8 Things Transplants Do That Annoy Hongkongers

Many people end up in Hong Kong by way of somewhere else, making the city a diverse, cosmopolitan blah blah blah. Please stop doing these things that annoy the hell out of Hongkongers.

1. Talking about how you plan on leaving, constantly.

Yes, Hong Kong is a transient town and not everyone is invested in living here forever. But that doesn't mean you should constantly make it a point to bring up how you're here because of work, you don't plan to stay here, and that you'll be gone 'within the year'. It's irritating and to be honest, we've heard it all before. Chances are, you'll probably become one of those people who push back their exit time and time again.

2. Calling Kowloon 'The Dark Side'.

For an area that's a five-minute ride on the MTR from the heart of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon side somehow has a nickname that implies it's a ghetto full of uncultured savage beasts. Sure, there's the harbour factor, and it can be a real bitch trying to get a gor hoi cab. But we're living in 2016, and there's no reason for anyone, 'ironically' or otherwise, to refer to Kowloon as 'The Dark Side'. If you point blank refuse to go cross-harbour, you're living in The Dark Ages.

3. Dissing neighbourhoods you've never even been to.

I once knew a transplant to Hong Kong who was so clueless about the city and so against exploring new neighbourhoods that, when a mutual friend of ours came to visit and asked her if she had ever been to Lantau Island, she hissed a resounding 'no' with a look of disgust.

This girl lived in DB. (True story.)

Since we're now bitching about people, there was another girl I knew who, while we were talking about the rise of converted lofts in Wong Chuk Hang industrial buildings, made a comment about how she would never live anywhere near the area — despite not having visited it. I remember this conversation well because I live in Pok Fu Lam, less than 10 minutes' drive from Wong Chuk Hang. Oh, and — she recently moved to a neighbourhood next to it.

If you're going to move all the way from Wherever to Hong Kong, the least you can do is step outside the Central–SoHo–Sheung Wan axis once a week to explore what our great city has to offer. Junks don't count.

4. Living in a bubble. 

It's all very well if you choose to only hang out with other transplants, frequent the same bars and restaurants by the Escalators, avoid places where people might not understand English, and lead a life as a transplant I know once described to me: 'It's like I'm living in London — except I get to go to Thailand on weekends.' Would you have fun? Sure. Is it a life of comfort? Definitely. Are you truly experiencing Hong Kong? Not really. You end up missing out on a huge part of local culture, which is part of what makes Hong Kong so great.

5. Complaining about Hong Kong issues that no one can change.

The pollution is bad, humidity makes your hair go haywire, rent is extortionate, there are always roadworks, and it doesn't have XYZ things that your hometown offers in abundance. Homesickness is a difficult thing to beat, and we Hongkongers can hardly say we never complain about anything in the SAR. But every city has its pros and cons, and in exchange for living in a shoebox apartment, you're never more than half an hour away from the beach. Compared to your hometown where you have to drive, like, six hours just to get a carton of milk, I'd say this is a pretty good deal.

6. Comparing Hong Kong to New York. 

Look. Hong Kong is not New York. New York is not Hong Kong. We are not trying to 'pretend' to be New York. Stop making it a thing. We're talking about two cities on opposite sides of the world, where the culture, people and climate couldn't be more different (with the possible exception of the humidity in summer). I think you can probably reasonably compare Hong Kong to Singapore, but HK and NY are like chalk and cheese. The only similarities I can pinpoint are the hustle and bustle and the cityscapes, and being a Hongkonger, I'd say no view in any town beats our spectacular skyline. But anyway, it's not a competition — can't we all just get along?

7. Acting like locals are beneath you.

We're not always the friendliest people in the world — and as a local myself, I've definitely had run-ins with rude, angry Hongkongers. But to come here and act like locals are barbarians just doesn't fly. I'm calling these people out because this kind of mindset is actually surprisingly common in transplants. Learn to accept people around you — especially natives in a city you've moved to. If we all treated those different to us with a little bit more kindness and understanding, then maybe the world wouldn't be in the mess that it's in now.

