There is nothing much important than get your Octopus card than anything else when you first arrived in HK. You probably will see the machine when you arrived at the airport.
The octopus card is used for transportation, 7-11, even soda machine. You need to get your octopus card around if you dont want to carry all the small HK coins around.
Octopus card is a pre-paid card. You load $ in any machine or even 7-11 shops and just put it on the octopus reader and you will be charged.
If you put it in your wallet in your bag, you dont even get the card out. Just put your bag on top of the reader than you are charged.
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Hong Kongers live in a modern fast moving society but many retains their Chinese traditons, beliefs and superstitutions. It is not unusual to see temples right in the middle of an urban sprawl.
Feng shui masters and fortune tellers are often consulted in building designs, date of moving house or looking for the right spouse.
For business people, it is important not to use the wrong words like bankruptcy, etc. It is well known that most shop-keepers will want to start their buisness day with a sale and close with a sale. So you are the first customer or last customer beware of the pros and cons. If you are buying, you wil get a great bargain but if you are just window shoping, tread carefully and do not get the wrath of the shop-keeper.
Never ever stick your chopsticks straight up in your bowl of rice. Not only it's rude, chopsticks stuck straight up in a bowl of rice also resembles jossticks in an urn which is only meant for funerals. Never ever do this during a banquet or during a hosted meal.
Also, never use a chopstick to point at something, most least a person. Very rude.
If you intend to buy the food for a takeaway, the instruction is "Wai Mai" (To sell externally) . Folks in Southeast Asia is so used to the term "Da Bao" (which means packet-up to go) that we tend to use the same term in HK. Unfortunately, in HK, "Da Bao" means wrapping up the dead, which earned me quite a few dirty looks on my first trip to HK before I realised the taboo.
You should never buy clocks as gifts for Chinese friends (unless they do not mind). Many older folks still frown at that as the Chinese words for "sending clocks" sound almost the same as "sending you to your grave". So, if you are intending to buy a gift for a Chinese friend, clocks should never be a consideration! On the other hand, watches are fine.
It's a commonly known fact that Hong Kongers are a superstitious lot, not too different from their Southern cousin, the Singaporeans. Here's a number of common beliefs that defy logic:
1) obsession with lucky numbers.
It was too long ago that some sod paid a lot of money for a personal license plate containing the number "9," which sounds like the Cantonese word for longevity. It made history since it was for more than a million bucks. The numbers "3" and "8" are also lucky numbers and you'll find it in a lot of business telephone numbers .
2) clocks suck as gifts
The Chinese word for clock sounds like the word for death, give a clock gift to your host and you'll never eat lunch in this town again.
3) The period between Aug and Sep (seventh month) is considered an unlucky period.
According to Chinese superstition, the hell gates are open once a year during the seventh month of the Lunar calendar. Yes, lo, it is the Hungry Ghost Month! During this period, Singaporeans and Hong Kongers tend to tread very carefully around ancient beliefs to avoid offending the roaming spirits. Many avoid getting married, relocating, changing jobs or making investments or travelling. Surprisinly in China, the hungry ghost month superstitions are pratically non-existent. I suppose ghosts do not roam there.
4) Feng Shui
Hong Kongers and Singaporeans love to hire geomancers ( Feng Shui Astrologers) and consult them over every damm thing, from auspicious marriage dates to interior design. Place your furniture in the wrong position and lo, you might lose your hair, your money and God knows what else.
When buying stuffs in supermarkets, you must bring your own bag or you’ll be asked to purchase a plastic bag for the items you just bought! The plastic bag costs less than HK$1 and the locals are not advisable to use a plastic bag. BUT that wasn't really the issue. The supermarket staffs will look at you like you’ve done something very offensive.., but I think what happened to me was the reverse. I was very offended! Well, what do you know... you're just a foreigner! (those staffs are very unfriendly, i just forgot the name of that supermarket!)
Like any country, mind your P's and Q's. Don't come off as an inbred American, being rude to the locals for whatever reason (of course, unless they're blatantly rude to you too). Anyway, don't lose face, as they say. This may be Hong Kong and a British-Chinese cosmopolitan mecca, but you still have to respect differences in their culture. Ok, pretty obvious advice I think.
Hong Kong was a British colony before, thus, it has mixed culture. Hong Kong people are being westernized for a century. Most of them are nice. If you want to find somebody who can communicate with you in English, I think..........is not that difficult. Hong Kong people are friendly. But some of them don't like skin to skin touching when you greet them.( I think you know what I mean!!!!!!)
It's a fast paced city and people have no time for courtesy. Don't say sorry when you bump into a person on the street, instead glare at them as if it's their fault. They're simply going to get angrier if you say sorry.
TIPS FOR DOING BUSINESS:
Wear a lightweight suit for all occasions and make prior appointments. Chinese businessmen drive a hard bargain but their word is their bond. It is wise to avoid using blue and white as they are the Chinese colors of mourning. There will be lots of entertaining, usually in restaurants. Be prepared to answer to a toast to your host. Try to eat with chopsticks. Carry your passport at all times.
You may pass women on the streets making a bit of a racket banging on the street. If you really dislike a person for some reason, you can bring a piece of paper with that person's name written on it and these women on the street will beat the name with a slipper against the concrete and this is supposed to punish this person or do bad to them...!!!!
When shopping in the multi-leveled complexes of Causeway Bay or Shenzen etc., go to the top floor first! Rent is cheapest here and therefore you will get the best prices here as well.
Tipping in Hong Kong is very important and almost a way of life. The service staff expect nothing less than 10% of the bill even when a service charge has already been levied. Cab drivers tend to mark up the fare to the nearest HK$ and if not, will appreciate a little extra.
Local people here are mostly not quite get using on close body contact like, kissing on cheek, a great hug for greeting or goodbye
People sometimes are quite shy in answering foreigners approaching for question raised. Though we are shy, most can still offer assistance for help in giving proper direction. Esp in English or Mandarin