02 August 2012

Who's Uncivilized?

Last night, as a I was walking off the ferry on Lamma Island, some dude hit me in the back of the leg with his bike, twice.  The second time was hard, and certainly felt intentional.  I looked back and saw a gweilo with a Scottish flag on his hat giving me a dirty look.  I said, "could you please not do that?"  His dirty look got dirtier, but I ignored him and walked off.  A minute later, I heard him arguing with a Chinese couple; he was yelling at them and they're yelling at him.  I heard the Chinese woman say "you hit me with your bike!"  And he yelled at her, saying "you bumped into me!"  At this point, I couldn't resist saying something.  I said, "dude, you hit me with your bike too, what's your problem?"  He said, "you walked in front of me!" as if that were some kind of crime.

At this point, he was pretty outnumbered.  Not only was it three-to-one with me and the Chinese couple all on the same side, but other people joined in too, telling him to calm down and go home before he made enemies with the whole village.  He maintained that the three of us were in the wrong, and he was right to hit us with his bike, which he admitted he did intentionally.  I said, "right, the whole world is wrong, and you're right, whatever."  And he sarcastically replied "oh, so I'm an asshole."  I replied, "so we agree, you're an asshole," and walked into a store.

In these situations, I often think of stuff I wish I had said only when it's too late.  What I wished I had said was, "Look, I may have walked in front of you, and they may have accidentally bumped into you, and those things might be minor breaches of etiquette in the UK, but we're not in the UK.  In Hong Kong, the population density is a bit higher than it is in Scotland, and people walk in front of each other and bump into each other all the time.  It's normal, it's not considered rude, and nobody gets upset about it.  What is considered extremely rude in Hong Kong is verbal and physical aggression, so you're clearly the one breaking etiquette rules.  It's been 15 years since Hong Kong was a British colony, and the days of you guys imposing your etiquette rules on people here are over.  Get over it.  And if you don't like the way things work here, you can go home."

To me, Hong Kong etiquette is a very nice mix of Western and Chinese values.  The way people walk can be annoying, but I'm mostly over it at this point.  And the lack of aggression and violence is a big improvement over the violent cultures of the US and UK.

But I've observed that Hong Kong people constantly look down on Mainland Chinese people for being "uncivilized."  The idea that one of the oldest, most sophisticated cultures on Earth can be uncivilized is preposterous to me.  In many cases, Hong Kong people look down on Mainlanders not because they have no etiquette, but because they don't have British etiquette.  In Hong Kong, that may be fine.  When in Rome, do as the Romans.  So when Mainlanders break the rules here, they are no better than the guy who rammed my leg with his bike.  But when in China, Hong Kong people and Westerners have no right to look down on Mainlanders just because they have different standards of etiquette.  If they do, they are just as culturally imperialist as the self-proclaimed asshole ramming people with his bike.

26 March 2012

Hail our new Village Mayor

For days, Villagers have been puzzling over the popularity of CY Leung. While seeing a flood of "fuck no!!!" and "End of Hong Kong!" on one's Facebook wall and Twitter feed after Leung claimed the mayorship on Sunday, we're however told that our new mayor is the most popular among the three candidates at around 30 something percent approval rating. HKU's pollster Robert Chung carried out a civil referendum before the Election Committee Election of the Mayor what the fuck is that? on Sunday and managed to get about 230 thousands clueless Villagers to come out and "vote". Having 55% of these muppets casting a blank vote and only 17.8% support for CY Leung doesn't really help our understanding of the situation at all.

Libertines Pub came up with a method to measure the approval rating of our new mayor which is scientific but dead simple:

689 / 7,103,700
= 0.000096991
= 0.0096991%

So our new mayor's approval rating is 0.0096991%. End of the story. Hail our new mayor!    

01 February 2012

Libertines Pub's must-go event for February 2012: Social Media Week Hong Kong

I cannot believe I missed this for last year. I punched myself in the balls 9,000 times after I'd discovered there's something called Social Media Week. As a social media guru who's been tweeting since there was Apple II and one of the co-founders of thefacebook.com before Justin Timberlake drugged my homie Mark on dropping the "the", how is it possible for me to not be involved in this shit? Seriously!

I know, because I know the rocket science of making the font size of words on this site consistent, but the Hong Kong Social Media Week doesn't. Just scroll down this Host Committee page and see what they did with the profile of Mr Casey Lau, my fellow esteemed social media guru, digital entrepreneur, in demand speaker, prolific writer, Olympic Tug of War gold medalist. What they did to his profile is an absolute blasphemy. Why the hell do they need to make the passage reporting him being voted as "one of Hong Kong’s Most Interesting People by HK Magazine" smaller? This IS a big deal to be selected by the most authoritative magazine in this Village, isn't it? And Mr Lau is that prestige because he is the honourable host of the climax of the Social Media Week 2012; all you amateur photographers out there can basically go fuck yourself and have your expensive DSLRs Leica M9 Fuji X100 shoved right up your ass after attending this most important session of the SMW2012, which Libertines Pub highly recommends:

