Sunday, July 17, 2005

MRT vs. MTR and other thoughts...

Whilst I was travelling the MRT & LRT yesterday I noticed a few differences to travelling on HK's MTR...

-nobody was plugged into MP3 or other 'portable' music devices
-everyone was aware of everyone else's space...moving to allow people more space, changing hanging straps to enable someone behind to use a strap
-moving out of the way of the door to allow more people on or letting people off
-those people that were talking, were talking quietly
-if you caught someone's eye - they smiled
-I only saw two people using mobile phones

and the biggest difference ever....twice..note 'twice' a guy stood up and let me have their seat...this seemed to be fairly commonplace from what I saw...unheard of in HK...I remember once in HK standing up to let a very obviously pregnant lady sit down and this guy dived into the space and sat down...needless to say we had 'words' and he let the pregnant lady sit down!

I am not trying to knock HK...but everyone in HK seems so absorbed in their own little world that they are so unaware of others...whereas here it seems as if people are more aware of others needs.

After only a week here I can see why people say that the Filipinos are so friendly...everywhere you go you are greeted and bid actually gets quite tiring if like me you pop in and out of shops really quickly!!

One of the things that was pointed out to me before I came was the security situation HK one gets lulled into a sense of security unlike anywhere don't expect violent crime, the majority of streets are safe late into the night and in the 10 years I have lived in HK I have had one 'bad' incident...(in TST when I was trying to get home at about 2am) I have thought nothing of staggering home alone from LKF or Wanchai after a few too many...and I am sure I am not the only one!

Here, however, the situation seems to be slightly different. I must say that until yesterday I did think that reports and comments on security were exaggerated...but if they are exaggerated then why did the two Starbucks (and every other shop/restaurant I went into yesterday) I used yesterday have armed security? Surely coffee is not that valuable a commodity?! And the many pictures up on the walls of the MRT stations that show mug shots of people wanted for kidnapping and robbery and worse.....It definitely made me did the reaction of some of my team today when I told them that I went wandering around on my own yesterday afternoon...and where I was. So will maybe be just a tad more cautious in the future! Strange to relate I never really worried in Jordan...but obviously here one needs to be more aware.