Rudeness in Guangzhou

Just got back from a weekend in Guangzhou, a large city in Southern China, about 3 hours north-west of Hong Kong by bus/train.

Haven’t been up there in years and this time, the whole family went up for a cousin’s wedding.

Guangzhou is nothing to write home about really. Dusty, dirty, crude and rude. (Just don’t tell my relatives I said that!)

Or maybe it’s just I haven’t been to the right places.

I’ve forgotten how rude China is – because I actually got upset by all the rudeness.

By the second day, I’ve come to expect rudeness, so it made much less of an impact by then.

I’ve concluded that, unless you know someone on a personal level – too bad.

Expect people to wave you off when asking about the latest bus timetables; expect people to speak to you in robotic monotones; expect people to speak to you in the same breath they are using to yell at a colleague (Where the hell were you?!I told you to get back here!!How many persons?!Would you like a seat in one of the rooms?!); expect your waiter to stand slumped across a counter with zero facial expression and tell you that wedon’thavenoodlesyet without looking at you and continue to pick at her fingernails; and yes, expect people to speak either in a toneless uninterested voice, or expect lots of ?!?!?!?!?!?!!!!!!!.

Gee, I’m not doing any good for the (non-existent?!) tourist industry of GZ huh?

By the time it came for me to return to HK, I’d come to expect the worst of everyone and became just as robotic myself:

Just as the bus arrived at a scheduled stop in Hong Kong, the bus driver yelled out, “THE ONE GOING TO WAN CHAI!!! GET OFF HERE!!!”

The whole bus-full of Chinese tourists turned to look at me. I grabbed my backpack and marched off the bus.

The bus driver, pointing at the luggage compartment underneath the bus: “GO AND GET YOUR LUGGAGE!!!”

When I would normally have smiled and said, “No, I don’t have any luggage there”, I totally ignored him, and marched right past him without even looking at him.


My back was already to him by that point. I shook my head.

Without a word, he climbed back onto the bus and drove off.

I climbed onto my connecting van, and was greeted by the warm smile of the attending girl on the van.

Who would’ve ever thought that the first thing you notice about getting back to Hong Kong (a city famed for it’s hurried citizens, efficiency and [used-to-be-more-common] rudeness) is a warm smile?!


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