Over-crowded streets, buildings, endless waiting lines outside restaurants, this is Causeway Bay Hong Kong on Saturday evenings. I encountered this kind of embarrassing moments several times, in MTR, restaurants, some busiest places in this city.
This evening, I arrived at the reception of one popular restaurant, when the receptionist was helping around somewhere else. Two girls came after me, they spoke in Putonghua, “No need to get a ticket, we can directly walk in.” They were stopped as soon as they got in by the receptionist who turned up suddenly. I still stood close to the reception desk, crying out in Cantonese, “Please, two people here!” She started to write a ticket “No. 58”, giving to those two girls. I cried again, “We are here first!” The girls said, “Give her. It doesn’t matter.” and pretended they were generous. My husband couldn’t bear any more, he shouted, “Do you misunderstand? We were here first, the ticket should be ours. You were jumping the queue, and you can’t say ‘it doesn’t matter’.”
The experience was not pleasant at all. We couldn’t help getting crossed for going through this moment that tourists jumped the queue without any regrets, which was a topic covered in Apple Daily frequently. I can’t cover up this behavior, or say any good words to describe them. They were just two tourists out of 43 million from mainland China in recent years.
I convinced one mainland tourist at Hong Kong MTR Station, when she was ready to eat a plum. “Inside the station, it’s not allowed to eat or drink.” She took my advice, getting plums back into her bag.
I also once sat with one family at one table in Tsui Wah restaurant. When the dad wanted to change the diaper of his baby on the table, I told him the toilet was at the back of the restaurant. He immediately took his baby to it.
I even saw two mainland tourists who didn’t pay when getting on bus. The bus driver stopped the bus and came to tell them in Cantonese: “Please pay the fare!” They hardly can understand it and sat astoundingly. I volunteered to translate for them in Putonghua. Finally, the problem was solved.
I was glad at these moments that gave me a sense of hope. The loose regulations on the mainland make people there not to follow strict rules when needed. I also can understand when they are in a strange city where people speak a difficult-to-understand language, they are afraid to ask questions, start conversations. The attitudes, feedback from local people may be hurting or apathetic. This is not a reasonable explanation for any misbehavior happening outside China. “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” This is the thing.
Hong Kong’s streets have been changed; shops of the same brand or franchise are replacing traditional food restaurants. Sasa, Chow Tai Fook, TSL, and pharmacies pop out in the shopping district instead. No one can deny that all this results from increasing mainland Chinese tourists pouring into the city. They like to purchase milk formula, jewelry, cosmetics, and other fast-consumed products. And they like to buy a lot. The rents are rocketing at an unbelievable speed. Another noodle restaurant behind Sogo department store is to close on January 29th.
I love this city. It gives me an environment of fair competition, clean streets, high-standard food quality, international cultures, freedoms, and many other things I can’t enjoy on the mainland China.
This fact deeply worries me that Hong Kong becomes highly reliable on the tourism from 2003, especially on mainland tourists, when the personal travel scheme was released. Not like Singapore that has developed independent electronic industries, which exempts it from getting the majority of GDP from tourism, Hong Kong is stepping into this economic pattern deeper and deeper.
Now the milk formula in the city is getting out of stock.