The Guest Room

A Hong Kong blog that does a lot more than blog

myHK: Bad Walkers vs Human Kettles in HK

photo source: sumetho

Image courtesy of sumetho,

Winter is on it’s way here in Hong Kong. It was a chilly 19 degrees celsius today! It’s coat and scarf time!

Perhaps that’s why I saw extra steam coming out of a bloke’s head as he was getting blocked left and right on his morning commute. This guy was choked! After finally busting through the wall, he quickly shot his body back around gave them the ‘Why-are-you-alive?’ stare.

They, of course, didn’t notice and continued on their merry way.

Local pedestrians!!!

I’ve heard this complaint so many times during my time in HK.

At the same time, I’ve never heard anyone boast about how amazing the pedestrians are back in their home countries.

“Everyone back in Seattle walks with such grace and consideration!” said no one.

Until now, I’ve never thought about whether pedestrians back in Vancouver are better than here in Hong Kong. First of all, it’s impossible to fairly compare the two locations. Hong Kong’s density is practically unmatched. Walking in some places in Hong Kong at the wrong time makes you as slow as the slowest commuter. Not because of inconsideration but just because of lack of space. If you were to take the average person from Vancouver and throw them into the pedestrian mix here, would they be any better?

“Hmm, that’s a good question!” you say.

Actually, it’s not. It’s a ridiculous question!

To be honest, I’m really not here to chat about walking. I’ve tricked you! Obviously coming to a sudden stop to tie your laces in the middle of the path, or walking in slow zig-zags while checking your phone isn’t good. Or my personal favourite how some people just come darting out of shops without thinking about what’s on the other side of the door.

I’m really here to talk about why you let such ignorance or mistakes affect you so much?

I could understand anger over this if someone were intentionally going out of their way to step in front of you. Or if they wanted to hit you with their umbrella instead of raising it. But, I can’t recall seeing such nastiness.

So, this level of inconsideration basically boils down to mere ignorance. I’m not saying ignorace should be accepted. But who’s worse, the ignorant pedestrian or the person who completely loses the plot over these mistakes?

I must admit, I do enjoy watching some people completely snap over situations on the MTR or on the escalator. So, in giving this tip, I am risking a loss of entertainment, but here goes…

Take a deep breath! Sometimes people around you are going to do strange things and with such a high population in Hong Kong those strange things will occur more often. Sure it may take seconds off of your life. Smile and shrug it off. Have a laugh! Life’s too short to get upset at such hiccups.

When did turning around and giving the awful pedestrian your best ‘Evil-eye’ ever change anything? And I have seen some great ‘Death-looks’ in Hong Kong during my time here.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on street life in Hong Kong . Do you agree or disagree?

Also, if you have any topics you’d like me to discuss about life in H.K. please let me know.

Mr. J

12 comments on “myHK: Bad Walkers vs Human Kettles in HK

  1. hong kong fong
    December 4, 2013

    Good points – I am a recent ex-New Yorker, and we are among the most impatient of anyone! That said, I am starting to get used to the overall slower pace of walking here and just have to leave earlier to get to where I’m going 🙂

  2. Mr. J
    December 4, 2013

    Ha! thanks for your comment HK Fong!
    Im a really fast walker as well. I love swerving around slowpokes. It makes me feel like I’m racing horses at Happy Valley.
    One tip for you though, if you haven’t already tried. I like to walk on the street along the inside of the rail-much faster!

    theguestroom is not responsible for any injuries or fines you may receive from this… 🙂


  3. homemadeinhk
    December 4, 2013

    I haven’t really encountered such annoyance. Maybe because I’m one of the slow walkers, haha. Blame it on my laid-back Californian swag.

    But on the few occasions where I am in a hurry, I also walk on street side, off the sidewalk. This works especially well in TST.

  4. Mr.j
    December 4, 2013

    Californian swag… I like that!!
    Yes, if you’re in a hurry, the cars and buses are a bit more predictable

  5. therockmom
    December 7, 2013

    However, if you’re going to step in front of me and walk slowly, please pull your head out of your phone. That’s just rude in any country.

  6. Mr.J
    December 7, 2013

    True, rude is rude. however my main point in this blog is whether we should be getting angry at ignorance. Unless you think that the person holding you up is doing so intentionally.
    We can’t correct everyone’s behaviour, so sometimes we just need to grin and take it on the chin.
    i’m not saying that i havent snapped over tiny things like people in the queue rubbing up on my butt for no reason at all ! But, I am trying to catch myself and think about the big picture.

  7. NewChinaHand
    December 17, 2013

    Socrates was sitting having lunch on the side of the road, when he was approached by a traveler. The traveler asked the Greek master: “What are the people of Athens like?” the philosopher looked the fellow up and down and asked: “Where are you from?” The traveler replied:” I hail from Pyrus. I have lived there my entire life.” Socrates then asked the fellow: “Well what are the people of Pyrus like?”
    The traveler said: “Oh the people of Pyrus are warm, friendly, caring and generally well mannered. They welcome strangers with open arms. It is a good town because the people who live there are good people.”

    The sage smiled: “My friend you will find that the people of Athens are very similar to those of Pyrus.” Happy the traveler then took his leave of Socrates and set off for Athens.

    Socrates was about to sit down to eat the first half of his lunch when he was again interrupted by a second traveler.
    Their interaction was similar to that of the first. The fellow asked the quickest way to Athens and then asked the old philosopher what the people of Athens were like. Again the philosopher asked the second traveler where he was from. Low and behold the second traveler was also from Pyrus.

    But when Socrates asked the fellow what the people of Pyrus were like, the second traveler responded: “Oh they are mean. They are greedy and selfish. No one in Pyrus has any time for strangers. They spite and snub their neighbours. It is a terrible place, full of low-life and nastiness. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. I have lived there my entire life.”

    Socrates sighed: “I am sorry to tell you this young fellow. The people of Athens are exactly as those of Pyrus.”

    The second traveler looked crestfallen. He thanked the sage for his warning and set off in the direction he came from. He told the old philosopher he would give Athens a miss. The Greek master wished him luck in his search for a town of good people.

    (Adapted from

  8. Mr.j
    December 17, 2013

    Love it!! The power of the mind, eh?!

  9. Ms T
    January 24, 2014

    So happy to hear that I am not the only one! Its driving me crazy every day and almost impossible to get used to. Will try though.

  10. Mr.j
    January 24, 2014

    Too funny MsT! Reading this blog daily will hopefully help… 😉

    But I would try walking in the road. That’s what I do

    Thanks for reading! Have a great weekend!

  11. homas
    July 4, 2014

    During my recent Hong Kong visit (21 glorious days) I too experienced the HK commute. Coming from the wide open spaces of Texas it was quite a change! But like you I got into a mind-set of enjoying and appreciating the differences. That’s really the secret of enjoying all the fun and wonders travel offers.

    • theguestroom
      July 4, 2014

      Well said Homas!
      We shouldn’t sweat the small stuff!
      Even in the extreme heat of HK and Texas 😉

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