With six hours of sleep- this morning my mother’s petulant voice woke me at 8:40- I am a grumpy old fart. Anyone who forces me to talk or gets in my way is the devil. I had to pick up my SAR passport, and whilst waiting in line, I was met with the most pungent smell of sausage bread. These two kids were munching away and I scowled, thinking who eats sausage bread in a government office? Why would anyone #stank up the place like that? Then I came to my senses and thought: how can I hate on children for eating bread? I am a terrible human.
Speaking of terrible humans, I have developed a prejudice towards Mainland Chinese people. I know not all of them are rude, I know there are exceptions and lovely people from the Mainland, just as there are in any other place in the world, but recently I’ve witnessed so many situations that reinforce the negative stereotype. My sister says they’re loud and proud… A generalisation that I find myself agreeing with. I try to keep and open mind but unfortunately for me, the stereotype is always proven right.
Just yesterday, I was at the food court with my sister, holding heavy trays of steaming food. We waited by a table for around fifteen minutes, when suddenly a family of three plus a grandmother slid next to us, and the father put his bag onto one of the empty seats- a cheeky way of saying THIS IS MY SEAT NOW. Um, hello? I gave him a look so that he could re-evaluate. When the people eating finished and left, there were four empty seats. Let us take two, you can take two and split up, or go somewhere else. If I saw that people had been waiting for a while and they were holding food, I’d give them the seats no doubt. It’s the courteous, polite thing to do. It’s what people should do for an optimal and functioning society. But, the mother took a seat, the grandmother advanced to ‘my’ seat and was beckoning the rest of the family to sit. I spoke to the father firmly in Cantonese, but he couldn’t understand. They spoke mandarin. Mainlanders. I pointed to my wrist to indicate that we had been waiting for a long time, and put my tray down to mark my territory. I took the seat before the grandmother (of around 60 years) could (#sorrynotsorry) and told my sister to sit. The family shot me daggers but I was hungry and tired of standing around, especially when there were barely any free tables in sight.
That is just ONE of the many examples and experiences I’ve acquired throughout my 18 years in Hong Kong. Hong Kong people can be rude in the sense that they don’t have time for people; they’re indifferent, standoffish. But Mainland people? Cut-throat, every man for himself, no concept of the other? Is it an ingrained cultural attitude? They cut in front of taxi lines, bus lines- any line to be honest, as if nobody else exists besides themselves. They raise their voices in public spaces, cram themselves into the MTR when there is no space (cause they can’t wait?) and apparently, pee on the streets. News articles on the inappropriate behaviour of Mainland people do not bolster their reputation. Maybe I’d be more sympathetic if I understood their need to fight for resources, but my sympathy would not change the fact that it’s not okay to treat people with such little respect. It shouldn’t be okay.
I’ve realized that the opposite of love is not hate, but selfishness/ self-centeredness. Every evil, bad thing finds it root in how we love ourselves too much. I am the only thing that matters, I’m entitled to this, I’m better than and superior to this person, I can exercise my will over these people, I deserve better. My feelings are more important, my thoughts are more valuable, and I need the universe and the people in it to bow to me, to change for me because I am right and I am proud.
So, I guess I’ve just convinced myself that I must forgive the Mainland people who have angered me. I can’t change them but I can change how I feel about them. I will let it go.