Hong Kong Office Zombies

In Hong Kong, it doesn’t so much matter what you do at work…it’s how long you’re there. Here’s some highlights from Amy Wu’s article, Office Zombies, which appeared in the SCMP, Oct 27, 2011:

Yuk Fong won't go home


Amy Wu says it’s time Hong Kong bosses and workers realised it’s not the number of hours you put in that counts, but how productive you are…

I’m a big fan of the eight-hour working day. This doesn’t make me very popular in Hong Kong, the unofficial international capital of overwork. On any given day, Hongkongers work 10 or more hours, not counting weekends or other times when gadgets blur the boundaries between work and play.

Hong Kong is a magnet for workaholics. The long queues of panda-eyed, hunchbacked white collar workers at bus stops at 8pm or 9pm tell the story of an overstretched workforce. To be sure, studies by various organisations have consistently shown that Hong Kong takes the cake when it comes to cities with the longest working hours.

CEO Luk Fung Wang commands his staff to rrrrriiiiiiissssseeee.....

Overwork takes a toll personally and professionally. A friend recently complained that she was too tired to play with her four-year-old after 10 hours at work. The culprit was a boss whose idea of worker loyalty was sleeping over at the office.

“We can’t leave until he leaves, otherwise it looks bad,” my friend sighed, seeing no end in sight.

What Hong Kong really needs is a “work less, work smarter” campaign. And the public and private sectors should consider creating a “work-life balance” committee that would hold public seminars on how to work more efficiently, or techniques on how to deal with bosses who are hopeless workaholics.”

“Workaholism” is more a part of the Hong Kong culture than anything else.”

Expat Zombie...at least he has a car...

Wong Man Fong sports the shirt his mother gave him after his third consecutive 102 hour working week.

At the end of another working week Mr Tang enjoys the sweet smell of recently discarded trash

Mr Lam fears that leaving his 9-5 job before 8pm may cause him to lose face...I'll get me coat...


Personally…I think Amy is on to something…

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7 Responses to Hong Kong Office Zombies

  1. Anonymous says:

    funniest criticism i’ve read in a while. While not constructive in tone, there are constructive points to be had. But being chinese, they wont be able to take it constructively. To us, all crticism is just that – criticism. Hah. So much like my experience when I was working in singapore. Aaah, singapore and hong kong, both fighting for the title of ‘rudest nation of asians on earth’.

  2. Anonymous says:

    oh, i wanted to add, you hit that whole ‘expat envy’ thing right on the head with that caption for that still from ‘Shaun of the Dead’. bwahahaha.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is the most objective observation that you have shared with us so far.

  4. K-man says:

    “The long queues of panda-eyed, hunchbacked white collar workers at bus stops at 8pm or 9pm tell the story of an overstretched workforce.”

    How dare you mention HK folk and pandas in the same sentence Dudley… don’t you know pandas have figured it out right… wake up…eat… lounge around in a tree all day… on occasion have some hot panda sex… and the sleep. Name one Hong Kong resident that can claim that!!!

    They are more akin to the dung beetle… spending their day pushing shit around all day, trying to make themselves feel like they are accomplishing something of use to anyone other than the dung beetle living next door.

  5. Reuben L Sushman says:

    100% correct. As someone who lived and worked in NYC for over fifteen years I thought I would try to work for a company here after following my wife over here. I previously worked at some of the top tier (still in business) investment banks and ad agencies. I used to get in to the office either somewhat early (8:00AM) by regular standards in NY or a normal time by Wall Street standards (7:00 AM). In Hong Kong I have never seen so many people who get after 9:30AM, leave at Noon for a 90 minutes or two hour lunch and waste their evening time in the office. There is no work hard/play hard mentallity. Simply work hard becauce everyone else does it, (and then drink hard in one bar in one place for four hours if you are a Brit or Aussie). A terrible excuse for lousy productivity for both the firm and the worker. I think only South Korea or Taiwan is worse. Germany of course, is 1 number for productivity-makes sense. I now still work in HK for myself and simply set my own hours yet am far more productive and enjoy myself far more without being a slave to the environment

  6. mtr25500 says:


    and to reuben: fuck off and die retard.

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