Who's really allowed to squat on the MTR floor?

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 May, 2013, 4:15pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 May, 2013, 5:09pm

With a look of absolute nonchalance, a long-haired woman hauling a suitcase through the MTR Corporation’s East Rail Line plops herself down onto the middle of the train compartment floor.

Legs stretched, smartphone out and headphones on, not a single passenger on the train tells her off.

It turns out the woman wasn't a mainland tourist but an attractive brunette.

Photos of "long-legged westerner" as the local media dubbed her, began spreading on local, Taiwan and mainland blogospheres on Wednesday. Naturally, this triggered a bit of banter on the subject of appropriate tourist behaviour.

Some pointed out that Hongkongers had double-standards. If the woman was a mainlander, netizens pointed out, she would have had the scolding of her life - and possibly a police presence there too.

Others were more frank, suggesting that she was merely “beautifying the environment” - a term typically used by mainland government officials as an excuse to get rid of “unappealing” sights - such as homeless people and street vendors.

“The question to be asked here is whether or not a girl is hot enough to sit on the floor,” one person commented with brutal honesty on the Headline Daily story which was shared on Facebook.

Obivously, comments were a bit different on Sina Weibo. Many billed it as a blatant case of discrimination and even worse, that Hongkongers were biased towards westerners.

This one, however, was probably the most fair and accurate observation: “If it was a fiery hot female mainland tourist, I’m sure Hongkongers wouldn't say a word either”.