Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Those mainland Chinese - Hong Kong

View of Hong Kong skyline from Tsim Sha Tsui
M is about to complete a Master in Educational studies at a famous Hong Kong University. She is from the People's Republic of China, we've know each other for years. She a nice, sweet, extremely well-mannered girl. Nothing to do with the stereotypical Chinese who expectorate everywhere, clean their ears, nose or something else in public, chew seeds and radishes while they're sitting next to you, sucking noisily and spitting out broken shells and crushed fibers. However, since she came to Hong Kong, that stereotype has never stopped frustrating, embarrassing and humiliate her for a moment. 
Sometimes at a shop after she asks the second question about the product she intends to purchase the salesperson will tell her that "this is not mainland China, this is Hong Kong!" She tells me that the Chinese immigrants are accused of "stealing" job positions that should actually be given to the local citizens or - and this is something that directly involves her - master or doctorate posts at the best universities. She is paying for her studies, much more than what a local would by the way, and she finds this type of generalized accusations rather irritating. 
We are taking a walk in Kowloon and when we get to a junction as there are no approaching vehicles I go ahead and cross the road, as I always do, regardless of what the traffic light color is.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Chinese standing in line to take a photo with the white guy...one leads to another - Hong Kong

The giant inflatable duck floating on Victoria Harbor, just before it is found deflated
I've walked a lot today as well: I lean on a fence and look at the people walking by. Avenue of stars, that's how they called it. And they even placed the handprints of the stars of the flourishing local cinema industry on the pavement. Actually I don't know any of them, except for Jacky Chan, that little clown, and the excellent Wong Kar Way. At least I don't know their names. It's just my fault, I admit: I really liked the main actors of In the mood for love, I should remember them at least. Of course I know who Bruce Lee is. Due to chronological reasons they didn't manage to take his handprints though, therefore they erected a bronze statue of him and named him the star of the century.
Let's get back to our story. The promenade is rather busy, mainly with tourists. I relax my back and legs, stretch my neck and watch. People watching, close or from afar, in front of me of from above, has always been one of my favorite hobbies.
Suddenly a Chinese tourist (I mean from mainland China, not from here) draws near me, holding a point and shoot camera.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Unexpected hostility against the pedestrians - Hong Kong

A fisherman at Hong Kong harbor and the hazy skyline in the background
It's Sunday night and Lan Kwai Fong is not very lively. To be honest I'm not very fond of the place. In the weekends it gets crowded with assholes all dressed up, driving their fathers' expensive cars and, stamped on their bulldog faces, an arrogant expression that seems to say: "I have all this because I deserve it. Because I am what I am and you are a heap of shit!" And the bouncers - poor bastards who get paid nothing and treated badly, maybe with their work permit hanging from that lousy job - who back them up, always watching whether your shoes are shining, your shirt is freshly ironed and starched, if you smell like misery or have a misfit look, a wanker one or, even worse, both of them. On workdays they can't afford to be too picky though; they invite you to go in, and if you're wearing flip flops and undershirt they will still try to humiliate you, but in a more pathetic way: "Hey, that's not good..." they'll say as they spitefully pinch your shirt with two fingertips "...next time you dress better, OK?" Yeah, sure, next time I'll spray a couple of drops of Eau de Manure on the redneck shirt I'll be wearing. Get out of my way...you asshole, minion and pitiful loser.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A passport photo is NECESSARY! Unless... - Hong Kong

An old 20 HKD banknote and a passport picture
Usual stop in Hong Kong to get a Chinese visa. Usual stay at the Nathan road mansions, where the foreign hasslers who come here to start a new life are getting more and more annoying and the smell more and more pungent. The beehive cell-like rooms haven't gotten bigger by a bit though. Only the prices might actually have been increased. 
The Forever Bright agency at the New Mandarin plaza by Tsim Sha Tsui East MTR station is way more crowded than the last time I was there. They have even hired a guy who wears a suit and a tie and stands by the door and mounted a movable structure for the customers to form an ordered line. 
The situation at the counter is chaotic: it's a mess to receive the forms, to get information about the fees and to hand in the application papers.  I was planning to get a six-month, multiple-entry, business visa but in just a few years the fee went from 600 to 2000 HKD. I opt for the three-month, single entry, tourist one which only costs 500 HKD. 
"You need to give me a passport picture."
"Here you go!"
"No, this one has a white background, we need one with a blue background."
Shit, the blue background...