High time to be more considerate

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 March, 2013, 2:52am

When I moved to Hong Kong I could not help but wonder how people found time to line up for so long waiting for a meal outside a restaurant or a discount offer at a big brand shop.

Usually people in Hong Kong always look so busy, running here and there. Even if you stopped to ask somebody: "Hi, how are you?", the answer you most probably would get was, "Hi, very busy!" But, after few years of living here, I have realised that there are at least two places in particular where Hongkongers like to seize the opportunity to save time. One is in a lift, and the other is on the MTR.

I am sure all of us have had the experience of running or walking to a lift when the door was closed on your face.

As soon as somebody gets into a lift, rather than first pressing the button for the floor they intend to go, chances are that instead they rush to press the "door close" button.

Almost nobody ever bothers to hold the door open for you, even if you are running, carrying heavy shopping bags and accompanied by children. Even if you get right up to the lift, nobody seems to mind closing the door on your face. I do not know how many times I have had to stop abruptly to prevent myself or my children being squeezed between lift doors.

The other place where people like to try to save their time is when getting on to a train.

Hong Kong has a very efficient MTR system, with usually a train every two to five minutes on every station. But that does not deter people from pushing their way inside a full train or a train which is about to leave the station.

Some people even insist on trying to squeeze on board a full compartment while the train doors are closing (because they cannot wait for another two minutes for the next train). This delays the train they are trying to catch, since the train's doors are prevented from closing by either the passenger or their luggage, which is obstructing them.

I wonder how much, or even whether, time is saved by all this, especially if the train has to wait a few seconds on each station because there is somebody blocking the door.

I wish people could understand that if they can spare time to queue for a hearty meal or a good deal, they should also be able to spare a few seconds for the fellow users of a lift, and also be concerned about others' safety, and wasted time, when boarding a train while its doors are closing.

Time is equally precious for all of us.

Swati Deva, Kowloon Tong