The FAST pace of life in Hong Kong

…..the FAST pace of life in Hong Kong

Strap yourself in when you come to Hong Kong. The sheer pace might kill you.

Get out of my way everyone – the FAST pace of life in Hong Kong
.

When you get to Hong Kong, some of the locals love to tell you that the pace of life is FAST ok! Sometimes they tell it to you in a grim way that suggests you probably wont be able to handle it. Sometimes they tell it to you in a way that makes it seem colorful and vibrant and full of characters and scintillating action. Other times they tell it to you like it’s tough, even for them living in Hong Kong. ‘Aiiiiigh,’ they’ll say with a giant sigh…Hong Kong is just too fast you know?’

Bullshit. Don’t believe anyone who tells you life is fast in Hong Kong because there’s a whole laundry list of things which can really, really, really slow down your day…

Get it done Uncle Leung

1. People who stand for centuries at ATM machines, often producing multiple cards so they can have 2, 3 or even 4 goes at the whole ATM experience. Seconds go by between each button beep as Uncle Leung….looks down at the scrap of paper in his hand and then up to the screen in a vain effort to retain and recall the single digit he just committed to memory. He’ll do that 26 times. HURRY THE FUCK UP DICKHEAD!

2. People who amble all over the footpath, shopping mall, streets, paths…anywhere you can find people on foot…stopping abruptly for no reason so you walk into them, faking you as you go to move around them…then faking you the other way as you change directions, walking directly into you without deviating one iota, taking your eye out with their sun umbrella…because they never think to lift it or move it out of the way.

3. People who race past you so they can beat you to the Octopus card gates…but who don’t have their card ready when they get there. Hey, these gates are supposed to make life FAST! Gotta hurry in Hong Kong! Gotta move FAST! Life wouldn’t be worth living if you missed the 7:30 and had to take the 7:32. I understand…I think.

4. Cab drivers who constantly alternate between the gas and the break and who don’t seem to understand that you can ‘ease’ your car to a stop at the lights. We’d get there faster if you knew how to drive!

5. Drinks that never come when you order them at a restaurant.

6. Bank tellers and bank customers who chat without appearing to do any business for 30 minute stretches. Wait a minute you guys…I haven’t seen any money change hands, no forms filled out, no ID cards looked at, nothing signed for, nothing exchanged, deposited, withdrawn, no computer screen glanced at, nothing printed out, stamped, ticked, checked, …nothing. All I’ve seen for half an hour is an eye ball to eye ball conversation (long stretches of which are painfully loud and one sided) through protective bank glass. Then just when you think it’s all over and the customer is about to walk away….she turns back…unleashing (I don’t speak Cantonese so I just guess) what must be another 5 to 10 questions judging by the avalanche of words and we start up again for another 5 minutes. Still 6 deep in the line, you’ll wonder where fast paced Hong Kong is hiding. Maybe it’s at the supermarket.

....no

7. Related people who save multiple line positions in supermarkets like games of checkout roulette…then hurry all their trolleys to the line which moved the quickest…your line.

8. The slowest check out ladies in the world. Ladies…yes your job probably sucks and you get paid next to nothing…but this is Hong Kong isn’t it?? Isn’t shit supposed to be FAST? Make that food fly across the scanner and stop looking so maudlin. It’s as bad for me as it is for you.

9. People who like to pay their gas, electricity and water bills at 711 while other people are waiting to buy a newspaper…at quarter to 8 in the morning.

10. People who rush into lifts or trains before other people have even gotten out. Fast for them…slow for you. (This is a whole other topic…for later.)

Poor guy. All he's trying to do is get off at his stop...but packs of selfish people rush him in a frenzy of scratching and clawing to get a seat. At least 5 people have already made it past the guy and onto the train and are sitting down. The guy trying to get off was at the nose of the door when the train pulled up and he hasn't even made it 2 steps.

...it could just be that the rules clearly show that you WILL be rushed from all angles...

11. Going to the immigration center. Yeah, a lot of people are coming or going or renewing or whatever…but everyone told me Hong Kong was a FAST paced city! Enter that immigration center and it’ll be 3 days before you’re outside again.

