Scorecard

I like Hong Kong because:

  • Codeine can be bought off the counter.
  • Your drug dealer is Pakistani and periodically checks if you’re okay
  • You can set your watch to the public transport system, barring accidents or the end of the world.
  • They charge you 50 HK cents  for every plastic bag you have to use when buying groceries. And then you’re forced to realize carrying two pounds of shrimp and 24 cases of beer under your arm is humanly possible. Go green!
  • It’s okay to run around with roller suitcases at any time of the day or night, since everyone will assume you’re just moving in to a new flat or you’re on a shopping spree (you need space for the turnips and designer clothing) — and not because you’re en route to a landfill to dump the remains of that dead hooker.
  • Coins can actually be used to pay for things here, down to 10 cents.
  • You can walk the streets drinking a beer and no one will arrest you.
  • It’s perfectly alright for you to talk to yourself in public. Just pretend like you’re one of the legions with cellphone headsets perpetually plugged to one ear.
  • There is merit in indifferent, self-sufficient workaholics. At least you get plenty of alone time, without anyone groping you or nosing into your secret meth operation. And if you miss the rowdiness, you can always ply them with a cheap bottle of Tsingtao.
  • Four-year-olds, groomed from birth to excel in everything, can probably do your taxes for you.
  • They trust you enough to sell giant bottles of Hennessy at any of 2,000 7-Elevens along your street.
  • The mountains, the beach or just more laid-back suburbia are just an hour away from the crowded city center.

I hate Hong Kong because:

  • They sell tissue paper in sets of 64 even if you only want one.
  • Rents are ridiculous!
  • The only time you can get bang for your buck is during Happy Hour. But sometimes they water it down anyway.
  • Sexual harassment is off the charts. Partly because the majority of men are spoiled for choice and tend to treat women like parking spaces.
  • Fake eyelashes.
  • It’s considered impolite if you don’t scream into your phone in rapid Cantonese while on public transport, in a cramped elevator or crapping in a bathroom stall. You just made the eavesdroppers’ day, after all.
  • Chinese boys in tights.
  • Four-year-olds, groomed from birth to excel in everything, can probably do your taxes for you.
  • Most women are high-maintenance sticks who sneer at you when you’re not wearing fur-lined boots at the height of summer — as Karl Lagerfield demands.
  •  Why is there no hardware store or Home Depot?
  •  The mailboxes at most apartments are so damn small, the delivery man always makes you claim it from the General Post Office instead.
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