China

Hong Kongers in piss-poor showdown with mainlanders

The latest dispute between Hong Kongers and mainlanders sees a mainland couple confronted by a bunch of HKers after they let their little child pee at the side of a Kowloon street. It’s a very ugly situation and speaks poorly of both groups, especially the HKers in the video. After videos of the dispute went viral, furious mainlanders and mainland media strongly criticized the HKers’ actions. I first read about it but after watching the videos, I feel sorry for the mainland couple who had to deal with being taunted by several HKers while holding their crying child. I also feel disgusted by the attitude of the HKers who were very arrogant and antagonistic, which wasn’t helped when the mainland lady grabbed the SD card of one of the HKers after being jostled by the man and refused to give it back (would you return the SD card to a guy who’d been taking pictures or recording your child?).

The mainland couple aren’t blameless of course- they should have taken their child to a nearby bathroom though they did claim they couldn’t find one. What exacerbates the situation is that many mainlanders have been in similar situations, letting their children urinate or even defecate in public, including in restaurants. Even in Beijing, it’s common to see little kids peeing or crapping at the side of the road or at the base of trees on the pavement. Part of this is probably the lack of clean public toilets in China, with toilets in many restaurants and even high-speed train stations dirty. As a parent, the last thing you’d want to do with your child is take them to a public toilet if they can just do “it” outside. This isn’t a good habit so I’m not condoning it.
I feel this poor couple were paying for the sins of their other countrymen.

I was really shocked by the action of the HKers which went beyond annoyance and anger towards outright disrespect and cruelty. At every turn, you can hear them badgering and mocking the mainlanders, in full sight of their child. There’s no compassion or consideration for the fact the couple’s crying child, maybe around 2 years old, is being upset by the whole situation. At one point, the HKers exclaim, somewhat gleefully, something like “see, you made your own child cry (on second viewing -2.28-2.35 in the second video, HKers are heard saying, “you’ve scared the child” however it’s not clear if they’re talking to the parents or it’s other bystanders chiding the HKers confronting the parents)” There’s no politeness or respect or restraint in how the HKers, who seem young, possibly in their 20s, talk to the mainlanders. Frankly, with all the shrieking (especially by the HK lass nearest the action) and shouting, one cannot distinguish between these HKers and the stereotypical depiction of the loud mainlander, though of course the HKers were shouting in Cantonese.  There’s a strong element of arrogance among Hong Kongers which I’ll go into sometime soon.

I’m not totally naive and unaware that mainlanders can be callous. Having been in Beijing for only more than half a year, I have seen and experienced my fair share of rudeness and ignorant behavior. However, regarding this specific situation, the actions of the HKers towards the mainlanders were downright revolting. As annoyed and angry as these HKers might be towards mainlanders, I wonder how many mainlanders have actually done them wrong. Do they experience rudeness from mainlanders or see mainland kids peeing every day? There’s a growing sense of insecurity and callousness among HKers which has manifested itself in attacking random mainlander visitors in Hong Kong, and I don’t want any part of it.

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9 thoughts on “Hong Kongers in piss-poor showdown with mainlanders

  1. I have to disagree, EVERY FEW DAYS there’s SHIT in a subway cart, in a shopping mall floor or you can actually find a person shitting right on the street. I’m sorry but in HK it’s nearly impossible NOT to find a public free toilet in a shopping mall, even for me – I didn’t speak any Cantonese at that time but I could find it on my own in public areas. It’s not about ONE family, it’s about the situation happening every few days. Would you be happy if someone did it in your hometown? I don’t blame the baby, it’s a child – but if it’s too young to hold things wear a diaper, parents have their mouths – if they can argue why they can’t ask for a nearest public restroom? Now some people say that on 1st May Mainlanders in HK should go out and piss on the street. Do you think that’s normal? I always try to find a balance, but in this case I will NEVER agree with doing their business on the street.
    Remember it’s not one family. It’s not ‘just pee’. If you find it acceptable in HK or China would you like them to do it at your backyard?

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    1. No, I definitely wouldn’t like people using the streets or public places as toilets. I don’t like seeing it in Beijing or anywhere (Hong Kong is actually my birthplace). Though is it really that bad that you see it “every few days”?
      However it doesn’t excuse the treatment of the mainland couple, who were holding their little kid the whole time. I agree that it was wrong of them to let their child pee in public, but the HKers were extremely rude and confrontational. Throughout the video, the HKers are speaking in Cantonese, and I doubt the mainlanders could understand anything.
      I did hear about an online call by mainlanders to let their kids pee in HK, and it would be terrible if it actually happened.

      The problem, regarding the HKers, is that it’s not just about public urination by kids. If it wasn’t a kid peeing in public, it would have been something else that HKers would find to insult Mainlanders. Last month, there was a public march of HKers shouting out anti-mainland things, in February some HKers were going up to mainland tourists and calling them locusts to their faces. Mainlanders aren’t always innocent and some deserve a lot of criticism for their behavior, but the actions by these HKers is increasingly ugly, prejudiced, and ironically, uncivilized.