12. Sitting on a bus for an hour while some skanky old boiler yells her way through 7 phone conversations 3 of which she dials, bellowing ‘wai wai wai WAI WAI’ until someone responds…and 4 of which she receives being sure to let her staggeringly loud ring tone screech for a good 30 – 40 seconds before she bothers to answer. You bag.

Pictures will be updated as I get them

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27 Responses to The FAST pace of life in Hong Kong

  1. Cletus says:

    Fucking ATM machines in Hong Kong. The bane of my existence. I avoid the bank like the plague for the reasons listed above, but ATM machines are an unavoidable evil. A tip: scope out your nearest shopping center (cattle herding pen), and see if there is a bank on the 2nd or even (pray) the 3rd floor. The bank itself will be overrun with people screaming savagely, but the ATMs seem to be deserted. It seems that most lazy fucks here in Hong Kong are happy to queue in a 20-minute, chaotic, unholy line rather than go up a floor or two to find open ATM machines. This has saved me on countless occasions…

  2. Iago says:

    FUCK! Don’t get me started on people getting onto trains or into lifts WITHOUT WAITING FOR PEOPLE TO GET OUT!!!

    This shit is medieval, like the smell of balls in the morning.

    Seriously, many unlucky to walk into me when I walking out of lift – smack with elbow for Pinkie.

  3. K-man says:

    You nailed… though I would suggest adding to the list…. cutting in front of people at a bus queue… just to get the ONE of the 65 seats on the bus when they cut in front of the first or even tenth person in the queue.

  4. …or frantically running and brushing past people so you can be first to the escalators…so you don’t miss one of the 60 trains that will leave the station in the next 45 minutes…

  5. mustcomment! says:

    which neighborhood do you live? grandma and HK running man have a lot of real estate to themselves? I’m always on the lookout for barren land. stairs, sunny side of streets, shopless avenues, if raining, wear a hat and walk anywhere without an awning, out of way routes, etc.
    Where I live I’m usually bumped and jostled from start to finish. I have come up with stance where I put out my arm in a crocked position in front of my body in a ‘stand my ground’ posture since some people see nothing offensive in walking AT others. As usual those individuals look at me like I’m the pyscho even though they wanted to give me a full on body pump, and not in a good way.

    I invite you to my local PnS market. The staff there outshine any other grocery people I’ve ever experienced. Aside from one super supervisor lady who is head and shoulders above everyone else, the rest are just once notch (and sometimes not) above a machine made in the 60’s.
    -they will scan whatever is on the counter. your wallet, coffee, your bag purchase from other stores, etc. Braindead.
    -jump right next to you (I mean touching!) or reach over you with their hand, body, whatever while you’re shopping like you don’t exist. WTF!
    -if a customer pays with large bill or some coupon, all the other cashiers (if any other are stationed) will stop and the bunch of them with SHOUT it about themselves back and forth like the place is closed. ARRGGGHHHH!

  6. mustcomment! says:

    got started on my rant and forgot to share with you what I think is HK fast…taking your money! your drinks may never arrive but they sure waste no time in bringing the bill and will even stand next to you (patiently, btw this when hk people are at their most patient) and watch you pull money out.

  7. m says:

    You get everything right. Life in HK is quite literally akin to living on the Planet of the Apes.

  8. gmtfo says:

    You’re hilarious, and spot on. I got a local girl pregnant here. Feels like im doomed to spend the rest of my life gaging up corrosive phlegm, playing human ping pong on the streets, and being fucking miserable. Without a doubt this place brings the worst out of me to the point i resent everything. Id leave if i could.

  9. – planet of the apes…lol….haha
    – one notch above a machine made in the 60’s……lol
    – you got a local girl pregnant here…..lo…..wait that’s not a laughing matter….all the best!

  10. Lotus says:

    What a nice life you must have to never be in a rush… However ranting about how much you dislike Hong Kong must not be a very stressful job.

    Did you think that those people paying their bills in the morning are there because they can’t afford Internet, and are there early in the morning so that they don’t clog up the lines during busy times… So sorry that you have to wait for a few extra minutes to pay for that morning beer.

