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  • Apr 19, 2014
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Chinese tourists

China's Vice-Premier Wang Yang in May 2013 acknowledged that "uncivilised behaviour" by its citizens abroad was harming the country's image. He cited "talking loudly in public places, jaywalking, spitting and wilfully carving characters on items in scenic zones". Destination countries have been easing visa restrictions to attract more tourists from China, but reports have emerged of complaints about etiquette.

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Urinating on MTR shows more education needed

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 August, 2013, 8:40am
 

Poll

  • Yes: 25%
  • No: 75%
5 Aug 2013
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 699

Every society has its own standards and norms. But regardless of cultural differences, some behaviour is universally considered uncivilised and should be avoided. Relieving oneself in a public area is a case in point. It is difficult to imagine any civilised society would approve of that, especially when it happens right in front of a crowd.

A girl of about five was seen urinating inside an MTR carriage on Hong Kong Island on Tuesday. Her Putonghua-speaking mother apparently did nothing to stop her, but dabbed the floor with tissues afterwards before alighting with her. Unsurprisingly, passengers were shocked by the scene. The report unleashed a torrent of comment on the internet.

This is not the first time misbehaviour in public premises has made headlines. A video clip showing a couple allowing their child to defecate in a train station went viral in April. That mainlanders were involved has fuelled the misconception that all Chinese nationals relieve themselves wherever they like. It also adds to the long list of unwelcome conduct associated with Chinese tourists. The truth is that these were only isolated incidents. The train incident, if it had happened on the mainland, would provoke equally.

This is not to suggest relieving oneself in public is nothing unusual and should be tolerated. It is uncivilised, illegal and unacceptable. But it would be wrong to stereotype all mainland tourists as lacking self-discipline. Like every society, there are those who do not conform. While few would go to the extreme of relieving themselves in a crowded train, it is not unusual to come across lifts, underpasses and street corners in our city that reek with the smell of urine. Elsewhere, telephone booths and underground stations are notorious for being used as public conveniences in the early hours.

We trust the train passengers' reactions have sent a clear message to the mother that what her daughter did was not acceptable in our society. Visitors should be made aware of the dos and don'ts in Hong Kong. More education is needed.

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This article is now closed to comments

andypl
HK is increasingly polluted, dirty, and generally unpleasant. There is no difference on the streets of HK compared to the Mainland. HKers are in the throes of desperation that their jewel city is turning into a dirty toilet. Welcome to the new HK. Great luxury as long as you don't have to mingle with the masses. No one to blame but themselves. But they can only blame everybody else not themselves. Look in the mirror HK.
Camel
Not long ago, when HK was still British there were through the years signs everywhere which warns HKners, "No Spitting", "No Littering" "No Urinating", "No Hawking", "Keep away from the grass" (still be seen). Only 15 years ago those signs were still everywhere in HK - in buses, trains and ferries. HKners were no difference to what the Mainlanders are now. We also needed time to learn how to behave.
And still, If the HKners think they are something better - so why when I am with my youngest in a stroller want to use a lift, there is no space and I have to wait an eternity? Is it just because the HKners are too lazy to use the elevators?
Why I need every time to explain to the children that it is dangerous and a bad thing to cross the street when the traffic light is red, when at the same time the lights are still red, the HKners ignore the red light and go over the streets - setting a bad example? Do they care?
And why in the lift, the people still do not care to let people get out first and storm into the lift? the same thing is when I want to get out the MTR.
Why the taxi and the minibus drivers are driving crazy and do not care for the safety of their passengers or the people on the roads sides? Just to name a few. We as well still need to learn much and are not "without sin".
andypl
HKers have sold their future to the RMB. Skyrocketing condo profits, tourist dollars, etc. HKers cant have it both ways. If you don't want urination in public, its already too late. I don't go to HK anymore because mainland tourists are everywhere. Its only going to get worse as more second tier cities population get more money and visit HK. You aint seen nothin yet HK.
Camel
How sad, that you don't go to HK anymore. I think all HK will cry about you staying away.
caractacus
The mainlanders don't come from a civilised society, that's the point, but a 5 year old girl isn't to blame; her parent is.
Camel
A civilised society. Just like the subway stations in Paris or London. They smell like public toilets.
daniel18
Wrtting this piece of shxt is nothing but stupidity! Would you accept and understand if some kids with parents next to them poo poo or vee vee at your backyard? It is absolutely funny! We now have enough of mainlanders in Hong Kong! I am done when a list of people waiting for a bus in queue but the rude and disorder mainlander jump the queue! The group of mainlanders knew that we scold them, but they simply igorned it! I cant put up with any of these anymore and they are driving me crazy
dng18dng18
I'm with Baggy on this one.
And the point of this article is? Urinating in public is a no no?
Oh really...No shxt sherlock!
C'mon SCMP there must be better stuff to report rather than flog the dead horse!
norodnik
Consequences of The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution continue to reverberate throughout the Motherland...
chuchu59
Many things are relative. We Hong Kong people dislike or even despise mainlanders for their seemingly uncivilised behaviour because we were brought up that way. Turning back 50 years ago ie in the 60s I am pretty sure a lot of Hong Kong folks might be doing what mainlanders are doing in Hong Kong now. The problem is wealth and education did not rise in tandem. Mainlanders got rich but a huge proportion of the population are still illiterate or semi-illiterate. They dont care a damn for others as they are not bred up to be civil. Take a look at the Japanese. For all our enmity with them over sovereignty over a few islands you have to admire their civilised behaviour during adverse times like earthquakes. They were orderly and did not make raids on supermarkets. In Hong Kong people hoarded salt like never before when news from some quarters stated salt could prevent radiation. So, I do believe as the level of education improves in China, we shall see more better-behaved mainlanders but given its vast size, its likely to need the turn of the century before this can be realised.
@madams
In criticizing mainland tourists, responsible newspapers should differentiate between real issues and nonsense. To me some real issues are over burdened public goods like schools, hospitals and transportation. Nonsense issues include long lines at Prada and conveyor belt sushi shops. Loud talking, queue jumping, not holding doors, pushing, bumping into ppl -- frankly are nonsense issues, and local HKers are just as guilty. Five year old kids peeing on trains is gross, but how many parents can really control their children's bladder. This I see as another nonsense issue.
redmondirons
I think you need to be educated on the unreliable nature of a 5 year old's bladder control regardless of where they come from. It is an amazing leap to link a clearly under resourced mother and 5 year old to a broader comment on societal education. Following your article I was very interested in cancelling my subscription to SCMP, however I have become too reliant on your weekend hardcopies to pick up after my English bulldog. She was born in mainland China but surely its partly the fault of England.
Byebye
How about publishing this in newspapers in China?
Baggy
and the point of this article is????
tranquilben
"more education is needed" --> no sh_t Einstein.
why don't you provide some insight instead of stating the obvious.
Achillvdb
You've obviously never ridden the metro in a big European city

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