Anger over anti-social behaviour of visitors is not discrimination

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 May, 2014, 4:32am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 May, 2014, 4:32am

The tensions between Hongkongers and mainland visitors, which are escalating, have led to the latter group claiming it is being discriminated against.

Calls for racial equality have grown in countries around the world and sometimes people use the term discrimination as a self-defence mechanism to excuse their behaviour, when in actual fact the response to that kind of behaviour is not a form of discrimination.

It becomes too easy to use such a term to divert attention from the actual problem.

I am not denying that some visitors' feelings are hurt, but I think they are wrong to cite this as discrimination on the part of Hong Kong citizens.

First of all, we cannot talk about racism, because that must involve at least two racial groups, which is not the case here. Also, in the case of the mainland mother who allowed her child to urinate in a street in Mong Kok, if a local resident did that, other Hongkongers would be angry and would make those feelings known.

Hongkongers were upset by what happened because it was done in a public place. There are certain accepted norms in this city and in this case a parent would be expected to find a restroom.

Secondly, the tolerance level in this society has reached breaking point. When people witness behaviour that they regard as unacceptable, they will react.

There is concern that more mainland visitors will allow their children to relieve themselves in public and if this happens, it clearly becomes a serious problem for our society. Nor is Hong Kong alone in this attitude. If mainland tourists visited, for example, Canada, Malaysia, India or Norway, would the citizens of those countries find it acceptable for these visitors to allow their children to relieve themselves on the street?

I believe that in most countries, this type of behaviour would not be considered acceptable.

It is not as if all these nations are discriminating against mainland visitors, it is that this kind of behaviour is considered unhygienic and unacceptable to most citizens.

It is causing more tension here, for the simple reason that given our proximity to the mainland, we get the largest number of visitors from north of the border.

Ryan Lee, Wan Chai