Readers Give Hong Kong Manners Mixed Reviews

Are Hong Kong people rude?

The post about a visitor from Australia that wrote a letter to the South China Morning Post criticizing the lack of manners in Hong Kong really seems to have touched a nerve. It has attracted unprecedented interest among readers of the Accidental Travel Writer.  I have NEVER received so many comments – and not only from people I know.

Daniel Creffield, editor of Asian Hotel & Catering Times in Hong Kong, spent his teenage years in Hong Kong and recently returned to the city. He was among the first to respond. He writes:

“I didn’t see this letter in the South China Morning Post, but just read it on your blog – all true!

“People here can be kind of discourteous. It’s part of the competitive spirit of the place! But that doesn’t mean they are not good natured, friendly, and helpful, as well, which they are.

“A little contradictory? Perhaps, but you can’t come to Asia expecting Western niceties – or logic! Come with an open mind and heart, though, and you won’t leave disappointed.”

Accidental Travel Writer Responds:

I really appreciate your take on this issue, Daniel.

In public, Hong Kong people can be a bit thoughtless. Once I was walking with a cane. When I opened the door at a bank to use the ATM machine, a woman rushed past me, practically pushing me out of the way – and, yes, she DID see that I had a cane.

But privately, they can  be very, very kind and helpful, as you say.

. . . . . . . . . .

Nadine Gray of Cairns, Australia, publishes a very entertaining travel blog called Travel With Papino. She was another early responder. She writes:

“Firstly, I would love to visit Hong Kong to see if I felt the same, and secondly, I feel that he may just be a whinging bastard. People that are so negative about a holiday experience really shouldn’t travel.

“OR if they do they should go to a five star resort and plant themselves there for a week.

“In this post he mentions that everything was amazing except the locals were rude… So who gives a F***? You can’t have it all!

“SAD people. Should NOT travel. If my only complaint about a country was that someone was rude, that would be amazing.”

Accidental Travel Writer Responds:

I have read your blog, Nadine, and you DO seem to have run into quite a few characters in your many, many travels!

. . . . . . . . . . 

Helen Wong lives in Hong Kong, and she travels every chance she gets – both in Greater China and around the world. She found the post so interesting that she sent it to her friends and asked them to comment, as well. She writes:

“I think one of the reasons is there are more and more people from Mainland China visiting Hong Kong, and the behaviour of some of them is not polite enough.   

“Mr Steve Stefanopoulus is telling the truth to a certain extent, and we should do something to improve our politeness.  We seldom give our younger generation guidelines on how to behave decently in  public and have consideration for others.”

Accidental Travel Writer Responds:

Interesting you say that, Helen, because I’ve noticed a marked improvement in the manners of people in Shenzhen over the last year or so – especially on the MTR.

Now most people will let passengers get off before they try to get on a train. I have seen people offer their seats to the elderly and the disabled. I have even had people offer me their seats a couple of times!

In Hong Kong those announcements seem to go unheeded, but in Shenzhen, people seem to be taking them seriously.

More Comments to Follow 

To read the letter, please click on the following link: Aussie Tourist Blasts Hong Kong Manners, Says, ‘I Shall Not Return!’)

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