I am not afriad of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today~William Allen White

Archive for September, 2010

Why are ROMAS so mistreated?

Like many possible netizens out there, I thought the Romas are from Romania, hees. After some googling, I realized the Romas don’t have a particular country they belong to, such as Canadians are from Canada or Japanese are from Japan; Romas live a nomadic lifestyle and are believed to have originated from present-day Rajasthan, a state of India. Since Romas have been making the headlines, I wanted to learn a bit more about them; why France wants to rid its nation of Romas and why they are so ill-treated in other European countries such as Italy, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, etc. The following excerpt from http://www.a-w-i-p-.com summarizes quite well the intolerance and inhumane treatment of Romas not just in one country, but across Europe.

“They were subjected to ethnic cleansing, abduction of their children and forced labor. England saw them being hanged, France saw them being branded and humiliated, Spain saw their families being separated, Moldavia saw them being enslaved and brutalized. With the onset of WW2, they faced genocide at the hands of the Nazis. Romanies, also known as Porajmos were often killed on sight or taken to concentration camps; the total number of victims has been variously estimated at between 220,000 to 1,500,000. The post-war era gave them little respite. In communist Eastern Europe, they faced assimilation schemes and cultural restrictions. Their language, clothing and music was banned in Bulgaria, their women were sterilized in Czechoslovakia, their children were forcefully taken away in Norway, they were banned entry into the US till 1885 and the list goes on and on. “

After some intense reading on the internet, I actually still do not know the answer as to why this particular ethnic group is so disliked and despised across Europe. Why such xenophobia and intolerance against the Romas? Maybe someone who stumbled by my piece could shed some light, but my conclusion is…they don’t have a country to protect them, so they’re not really citizens of any particular countries, thus they are just being stepped on and thrown around…not in my backyard.

The impossible flight of stairs

 I have decided to move the warehouse arm of the operation to Yau Tong Industrial district, which is very close to the office, about 15 minutes and 5 MTR stops from office to warehouse. What I really like about the warehouse is that from the MTR platform, I could see the building I am supposed to walk to, which amounts to approximately 5 minutes of brisk walking. Another thing I like about the warehouse location is that it’s just a few buildings down from the fire station; it seems like a very safe location for people and products alike. I also like looking into the fire station every time I walk pass, to see if any firemen are training in their uniforms.

view of warehouse from mtr station

view of mtr station from warehouse

Unfortunately, these happy feelings fade when I have to walk from the warehouse to the MTR station. I have come to realize that the longer I stay at the warehouse, the lower my energy level beomes. This is especially true if I help move cartons and products around the warehouse and work up a sweat. By the time I leave the warehouse, I would be feeling quite exhausted, and the walk to the MTR station would take a little while longer. Why I say bad infrastructure planning? Because in order to get up to the MTR platform, you would have to walk up a giant flight of stairs separated into 5 flights of 13 steps each. This is an incline climb to the top, which I believe is very tiring for everyone that needs to climb this flight of stairs to leave the industrial district!

a preview of the flight of steps

I don’t understand why they haven’t install a set of escalators instead, clearly that solves the problem for tiring souls from the industrial district and all the uncles and aunties over 40s that need to climb that flight of stairs every time they need to take public transportation! There is an elevator that lead up to the platform, so the first time I saw the sign and the arrow pointing to the elevator, I thought it’s just a few steps away, and OMG, was I ever wrong! The elevator is all the way on the other side of the platform, and it took a good 10 minutes to walk to! This is really horrible planning, why can’t there be 2 elevators on both sides of the platforms?

There was this auntie in her fifties heaving and puffing up the 5 flights of steps, and by the 3rd flight, she had to rest, and there I was with my colleague ready to climb those steps. So sad, by the time I finished two flights, I was so tired, I have to rest like the auntie, which I think is very embarrassing and not cool! But my colleague is trailing way behind me and could hardly walk up the first flight before huffing and puffing. Believe me, I usually climb up all 5 flights in one go without resting (when I don’t have to heave cartons and just direct), though I would usually feel the burn on my thighs by the 4th flight.

5 flights of 13 steps each = 65 steps (very exhausting when temp is over 30 and you'v been lifting cartons that are 8.8kg each!!)

In general, people would be tired after climbing the 5 flights of stairs, and would usually be breathing a bit heavier and wiping sweat off their faces; so what really irked me about this whole infrastructure planning is that once you reach the platform, you would see this sitting/resting area that you could rest your poor limbs on, but you cannot! Why you couldn’t is because the government has decided to place giant statues of people sitting and wiping their faces with handkerchief and eating snacks! You too, would see the annoying irony in this situation!!?!?!!

you could understand why this piece of art irks me right?

Public Transportation Etiquette

I would like to share a little bit on the etiquette on public transportation and my pet peeves!

When you get onto a mini bus, which is a van type of bus with 16 seats and zero standing capacity, it’s really annoying when single passengers select the aisle and leave the window seat empty. The bus will not start moving until 16 passengers get onto the bus, so why don’t you shove your bum to the inner seat so passenger coming on after you don’t have to slide past you and squeeze into inner seat when there is restricted leg room! It just gets to be such a hassle if you’re carrying heavy groceries and still the person refuses to move in and let you take the aisle seat! Rather, they will slightly squeeze their feet in thinking their limbs do not take up space or ever so slightly move their legs to the aisle expecting you to tuck gently into the window seat without touching them at all! Then when you’ve trouble squeezing in because you’re carrying loads of stuff or they’re not as skinny as they think, they’ll make these tsk tsk sound like you’re offending them, OMG!!! The worst part is passengers that know they get off at the last stops and still decide to take up the aisle seat, then whole annoying procedure will occur again when you’ve to get off. It’s usually worst when you get off because the bus kind of lurched and braked on a skid and you could easily loose your balance. Sometimes I get so frustrated I just want to swap the other passenger with my bags, because why can’t just make an effort to stand and let me through?

Moving on to the MTR (subway), people waiting to get onto the MTR will generally stand in 2 uniform lines left and right of the doors that slide open when the train approaches. The center is left open so passengers on the train are able to get off before passengers standing on the platform get onto the train. What really irk me are the elders in this particular situation. While it is the right thing to do to yield your seat to old people on the train, it does not mean the old people could just push to the front of the line and butt the entire line of people waiting to get onto the train! I have such issues with these rude seniors who just stand smack in the center even when there are 20 people lining up, or those seniors who sidle up to the left or right of passengers standing at the front and will make a mad dash into the train once the door open, completing shoving past the passengers that are getting off the train! I know it’s petty to call them out and they probably act this way because the chance of confrontation is unlikely, but have some manners! Just because you are old doesn’t give you the right to butt ahead in a line or ignore the basic etiquette of waiting for passengers to get off first before you get on! The PA system specifically said “please let passengers alight first” in Cantonese, English, and Mandarin!

Summer in Hong Kong–construction construction everywhere

A typical look of HK in the summer months

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