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      1. I don’t agree with calling names but when a Mainlander comes to HK and calls locals ‘dogs’ how is it different? A lot of people coming to HK does not respect locals, abuse the system (how many ladies tried to sneak to HK? not to mention the most famous lady who tried to sneak, started to labor on a boarder and the nearest hospital was in HK so she lay down in government building with her child and say she won’t move until the child get’s HK ID). Mothers from region close to boarder are forced to move because ‘boarder mothers’ complain her child needs to go too far to school. They don’t pay taxes for HK, they don’t want to learn the language, they don’t respect locals. Check out some HK sites and see how those people suffer.
        I’m not ‘person ‘oh my husband is from HK so I should blindly defend them’ – he’s actually half HK from his dad, half shanghainese from mother so I’m between those two. But my MIL pays taxes in HK, she learned Cantonese, she does not bring behavior non ‘normal’ in Hong Kong on the streets.
        It got to the point HK students in one of UNI’s cafeteria have to speak Mandarin because the ladies working there don’t speak Cantonese or English at all. Does that mean I can work there too speaking let’s say only Polish?
        I don’t say every Mainlander is bad – I know a lot, lot loooot lovely good people and this is why I don’t know why all the bad behaving people go to Hong Kong. Call locals dogs, don’t line up, shit on the street, treating people bad because ‘they have money’. Sorry, but I don’t want that kind of people there or anywhere else. Good, nice people – you’re welcome in my mind, but if a lot of people behave so bad towards Hongkongers how else they can defend themselves?

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        1. A mainlander calling HKers dogs would be just as bad. It is necessary to protect HK’s social resources and I think HK’s chief executive CY Leung has banned mainland mothers from coming to give birth. I feel that many HKers still have multiple issues against mainlanders and it’s getting very ugly.
          I work in Beijing so I’m surrounded by mainlanders every day. I know good ones and I’ve met bad ones, such as the jackass housing agent who I wrote about before. I’ve seen and experienced rudeness and callousness here, but even still, I would not act like some of those HKers. Frankly I think HKers are frustrated by a lot of problems in HK and mainlanders make a useful scapegoat. For instance, take the lack of adequate affordable housing or the lack of focus on developing industries other than finance and tourism.
          I appreciate your opinions- you seem like you really like HK and care about it. For me, I haven’t spent a lot of time there but I feel that in the longterm, the way how HKers react and think isn’t beneficial, both to themselves and to HK-mainland relations.
          Sometimes badly behaving mainlanders cause trouble in other places too. A lot of mainlanders don’t like this and feel embarrassed as well. The government even put out a list of rules for Chinese tourist on how to behave and published it as a 64-page booklet for tour guides.
          http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/learning-from-news/372659/guidebook-for-civilized-tourism-issued-by-chinese-government

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  2. Good job looking at both sides. The mainland habit of children publicly defecating is absolutely disgusting. If it happened every once in a while it would be one thing, if it was an exception not a rule. As an exception it happens with small kids in all countries. But the way it happens constantly in mainland China is one of the most embarrassing backwards thing most people see about the rapidly-developing nation.

    Like you say, acting like these HKers is not the answer at all.

    There is more going on under the surface with HK antagonism with the mainland.

    It’s hard to see any solution, HK will still have to let mainlanders in and everyone is just going to have to get used to each other eventually and let’s just hope China grows up soon…

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    1. Thanks. Yes, public defecating is disgusting though thankfully I haven’t seen it in the past few months because it was winter and cold. It’s getting warmer again so unfortunately I might see it soon.
      And yes, the actions by these HKers is stunning and it seems to be getting uglier. The frustration is understandable but the actions, like confronting mainlanders in this case or calling them locusts, are unreasonable, uncivilized and even puerile. Being confrontational is not going to bring about solutions and I think that a change in attitude would be more beneficial for some of these HKers.
      Offensive mainlander behavior should be dealt with of course, and measures to limit the overuse of HK resources are good. To be honest, I feel there are many problems in HK, such as expensive apartments and the lack of affordable housing and the lack of decent jobs, that mainlanders are useful scapegoats for, and that HKers haven’t been that effective in dealing with their own problems. I’ve posted about this before and I’ll likely post more later on.

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  3. Well, look, I do think it’s best to try and use a toilet, but I’ve been caught so many times (primarily with the youngest) where I just can’t get to one in time. And nearby businesses aren’t always cooperative, either (I once had to point out that my only other choice was to let my child defecate in the garden in front of the building before they conceded that my 3yo could use their toilet after all).

    No doubt it’s not primarily about the public urination at all, but other uneasiness in the relationship.

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    1. Yes, it’s quite understandable with little kids. As it is, in that confrontation captured on the video, people could have tried just telling the mainland couple where the nearest washroom was.
      And yes, the issue is just one part of a bigger problem that HKers have with mainland visitors. It doesn’t seem to be settling down anytime soon, unfortunately.

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