    And imagine a city trying to move millions of people on public transport, of course there will be times when it takes longer to swipe an Octopus card… but where you are from, I suppose that doesn’t happen…

    As for cab drivers, does it really bother you that they have to hit the breaks… perhaps you would rather just drive into the backs of other vehicles, or go through red lights. At least you don’t have to haggle about the price here… but no.. that isn’t good enough for you.

    Here is a great way to avoid all these things… sit in your flat and never go outside… just criticise the world around you from behind a blog… oh wait… you do do that.

  11. I don’t know who you are….’Lotus’…if that is your real name…but I’m gonna find out!

  12. Iago says:

    ‘Here is a great way to avoid all these things… sit in your flat and never go outside… just criticise the world around you from behind a blog… oh wait… you do do that.’

    I totally disagree – obviously this person has experienced it (as I have), and is providing a useful service warning others. Using your logic, there is a great way for you to avoid this blog, and that’s to not read it (and not post comments).

    I for one have spent a year here, and try to never leave my apartment. Experiences like those described here have made me the Howard Hughes of Hong Kong.

    Where I come from – a magical, far away place – the general public is actually intelligent, the cab drivers (note, practically all drivers) don’t need to slam the brakes because they have some sense of spatial awareness, and people are actually happy. Like, seriously happy. They hold open doors for you, walk their dogs in actual parks (not the fucking sidewalk), drive normally, smell ok and use tissues instead of the pavement for collecting their mucus.

    The Planet of the Apes reference above is totally accurate. If I thought my home country would end up like this one I would probably off myself today. The thought of raising children in an environment this hostile to almost all Western virtues is terrifying.

    One last thing – this was a British country for over 150 years, and the locals still can’t speaky the Eeenglish’s. FFS.

  13. M says:

    “And imagine a city trying to move millions of people on public transport, of course there will be times when it takes longer to swipe an Octopus card… but where you are from, I suppose that doesn’t happen… ”

    Tokyo. Far more people, far less noisy, much better hygiene, little to no flying mucus. The equivalent of nearly 70% of Hong Kong’s population passes through Shinjuku station alone in a single day, yet it is immaculately clean and organised in comparison.

    I will admit something though – the train station habits of hongkies have civilized a little from their mainland roots. Mainland train stations are like a bedroom scene from “The Exorcist”! As a scene from “The Planet of the Apes”, HK is relatively serene in comparison.

  14. Mainlanders are in a whole different division!

  15. “got started on my rant and forgot to share with you what I think is HK fast…taking your money! your drinks may never arrive but they sure waste no time in bringing the bill and will even stand next to you (patiently, btw this when hk people are at their most patient) and watch you pull money out.”

    lol….so true

  16. Bubbly Dudley says:

    All true, except points 6 (bank tellers), and 8 (check out ladies), which I find to be a problem in other countries but not in HK. Points 1 (ATM), 9 (bill payment), and 11 (immigration) are common place in any country. By “other countries”, I am referring to English speaking countries, such as US/Canada, UK, Australia, etc.

  17. Bubbly Dudley says:

    gmtfo says: I got a local girl pregnant here. Id leave if i could.

    I’d say you have two viable options. 1. Leave her. 2. Take her back to home. I don’t see why you have to put yourself through such misery. I’d personally chose option 1. No shame in that.

  18. Well that’s just the key isn’t it? English speaking countries

  19. gowron says:

    Oh Shanghai, Hong Kong, Zhuhai, Cangzhou, Macau was nice and quiet actually… These places brought the really nasty ugly in me. Well I DID come on this see the ancestrial Land Grandpa Gong Gong bullshit pilgrimage to find myself… I didn’t like what I saw. Keying idiots as they got stuck in trafic, mocking the Chinese language ding dong ching chong with mock Chinese Opera when ever the retarded meterosexual effiminate golden haired “Goku Dragon Ball impersonator” behind the counter sheepishly apologizes with a sad defeated look, (honestly cha sew there has got to be some concentration of hormones making the chicks into dudes (psycho growly mama gorillias), and the dudes into chicks (unassuming pansies), with me spazing out singing off key ching ching sounds when I’m waiting in line. Like Honestly I’m essensialy making fun of myself when I unabashidly do these things. Other times I just freak out when Grandma Mainlander decides to get to close to me like say at Ocean Park.

