Sitting target for unfriendly security guards

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 August, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 August, 1999, 12:00am

What exactly do Hong Kong institutions have against people sitting down? Thor May brings up a very good point in 'Seats Please' (South China Morning Post, August 3).

I often wonder why Hong Kong business and government institutions aren't more 'people friendly'.

On more than one occasion I have been 'chased off' by security guards when attempting to take a harmless rest while walking around the city.

The most recent instance was at Lippo Centre, where I sat down on a ledge near the bus stop outside LA Cafe. The guard from the booth walked over and, with a quick and rude wave of his hand, told me I couldn't sit on the ledge surrounding the planter. Why not? In Pacific Place, there are three floors of shops and thousands of people visiting them. You can count on one hand the number of public areas available for resting. Recently, I was also 'chased off' a small ledge in Pacific Place when I attempted to catch a breather. Why? This problem certainly isn't limited to Pacific Place and Lippo Centre. All malls in Hong Kong (including the brand new Festival Walk) and a majority of office towers are 'people unfriendly'.

In other developed nations, a visit to a mall is a great experience. There are vast public areas with comfortable sitting options. I've even seen resting areas with soft, relaxing music, free refreshments, and aroma therapy treatments. Stay as long as you like! Be comfortable! Be happy! You can say the same about many major business centres around the world, where there are 'built in' public areas around buildings where people can rest, or have lunch outside.

What is it that makes Hong Kong so 'people unfriendly'? I suggest major institutions take a serious look at their procedures and policies, and adjust them to be a little more accommodating to the public.

Security guard training on politeness and dealing with the public should also be implemented, as these individuals are usually on the frontline in creating a friendly, or unfriendly, environment.

KEN WALKER Causeway Bay