Aussie Tourist Blasts Hong Kong Manners, Says, ‘I Shall Not Return!’

Culture Wars

Australian visitor to Hong Kong says he spent a week in Hong Kong and found the city to be “an eye opener – full of life, excitement, and colour”. As for the people? They were “very rude.” he says.

Hong Kong people Causeway Bay Mr Drake

Pedestrians crossing the street in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay district Photo Credit: Mr Drake via Wikimedia Commons.


Are Hong Kong people rude? Does this affect the former British Crown Colony’s tourism industry?

An Australian visitor to the city was so upset with his experiences here that he wrote a letter to the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong’s largest circulation English language daily newspaper.

Steve Stefanopoulus of Melbourne, Australia, said that he had recently returned to Australia from a week long holiday in Hong Kong and found the city to be “an eye opener – full of life, excitement and colour”.

Steve’s letter continues:

“The streets were bustling, the food was amazing, and the shopping was great. But I am sad to say that the locals were very rude.

“I have never come across so many rude people. No one held the door open for another person to walk through. No one offered their seat to a pregnant woman or elderly person. No one said please, thank you, or excuse me. Yet there are plenty of signs asking everyone to cover their mouth when they sneeze or cough.

“I would not recommend Hong Kong as a tourist destination, purely because of the rudeness of a large number of local residents I encountered during my week long stay.”

Wow, Steve!

That’s quite an indictment!!!

Your Feedback Wanted!

Okay, readers. Is there any truth to what Steve says?

I would love to get some feedback, both from people who live in Hong Kong that have traveled a bit – and from people from outside Hong Kong that have visited the city.

  • How do Hong Kong people’s manners compare with those in other cities in Greater China – Beijing, Guangzhou, Macau, Shanghai, and Taipei?
  • How about other cities in Asia – Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Seoul, Singapore, and Tokyo?
  • What about cities in other parts of the world?
  • And finally, would rudeness affect your decision to visit to a city? Should the Hong Kong Tourism Board be concerned?

Send your comments to: Accidental Travel Writer. Don’t forget to include your name (or first initial if you prefer to remain anonymous) and where you live.

 

 

Advertisements

34 Replies to “Aussie Tourist Blasts Hong Kong Manners, Says, ‘I Shall Not Return!’”

  1. One thing bothering me is their manners of phone call in public spaces. they use phone in everywhere, even in the subway or buses, and they speak so laud so goes me crazy. But I cannot imagine the city in a quiet atmosphere. It just sometimes feels like too energetic for me.

  2. It was very enlightening to read these 2 comments. I live in San Francisco which is very close to being 50% Asian residents. I thought the lack of manners towards elders, women, pregnant women, had to be cultural. I especially noticed it on the Muni/transportation system. The front seats are for seniors & disableds, and you are required to give up your seat to those who need it. But, the Asian men, young and old, very rarely do. I could almost say never…to anyone. That said, I love living in SF, I love the great cultural diversity. It is my kind of city.
    Pat, San Francisco

  3. These chinks have not learnt a single bit of manners after 100 years of British colonial rule. Most of these bastards only care for Number 1, i.e. MONEY. Don’t blame it on the Chinese Government either. As I said 100 years of British occupation and education taught these arrogant chinks nada. 90% of them cannot speak ENGARISH to save themselves.
    Hong Kong was a lovely place and it had potential, but so the saying goes… you can take a Hong Kong chink out of the stinking council flat, but you cannot take the stink out of them.
    By the way, I am 100% Chinese and proud to be Chinese, and I am so glad that I do NOT come from that sewer.

  4. Was there in Dec 2012. Will never visit again if not for business. Rude, dirty, loud, spitting. Just a nightmare. when I had to ask for direction, I ll pick a western as I know I ll have a high chance of getting a response. Btw I m a chinese n I l ashamed my follow race behaves so barbaric

  5. Funny how you find all these little things to be rude, but yet it’s ok to get drunk and act like a fucken ass in public. Remember when your fucken Aussie foot ball team jump on top of a local taxi and started swearing at the locals, I guess that’s ok because they say please and thank you.

  6. Let’s not be condescending now – as we all know, Australians don’t actually possess the best reputation for mannerisms either. One only needs to visit Lan Kwai Fong in Hong Kong on any given Friday or weekend evening to see truckloads of Aussies behaving badly. And of course there are the Aussies in Bali and the horrid behaviour that takes place in Niseko Hokkaido Japan – Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Fight! Fight! Fight!

