Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Brave New World

I met someone claiming to be the Deputy MD of New World First Bus at a party a few weeks ago. Although slightly unnerved by his claim to admire George W. Bush (and without missing the chance to argue with him about it by pointing out that he might not feel that way if Dubya ran the company he worked for, a point which he was forced to concede), I took the opportunity, as you would, to complain bitterly about the bus service outside my own door. (I think this is the definition of "think globally act locally", or maybe just a portent of becoming the sort of person who writes indignantly to the South China Morning Post.)

His surprisingly dynamic response was that he would have the problem (too many passengers, not enough buses) fixed by Monday. I'm still waiting in vain, literally and figuratively, but this was a good response, which I try to emulate when someone challenges me about the service my company provides; but he'd better follow up on his promises or I will be writing to the South China.

I don't know what can be extrapolated about the psyche of Hong Kongers from their behaviour on buses. Suffice it to say that a good Hong Kong commuter is no more deterred by a sign on the front of the bus saying "BUS FULL", a fact thoroughly supported by the legions of customers already on the bus whose cheeks are pressed against all the windows and doors as if someone has just exerted a centrifugal force by spinning the bus like a top, than he or she is deterred by the sight of an orderly, but extraordinarily long line of people waiting outside an egg tart shop which has been given notice to quit by its landlord. Perhaps it's a variant of the urge to buy expensive branded goods on the basis that if so many people want it, it must be good.

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