hard-earned quietness.  I really could sit down on the grass and let my mind ponders, perhaps into absolutely nothing.

Back to the city.  To add to all the craziness, there are plenty of product and restaurant promoters standing in the middle of the most crowded streets holding up large signboards with one hand, and handing out pamphlets that will give you nasty paper cuts if you don’t have your arms and fists protected.   These days, there are also plenty of street donation booths popping up everywhere, usually coupled with supposedly volunteers holding out donation boxes approaching each and every person passing by.  They would sometimes stand guard at all the zebra crossings so that you have nowhere to run whiling waiting to cross the roads.  There are simply obstacles everywhere.

Yes I do have a thing with all the street side donation booths.  Even if you don’t count the possible scams out there, I still do not give out donations on the streets.  When I donate to charities, I will make an informed choice based on reasearch I have done both on the mission as well as to the handling agencies.  I respect those who donate on the streets, but it is just not my thing.  I seriously think it is an invasion of my privacy by anyone trying to stop me for whatever agenda they have.  It is downright harassment.   I will still smile at the volunteers but at the same time shaking my head signalling my unwillingness to slow down.

I don’t mind being approached by innocent tourists asking for directions, because I know how helpless I can get if I am lost in a foreign land.  I get approached in all the weirdest places you can think of, and virtually in every foreign city that I have been.  I don’t know why even when I look nothing like the locals.  Perhaps it’s my hectic pace that convinces people as if I know where I am going?  Though one thing I particularly have a problem with is when they try to grab my attention by patting or even pinching me.  Body contact by strangers creeps me out.  I think it is downright rude and I usually would simply stare right back at them.   What happens with civility these days?

Any don’t get me started on civility.  Countless times have I been stuck in the elevator because people jump right in without waiting for others to get out first.  What’s the rush of 10 seconds?  Same thing with getting on and off the subway and this is witnessed all around the world.   You can see people eating and drinking on the subway and buses all the time.  People are leaning their entire body on railings so that they can free their hands holding up newspapers to read, leaving zero room for others to hold on.  People screaming at the top of their lungs into their mobile phones.   When I see parents praising their kids who literally run pass the line and jump into subway carts grabbing the 4 empty seats for the whole family, I lose all hope in mankind.

I have friends who tell me that I need to contain my rage by avoiding all forms of public transportation and crowded public areas.  They told me driving would be my best alternative.  But seriously, wouldn’t I do a lot more damage with a high-speed motor vehicle?  Who says this city’s driving manners are anything more civilized?

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