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Good manners and etiquette in HK.

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Chudleigh, United...
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Good manners and etiquette in HK.

Having just received a helpful answer to my question about sourcing hell money as souvenirs informing me that it would be very insulting to give this as a gift to a Chinese person, I am wondering whether anyone can give me helpful suggestions as to how to show good manners and etiquette during my stay in HK? Also, how to avoid displaying bad manners and offending?

It would be nice to make a good impression and to know a little more about the culture. I know that it's not good to stand chopsticks up in a bowl, but that's about all. Should I smile as I have read people do not necessarily smile in service industries in HK?

Shanghai, China
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1. Re: Good manners and etiquette in HK.

Behave like you would at home is totally enough. Nothing special to obey.

Manchester, United...
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2. Re: Good manners and etiquette in HK.

People in HK do not like folks who shout when talking. Also when going on escalators always stand to the side to let people pass rather than spread out to talk to your companions. I can't remember which side but it is obvious when you are there. We smiled a lot and were rewarded with smiles in return. Remember you are on holiday but most of these people are going to and from work. As for presents for HK Chinese friends, we took things with us that were typically English. Hope this is helpful.

Dublin, California
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3. Re: Good manners and etiquette in HK.

It's very strange to gift "hell money" as a gift. It's for people who have departed. So it's an insult to anyone to give someone something you'd give to a dead person. That's true in any culture.

Other items not to be given as gifts: scissors or knives (indicates you are "cutting off" a relationship, true in many cultures), clocks (rhymes with funeral).

newcastle upon tyne
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4. Re: Good manners and etiquette in HK.

Surely you would stand at the side of the escalator to let people pass, in any country ?, its just common sense.

For me, I think most people with manners, visiting Hong Kong, the problem is the exposure to lack of manners, eg all the spitting that goes on everywhere, & people rudely pushing in front of you, rather than waiting in a queue are the less appealing aspects of a visit.

Hong Kong, China
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for Hong Kong, Osaka
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5. Re: Good manners and etiquette in HK.

I don't think anyone would ever consider giving hell money as a souvenir. This sort of thing only happens in movies.

Note that HK people can be quite rude themselves even though a lot of HK folks also dislike the very same behaviors. Some of the participants these days are mainland China visitors so foreign visitors might not be able to tell so easily. Such behaviors include:

--Blocking escalators--most people stand on the right but not everyone does. HK folks are getting better at this but some locals still keep blocking the way

--Talking loudly--Some HK locals may talk loudly, but nowhere near as bad as the mainland visitors who seem to make screaming their normal voice

--Queue cutting--HK locals do queue; cutters are most likely all mainland folks

--Rushing into/out of trains, lifts before passengers have disembarked: Many locals push their way through unfortunately

--Spitting--not too many locals these days, but mainland visitors might still do

--Squatting on the street--only mainland visitors

--Backpacks on trains--many locals wear backpacks these days, and they will move around as if the backpack doesn't exist even on crowded trains, knocking others around them in the process

--Phone usage--locals are always on the phone chatting; many of them are also playing games, etc, and walking without looking heading straight for you

Edited: 10 September 2013, 18:48
Shanghai, China
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6. Re: Good manners and etiquette in HK.

... which are in most cases visitors from mainland China showing this rude behavior. That is also why they are not really liked by HK residents.

Guangzhou, China
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for Guangzhou
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7. Re: Good manners and etiquette in HK.

It is bad to give hell money to Chinese people when they are alive. But I don't think you were planning to give it to Chinese. It is just a joke: if people have the humor, they get it; if not, they get offended. No need to be overreact. What you consider to be good manner in UK would apply to HK. Be yourself and have a good time in HK :)

It is not good to stand chopsticks on bowl. But you are a tourist. People would (and should) understand that tourists don't know all those culture things.

I don't smile to unknown people in mainland China/HK. If others smile to me, I would smile back. But usually it is too crowded and don't know who to smile to. And if I smile to all, my face cramp.

Sherbrooke, Canada
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8. Re: Good manners and etiquette in HK.

Are we starting another round of mainland Chinese bashing again?

Los Angeles...
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for Hong Kong
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9. Re: Good manners and etiquette in HK.

Maybe you can have some of your hell money handy in your pocket and give some to those who cut in the queue in front of you. ;)

Long Beach, NY
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10. Re: Good manners and etiquette in HK.

Happy Feet (Post #9) that is so funny!

And a new use for Hell Money!