the state of hong kong parenting makes me want to have babies

Every Saturday morning if you go out onto the streets of HK, you’ll be confronted by adults, teenagers, and children alike fundraising for a charity.

To avoid constant hassle, the government has a system where registered charities can apply for permits to fundraise on a specific Saturday so that you get different charities out every week. (I think they now do it on Wednesdays sometimes too). After giving a donation, they would stick a little sticker onto your top to signify that you’ve already donated so others of their group will not approach you anymore that day.

Many a times, the fundraising is a school extracurricular activity where teenagers would stand expectantly in uniform. Or, if the kids are too small, a parent would either do the actual fundraising with the child shyly in tow or the they would supervise nearby, gently prodding the kids forward encouraging them to speak up.

Walking down the street this morning, a mother with a little kid in tow held up her standard issue collection bag and asked for a donation. I usually ask people about the charity they’re fundraising for as it’s nice to know what I’m contributing to. You can usually tell by the name on the bag but I think it’s nice to talk anyways. People never fail to give a brief one-liner description and that’s more than enough as I slot in some money and go on my merry way.

So I asked this woman what today’s charity was for. She held her bag up higher and read out the charity’s name. It has one of those names that do not indicate at all what its purpose was. So I said again, what does it do? She looked at me blankly, then pointed to the badge on the child’s school uniform and read out the name of the school. It was some Christian school by the sound of it, but still that doesn’t tell me anything. I can only assume that the charity and the school are funded by the same organisation?

But what does it do? The woman just looked at me. This is a young mother. Petite and not bad-looking. She didn’t seem like the illiterate or uneducated type. But she couldn’t tell me why I should give her some money. I mean, I take that back. Surely even if you’ve had little education, as is common in the older generation of Chinese, you would know what your charity does? This is the first time ever that someone fundraising isn’t able to answer the very simple question.

To be honest, my thoughts were, “What a fucking idiot.” I considered walking away, but then I felt bad, like seriously are you going to be so judgemental about this one woman that you couldn’t part with a few coins at least? Get off your high horse! Her child was looking up at me, so I gave her a dollar and left.

The more I thought about it, the angrier I got. How could you try to get people to part with some money and not even be able to tell what they are donating for? What is that child learning from her? What is she teaching her child? They really were just doing the child’s homework without even thinking about it. To satisfy a quota, for brownie points on community service….I get that. I’ve done that too. But hey, at least know what you’re collecting money for right?

Seriously, the state of parenting in Hong Kong sometimes makes me want to have babies so I can out-reproduce all these idiots. Given my many grievances, I’ll need to breed faster than rabbits.

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4 thoughts on “the state of hong kong parenting makes me want to have babies

  1. I’m like you – a total softie / sucker for people asking for donations, surveys and directions on the streets.

    Once I was stopped by two schoolgirls who asked if I had time to do a survey. Everyone else was busy and ignoring them, so I said I did. First, their survey was on the most vapid, unless topic — slimming and beauty treatments. Of course, they were only asking women. Of all the important social issues in HK, this is the one they choose?

    I asked what school they were from. They pointed to the emblem on their uniforms, which had an abbreviation — say ABC College. But what did ABC stand for? They didn’t know. Seriously? They didn’t know the name of their own school? Even in Chinese? I don’t think they were lying or hiding anything. I think they didn’t know.

    Another time I was approached by someone asking for donations to a political party. So I asked the elderly volunteer the name of the party in English, and she said she didn’t know. I don’t expect fluent English, but you should at least be able to pronounce the three-letter abbreviation. Did she have a pamphlet or information I could take? No. Could she outline any of their stances or views? No. (And I was asking this in Cantonese)

    Since I am not illiterate, I knew it was the DAB, and I know that the pro-China parties sometimes rope poor elderly folk into protests, handouts, etc, with promises of cash or meals. I also recognized legislator Wong Kwok-hing, thanks to his tasteful campaign ads where he poses with a gun and pretends to shoot people. As soon as he saw an interested person, he came over with a very aggressive cameraman, trying to force me into looking like I was a supporter. So, before I found myself unwitting included in a DAB ad, I ran away.

    • It’s quite unbelievable that those girls don’t know the name of their school? That’s just insane.

      All those ads in the MTR and on TV on slimming and beauty treatments annoy me to no end. I always feel like spray painting them. Imagine being a young girl and just being exposed to all that crap day in and day out for years on end. Even if you are brought up ok, no doubt they will work an effect on you one way or the other. It’s crazy stupid, but I digress.

      Wow, that elderly volunteer soliciting for a political party that she can’t say anything about? That is sad. And the fact that the elderly feel like they have to “sell” themselves like that for an extra meal or a bit of cash, that is sadder still. What does that say about our social system?

  2. carebear, you are going to be very busy trying to compete withe locusts’ rate of reproduction…you are better off giving some lead to each one of those parents instead….

    joyce, for those FTU/DAB organizations, I just give them the finger (maybe a double) every time I see their candidates. I personally refuse to give any money to DAB for what they do, period. I rather give my money to the democratic/civic party instead…

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