Monday, February 11, 2013

People in Hong Kong consider education to be very important. There are many expensive schools, parents and kids alike obsess over passing entrance exams, you hear phrases such as "he's not highly educated" from girls. But then, being the tall guy I am, I did have a chance to see what other people do on the MTR. Few of them actually read books, despite carrying iPads or Galaxy Note Twos. Everybody is just playing Candy Crush. And if people are not reading on public transport, which is the best time to do so, I doubt they read at any other time. Kindle is my faithful companion on every single journey around the city I take and I've actually finished Heretics of Dune in the month I've been here. In fact, few people here even ever heard of the Kindle. After discussing this with some people, I learned that students are simply overloaded with the school tasks to have any strength left for reading.

There is also an interesting distinction in the quality of services. My tiny apartment is nicely private, but doesn't have any cooking facilities, leaving me dependent on restaurants. I certainly don't need to be afraid of starving, in Tai Wai, in 500 m around my place, there surely are at least 10 Chinese restaurant-o-fastfoods, and I yet have to see them closed (maybe on lunar new year?) so it's just a matter of  overcoming the language barrier. But for some reason, I don't like these places very much, mostly because they don't appear to be very tidy and orderly. And, based on a few observations, the attitude and service quality of the staff is rather far from awesome. Higher-class restaurants in shopping malls, on the other hand, have service that comes a lot closer to awesome. And they also pay close attention to appearance and style. Of course, you could also tell these two classes of restaurants apart just by looking at the bill for the food.

The services in shopping malls even go to such lengths to hire a full-time toilet attendant. He stands there in the hand-washing area wearing a uniform making sure that the place remains clean. There is even a plaque on the wall with his name and photo. 

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