To expatriates who love Hong Kong and find nothing…absolutely nothing wrong with it…
Ohhhhhhhhhh…Hong Kong is so wonderful! You can buy anything you want here! Everything is so easy! It’s so convenient! The public transport is so efficient! Don’t get me started about the efficiency! Things are so cheap! It’s a handy launching pad for travel around the world! Restaurants are so cheap! The foooooooooood is delicious! Don’t get me started about the food! Everything is so accessible! I make so much money here! My spending power is great! I am treated like a god! People revere me because I am strange and different, powerful and mysterious! I am Ironman…….er…..wtf?
So goes the luxurious gibberish of the hopelessly blinkered, well satisfied western expatriate in Hong Kong.
There’s nothing wrong with such positive thinking…such optimism…but it’s easy to be optimistic when your job’s to shoot fish in a barrel! If you’re a western expatriate in Hong Kong, chances are you’re not working at a public toilet in Sham Shui Po or trying to hose grime off the side of a skillet in Yau Ma Tei. You wouldn’t even be waiting tables at Fairwood, trying to hawk mobile phone plans outside Sheung Shui MTR or pushing trolley loads of rice through sweaty alley ways in Wan Chai.
Chances are, you’re doing alright. So it’s easy to funnel that tunnel vision towards only those peachy things you want to see. It’s difficult to talk to these kinds of people who are in denial of the obvious frustrations that even locals admit. It’d be a lot easier if fabulously happy Helen and deliriously content Ken showed some spine…a bit of guts…why not call a fishball a fishball!?
I can’t relate to the Helens and Kens of Hong Kong – and you meet them occasionally…there’s plenty of them around I suppose. (I can’t imagine how many I’d meet if I spent 5 seconds hanging around some of the more swanky expat haunts. But that’s not my scene man.) Anyway, I just pencil these types in as a bit…odd. Friendly enough…don’t get me started about friendly…but all the same…a bit…strange!
I wouldn’t want to be mistaken…I sure wouldn’t expect everyone to walk around seething about how much Hong Kong sucks. That’d be downright nutty. I don’t do that. Like any reasonably person, I see the good with the bad…the bad with the good. (It just happens that this site is about the bad) and I try to minimize my dislikes and frustrations…not block them out completely like a kid with his fingers in his ears.
Doesn’t matter. If you’re floating your way through some beautiful dream here in Hong Kong and refuse to acknowledge some of the inconsistencies, frustrations and teeth shatteringly annoying aspects of Hong Kong life, then you’ve either got way too much comforting, comforting money or you’re just a bit…strange.
Sure, you’re a guest in the country perhaps, and you like to consider yourself understanding and forgiving of the culture…maybe even on your best behaviour – a noble ambassador! But come on…you can tell me…don’t you want to put your fist through that guy’s head sometimes? The guy sitting right behind you on the bus with the crashing ring tone, stupendously loud voice and scandalous hygiene?
I know I do…and I’m a reasonable guy!