• Thu
  • Jul 24, 2014
  • Updated: 1:29pm
CommentInsight & Opinion
LEADER

Let reason prevail when nature calls

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 April, 2014, 5:19am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 April, 2014, 7:49am

Accidents happen - and as any parent with a toddler knows, that can be at any place and time. A mainland couple found that out when their two-year-old just had to go as they were shopping on Mong Kok's busy Sai Yeung Choi Street and there was no toilet close at hand. With two options - one of letting the child humiliatingly wet his pants, the other to allow him to pee in the street - they chose the latter. In any ordinary city, there would have been a few disapproving stares and that would have been the end of the matter. But not in Hong Kong: Amid jeers and shouts, two passing men took videos, the embarrassed mother grabbed for the camera, scuffles broke out, police were called and the images have since gone viral on the internet. What was a trivial incident became an international news item.

Online opinion has been polarised, with people split as to who was right and wrong. State media understandably felt obliged to weigh in. Once again, mainland tourists had been painted in a poor light, in part due to the discrimination towards them by Hongkongers. A commentary in the overseas edition of the People's Daily said parents and young children have to be treated sympathetically where calls of nature are concerned. Rightly, it advised that both mainland visitors and their hosts need to be more understanding and civil.

Hostility by some Hongkongers towards mainland tourists ceased being civil some time ago. Tolerance also is wearing thin beyond the border, with a threatened campaign for tourists to come to our city with their children and have them urinate in the streets. That is escalation, to be sure, but it is also against the law: Parents are liable to be fined up to HK$2,000 if, without reasonable cause, they let a child under the age of 12 "obey the call of nature in any public street". Everyone should calm down. There is no perfect solution when parents have a "got-to-go" toddler on their hands. Preparation is needed - a change of clothes for the child. Also required is an understanding of customs and laws and tolerance on all sides.

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This article is now closed to comments

paulch12
I think the incident is blown out of proportion because of racism of a few. It happens in LAN Kwai Fong during weekends, I don't hear any complaints. We, Hongkong people, travelled abroad, sometimes are loud and uncivil, I don't hear our own uproar at their behavior.
At the moment, the whole world is seeking tourist dollars from mainlanders, Hong Kong is the only place that complains. Time to stop racism, and start looking at our own inhospitable behavior. We need to resolve these situations by providing better education and facilities for tourists of all races.
PC
philpaul
My dear my dear, now condoning a crime is disguised as urgently needed tolerance of a trivial matter. For the boy, I should think that defecating/urinating in public is far more humiliating than inside his own trousers. Does this Editorial stand for SCMP's official stance? Luckily my subscription to the SCMP is expiring today.
SUPERMUM
No more excuse please! It's is not first time in HK, Hongkongese can't stand it anymore! See below link that you will understand why HKgrs are so angry about barbaric mainlanders' attitude :
****www.google.com.hk/search?q=%E5%BC%B7%E5%9C%8B%E4%BA%BA+%E5%B0%8F%E4%BE%BF&rlz=1C2RNVH_enHK568HK568&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=DcFXU-y2OoiaiAffrYDgBg&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ&biw=1600&bih=775
jflooking03
All overreacted, but hey...there are plenty of out-of-sight alleys in that area. So yes, bad taste to let a child go on main street.
johnyuan
Pairs being a tourist city, it solved 'the need to go' most amicably with public toilets installed at easy to spot sidewalks. It is both civilize and practical. The Tourist Board in Hong Kong has been delinquent while pushing for ever more tourism but without consideration for both visitors and locals. Easy locatable public toilets are part of infrastructure for a sustainable tourism industry which current situation has atrociously overlooked.
.
Public should learn more about these self-flushing and cleaning design for sidewalk toilets before raising objection.
.
I wish there is less arguments but more practical solution in the work. Afterall, 'need to go' is a need. Just make sure it is accomodated civicly without delay when children are considered.
.
BTW, My brother and I often used the men's room at Mandarin Hotel in the 60s. We were kids playing at its shopping lobby. Yes, the locals know around.
johndoe
Everyone should calm down? So what do we do the next time it happens?
XYZ
Please stop deliberately misreporting the incident as mere urination.
.
He defecated. In broad daylight. On the pavement. On a busy city street. With no attempt to find a shop or a less conspicuous place. The parents deserve all the opprobrium they have received.
.
Their action is the perfect metaphor for Beijing's and mainlanders' attitudes towards Hong Kong and its people.
.
.
takach
Of course he urinated, its very difficult not to urinate whilst you are busy defecating!
A journalistic oversight no doubt!
SUPERMUM
The reason is why SCMP often deliberately misreporting HK locals' news because its many edition team members are not local born people especially its editors were born in Mainland China.
In addition, they never report domestic helpers were charged with the crimes and some so other foreigners' crimes? That's why SCMP is bias media in the world!
chaz_hen
Nancy Kissell? Annelise Connells?

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