  7. Please understand and spread the differences between HK people , PRC-colonised puppets in HK and the PRC tourists in HK.
    Most of your unpleasant experiences are due to the PRC-colonisers (HK people can’t stop their immigration into HK up to now) and PRC tourists.
    The overcrowding is caused by the government by HK people through suffrages because PRC has postponed and enervated the governing system.
    Indeed, please help spread and raise awareness on support on HK people to get HK autonomy running smoothly in HK.
    Thanks. : )

  8. Please understand and spread the differences between HK people , PRC-colonised puppets in HK and the PRC tourists in HK.
    Most of your unpleasant experiences are due to the PRC-colonisers (HK people can’t stop their immigration into HK up to now) and PRC tourists.
    The overcrowding is caused by the government *NOT selected and controlled* by HK people through suffrages because PRC has postponed and enervated the governing system.
    Indeed, please help spread and raise awareness on support on HK people to get HK autonomy running smoothly in HK.
    Thanks. : )
    Corry for the missing words and typos in my previous post.

  9. Way to go! Call them all chinks and show them how much manners you have -_-. Government has a lot to do with it. I’m from Hong Kong myself and I do agree that some of them can be rude; however, since when do they have to speak Englsih in a CHINESE country?? PRC people keep taking up space and show no respect for our culture or space. Just because all the rich PRC residents can come live here and buy all the land is wht’s contributing to the HK citizen problem. You should be able to speak Chinese, so there shouldn’t be any problem since you’re 100% Chinese 😛

  10. I am not a mainlander. But then HK is not new to me. I am coming here since 2004. Trust me you are absolutely wrong. may be you dotn feel it because you are part of the system. but someone who comes from outside does feel that.
    I am coming from Singapore and earlier used to live in Shenzhen. You gotta come down to Singapore and elsewhere and understand what steve said is so true. Just today morning few rude incidents happened. And it was not a mainlander. It was one of HK-ers.
    I had gone to exchange money and infact the exch shop rate was even worse than the hotel concierge. I only urged softly that how come the rate of her is lower than hotel. actually it should be the other way around. and all I got to hear from her were – Don’t cry, I will match the price. and right before me too, there was a customer who had a fight with her…
    that’s not all. even the taxi drivers are so rude at times. list is endless.
    It be good for any tourist to be mentally prepared to have some 1 or 2 odd events to make it a memorable trip about how rude is HK !!

  11. No actually, most, if not all of my negative experiences on a recent vacation from rude hongers. My grandparents are from Shanghai and I found it to be one of the most civilized cities. I encountered a very rude person, and being second generation Canadian I’m not afraid to be assertive to the really rude ones- I asked her where she was from originally. Not surprisingly, all of the ones I approached were ones from Hong Kong. The rude people I encountered in Shanghai (budging in lines, shoving, etc) were also people visiting from Hong Kong….because they kept bitching about “lowclass mainlanders”. I realize almost all the hongers have this negative attitude which tries to put down PRCs when they are doing far worse. Hypocrisy at its worst. Definitely shed a new light on Hong Kong for me; I never want to go back. Also, I’m sick of hongers littering the beautiful city I live in and having no manners at all. All originally from Hong Kong…coming from a previously unbiased person who lives in the west.

  12. I am more than a tourist but my experience may shed some light from an Asian’s perspective. Repost: I worked in hong kong for a few years. Generally I have more bad experience with Hong Kongers than good ones. I grew up in Singapore. I speak cantonese more slowly and with a slight accent. I am usually mild mannered which doesn’t look smart to them. I am also not as familiar with the culture the way they expected me to. Sometimes my colleague teased me but I just shrugged it off. I constantly come across with acquaintance, e.g., shop keepers, people at events, the hong kongers judged me within 1 minute and make me feel like I am not worth talking to, or worse somebody who should be looked down at – until I speak english. Hong Kongers are the most impolitely snobbish and quick-to-judge people I have ever met around the world. I had even worse experience working with hong kong bosses. I ever worked in an office whereby the hong konger bosses – yea, more than one, constantly degrade the employee’s physical appearance, family background, …and everything personal under the sun, and even pat each other’s on the back for being the ‘meanest’. There are less extreme but other creepy example of a supervisor who looked suppressed all the time, and sometimes like to write email in BOLD RED letters to warn me about what he think is major mistakes, e.g., Being not on time while my job can also be done at home. Not to mention, the hong konger’s boyfriends I used to date would openly discuss the possibility of cheating, hey I never say I am open to “open relationship”! Now I am happily married to non-hong konger and left hong kong for good.

