Posts Tagged ‘Hong Kong Tales’

Hong Kong Tales: Wrong Shirt Day

Friday, May 2nd, 2008

It’s been a busy day at work today, but I had to stop for 15 minutes to get harrassed by a few people here in the office. About my shirt. I’m as confused as you.

Two of my co-workers stopped me and asked, with somewhat shocked looks on their faces, why I was wearing an orange shirt. It’s just a plain, solid-color, bright orange polo-style shirt: nothing fancy. It has an old ink stain on it but it’s hardly noticeable. So I told them why: It was clean. Then they laughed and said to each other “He doesn’t know!” The confused look on my face was threatening to become a permanant fixture.

The Olympic Torch is going through the streets of Hong Kong as I type this. I knew about this because cameras were setup this morning already and traffic was jacked up all to hell. What I didn’t know was that people were wearing Red color shirts to show their support of China and the Olympics in China. People were wearing Orange shirts to show that they are supporting human rights.

So, I’m thinking that supporting human rights isn’t such a bad thing, right? Well maybe. It seems that Orange is also symbolizing being Anti-Chinese and against the China government. Which truthfully I’m not terribly fond of their government but I wouldn’t go so far to wear a shirt that says so. Except today it would seem. I was also told by these co-workers of mine – who all seem to revel in my ignorance of things that go on in China – that a man from Denmark was denied entry into Hong Kong because he was some form of protestor or another. Presumably something to do with human rights, Tibet, the Olympics, Tiananmen Square or some combination thereof which got him pulled aside and give a full body cavity search. I made up that last part about the full body cavity search but these people are pretty thorough over here so there’s no telling really.

And what was this Danish man wearing when he was being questioned with rubber hoses and thumbscrews? A freaking Orange shirt. So now – much to the confusion of foriegners and color blind people everywhere – orange shirts have become a symbol of civil unrest and rebellion towards the Chinese government. I was warned to steer clear of police and military people and to definitely avoid going to the Olympic Torch route. Which is funny because I stood along that very same route for over 30 minutes this morning waiting for my bus to work.

So I was down in the mall that connects to our office building (because no self respecting office building in Hong Kong can be more than walking distance to a shopping center) and contemplating the purchase of another shirt for my long commute home. It was then that I saw a local delivery man wearing his company polo-style uniform shirt. It was bright orange. So I figure that if their company doesn’t think that orange shirts are a problem then I shouldn’t have anything to worry about. And I’ve never even been to Denmark.

If I don’t make it home tonight… someone please come looking for me. I’ll be the white guy with the chin beard sitting in a cell with a bunch of Chinese anarchists wearing orange shirts.

Hong Kong Tales: Embarrased at lunch

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

For the past couple of days two of our big bosses are in Hong Kong visiting and attending meetings and such. Being the nice guys that they are, they invited the entire office out to lunch at a fancy / expensive dim sum restaurant yesterday at City Hall. We had two huge tables full of people. We ordered dim sum from the ladies pushing the funny little trolleys around and they would hand us baskets of yummy goodness. It was fun and the food was really good. OK, so that’s the location.

Now for the setup. A week or so ago, a friend and co-worker showed me a pair of tiny red shoes with funny stitched tiger faces on the toes and little whiskers that stuck out. She said that they were called “tiger shoes” and she had a friend send her the pair from the mainland. She told me it was very traditional and nice to get a baby a pair of tiger shoes. They were cute but odd looking. So the other day I pass by a store that seemingly has two names (Goods of Desire and Delay No More are both displayed in huge letters) and carries lots of odd clothes and accessories. I notice in their display window that they have adult size tiger shoes. How cool is that? And then I forgot about it.