City can prosper without rudeness

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 August, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 August, 2002, 12:00am

Your editorial of July 26 headlined 'Rude awakening' suggests that the way to get 'things done, and fast' is to be rude and inconsiderate. I am appalled by this attitude.

To argue that one has a right to ignore fellow citizens' rights in public places when one is in a hurry to get things done is callous. Does it mean we need not queue and wait our turn at, for example, banks and bus stops? That we can push people out of the way in our rush to get out of MTR trains? That we can yell into our mobiles in cinemas when we are upset, or listen to horse racing on the radio in public without using headphones? It might be true, as you said, that a lot of us 'already know' that bad manners exist in Hong Kong. However, the fact that there are so many citizens choosing not to practise what they know to be proper behaviour is a cause for concern. I do not feel that civil behaviour adversely affects a city's efficiency. Being no-nonsense does not mean one has to be disrespectful. On the contrary, the best way to get things done is to respect other individuals' rights, as happens in Tokyo.

New Yorkers' brusque manners and Parisians' aloofness are not indications of their inconsiderateness. They might be curt in replying to perennial, routine inquiries from hordes of tourists, but they do not regularly treat fellow citizens with meanness and selfishness.

Bus drivers and salespersons used to shout and give passengers and customers dirty looks. Hong Kong has moved on from those dark old days.