Is that a fishball?

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?

Wow Ironman...you're so strong! The newspaper is telling us it's still winter...and yet here you are dressed like it's spring! You impressive westerner!

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.

Deliriously content Ken

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!

Isn't Hong Kong wonderful!!! Yayyyy!

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.

Find a happy place!

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.

Ah hahahahaha! I love Hong Kong!

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!

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17 Responses to Is that a fishball?

  1. M says:

    Yes the blinkered Hong Kong apologist is also an annoying creature, especially the deliriously smug fat-cat overly groomed and compensated expat. Thankfully these are an slowly dying breed who the locals quite rightly believe have “had their time”. Unfortunately they’re being replaced by am equally annoying new breed of locals (or mainland imports, or even the new Indians elite), who’re intent on proving it’s THEIR time now.

    With regards to punching that most frustrating coughing, spluttering, 100dB mobile phone shouter on the the bus in the back of the head – however just it may seem, it cannot be done. You will be set upon by the rest of the bus much as if you are an invading hyena intent who just stole and ate the prize banana of a troop of baboons. Even gently tap that guy on the shoulder, and ask him to pipe down, and chances are they’ll all go off, whooping and screaming for the police, and if you’re really lucky, you’ll get to enjoy another fine Hong Kong institution – it’s justice system, a mishmash of local incompetence and outdated British smugness that you should avoid at all costs.

    No, don’t annoy the locals. For we all remember what happens when well-fed and fat Hongkies believe their not getting things their way. What? You’ve forgotten? Let me remind you:

    The spoilt, over-protected and constrained mindset that leads to this type of outburst is almost worthy of an entire entry here are ihatehongkong. Maybe you can indulge your readers us at some point with your insight into this? 🙂

  2. Haha…I remember that clip. I’ll be doing a ‘top 10’ HK youtube video extravaganza soon…and that clip’ll be in the list for sure…as well as ‘bus uncle’, ‘kung fu mtr man’, ‘child slapper’….it’ll be great. And…no…I would never actually smash someone in the head…I would just think it

  3. m says:

    I hear ya. The point is not about smashing the guy in the head, it’s about those apologists who deny ever feeling that way. It even gets too much for the locals – see and hear the consequences in the infamous bus uncle incident – “Everyone has pressure” hahaha.

    Looking forward to the top ten vids!

    BTW that photo of the delirious beach frolicing is perfect!

  4. Iago says:

    As always, great post.

    My partner and I have had these sorts of conversations almost daily since we arrived here. Part of the problem is that as much as we hate it here (oh, so very very much) we both regurgitate the same crap when people ask about our experience in Hong Kong (not dissimilar to that written above), whether it’s to be polite in a social setting or advance our network/careers. I’ll happily apply a liberal dose of BS to lessen the time we spend here…

    Regarding the ‘strange’ expats, I’ve found that a large proportion of the expat males over the age of 30/35 are outright creepy. Just really, really odd. Many of them (by no means all, maybe around 1/3) creep the shit out of me. They are the weirdos you probably wouldn’t associate with back home in the West. They stand out, usually because they have aggressive looking local wives.

    Finally, although it is tempting to belt the hell out of a lot of the people here, I find the best stress relief is to be crazy and walk down the sidewalk in a straight line (I know, it’s insane, but I’m modern). When the FDH’s/locals do their bloody zig-zag walk and cross right over the pavement just to walk into you (always looking at their BLOODY MOBILES), just keep going straight. I’ve knocked one businessman odf the side of the pavement and let a 25 year old girls head connect with my shoulder. Funnily enough, soon after the businessman a Phillipino maid was walking her dog and I accidentally trod on its paw; I felt a sense of empathy that sure as fuck didn’t come when the other people had walked into me.

    Before I forget, don’t get me started on mainland businessman. FFS.

    I tried to watch that video but had to stop, it made me so angry.

