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Uniquely Hong Kong

Must Hong Kong people line up for hours for everything?

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 May, 2018, 4:45pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 May, 2018, 4:45pm

Hongkongers line up for hours for everything: to buy a flat, to get into school, and so on. But is this cultural phenomenon really acceptable?

I recently queued to sign my children up for summer camp at the YMCA. The camp organisers were to start giving out 600 tickets on April 28 at 7.30am, with enrolment starting at 8.30am.

I lined up in the rain for over two hours and, when I finally got inside, my clothes had dried but I still had no ticket, and still more people were lining up.

This ticketing and enrolment approach encourages bad behaviour like cutting in line, getting people in the front to submit your forms, sending the grandparents to line up, paying off maids to start queuing at 5am and so on.

It also creates a culture of queuing. If enrolment is on a first come, first served basis, then why don’t organisers let people come in at their own time? Then those lining up further back do not have to be frustrated at not knowing what’s happening, or worried that all the tickets have already been given out.

A first come, first served system would benefit the organisers as well. Rather than having to deal with a mob of queuers, they can deal with them as they come in.

Adeline Wong, Wan Chai