More Reader Feedback on Hong Kong Manners

I expected to run one, maybe two, follow-up posts on the letter from Steve Stefanopoulis of Melbourne, Australia, who wrote to the South China Morning Post a few weeks back complaining about the rude manners of people in Hong Kong.

He was particularly upset that seats on public transport were never offered to pregnant women or the elderly.

No other post has ever attracted this much feedback from readers of the Accidental Travel Writer. Just when I think I should give the subject a rest, more letters arrive in my inbox.

Here is another sampling of what readers have to say about manners in Hong Kong.

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To Helena Wong of Hong Kong, bad manners in public gets down to a herd mentality. If everyone else is rude, why shouldn’t I be rude? She writes:

“First, I think it’s mostly people from China. If you happen to visit China, you will never be able to get on a bus.

Shame on us Chinese!

“Mostly because … education (which you have mentioned [in the Accidental Travel Writer]). When one person starts doing it (not having manners), the others follow the herd as they would think: ‘If I’m lining up, I look so stupid and not taking full advantage.’

“Secondly, also a Chinese characteristic: not to speak up. Most people just stand there and let others get in the queue before them and won’t say a word. It’s like who’s got a louder voice wins.”

Accidental Travel Writer Responds

You have valid points, Helena. I have noticed that most people in Hong Kong are very tolerant of the rude behaviour of others. They want to avoid confrontations. So they suffer in silence.

The upside of this is that you rarely see arguments or fights in Hong Kong – unlike the mainland, where they are much more common.

The downside is that because no one will challenge rude behaviour, selfish people take advantage of this, knowing that they can jump queues and push people out of the way with impunity

. . . . . . . . . . .

H. F. of Palo Alto, California, advises shoppers to avoid shopping malls in China when sales are taking place. He writes:

“If they want to see ‘rude’, check out a shopping center in China during a sale. That same type of behavior is brought to Hong Kong.

“It doesn’t surprise me that an Aussie would comment in such a manner. I found Australians very polite and friendly.

“Australians also don’t have the housing density and stresses Hong Kong is subjected to, either.

“I still love Hong Kong with its faults and many pluses.”

Accidental Travel Writer Responds

Crowded conditions don’t bring out the best in people. In Tokyo, the people seemed very polite – until rush hour.


I thought I was being attacked!! I have NEVER seen such aggressive behaviour!!!

The rest of the time they were very polite and extremely considerate

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M. K. is a Japanese national that has lived in Hong Kong for many years. She likes the people here, finding them friendlier than the people in some Western countries She writes:

“I like Hong Kong people because they are actually very kind and welcoming once you know them. Even some shop keepers, their interface may be rude, but they are often kind if you talk to them nicely.

“On the other hand, I found it completely opposite in some Western countries.”

Accidental Travel Writer Responds

I agree with your observation. There can sometimes be an extreme disconnect between the way people behave in public and the way they behave in private.

More Comments to Follow

To Read the Original Post

My post on 22 July 2011 about a visitor from Australia that wrote a letter to the South China Morning Post criticizing the lack of manners in Hong Kong struck quite a chord.

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

Copyright: Michael Taylor Pictured: people crossing the street in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay district Credit: Mr Drake via Wikimedia Commons

One Reply to “More Reader Feedback on Hong Kong Manners”

  1. I don’t think that it is just Hong Kong. I have seen some really bad manners in Seattle, WA regarding seats on buses. Los Angeles, CA is pretty good about manners on buses and trains. It depends on the culture. Chivalry is not dead, it’s good netiquette.

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