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The Almost-Perfect Holidays

January 5, 2011

It always strikes  me how socially aware and morally educated the Japanese are. For instance, they always, always stand on the left side when taking the escalator and leave the right side clear for those who are in a hurry. I never see them litter even though you would only find one bin after walking past at least five blocks, a recycle bin nonetheless.

Not that I went to Japan this winter break, it is just some post-holiday-shopping…cogitation. Shopping malls packed with people is not a problem, it’s Christmas after all and that’s how it’s supposed to be. The lack of manners, however, is, a huge one in fact. People who step on your shoe without bothering to say ‘sorry’, people who push you off while you’re choosing whether to buy a cardigan or a coat without bothering to say ‘excuse me’ and yes those people who stood on both sides of the escalator chatting and laughing out loud with their friends while being totally oblivious to the fact that they are blocking others’ way are suddenly everywhere. And believe me there are even ruder ones, you name it.

Why can’t we behave the way our Japanese neighbour do? What happened to the civic education lessons? I have no idea.

So much for ranting about annoying encounters, there is a theory in my mind that I’d like to share. I have verified it with my own experiences so many times that it can actually become a fact. Hong Kongers’ manners vary from district to district. The above problems, if I remember correctly, didn’t happen to me in Central or Admiralty. Where? No offense, but I’ll say mostly in the Kowloon side where I hardly visit, and also in Causeway Bay and sometimes Wanchai. Another way to confirm this ‘fact’ is what one of my cousins always talks about – in movie theatres – whether people talk when the movie is showing. Causeway Bay – yes. Admiralty – still yes but mostly in English. Central – very, very rarely. I must say, I do enjoy seeing a movie without people speaking up about what they think of this scene and that line, thank you very much. So yes I’m a fan of Palace IFC. The Holidays are full of love and greetings. Uh, almost.

Care to share about your experiences?

P.S. There is this blogpost by Jason Mraz that I really want to share with those who haven’t read it yet. It’s about the number 23 and Mr. and Mrs. Jason Thomas Mraz. Congratulations!

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