So l get on the train and get the first free seat on a bench for four. Three people immediately filled the space but the fourth member of that family proceeds to squeeze into the non- existent space. He is not a little kid or dwarf but a strapping 6ft adult. Thus mama g who though a petite size 10 is squashed flat onto the glass panel of at the end ! WTF! Utter idocy or ultra self-centredness?!
The old me would have given them a mouthful but since l want to be a more chilled version l remind them t!hat there is a person at the end! Be so kind as to not flatten me as I am rather fat. l think they got the message and my blood pressure did not go up.
You see what Mama G has to put up with. Do l have to educate the whole of HK, neighbours, kids, parents and now commuters.
Have spent most of my adult life teaching secondary and primary kids in England and HK. I didn’t think that I would need to ‘educate’ the neighbours here too. A sense of the common good or keeping our environment clean and tidy doesn’t seem to feature high in their priorities. I put a polite note up requesting just that as this is our home. They must have thought I was a joke or crazy. I was preaching to the converted and a bilingual reminder wasn’t going to touch the hearts of the litterbugs. I thought I’d set a good example and swept the path and picked up rubbish on the grassy slope but less than a day and it reverted to its original mess. The note would just be a sore reminder of what a fool I am so I took it down.
Then a lady with a son and older husband who lives in one of those bedsits opposite collects aluminimum cans for cents. That is fine but the other day I saw her breaking open the rubbish bags from the communal bin, pocketing the find and just leaving the whole mess on the ground! Not only would it attract vermin and be a health risk but the lack of consideration was astounding. I was tempted to ask her to clean up her mess but thought better of it. I’m already seen as Public Enemy Number One by the ignorant dog owner when I stood my ground and so I don’t want to acquire a reputation as a busybody. And it is not my job to educate her, she is a grown up and she should know better than to set such a bad example to her seven year old who was next to her.
Living in HK has taught me to mind my own business and not to perform thankless kind deeds that will be misinterpreted by the uneducated. It will only backfire. Now I understand why the locals just focus on themselves and their loved ones and function in their own little bubble. It is for self protection and of course they work such long hours and are so exhausted that they barely have enough energy tor themselves.
Then there is the irritating son of the dogowner who has taken to chucking my dog bowls down the hill as revenge for calling the police on his mother. I could go complain but she’ll just start screaming and I don’t want the kid to be beaten up again. Since my return I have heard him screaming twice, yes, screaming and she is shouting at the top of her voice about some minor misdeed. I don’t care what he has done but you don’t hit a 7 year old and you certainly don’t hurt him so bad that he is screaming with pain. Twice I have been on the verge of wanting to intervene but she’ll just tell me to mind my own business, it is her son not mine and I don’t want to cause more trouble for myself. A part of me is wary of her, I think she is unhinged and if she loses it she could be very violent and vicious. And there is the worry that if I do interfere she will beat the kid harder and take it out on him. I may start to note how frequently this occurs and record the screams, so if it escalates or happens more and more and I decide to report her for child abuse, I’ll have solid proof. But of course this is the very last resort because after that I would have to move. The kid won’t thank me and neither will the rest of the village.
Why is it so hard to do the ‘right’ thing in this world?
The shiny new life I had hoped to return to is not terminal anymore; there is hope and treatment options, phew! New shiny Samsung mobile is working perfectly and after much fumbling the techno-challenged me has worked out how to answer, text and even use What’s App and check Gmail. That’s all I need. After the dog saga, at last the fridge has been taken away for repairs; I suspect I will soon get the call to say no can do and fruitflies and larvae infestation is not covered by the warrenty. But the best thing is I am rid of it, because getting goods to and from this obscure hamlet with the curse of the thousand concrete steps is the major problem. No wonder fly tipping is rift. Thank goodness the temperatures have dropped significantly and a mini-carton of milk satisfies my tea addiction and the posh supermarket next door means I can buy daily. I tend to choose food that can keep and don’t need refridgerating. I’ve managed so far, it takes some thought as any new lifestyle would and I need to go on a diet anyway and this way I am always eating fresh produce. So goes my positive train of thought.
Best of all I’ve started tutoring which I love; the interaction with the kids on an individual personal level and doing what I’m good at. Of course it is fantastic to be earning again, albeit small sums but every drop eventually turns into an ocean. I’ve started putting the big notes away for the rent and just using the smaller $10, 20 and 50 notes for daily living. I’m saving on transport cost by walking and getting fit at the same time.
I have a lot of spare time during the day as my services are not required till the kids come home from school or the weekend. I may do some volunteering at a home near Sheung Shui with kids with physical disabilities. Then there is also a part time cashier job at the posh supermarket next door but it only pays the minimum wage, which in HK is a measly $30 per hour, the equivalent of £2.50. By contrast tutoring the rich kids I earn at least seven times that. But then it is regular more secured work and instead of facing the four walls with time to kill, I could be interacting with customers and colleagues and learning more about the local culture. I guess I have nothing to lose. I could be fussy about the hours I do, say like two five hour shifts from morning to 2pm so I leave free slots for potential pupils. If they are desperate they might take me on and the supervisor did say I had an advantage because I speak English. A good command of English can really open doors here and if you can speak fluent Mandarin then the sky is your limit.
Less shiny is the pettiness and ignorance from the dog owner who has taken revenge on my calling for police assistance by chucking the feeding and water bowl down the hill. I am crossed as I paid good money for them. I had used thin plastic ones but they bit through them. But I take a deep breath and tell myself to rise above it all. Maintain the moral high ground is my mantra. What I don’t get is you use them as guard dogs but you don’t feed them properly and a neighbour forks out instead, surely you’d be jumping for joy rather than sabotaging. When I first spotted the bowls down below my initial response was oh sod it. But then I thought why should she make me stop feeding them if I want to. I refuse to let them go hungry; it is cruel. I also thought I am really on a tight budget, counting every cent, wouldn’t it be more sensible to save on the dog food? The pragmatic me says yes but the compassionate me says an emphatic no. How would you like it if you were constantly hungry? Luckily I’ve never experienced that and I hope I never will but I can imagine. Life is life and it is only us foolish homo sapiens who’ve crowned ourselves king of the animal kingdom.
So the shiny new life is getting shinier by the minute … Watch this space. Mama G over and out.