    WHICH REMINDS ME! The next time one of those sneaky fuckers tries to cut the corner in the queue at immigration/the airport to get in front of me, I’ll lose it. Seriously, they haven’t exactly worked out straight lines here yet…

  5. m says:

    “They stand out, usually because they have aggressive looking local wives. ”

    Or equally aggressive looking south-east asian wives.

    Yeah, Hong Kong sure does have it’s share of crackpot expats. It starts to make you look at yourself, though, and wonder how you will fit back in when you return home to a more well-mannered culture – or what’s left of it…good manners seem on the demise all over the world. I guess this is a just a numbers-game associated with globalisation 🙂

  6. Iago says:

    ‘It starts to make you look at yourself, though, and wonder how you will fit back in when you return home to a more well-mannered culture’

    This absolutely terrifies me – I think of it quite literally daily!

  7. m says:

    Is that a fishball?

    It certainly isn’t shark fin soup!

  8. m says:

    The above chick has a few videos that spoof classic HK youtube tantrums.

  9. Yeah that’s not genuine…acting only

  10. Amazing post! I initially found your blog a week or so ago, and I want to subscribe to your RSS feed.

  11. Pingback: Should I move to Hong Kong? - Hong Kong GeoExpat

  12. melonbelly says:

    “Regarding the ‘strange’ expats, I’ve found that a large proportion of the expat males over the age of 30/35 are outright creepy. Just really, really odd. Many of them (by no means all, maybe around 1/3) creep the shit out of me. They are the weirdos you probably wouldn’t associate with back home in the West. They stand out, usually because they have aggressive looking local wives.”

    Couldn’t agree more. I’ve had the very same thoughts on many occasions when seeing these people, and another aspect which heights the creep factor for me is the ghoulish greedy glints these couples tend to have in their eyes. yikes!

    [ ‘It starts to make you look at yourself, though, and wonder how you will fit back in when you return home to a more well-mannered culture’

    This absolutely terrifies me – I think of it quite literally daily! ]

    From someone who this has already happen it’s not a proud moment when it occurs.
    I was back home at busy Asian noodle restaurant and I absentmindedly sat myself at an empty table for two. The group of 5 ahead of me in line was not impressed. (at least I didn’t sit myself to someone’s table – phew!) 🙂

  13. I agree Iago…and ‘m’…agree…the first thing I think you have to do to escape rudeness and borish behaviour is get out of the cities.

    Cities are basically the same everywhere…full of base halfwits who don’t give a shit about anyone but themselves.

  14. gowron says:

    I can’t take Lamma Island anymore. I can’t take Hong Kong anymore. I’m freezing my HK id, in Carbon and crushing it into pieces. Then I’m taking the pieces and finding the most deepest trench off the Alaskan coast, so it sinks into the coldest darkest X-com2 (old game), cuthulian pit of abyss.

  15. Frankie says:

    Thank god. Other people who feel the same way I do. I’ve been here 3 months and I can’t understand other expats who talk about HK as if it’s the most wonderful place in the world and they’ll never leave. Makes me wonder what their old hometown is like and what there is to do. From what I can tell, all there is to do in HK is go shopping or get smashed (yes, there are beaches and hiking trails, but let’s be honest, they’re kind of shit. I know, I’ve been there). So I’ve been doing a lot of the getting smashed activity lately to forget how much I hate it here. Either way, I’m out. Not all expats are the same. I’m taking a huge paycut to go home and won’t be looking back

  16. 15wongnh1 says:

    As a local, HK is nothing compared to London or NY. Or Sydney. Or San Francisco.

    ESPECIALLY San Francisco.

  17. 15wongnh1, is a child stealing one toy ok? Just because a few other children stole two toys?

    I am an IBC (rare breed of Irish Born Chinese) and my parents are from Hong Kong. Being back in my native homeland, what I wish to see is that locals will open up their eyes to the fact that there is a problem in this society, that we gotta do something about it, instead of comparing to those worse off than us in order to feel better about ourselves.

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