So why is everyone shouting?
Well, they really aren’t angry. The syllabic, tonal nature of the Cantonese language accentuates the staccato, rapid fire delivery and makes it sound as though people are fighting. They aren’t fighting, but people do often talk more loudly in public than you may be accustomed to. Perhaps they’re trying to be heard over the noise of Hong Kong! Some of the items that are “out of stock” at the supermarket were never in stock in the first place.
What does 'Out of Stock' in groceries actually mean?
“Out of stock” is often used to mean “we don’t carry it” or “we haven’t had that for years” or “the only supplier is now selling to our competitor.” When supermarkets do run out of things early in the day every day, I always wonder why they just don’t increase the order. I’ve asked market managers about this but have never got a clear answer. Some things will always be a mystery. Be on the look-out for specialty markets where you can source unusual ingredients.
And why won’t that taxi stop for you at the corner?
Vehicles are not allowed to stop where there are double yellow lines, nor are they allowed to turn across double yellow lines. They may stop on single yellow lines, but only at restricted times, so check the nearest road signs on the pavements. Taxi drivers face stiff fines for stopping in restricted areas, so they usually won’t do it. There are many marked taxi ranks in Hong Kong and some unmarked ones as well. Once you started looking for them, you’ll see them everywhere. Watch where the locals catch taxis and follow their example.
And what about all those people sitting in the streets on Sunday?
For most of the domestic helpers working in Hong Kong, Sunday is their day off. They go to church, meet their friends and sit together sharing talk and food. You’ll hear them speaking Tagalog, the language of the Philippines, as well as Tamil, Thai and Hindi. They’ve been inside small apartments for six days, so this is their weekly opportunity to socialise outside, as they would do in their own countries.