8. Being rude about local delicacies. 

You don't have to like chicken feet, curry fishballs or stinky tofu. No one is shoving them down your throat (although I'd like to). But you should at least try to hold back showing your disgust — and under no circumstances should you be vocalising it. Food is an important part of our culture, and it is disrespectful to talk shit about delicacies that in one way or another serve as our collective memory.

Why Is Everyone In Hong Kong Late All the Time?

I used to be terrible at time management. I showed up late to many things — media events, dinners, parties, blind dates (I was so late, he was probably justified in flirting with the bartender).

When I went freelance half a year ago, it forced me to change my habits completely. Time management is now the name of the game. If I didn't get my act together and start planning and executing my schedule with military precision, my work would suffer (and possibly even dry up).

With this complete overhaul of my timetable — and of course, the freedom to plan my own schedule — I found myself getting much better at being on time. I'm meeting deadlines, responding to emails promptly, showing up to places with time to spare, and not bailing out of commitments at the last minute (but that's a whole other topic for another day).

Just as I started to feel smug about my newfound punctuality, I started to realise a major problem that comes with it: how late everyone else is.

It's a Hong Kong thing. If dinner is at 7pm, people will trickle in any time within the hour after it starts. Birthday party starts at 10? No point turning up then — no one else will be there until midnight. Want to do a nice and early start for your Sunday hike? You might as well go and get some food while you wait for everyone's hungover asses to arrive.

There's only so much scrolling on Instagram you can do, so many 'where are you?' texts you can send until you start to get really bored and irritated.

I think about stuff while I wait around:

This is what I've been doing to other people. This is karma.
They said they were at so-and-so MTR station, so that should be like a 7-minute ride, maybe with 3-5 extra minutes for the uphill walk.
I wonder what would happen if they didn't show up for, like, 30 minutes.
That has happened before but usually some other people will have arrived by then.
In movies I would totally meet a hot guy here outside the bar.
Wait, what? I do meet hot guys outside the bar. That's why I ditch my friends to go outside.
I wonder what would happen if I just left.
Maybe I need to get new friends. 

In all seriousness, I do want to know why we have this late culture in Hong Kong. It's like an epidemic. No one bats an eyelid if someone shows up 45 minutes after they're supposed to, which is fine for the club, but not really OK if your friend is waiting around dolo.

I'm guessing that, most of the time, it's down to bad time management. Sometimes, things do inevitably come up that take up our time and attention, meaning we end up being late for something we're committed to. In Hong Kong, the amount of people during rush hour doesn't help. Some articles go as far as to suggest that people are late out of disrespect and/or contempt for the other party — that they think their own time is more important than everyone else's.

If you think it's a younger generation thing, you would be wrong. My mother and aunt are some of the worst offenders I know. My mum is one of those people who will tell you she's 'on her way, be there in 15 minutes,' when she's really at a house party in Yuen Long with no intention of leaving any time soon (true story).

So, why do you think everyone in Hong Kong is late all the time?

Showbiz Round-Up: Side Chick Edition

Mandy Lieu
The last month has been good for side chicks — at least in Hong Kong.


The 'Blue Moon of Josephine'
You all know real estate tycoon Joseph Lau of Chinese Estate Holdings, one of the richest men in Hong Kong who is also known for his collection of women Hermes leather goods, fine art and not to mention a wine cellar full of really, really good shit. Well, if you don't, you might have heard that he dropped US$28.5 million and US$48.4 million on two of the most spectacular diamonds in the world, two days in a row, in November. The diamonds, bought from auction houses Christie's and Sotheby's, have been respectively named 'Sweet Josephine' and 'the Blue Moon of Josephine' after his 7-year-old daughter, Josephine. Basically, Josephine — a kid who has just started school — has more money than you will ever make. She already has another diamond named after her — also gifted by her father — and apparently, a house on The Peak in her name.

Joseph Lau with side chick Chan Hoi-wan and their daughter Josephine
Josephine's mother is Chan Hoi-wan, who is Lau's side chick. She used to be a showbiz reporter and started dating Lau after they met through her work. It is not known if his main chick, Yvonne Lui, was aware of the diamond thing beforehand.

When you give the child of your side chick a present like that, you're basically acknowledging your preference for her. So essentially, 'Big Lau' has turned this side chick into his main chick unbeknownst to his main chick.