  13. I worked in hong kong for a few years. Generally I have more bad experience with Hong Kongers than good ones. I grew up in Singapore. I speak cantonese more slowly and with a slight accent. I am usually mild mannered which doesn’t look smart to them. I am also not as familiar with the culture the way they expected me to. Sometimes my colleague teased me but I just shrugged it off. I constantly come across with acquaintance, e.g., shop keepers, people at events, the hong kongers judged me within 1 minute and make me feel like I am not worth talking to, or worse somebody who should be looked down at – until I speak english. Hong Kongers are the most impolitely snobbish and quick-to-judge people I have ever met around the world. I had even worse experience working with hong kong bosses. I ever worked in an office whereby the hong konger bosses – yea, more than one, constantly degrade the employee’s physical appearance, family background, …and everything personal under the sun, and even pat each other’s on the back for being the ‘meanest’. There are less extreme but other creepy example of a supervisor who looked suppressed all the time, and sometimes like to write email in BOLD RED letters to warn me about what he think is major mistakes, e.g., Being not on time while my job can also be done at home. Not to mention, the hong konger’s boyfriends I used to date would openly discuss the possibility of cheating, hey I never say I am open to “open relationship”! Now I am happily married to non-hong konger and left hong kong for good.

  14. One cannot blame the government for everything, as noted HK were rules by the British for over 100 years, and yet you still haven’t learnt anything from them. I’m a BBC and i’am certainly disgusted with how HK people treat others and certainly people who come to to try out working in HK , it would be nice if HK people would have had the decency to say Hello in the morning at work. HK are always constantly not happy with anything it seems. There is no culture other than rude inhabitants who shop and have loud phone calls.
    I am truly disappointed with the hospitality of HK people. you dont deserve to be called an international city, as you don’t seem to possess the ideals and values of what it is be “international”. “Asia’s world city” is certainly total Bull…

  15. Being a world traveler, the one thing I learnt was not to stereo-type people based on nationalities or culture. But oh my God! Most, if not all HKers were so rude i can’t believe those incidents really happened with me. The city has everything to make it an international, cosmopolitan hub that it claims to be. Except the mentality of the locals. Never seen such a rude bunch of people. Mean, abrasive, racist and judgmental. Never coming back to Hong Kong. We don’t need Hong Kong.

  16. In my experience, it’s the Australian tourists who are the loud, rude, littering, obnoxious ones. They all seem to crowd around the same tourist traps eating the same food and drinking the same drinks they get at home.

  17. Hong Kong people are rude to the max and have very low EQ. They love putting down other people but when it’s being done to them, they will hate you for it. Generally speaking, they know very little about other parts of the world. The need for ‘face’ is the most annoying because you gave to treat them like babies essentially.
    When I have enough money, I will leave Hong Kong for good.

  18. Yup, I’m from Malaysia. I am here for holiday, I can understand cantonese but I don’t speak fluently. I feel like shit in hong kong. Almost everyone I met is so rude and judgemental. From the waiters, shop keepers, sales girls, hotel staffs etc, they are so impatient and rude! I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears. There was one waiter who told me to speak Cantonese when I spoke English to him just because I’m asian, what kind of narrow minded imbecile are u! My friend told me maybe it was because those hongkong ppl think we are from mainland china as we don’t speak fluent Cantonese. What a racist bunch of shits u hongkongers are! how can u look down on others like that. I feel so sorry for u all hongkongers. Will never come back to this disgusting place.

  19. Wow! So sorry you had such a negative experience in Hong Kong.It’s funny that when you spoke in English they wanted you to speak in Cantonese because you were Asian. I have the opposite experience. Because I’m white, if I speak in Cantonese they will inevitably respond in English.

  20. Oh please another HKer loser who blame everything on the mainlander. I’m oversea Chinese from Malaysia but live in Australia been to both mainland and HK and I can speak mandarin and bit of cantonese have to tell you HKer are outright rude. They look down on their own people and if you speak mandarin they will treat you like shit. But they will bow down to you if you are white hence explaining why so many local gals willing to open their legs as long you are a westerner (you need to have white skin though). They suffer from gross inferiority complex and many of them think they are British problem is most of them can’t even speak English.
    I learned my hard lesson, speak to them only in English and take their women most of them local men are weak and skinny, just look at Joshua Wong for instance, I think he is the leader of some localism group or something wanting to seek independence from China. lol dream on, go to gym and become a man before you even though of leading the people.