    And I’m a Canadian, I once asked as a joke am I allowed to be a soccer hooligan, and the person answered You’re Canadian, you’re too polite to be Canadian, all you’d be is an obnoxious drunk. Well this trip proved me wrong.

  20. Anonymous says:

    i always wonder, which place in hong kong u usually go while looking at your fotoes, cuz yr fotoes make me laugh and most of them only show crowds of people or streets with rubbish.

    do u just go to mongkok, causeway, tsim sha tsui, sham shui po, central, sheung wan where the density is the highest? u havent been to any other places in hong Kong? wt about the Geo national park in hong kong and spend a day in there? u ignorant shit

  21. Mike says:

    Immigration is slow? I made an appointment to get my visa renewed: the day I turned in my application, from the time I arrived until the time I left was 45 minutes. I left with a letter telling me exactly what time to return 15 days later; I did so, and was in and out in 15 minutes.

    Happily, if I decided that the 45 minutes and 15 minutes were too slow, I *do* have the option of sending someone in my place (according to the Immigration Dept.’s website). But I don’t consider that too slow (I do, though, consider it too crowded!).

  22. Mike says:

    One thing that does drive me crazy: people who stand on the left on the escalator. I see this far more often in the New Territories and Kowloon (other than Kowloon Tong) than I do at HK Island locations east of Causeway Bay.

  23. Immigration can be slow if you don’t plan ahead. But really it probably seems more tedious than it actually is because of the amount of people.

    Can’t say I’ve experienced many escalator concerns…except for them being constantly broken.

  24. Gumshoe says:

    It’s mostly that people in Hong Kong mistake impatience for being in a hurry or ‘fast’.

  25. Pingback: Hong Kong is not fast-paced in any recognizable sense AFAICT, so why does everyone say that it is? - Hong Kong GeoExpat

  26. ATM says:

    Dear Lotus:
    Think youre completely missing the point of this blog and post here…

    “What a nice life you must have to never be in a rush… However ranting about how much you dislike Hong Kong must not be a very stressful job.”
    – he’s not complaining about people being in a rush, what he’s trying to say is that all these HKer’s brag about HK being a “fast paced city”, yet ironically it isnt always so…

    “And imagine a city trying to move millions of people on public transport, of course there will be times when it takes longer to swipe an Octopus card… but where you are from, I suppose that doesn’t happen… ”
    – obviously missing the point about someone deliberately cutting you off to save themselves time at the expense of everyone else. Very selfish behaviour that has nothing to do with rush hour or having to move millions of people, every metropolitis has their own rush hours but that doesnt always been observing these behaviors. It has to do with people being selfish assholes.

    “As for cab drivers, does it really bother you that they have to hit the breaks… perhaps you would rather just drive into the backs of other vehicles, or go through red lights. At least you don’t have to haggle about the price here… but no.. that isn’t good enough for you.”
    – Its not an efficient way to drive, a waste of gas, a waste of good brakes. Maybe if HKers would listen for once instead of instantly diving into an offensive defensive posts about their faulty behaviors they would understand you can actually drive smoothly and efficiently and still be able to get to the same place. Or maybe even learn a better way to do the same thing. Just saying.

    “Here is a great way to avoid all these things… sit in your flat and never go outside… just criticise the world around you from behind a blog… oh wait… you do do that.”
    – Seems like you just mindlessly defend without openning your eyes to the other perspectives around you. So maybe you should take your own comment to heart. TBH, majority of HKers and Mainlanders have a lot to learn about not embarrassing the Chinese people as a whole, and making China a disgrace to the rest of the world. I really wish people would open their eyes and act alittle more civilized/mannered so HK and China doesnt look so embarrassingly bad to the rest of the world. But really they’ll never change. Theres no excuse really, everyone regardless of country needs to make money/survive but they can still act civilized and well mannered, so where did you go wrong HK?

    But yeah, just keep thinking its your “culture” to be what most countries would called uncultured. Ironic.

  27. It’s been many years, but I love how ATM summed up the point of the post in his/her response. This is how people should deal with arguments – talk it out instead of immediately jumping into juvenile screaming matches.
    I never understood why people who rush to be the first into the lift when they’re pretty much the first people to get out of the lift on the 1st floor. Doesn’t seem very well thought out imo.

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