(L-R) Alvin Chau and main chick Heidi; Mandy Lieu
People love a good side chick story in Hong Kong. After all, it's a place where everybody is always looking for their next come up, and nothing is juicier than a rags-to-riches story of a girl being knocked up by a business mogul. So when it emerged early in 2015 that model Mandy Lieu was pregnant by Macau business tycoon Alvin Chau, everyone got super excited. In an even more exciting twist to the story, Chau's wife Heidi was also pregnant. Yes, he got both his main chick and side chick pregnant at the same time. Neither woman showed any sign of backing down, with words exchanged all over Instagram — although the main chick seems to have won some of the earlier rounds because, well, she's his wife.

This month, Lieu, who had spent some time abroad to give birth and tend to her new baby, is pictured arriving back in town and having dinner with her (?) man. Main chick Heidi confirms to the Apple Daily that she's filing for divorce. People started saying that the side chick had 'won'. Had she won? They say that when a man makes a side chick his main chick, he's creating a vacancy. How many women can you really knock up at the same time?

'Women Blame Women For Things That Have Nothing To Do With Them'

Extracts from Nicki Minaj's recent interview with the New York Times Magazine, in which she read Miley Cyrus for filth, are all over social media.

Most publications picking up on the interview highlighted the fact that Minaj had addressed her beef with Cyrus, which came to a head at the VMAs.

Context in case you've forgotten: Basically, Nicki Minaj wasn't cool with the fact that Miley Cyrus threw shade at her in an interview.

The whole thing originally stemmed from beef between Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift that kicked off on Twitter and since it's Hollywood, Miley Cyrus became involved in the mud-slinging.

She's just being Miley

It's kind of complex. If you care enough to know the back story, this and this might help.

While accepting an award at the VMAs, Minaj did this (0:09 onwards).

There was something else she said in the NYT Mag interview though, that caught my attention.

'Women blame women for things that have nothing to do with them. I really want to know why — as a matter of fact, I don’t. Can we move on, do you have anything else to ask? To put down a woman for something that men do, as if they’re children and I’m responsible, has nothing to do with you asking stupid questions, because you know that’s not just a stupid question. That’s a premeditated thing you just did.'

It appeared that reporter had really pissed Minaj off by asking her if there is a part of her that 'thrived off drama'. She kicked the reporter out.

I think it's funny that Miley thinks she can compete with Nicki can kind of understand why she would be pissed off, because the reporter said this right after asking Minaj her thoughts on the beef between rappers Meek Mill and Drake  which of course, is drama that she has nothing to do with.

I also want to add that I have every sympathy for the reporter. It is not nice being yelled at by a celebrity when you interview them, see: here.

But back to what I was saying. Women blame women for things that have nothing to do with them. How incredibly accurate this observation is.

So often, I have been in situations where women put each other down, instead of raise each other up.

I, for one, can't remember the number of times I have wrongly directed my anger at another woman.This isn't supposed to be one of those blog posts, I swear.

One time, in conversation with a guy I was dating, the topic of an ex-boyfriend came up. He had slept with a friend of mine, who I had already put my deposit down to live with.
'Ouch,' guy said. 'Who did you drop first?'
'What do you mean?'
'Did you drop your ex first, or your girlfriend?'

I found the question quite interesting. I did drop the girlfriend first before eventually dropping the ex-boyfriend. My first instinct, when I found out, was to tell her how much of a whore she was and how she needed the stay the fuck away from my man. Despite this, ultimately, I would say the ex-boyfriend was the one who should have gotten the boot first.
My beef extended to women making their own life choices that had nothing to do with me. The woman who started dating her best friend's ex; the women who I felt threatened by, simply because of the fact that I was too insecure to realise I didn't have to be a bitch to other women just to feel better about myself.

It was a never-ending circle of constant beef with other women. In reality, often the men at the heart of it all were to blame.

One day, an editor of mine called me out on my behaviour and told me to start learning how to direct my anger at the right people.

Nicki Minaj might not have meant exactly what I'm trying to say here, but I resonate with what she's saying nonetheless.