The Top 13 Mostly True Signs You’ve Become A Local Hong Konger
1. You forget how to walk.
Walking in a straight line no longer makes sense to you and your walking speed varies every ten paces, usually thanks to your addiction to your smartphone. You happen to casually zigzag in front of others to ensure that no one can get around you. Walking the streets has become a game foreigners will always lose.
2. You can justify waiting in a 1+ hour long queue for just about anything.
You’re willing to sacrifice hours of your time for that perfect xiao long bao at Din Tai Fung, or that Louis Vuitton handbag that you just have to get your hands on. Your logic is totally flawless because it’s totally worth it.
3. You lack most forms of common courtesy.
The words “please”, “thank you”, and “excuse me” barely exist in your vocabulary. You now live in a fast-paced city where no one has time to be nice and polite. Deliberately and frantically, you press the elevator-door close button when you see someone walking towards you. You have places to go and business to attend to – there’s no time to wait that extra ten seconds! Smiling is a movement your facial muscles rarely use. Serious effort and concentration is required.
4. You use two hairdryers to blow-dry your hair and/or use them to dry parts of your body off at the gym.
In the city that never sleeps, who has time to use only one hairdryer? Plus, the hot air just feels fantastic on your skin! Con: you look absolutely ridiculous. Pro: us expats get a good laugh out of it.
5. You actually enjoy trips to “The Dark Side”.
Ready for a trip to the sardine-packed, chaotic part of Hong Kong known as Kowloon? I know you are! If only there was a way you could bottle that stinky tofu smell from the food stalls. You used to do everything in your power to avoid crossing the harbour. What happened? You’re a local now. That’s what.
6. You are the human version of a sloth.
Your daily goal is to do as little physical activity as humanly possible to get by. With McDonalds and Starbucks delivery service, it’s not hard. Just the thought of walking up a set of stairs brings a bead of sweat to your forehead. Waiting twice as long for an elevator is a much better and sensible option.
7. Your table manners are seriously lacking.
When you first arrived in Hong Kong, you were mortified at the sounds coming from locals around a restaurant table. With your nose scrunched up, you would focus your judging eyes in their direction while muttering crude words under your breath. Now, you don’t even bat an eyelash at their customary day to day habits. In fact, you’re also the one spewing chicken bones onto the table!
8. You can’t remember the last time you cooked your own meal.
Your kitchen is a shoebox and you work over 12 hours a day. Do people actually expect you to cook a meal? Your poor excuse for a stove and lack of an oven gives you the right to eat out constantly. Advantage: eating local food is cheap. Disadvantage: you haven’t had a piece of fruit in at least two weeks.
9. Your skin hasn’t seen the sun in over a year.
The sun is your enemy and your umbrella is your shield. Not moving your umbrella for people walking by you on already narrow sidewalks is just part of the routine. Don’t even get me started on what the streets are like when it rains. Stay inside at all costs. Also, whitening cream has been added to your shopping list.
10. You own matching outfits with your significant other.
As you’ve quickly discovered, this is an absolutely crucial way for couples to show other people just how deeply and madly in love they are. Emphasis on the madly. What’s next? Matching haircuts?
11. Your favourite things to do include eating, taking pictures of your food, and playing Candy Crush.
Eating has become one of your favourite hobbies – sitting solo at a restaurant, shoving fish balls down your throat on the side of the road, in a crowded cha chaan teng, awkwardly out of a plastic bag, or seeing how fast you can finish (aka slurp up) a bowl of noodles.
12. You have picked up local HK-Speech.
You can’t say more than two sentences without having them end in “ok la” or “la”. When frustrated, you heavily groan “ai-yah” or click your tongue. You say “bi-byeee” with a high-pitched Chinese accent when leaving company and refer to other foreigners as gweilos.
13. You just don’t care. About anything. At all. Ever.
Except for yourself, of course. You have picked up some bizarre local habits that you’re not even aware of. You feel no shame in plucking your facial hair on the bus or clipping your nails on a bench in the park. Clearing your throat every ten seconds and spewing it out on the ground has become second nature. Your normal level of speech has gone from 70 decibels to over 100. Chewing with your mouth open and not giving your seat on the MTR to an elderly man or an expectant mother are just part of who you are now. Hong Kong has officially converted you. Welcome to the life of a local.
Note: This list was written with plenty of sarcastic, cynical, and hopefully humorous overtones by an expat who is actually head over heels in love with Hong Kong.
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Contest Comments » There are 9 comments
hahahahaha This was hilarious!! The part about closing the elevator as soon as you see someone walking towards you pretty much killed me laughing. Also, the fact that all manners/politeness are thrown out the window will probably be my favourite difference to encounter once I'm visiting HK. Really well written, girl! You definitely have a knack for pointing out the sometimes annoying, yet always humorous facts of life. Thanks for the chuckle ;)
So accurate! It makes me miss the city. Keep up these blogs, I like them!
Don't get me started on Candy Crush, I'm hoooookeedddd. Aha but honestly, do you use 2 hairdryers?! How does that even work?! Loved the read, mdear! and please don't forget to smile, I miss seeing it but I'd much prefer knowing it still existed! x
This was hilarious and entertaining! I knew it was crazy over there but this is crazier lol! I AM interested in what those dishes are that are worth waiting an hour for though! Must be amazing!
Perfect summation of life as an expat in HK! Great blog post as always, looking forward to the next installment la
Great Read Girl! Please don't come home plucking your nose hair or trimming your toe nails... in public that is not socially acceptable here... yet....
What a list! You've come up with a really funny, insightful view on what it's like to live in Hong Kong and take on their local habits. Might need to make a trip out there to experience all of that. Love your blog as well - a good laugh!
Very good - I've been in HK a while, and may eventually pick up several of these habits (if I haven't already!), but the locals willingness to queue for something as trivial as sushi I will never, ever understand...
I wish I could post a picture with a particular meme: Not sure if want to visit Hong Kong Or stay as far away as possible, haha!