Hong Kong's glitzy malls are pricey and uncomfortable

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 September, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 September, 2010, 12:00am

This letter will start off with two contentious statements that your readers may wish to dispute.

The first is that females enjoy the shopping experience considerably more than men. This leads on to the second, which is that shopping malls are somewhat akin to the mythical paradise for women, but are closer to the other extreme for men.

On my rare visits to any of the ultra-modern shopping malls in Hong Kong I have noticed that there is a preponderance of females. On the whole the occasional male can be seen traipsing about, following his other half, in an irritable and somewhat exhausted manner, occasionally putting his hand into his pocket to extract cash or a credit card. His tolerance level is approximately one hour.

Imagine my surprise when, on a recent visit to London, I found that a trip to a shopping mall could actually be pleasant. In fact, in one particular one, Westfield in Shepherd's Bush, one of the largest malls in Europe, the two closest females in my family and I actually spent two whole days and I had a smile on my face throughout. How, you may ask? Well, apart from the prices, which made the assertion that Hong Kong is a shopper's paradise a sick joke, the main reason was connected with comfort. In Westfield there are hundreds of comfortable armchairs in central locations and in which anybody can sit for however long they want.

Of course there were women shoppers resting, but I also saw many men reading their newspapers and books.

I recently spent an uncomfortable time in Elements, above Kowloon Station, and there was nothing like this degree of comfort. It will probably be my only visit there - my feet told me that.

The developers of Westfield are not stupid. They have installed armchairs for business reasons. If you attract more men to malls then the profits will rise. I cannot see why the sharp entrepreneurs of Hong Kong, as well as the designers of these malls, cannot realise that and act on it.

Chris Stubbs, Discovery Bay