Sunday Ramblings: Caught in the Hong Kong Thunderstorm

Bustling bustling, off the train, up the stairs through a mini shopping mall, up more stairs and wade through the crowd and there it is, nestled amongst the endless heights of compact residential units is the Wong Tai Sin temple. A week back after Hong Kong hit me and ran I am still left bustling, excited, talking in cantonese a million miles and hour, and frustrated at how the escalators elevators and waiters are more than just a fraction slower back here. I got caught in the Hong Kong thunderstorm and my adrenalin is still pumping. The thing about Hong Kong is that most people are going somewhere, doing something. Efficiency and productivity is in their blood, in the system. That explains why they are holding up during hard times. That and the millions of chinese from the mainland flooding the place, buying the stuff, pushing up prices.

For those who think that all chinese are chinese, observe again. I was in the taxi asking a bulk of questions about the main differences after 1997 handover and the answer was, the chinese. The thing is they are getting richer these days, and well, they are not very responsible about it. Pushy, brash, rude, they taint the landscape a little with their inconsiderate spitting, loud prattling and unpolished manners. So I have heard, from more than just that particular very entertaining taxi driver.

I am not a fan of hustle and bustle. In fact I am all for the paced out, take in the world sorta lifestyle but I cannot help commending the Hong Kong-ers for it. There is a sort of diligence about it that is great to see. People work hard, grasp every opportunity, and well they do earn from it. It is fair and square. The thing about Hong Kong though is that there will never be rest. It is a fast moving, consumer society where the price of real estate is so ridiculously high it is hardly affordable. They are constantly pushed to work and work towards something they will hardly ever be able to afford, unless of course you are a millionaire’s child, or up there with Li Ka Shing and his types. The other thing about Hong Kong? It is so packed that they hardly have the space for their own agriculture. So as you can guess, everything is imported, which makes it well, more expensive really. (And China while it is close by is hardly the best place to import goods from, the Chinese themselves come down to HK and hoard supplies like milk powder esp after that melanin episode). So there is this bustling financial district that is the hub of everything, fashion forward, up to date with the latest technology, and dependent upon the world to keep going. It really shows. (I am not condoning this fast-paced consumerist lifestyle, but hey they have demonstrated qualities we should pick up).

I used to think Hong Kongers were rude. But this trip had changed my perception quite a bit. I was comfortable, their front desk services I have to say are one of the best. They are efficient, and focused. So no time for small talk, or well, they are less tolerant with minglers and indecisive customers. They are direct. And not hesitant when it comes to reprimanding. But I was comfortable. Because I learnt, knew exactly what I had to do, and moved on. And I knew exactly what they thought. Refreshing. Here it is a bunch of people walking around not knowing they are offending others, repeating their mistakes because nobody tells them off. How is that – yes, efficient?

We are all responsible for ourselves and I have come to learn that confronting, or at least speaking my mind appropriately is the responsible thing to do. How else would others know better, right? I mean all this fake tolerance breeds is resentment, and while we can be the Top Most Friendliest country, is it even real? Is our friendliness real or are we just great pretenders. There are cracks in our system we need to fix. Seeing it does not change anything, it is saying something, and then doing something about it that would make the difference.

Malaysia is beautiful, it could be even better, and that is the thing, we are always tougher on our own, we should be. Because we should stand and demand it to move forward, to be better, not sit in that lukewarm substandard state as everyone else overtakes us and all that we are good for is Nasi Lemak? Now seriously? (even that, quality is lagging I have to say ask the older ones, our food is not as good as we think it is, not anymore).

Speaking of food I have to say this. When I was in Japan, I quickly learnt that it was okay for me to walk into any li’l stall or pick up food from a convenience store, because while it won’t be awesome, it would be good enough. In Hong Kong, the same wantan mee stall has to be on its toes and keep churning out great wantan mee, quickly, otherwise the stall down the road takes over. Competition is good for the soul. It is good for the economy. Malaysians know what I’m saying…It is time to buck up. It is time to build a culture that is resilient enough to take us where we want to be, who mentioned High Income Nation?

Time to shed the complacency and get with the programme. That is what I think.

I really can’t help feeling this way, sorry fellow Malaysians.

Yes it is time to MOVE IT MOVE IT.