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Rant: living the dream

Robby Nimmo

 

The 1970s pop song about rain drops (as in they "keep falling on my head") also has the line "sleeping on the job". This habit seems to apply to Hongkongers, come rain or shine. From lifeguards to bus drivers in between shifts to office workers and shop sales staff, people here seem to have an incredible penchant for taking 40 winks, any time, any place.

An American friend took her first overseas posting in Hong Kong a couple of years back. On her first day, she came back from lunch at about 2pm and thought there must have been a gas leak causing her co-workers to pass out from noxious fumes: they all had their heads down on their desks.

She ran to the fire alarm and smashed it into life with her stiletto heel, waking up her new colleagues with a fright. No one had warned her about the lunchtime siesta.

Have you noticed that security guards and those people who sit by lifts are among the worst offenders? I'm amused by some of their other habits, too: such as listening to Chinese opera on transistor radios hung up in their work stations, like something out of Gilligan's Island; putting their feet up on their desks; or picking their teeth with a pen. I even saw one having a wet shave in a Hollywood Road office. As I walked in, he was mid lather. At other times, I've noticed he can snore for China: it's almost as though he's in simulcast with the Chinese opera some days.

My American friend now takes the opportunity to stack a few zeds whenever she can … on the MTR, on the bus, on Sunday junk trips. After all, this is Hong Kong, where the world is your pillow.

 

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