'TIS better to give than to receive.' An apt motto for this holiday season but one many seem to have forgotten by their conspicuous lack of goodwill towards their fellow men. To test local generosity during the Christmas season, two Sunday Morning Post reporters, one a local and the other an expatriate, prowled the territory's byways seeking out festive goodwill. They found expatriates were more ready to give money to the local than his compatriots. But the situation was reversed with the expatriate: he found locals more willing to give than Westerners. The Sunday Morning Post 's local undercover man, who claimed to have just spent his last dollar buying Christmas gifts, hung around the MTR ticket machines seeking donations towards a train fare. A pudgy mainlander in a Mao suit looked incredulous and proceeded to shake his head, not even bothering to reply when asked for just $5. Next was a Tsim Sha Tsui office girl, fake Louis Vuitton bag in hand. When asked for $5, she replied: 'No, I do not have any money at all.' Dejected, his sights turned to the next target, an off-duty Filipino domestic helper who ingenuously opened her purse. Lo and behold! There was a $1 coin and some 10 and 20 cent pieces which she offered without hesitation. An American businessman commented: 'You're kidding! You're kidding!' - but he did reach into his pocket for the spare change. Next he asked a European for the fare. Without batting an eyelid she asked why. After a detailed explanation, she coolly weighed the request before digging into her bag. To wishes of 'Merry Christmas', she replied: 'Yeah, yeah, I don't care, I've heard it before.' So much for generosity of spirit. The last target, a Japanese businessman, renewed our faith by handing over a new $10 coin while apologising because that was all he had. Similar requests were put to MTR passengers by the Sunday Morning Post 's expatriate reporter. It should have been easy, it was just $5 after all, but sympathy was as short as the patience of those asked. People flew past, too busy to hear his story. Of those who he did manage to collar, not one helped him out, although one female expatriate in her late 20s added: 'Well then, you shouldn't have, should you?' Another sensitive soul, a young expatriate in a business suit with all the right labels, requested the reporter's nationality. 'Irish.' 'Well, ask someone Irish then,' he said brusquely. Standing outside the Post Office in Central with a parcel purportedly containing a Christmas present for his mother and being '$30 short, honest guv', requests were made for the cash to post it to Britain. The expatriate responses were 'no', 'no', speed walking and sneering. A young Canadian backpacker in his early 20s, who should understand being caught short of cash, gave as an excuse: 'But I've still got four months of travelling left.' Another expatriate, in his early 30s with a deep tan and 'alternative' clothing, cried: 'I don't understand.' Three separate Chinese were approached, with the first, an elderly gentleman, apologising for not handing over the cash. The plea had barely left the lips of the reporter when two Chinese girls in their early 20s had their purses out with $30 in hand. On returning the cash minutes later and explaining the reason for the request, one of the girls said: 'We just thought it was nice that it was for your mother. We were glad to help.' A third local, looking like a family man in his mid-30s, was unsure but his hand hovered over his pocket before he thought better of it. The Sunday Morning Post 's local reporter did not fare as well at the Post Office - no passers-by, either expatriate or local, could be convinced to part with their cash. A smartly-tailored blonde, in what looked like a Burberry's jacket, gave a curt, 'No, not at all,' to the request for $30 postage, before doing an about-face and walking off. Somewhat more blunt was a local woman: 'Don't you have [bank] cards?' He replied in the negative and uttered something about Christmas goodwill. Her reply: 'You are not sending the present to me, why should I give you anything? Find someone else.' A designer tai-tai, with Chanel everything, shouted, 'Yow mo gow cho, ahh!' (You have got to be kidding!), before getting into a waiting Jaguar and roaring off. Our final Post Office request involved a young European male, toting a guitar and wearing faded denim jeans and jacket, who said: 'Sorry, can't help you, I'm a bit scarce myself. Good luck.' At least he was polite. The words 'other foot' and 'shoe' sprang to mind for the final Christmas generosity test. We dropped $10 on the ground and then asked people whether it was theirs. Most people said it was not theirs, but when we raised the cash to $20, the 'no' response took further consideration. An old beggar did say he had lost it but 'was sure it was $100', while one jovial middle-aged expatriate thanked the reporter, saying 'no' and suggested a charity donation. Businessmen, of course, are a breed apart and one young Chinese man took his wallet from his jacket to check. He said no, but to him, the cash falling out of his wallet, out of his inside coat pocket and finding its way to the ground was a serious possibility. Increasing the stakes to $50, a well-dressed expatriate was asked if he had dropped the bill. Checking all his pockets carefully, he replied: 'I don't know. Did you see me drop it?' We did not. He suggested we keep the money. Of those approached at the Post Office and the MTR, five people gave money from a total of 40. Merry Christmas!