  21. Very sad but very true. These things happen every day, almost whenever you are out. I am a Hong Kong native, and I don’t know how come people here can bump into you or step on your shoes and still keep their eyes looking at the ceiling and walk away with intolerable arrogance, literally they don’t even “shrugged it off”. This is just one of the many examples of extreme rudeness you need to bear in HK. I used to think these behaviors are normal for the grown-ups until I started travel the world. HKers like to relate anything good to the UK and everything bad to the Mainland. Come on! Do we have the ability to set things right by ourselves instead of being influenced by this and that? People here like to complain about the bad manners of the mainlanders and blame them for being uneducated. Well, I cannot see how educated rudeness is better than uneducated bad manners. Here in Hong Kong, people seem to be deliberately rude, being impolite on purpose, in order to show you their superiority (question: from where?). You could disagree with me but these are what I feel: “Sorry” is a word reserved for the losers here, open the doors for others shows your stupidity and inferiority and don’t be an idiot to expect gratitude. You have to be very quick when entering an elevator otherwise people are likely to furiously press the close button. You even need to be very careful of saying “good morning” here – I have encountered a bus driver kept saying good morning to every passenger get on the bus during the rush hour and all the zombies just pay and go catch their seats, not a single response was heard, I am not joking. If you live in HK you know what I mean. Do not believe? Come check yourself. Agree with the Malaysian, if you are white you are likely to feel a bit better, because HKers may sometimes magically forget their superiority in front of white faces.

  22. I hate HK and I will never GO Back There again
    If you are an Asian who cant speak Cantonese or well (must be authentic HK accent) it seems like they can catch who are the real ones vs the not real ones ), please go to other country to enjoy your holiday where you are definitely more appreciated. (It doesnt matter if you speak English to them, they just judge u based on how u look/dressing.. unless u have blue eyes or blonde hair)
    If you are dark coloured, forget about coming to HK at all. Dont waste your time here!
    If you are elderly and Asian, DONT EVER GO TO HK!
    It’s dirty, the air is bad, the place is crowded, the people are rude~

  23. Wow i have the opporsite experience. Everyone i speak to replies in english and even in cantonese with a lot of role play and pointing , the ladies at the street markets were so excited when i learnt the names of the feuits and numbers .. I now say please and thanku to them and they reply with a thanku and your welcome in cantonese. I love hk, my favourite city, i like the locals. Im from aus also.but live in hk.

  24. WOW! What a fresh of fresh air, Jasmine, to hear from someone that has something positive to say about the people in Hong Kong! I’ve found that many of the stall-keepers at wet markets are, in fact, quite friendly. With the exception, of course, of a few that automatically multiply the price several times when they see a foreigner.But generally speaking I enjoy shopping at the wet markets, as well!

  25. They are indeed very rude and even taxi drivers didn’t want to take us. Nobody or rarely someone could speak English. Even big shopping as harbour city the staff couldn’t explain or assist us. The drivers will try to hit you if they see you on their way. People push you and never say sorry. What a city with disgusting people. Who thinks they’re higher than everyone else but acting so cheaply.. how horrifying it’s like an Alien’s town!!!! Will never gooooo back!!

  26. But mostly here are really rude. And the writer said most of the locals not all of them. It’s a sad truth. Been working here and i have observed the rudeness of the people.

  27. I agree!!! They are mostly rude to Asian people especially to foreign workers who are working as a helper. They don’t even see the fact that the workers are working their assess off to please them.

  28. Couldn’t agree for more..the most detailed one. 👏👏👏 they are people full of insecurities and hypocrites because if you are secured of yourself and your being you don’t need to bully others to feel highly of yourself and be rude all the time.

  29. I never ever expected all the rudeness here to be honest but here i am seeing all of these things happening in front of my eyes and i feel so pained that i couldn’t do anything about it. We don’t have a law to put rude people behind bars. Someday i would really leave here for good and no coming back

  30. I just came back in the Philippines from a 7-day trip in Hong kong. I would say it was an amazing city. Tourist spots and food were astounding BUT I dont like locals. They were rude and no spark of decency. They were not approachable. I had one terrifying experience while shopping in Mongkok and Bus driver were grumpy. They dont know how to smile. I came in to the point where I had to compare to the country where i came from, The Philippines. Hong Kong might have the progress at its peak, but The Philippines has the best people. Sad to say i shall not come back to HK.

Leave a Reply