Monday, 12 May 2014

Xinhua's Travel Tips

Some mainland tourists behaving badly on Hong Kong streets...
The Chinese state media agency Xinhua has now waded into the tourism fiasco with a list of do's and don'ts for mainland visitors to Hong Kong.

They are:

DO:
- Keep clear of roads and avoid blocking paths
- Speak softly
- Refrain from bumping or pushing people
- Refrain from yelling to people from afar
- Treat service staff politely
- Refrain from haggling prices down too far

DON'T:
- Eat or drink in the MTR
- Smoke in a no-smoking zone
- Litter or spit on the ground
- Cross the road when there's a red man
- Ride in the first-class train carriage without paying
- Forget to wear your seatbelts in a taxi

Interestingly the article does mention the Mongkok incident where a couple's child was doing some bathroom business on a busy street and two locals filmed the incident, but Xinhua does not say explicitly that mainlanders should not urinate in public.

In the hopes of providing some context, the article adds: "Hong Kongers have a strong sense of self -- they don't like to inconvenience, impede or affect others with their actions."

This observation gives an idea of what mainlanders think of Hong Kong people. But it's not really about a strong sense of self -- it's about making things efficient for everyone because we're all in a hurry, whereas mainlanders take their time with everything. When I lived in Beijing, my colleagues would comment that I walked so fast or I completed tasks so quickly...

And then Xinhua adds: "And while visiting someone's place, one must learn to adhere to that place's rules -- it is a kind of respect for Hong Kong and also to protect mainland tourists themselves."

This advice should be heeded not only in Hong Kong, but anywhere mainlanders travel to. They should not expect the red carpet treatment everywhere they go and to show some humbleness or interest in the foreign countries they are visiting. Isn't that what traveling is about?

Now that this list of tips is out, how many will really adhere to them?

We shall find out in the next few weeks and months...

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