Sunday, 17 October 2010

Socially Disconnected

Hong Kong people seem to be socially distant.

That's because their habits of socializing can be very alienating.

I recently went to a party in a small bar on the 9th floor of a building. The place was covered in smoke even though it was against the law to smoke indoors. The guests didn't seem to care and smoked up massive gray clouds in the tiny space.

On top of that they were singing karaoke completely out of tune, the range of which depended on how much they had to drink. Did I mention it was really loud too?

As a friend there observed, karaoke is a total party killer especially when some people in the room don't know each other and need a quieter atmosphere in order to network. Karaoke should be done with friends in a private room, not in a bar.

Then tonight I had dinner with relatives on the Kowloon side in a local restaurant. This eatery tried to be upscale by installing TV screens everywhere, giant flat screen ones on the walls, and smaller ones in the booths.

It's not the only restaurant to do this in Hong Kong -- many of them do the same, thinking this is what patrons want.

The end result is that people around the table are staring at a TV screen eating their dinners instead of enjoying their food and each other's company. A couple sitting next to us sat facing the screen not each other, the young woman blindly putting food into her mouth, while her husband chatted on his cellphone.

How rude is that? And how does that make for stimulating dinner conversation, let alone developing their relationship further?

This need to be connected all the time with TV screens, cellphones, Blackberries, video games and the like will reach a breaking point soon. 

Or this society is going to be even more disconnected than ever.

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