Hong Kong – The Good, Bad & Ugly


The good, bad and ugly in The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of The People’s Republic of China…

The Good

  • An early morning MTR blow dry – because you’re worth it.
  • Being told “your Cantonese is so good”, after saying two words in Cantonese.
  • Wearing a jumper when it dips to 20 Celsius.
  • Never being more than one hour’s travel away from anybody.
  • Streets composed entirely of shoes, flowers, birds, wedding shops etc… Convenient but surely bad business sense!?
  • MTR fun run challenges when changing at Admiralty.
  • Very fresh fish and meat, killed upon purchase.
  • Defunct shops which suddenly become fully functional supermarkets in two days flat.
  • School kids with backpacks bigger than themselves.
  • The harbour National Day fireworks, with a million people yelling ‘WAAHHH!’.
  • Market traders willing to accept any major currency. Only in the capital of capitalism!
  • Octopus card – it’s brilliant.
  • The tax-free cheapness.
  • Mobile reception in tunnels and on the underground.
  • Hilarious product/shop/road names – e.g. Sod/Wanko/Man Fuk Road (funny for the first week anyway)
  • Mirrored interiors in lifts so you can check yourself out before your grand entrance.
  • Convenience – everything, everywhere. Anything on your doorstep.
  • Countryside & lush beaches a bus ride away – HK is only about 20% developed!
  • Soya milk cheaper than milk-milk.
  • 7-11 vs. Circle-K – 24-hour shops/restaurants.
  • Super fast death defying public light bus journeys – almost as terrifying as late breaking double deckers as they pull up to the bus in front. Aiya!
  • Public infrastructure still in place – toilets, playgrounds, BBQ areas, showers – and it doesn’t get vandalised by chavs.
  • The sterilised cleanliness – streets literally jet washed every week.
  • The locals’ blind panic and run-for-cover when there’s a drop of rain.
  • Kick-ass typhoons.
  • Bamboo scaffolding – “stronger than steel”!

The Bad

  • Developing an obsession with lifts and pressing the close door button 50 times.
  • Taxi traffic jams at 3 o’clock in the morning!
  • “Prince Jewellery and Watch Presents… is bought to you by Prince Jewellery and Watch!”
  • The nasty sweaty summer months – ridiculously humid. Air-con becomes a human right.
  • Pollution – stinks.
  • Islanders talking about the New Territories (10mins away), like it’s the squalid and uninhabitable outback
  • Cockroaches and mozzies.
  • Chinese food – doesn’t do it for me. Would you like food with your MSG?
  • Locals who have only 2 gears – ‘ultra-slow’ or ‘throwing-you-out-the-way’ fast.
  • Claustrophobia – small.
  • Highest flat rental prices in the world.
  • ATV dude – the same announcer for every trailer, advert and ident on the English channel.
  • Bread and milk – full of sugar.
  • Fashion dogs – usually of the ‘small yapper type’ variety.
  • Being followed around shops by pushy assistants giving a running commentary – back off lady!
  • Umbrellas when it’s sunny – women obsessively protecting themselves from getting the slightest tan.
  • Creepy big, old Western guys who’ve bagged themselves a 20-year-old local girl.
  • The prices of imported exotic luxuries such as cheese, cornflakes, cucumber, decent chocolate and proper mushrooms.
  • Ridiculously law abiding Hong Kongers who refuse to cross a road on red, even with no traffic for miles.
  • Hello Kitty everything (including sex toys, underarm sweat absorbers, sanitary towels etc…)
  • Water – boil it, or expect the shits for a week.
  • Whining imperialist old ex-pats who know less Cantonese than me.
  • “Copy Watch? Copy Watch? Rolex? Suit?” – relentless nagging from the Indian touts in TST.
  • Brolly wars. Well meaning locals who raise their umbrellas as not to poke anyone else’s face, only to catch you full-on in the eyeball – and it’s not even raining.

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