September 9, 2013

Wanted: toilet trainers in Hong Kong

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For years now people in Hong Kong have complained about the sanitary habits of their northern brethren.  Starting from the first wave of Mainland tourists who arrived in tour buses heading straight for Disneyland, there were numerous photos and reports about how they used drinking fountains to wash their feet, how the parents just pulled down the pants of their kids in public whenever nature called…etc.

Things seemed to have gotten worse as time went on, with kids peeing (or worse) in the middle of restaurants, on the subway (I sat next to a mother who whipped out a plastic bag and let her son pee into the bag, within arm's reach of me), and doing a lot worse.  Incensed Hongkies have taken to posting pictures on the internet to name and shame the uncouth and uneducated masses from up north.

Bashing the Big Sixers or Strong Countrymen for their "disgusting behavior" is an activity that some Hongkies do gleefully.  However, are the sanitary standards of locals really that much better and beyond reproach?


I'm a finance geek, and have spent the better part of the last two decades working in Central and Admiralty - the traditional financial heart of Hong Kong.  Most of my time here have been spent in Grade A offices that command some of the highest rents in the city.  Having worked almost exclusively for foreign investment banks, commercial banks and private banks means that most people around me are highly educated, with tertiary and post-graduate degrees from some of the best institutions of higher learning around the world.  Investment bankers are criticized as an overpaid bunch.  Just about everyone on the floor earns 6 figures and you've got your fair share of people raking in 7 figures. In Dollars.  And I'm not talking about Hongkie Dollars, either.

So why do I keep finding myself in some really disgusting toilets?!

I do not think for one minute that there has ever been one single person on any floor that I have ever worked on who was an uncouth farmer.  So why do I keep finding toilets which were not flushed properly, with tons of toilet paper still stuck inside, and sometimes with the wet and dirty toilet paper hanging out of toilet bowls?!  What kind of a person goes to do their business in the toilet, makes a disgusting mess, and then refuses to clean up after themselves??  Were they not taught by their parents or their teachers?!

Before you go acting judgmental  and blame certain segments of the population, I will come out and say that I don't think the problem is necessarily attributable to only Mainland Chinese, or Hong Kong Chinese, or whoever.  The floors I work on have traditionally had a hodgepodge of Asians, Europeans, Americans, Latinos… basically from every corner of the world.   And I do believe the problem is wide spread.   I've had colleagues tell me that they refuse to shake hands with the Caucasian boss because the guy never washes his hands after relieving himself.

For the last few months I've had countless experiences where, upon pushing open the door to a stall, I find myself facing a disgusting situation.  I've wanted to scream expletives not just on the spot, but shout it out on Facebook or social media for everyone to hear.  I just can't believe that, in the 21st Century, in a Grade A office building at the heart of one of the major financial hubs in the world, with all these supposedly highly-educated people working around you, that people can't even flush the fucking toilet properly!!!

For the people guilty of perpetrating this disgusting behavior, yinz gotta be ashamed of yourselves.


J Hon said...

It is because bankers think of themselves as superior to others and when one thinks like that, they feel justified that others shoul, quite literally, clean up their sh*t. My 8 years in banking confirmed that.

Anonymous said...

Remember an old boss (9 figure income) not using his hands to pee and putting everything everywhere and not even washing his hands.
Or the guy who dropped a fouled pair of boxers on the floor of the loo.
Money & smarts don't bring manners it seems.

Anonymous said...

Have you noticed how many mainland Chinese are working in the Grade A buildings in the financial district? The princelings are everywhere, spotting brand names attire and eating at fancy restaurants. I work in the Grade C district of Taikoo, where middle-office banking workers labor. These are almost all locals, here I have never encountered a disgusting toilet situation in the past 6 years. Wet may be but not like what you described. Go figure.
Cubicle dweller


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