People in Hong Kong pride themselves on being very civilized and are often turning up their noses at uncouth Mainlanders who allegedly push and shove, talk loudly, squat on the side of the road etc.

There seems to be little awareness of the self-centredness and selfishness in evidence every day by their own community. For example:

1. Young able-bodied people in the MTR play with their iphones, keep their eyes resolutely closed, or stare into space, steadfastly and the pregnant and elderly around them so they don’t have to give up their precious seat. This, even when they sitting in the seats earmarked for the disabled. Out of an entire compartment section, someone may hesitantly offer their seat; if it’s rush hour, don’t count on it though.

2. The elevator in the MTR is meant for disabled people, people with kids in strolleys, heavy luggage etc. For everyone else there’s the escalator. If it wasn’t clear enough, there’s a sticker right there denoting it. Nevertheless, you will see all manner of able-bodied folk thronging the lift, like standing on an escalator is too taxing. Worse, these people will edge in front of other people. Also irritating are the hangers-on of people who need to be in the elevator. It never occurs to these accompanying people that they could just let one person go with the strolley/luggage and take the escalator themselves, thus freeing up the lift for people who actually need to be in it. No. Let grandma, other lady with baby wait because I and my two family members must accompany my helper who is pushing my kid.

3. In other general irritating escalator behaviour, what is with the inability to move to the back of the escalator (or the middle of the MTR compartment for that matter) and the jabbing the door-close button as soon as you get in, even in the face of people rushing towards it? You know you’re a Hong Konger when you go for the door-close button ; I am guilty of this myself. What I am not guilty of is slamming the door shut in the face of someone else. I always look to see if someone is coming before hitting door-close. It really is that simple.

4. Standing in front of the open train doors but not getting in because you want to get a seat in the next train, even as an automated voice saying ‘Please don’t block the entryway’ blares over your head. Again, I do this, but I stand to the side and keep a watch about so I can move aside quickly so that anyone who wants to get into the train is not blocked. What I do not do is stand right there like a statue, and watch impassively as old lady gets stuck in the sliding doors because people did not move apart and let her in.

5. Not wiping the seat clean after you pee squatting over it because you cannot bear the thought of other people’s germs. Maybe you think leaving the evidence of germs in the form of pee drops – if not splashes – all over the seat is a public service, alerting all to the fact that the toilet seat is not sterile. Save your concern next time and just wipe the damn seat before you leave, ok?

Sometimes I think these people deserve a Bombay-style reality check. Instead of everyone politely ignoring the offender, what I wish for is a Bombay-style aunty going: “Hey get the fuck up” or shoving the immobile statues out of the way. Still, so enveloped in their cocoon of self-love are these people, that they might just think “how rude” and keep fiddling with their iphone.

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