Getting Social with Smartphone Photography

I personally selected my favourite photos of these professional photographers I've been faithfully following for years below. You know you will definitely attend the session, and drag your grandma there too, after seeing all these stunning images by:

Tyson Wheatley: an editor at CNN.com (Oh, he meant the blog), Mr Wheatley enjoys shooting:

and IFC
Jason Tse: if you don't follow Mr Tse, you probably are eating shit on a daily basis. Mr Tse is the most followed food blogger in this Village and he shoots:

"A piece of history and culture"
and his own feet
Rita S.: Another food aficionado you ought to follow instead of those hopeless Openrice reviewers. She can be very innovative when it's down to smartphone photography. My favourites are:

Central Invasion
And more food
Lester Lim: I couldn't find his smartphone photos anywhere on the interwebs, but he must be good. He's an ibanker-turned-photographer, FFS! We all know ibankers are just second to Chuck Norris.

So for $150 you can meet all these pros. What're you waiting for? I tell you it can actually cost you $15,000 per head, if there're not these exceptionally benevolent people aiming at opening up "conversation about social media in Asia Pacific, with a focus on Hong Kong and China, through a series of creative events that connect brands, marketers, media, and the public unique venues across the city".

And you probably should never miss all the other sessions of the SMW. They're almost like humanitarian aid to you social media fags out there. For just $150, somebody will teach sell you how to write facebook apps that is a top secret rocket science. For $225, you get to know the world’s largest referral based networking organisation and have a breakfast in Soho! If you want to learn the real meaning behind buzzwords like "word of mouth networking", or if you simply want to do a buzzword bingo for the hell of it, go there! I'm splashing out my red pocket money on all the paid sessions; see you there!

11 January 2012

Seriously? This is the "racism" that gets people all upset?

Being an ignorant foreigner, I only learned about the D&G incident when a fellow Libertine posted this link on the facebook (it seems that CNN has been reduced to publishing Google translations of Apple Daily articles).  Apparently, when Chinese people working for D&G discriminate against Hong Kong Chinese people in favor of Mainland Chinese people, it's called racism.  Generally speaking, "racism" is not something that occurs between people people of the same race.  Discrimination?  Yes.  Stereotyping?  Yes.  Racism?  No.

Ok, you say, so it's not racism, but it still sucks.  That's true, but it's hardly the shittiest thing happening in Hong Kong right now...though you wouldn't know that from looking at my facebook news feed, which is full of anti D&G rage.  I think this is a case of the historical discriminator becoming the discriminated against and not liking it.  If you're used to being a member of a richer, more powerful group who has historically discriminated against other groups, it can be quite shocking to find that the shoe is suddenly on the other foot. I've seen this before, in my own motherland.  Believe it or not, there are tons of white people in the US complaining about what they call "reverse racism" (I love the term, since it exposes them as racists who think that racism has a proper and an improper, or "reverse," direction).  From affirmative action programs which give tiny advantages to the historical victims of white racism, to the color of the current president's skin, these people think they're losing their own country, and they're pissed off!

I think something similar is going on in Hong Kong between Hongkies and Mainlanders.  Hong Kong people are used to treating Mainlanders like....well....Filipinos (ok, maybe they never treated Mainlanders that bad).  Problem is, many Mainland tourists have money now, and very little sense about how to spend that money, so all the overpriced European fashion outlets now prefer Mainlanders to Hongkies, since Mainlanders make for easier victims of the mental colonialism that D&G trades in (in the US, these same gaudy fashion firms mainly target nouveau-riche black people with their marketing campaigns).  If D&G wants to discriminate against me because they think I'm not dumb enough (or rich enough) to buy all their ridiculous overpriced crap...well they're right, and I take it as a compliment.  Look, does anyone have any doubt that D&G has been discriminating against Filipinos, Indians and Pakistanis in exactly this same way for years and years?  But suddenly D&G does it to the group that's used to doing the discriminating, and it's an outrage!

The difference is that Filipinos are used to being the victims of racism in this city, and ethnic Chinese Hongkies are used to being the victimizers (just like white people in the US).  Remember the "bus incident" when some crazy Filipino dude randomly killed some small number of Hong Kong people in the Philippines and suddenly every Hongkie in the city was firing their Filipino housekeeper and spewing all kinds of racist anti-Filipino vomit all over facebook?  I do, and I also remember that fellow Libertines Henry and Eric were the only Hongkies I knew who were pissed off not at the Philippines, but at racism against Filipinos.  So here's the bottom line: if you weren't pissed off by all the anti-Filipino discrimination then, then you don't get to be angry about this stupid D&G shit now.  If you've never spoken out against the very real and very serious racism directed at Filipinos, Indonesians, South Asians and Africans in Hong Kong, and you're suddenly speaking out about this, then you're not really against "racism," you just think it has a proper, and improper, direction.