Since moving to HK from Australia there have been some obvious adjustments: mainly getting used to the crowds and the fact that there is a severe lack of space! However, there are some things that happen here that I will never understand that make me feel a certain amount of cultural shock.
Last week I was shopping with my sister-in-law who was visiting from Sydney, showing off the new home I call The Kong. In Times Square, we covered what felt like a million stores until everything started to look the same. After coming up empty-handed, we decided to call it quits and to console our retail egos with Green Tea Ice Cream from City Super – always a winner! We then parted ways and I hopped into line outside of Times Square to catch a taxi home. It was the late afternoon on a weekday and the usual buzzing crowd was in full swing. Taxis were slow to come by so with the line was close to stagnant, it was the perfect time to people watch.
After a good 20 minutes of taking in some normal Hong Kong happenings: couples fighting in public and girls retouching their make-up, my eyes caught onto something that I could only put down to a cultural “wonder”. Now that I think of it I wish I hadn’t seen it, and wish I could wipe it from my memory, but it was like a car crash, so horrific, but I had to watch.
A family was in line for a taxi with a child that was about 4 years old. He was not a baby, and judging from his size was breaking the toddler barrier. After a good complain, the mother picked him up and held him pressed against her chest clutching him under his knees. I thought that was such a super-weird way to hold your kid, but to each their own! Little did I know what was to come would kick super-weird in the face.
She walked towards the trees, which lined the cab rank, and after pulling his pants off encouraged him to pee into the tree. I was mortified on many levels. One, how anyone could believe this was acceptable behaviour in public and two, the proximity that this was taking place compared to me. No one said a thing. Eyes diverted away from the scene and there was even minimal staring. I didn’t think things could get worse, but the boy then started to poo, straight onto the pavement…Still nothing, no intervention from authorities, no nothing. Holding back my deep disgust and vomit I just prayed that it would end. Finally it did, pants came back on and they hopped back into line.
All I can say is, that if you ever catch a cab in front of Times Square do not stand anywhere close to the third tree from the front. It’s literally a health hazard.
Mei Mei moved to The Kong eight months ago from Melbourne. No she doesn’t have kangaroos in her backyard, but yes she does love vegemite. She has a super love for dodgeball and gets a kick out of the fact that the primary aim is to hit others with a ball. She has zero discipline for all things peanut butter and has an addiction for people watching – they never cease to amaze her.