09 June 2010

From Cutlery-Cleansing Ceremony to Removal of the Goddess of Democracy Statue, the road to complete Doyuness

Daveed is back with another guest post. Read his own great blog here.


The end of another academic year, and I finally have time to write something for the Libertines Pub.

Having left this Hi-Tech Village over 25 years (perhaps it wasn't so hi-tech, or even so much a "village" back then), and only come back for occasional summer holidays, I consider myself an outsider to Hong Kong.

However, during the few times that I have been back, I have noticed some peculiar group behaviours that I don't recall happening when I was still residing here, and definitely are not the norms in the UK, or indeed, other places in Asia that I have frequently visited.

The most glaring example is people washing their cutlery (chopsticks, bowls, saucers, the whole lot) when they go to a Chinese Dim Sum restaurant, or even a Cha chaan teng. Do they not trust the hygiene level of these restaurants? If so, why do they still go? I don't see that happening in western style “high-class” restaurants in Hong Kong, so are they perceived to be more hygienic? Maybe they are, but I have a few questions for those who practise this "cutlery-cleansing ceremony" (I hereby call it CCC for short) regularly:

  1. Is the boiled water from the tea-pots with which you use to cleanse your cutlery some kind of magic detergent that sterilises anything on contact? (I see people just pour the water into the bowls etc, give it a stir, and then pour it out straightaway!)
  2. In other neighbouring places (including places with lower levels of hygiene, e.g. the Mainland, or places with higher levels of hygiene, e.g. Japan and Taiwan), this practice has not taken on. So why does it happen solely in Hong Kong?
  3. Are you the same people who frequently visit street hawkers who sell their delicious-smelling eggettes, fish balls and other "ultra-clean" tasty nibbles?

As a guy myself, I'm not that fussy about the hygiene levels of restaurants, as long as it's not too disgusting or noticeable (i.e. visible cockroaches or other stuff on the dishes that do not belong there!). So maybe guys do it to impress / not anger their date. I mean, if you don't perform CCC when you're with your new hot date, she may look down on you as some kind of unhygienic subhuman, yet when you walk along the streets of Causeway Bay or TST afterwards, she would ask / demand you to buy her some freshly baked eggettes, because they smell so nice.

There is a phrase in Chinese called Doyu (多餘), or more commonly in Cantonese DoXyu (多X餘), which literally translates to things or actions which are "unnecessary", or "fxxking pointless", but in fact has a far stronger tone and deeper implications.

The reason why this phrase is used so often in Cantonese is perhaps Hong Kong is full of people who are indulged in Doyuness. I consider the practice of CCC to be an example. Another well-known example is how people in this Hi-Tech Village are all so eager to join gym memberships, yet never bother to walk down / up the stairs to their apartment, and most often take taxi to the gym and run for hours on the treadmill. Is air pollution really that bad in Hong Kong?

In a way, nobody encompasses the realm of Doyuness more than the government here. A recent example is the removal of the ugly Goddess of Democracy statue from Times Square. I am pretty sure that Big Beijing does not really mind if the statue stayed. After all, BB has turned a blind eye to most things happening in here. However, because of the removal, instigated by Bow-Tie Donald, the number of people turning out on 4th June has increased dramatically. If this is what Mr Tseng really wanted, then he’s a very cunning politician. However, I doubt this very much, and it looks very much like another case of Doyuness.


This type of "bum-licking" (or "shoe-shining" in Chinese) has happened so many times since 1997, especially under Uncle Tung. If I was Big Beijing, I wouldn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

"The type of government in power is what the people deserve!" I can’t remember who said this now, but it makes perfect sense. I don't know when the Villagers of this Hi-Tech land have become so Doyu, but the government is definitely reflecting this shift.

1 comment:

  1. It's pretty much an insult to the establishment--hey the chopsticks smell too much chlorine and the tea cups got lipstick and you know what I can clean them all better than your kitchen by pouring hot water over and surprise I still love to eat here. The practice is so entrenched and customary that the establishments take no offense and the customers find it the most natural thing to do.

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