Saturday, January 22, 2011

Hong Kong Lessons After Two Weeks

My fascination for Hong Kong is not a secret to people who have known me considerably. I am a frequent visitor of Hong Kong but I had the opportunity to spend more than half a year in what the world now knows as one of the Special Administrative Regions of China, the other being Macau.

At that time, I would discover many things, peculiar to but at the same time close to home. Hong Kong, after all, is just too close to the Philippines, it is practically like going to Quiapo from my place in Makati. (I have already taken into account the traffic factor, LOL.) The following is part of my egroup post. I thought about posting it, thinking that it would be interesting for me to see how Hong Kong is in my eyes, more than 3 years and many life-changing events after.

Impressions are always subject to change, this much I can say.

I love Hong Kong, still.

February 13, 2007 (Tuesday)

Today marks the second week of my stay in Hong Kong. I reali
se that I
still need a lot of catching up to do. So far, these are the things
I've learned:

1. If I want my US dollars changed, I should go to Mon
g kok. In Shatin, money changers are more uptight, probably because they don't get to see a lot of tourists. I was refused by two money changers in Shatin because of a red stain at the edge of my USD100 bill. How crappy was that? Mong kok money changers (and probably those in the Hong Kong island as well) must have mastered telling the fakes apart. It is best if the shop could give you a rec
eipt, too.

2. Hong Kong residents in establishments do not exactly like people who loiter. A nurse in the operating room went out of her way to accompany me to the
theatre this morning. ("They might send you out if they see you here
walking alone," she said. Oh, thoughtfulness.)

3. In the train, I can tell if one is from Hong Kong or from the mainland by both their luggages and the clothes they wear.

4. Don't take major offense if the locals come off as hostile, or speak to you in a hostile manner. I am guessing it's the communication barrier that's behind it.

5. I can actually stretch HKD100 for a week.

6. But a pack of smokes is definitely costly at HKD28. That's more than PHP150.00. And no, there's no such thing as buying by the stick here, as it appears to be a practice endemic only in the Philippines.

7. The most enduring form of personal identification here is the Hong Kong ID Card. It supercedes even the birth certifi
cate and the driver's license.

8. Hong Kong residents put premium on customer service. If they do have to turn down a client, they do so in a manner that won't get you too mad (just a little, hahaha.) And they do offer solutions, more often than not.

9. But, then again, they are not as perfect. They can be l
aw-breakers too. They throw litter in cigarette trays which should only be a receptacle for cigarette butts. Some eat in subways, as I've already witnessed. And some would make a mad dash in the streets even if the pedestrian sign has yet to turn green, making sure though that there are absolutely no vehicles in the street. In Manila, however, it's an
entirely different story, and it's worse.

10. Hong Kong residents in general are just like any oth
er Asians who are suckers for telenovelas. Of course, I am not surprised.

11. Transportation by train is undeniably efficient. The bus system is quite fine but I've already seen traffic congestions in the Northern Kowloon area.

12. Hong Kong has so many faces. And I have yet to scratch the surface
of the general personality of the people here.

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