In Defence of the Pacifist Aggressive

The Hong Kong Experience: Day 03

2014/12/25 @08h13 HK time

In lieu of psychic paper, let me use my “borrowed” universal translator to greet you Feliz Navidad, Joyeux Noël, Happy Christmas, and/or Hi!

Regardless of where you are and what you celebrate/observe, have a great day, Interwebbers!


Previously on The Hong Kong Experience…

Tolkien is like an old friend and has been with me through the years. I felt his presence in Oxford this past summer and he’s been with me so far on this adventure. Indeed, “not all who wander are lost.”

I threw out my emotional and psychological GPS, felt one with the Earth, so to speak, and went with the flow, swift as it was, around me.



On the third day of Christmas–vacay–it became obvious to me,

The holidays have a polarizing effect.

And the adventure continues…

I see London, I see France, I see shops and shoppers doing the money dance.

There are sprees. Crime sprees and shopping sprees, for example. I’ve come to realize that these two are not always mutually exclusive and may end up reluctant bedfellows.

The way I see it, there are two ways to define an emotional shopper.

e·mo·tion·al (adj.) shop·per (n.)

əˈmōSH(ə)n(ə)l  /ˈSHäpər/
1. A frenzied individual who needs to get through the holiday wish list, the emotional shopper develops a mild and hopefully temporary case of shopping rage. (Please see “road rage” for further clarification.)

2. An ideally considerate individual (sometimes to a fault) who will spontaneously purchase items, regardless of time of year and without forethought on price, because she knows the person she cares about will like it or appreciate the sentiment behind the gift.

I’d like to think I fall under the second category. To help illustrate the life and times of an emotional shopper, allow me to share some of the more #holidazedshoppingmoments.

The Sestra happened upon a lovely aubergine trench coat for me. D’awww. How nice of her. And it fit perfectly. Walking around with it on to get a feel of it, I noticed a very slight imperfection in the cuff of fabric. So, I circled my way back to the coat section and saw women trying on the remaining two coats in my style. I decided not to engage.

However, one of the women sensed my approach, or perhaps saw the wash of eggplanty goodness with sleeves enter her periphery. Like a scene from any Nat Geo nature program, I suddenly felt hunted. This woman literally skulked near me for a good five to seven minutes, eyes on me, eyes on the prize. I think she was waiting for the millisecond I might place the coat down–even if only to scratch my nose–so she could snatch it away. Head tilted, Bollywood-style from behind a rack of scarves. Peekaboo, mole-style from behind a shelf of sweaters. I didn’t fear just for my life but for the life of my potential coat. What would become of my cozy cocoon? And did the holiday muzak on the PA just turn into an Australian male voiceover?

To pan out from this predatory scene of purchase, (spoiler alert: I totally bought the jacket. She was NOT gonna get her mitts on it.), there was the general undercurrent of aggression as people milled about on the streets, in shops, even in the hotels.

The shortest distance from point A to point B is a single line. Yeah, I integrated math into this post. Boom! Anyhoo, if there is an obstacle between these points, obviousamente, you’d seek to find an alternate route, yes? Bob and weave, bob and weave. Longer travel but you will still reach your destination relatively unscathed.

But here? Whether or not the corridor or sidewalk is full of people or so desolate you can see a tumbleweed go by, NO ONE IS SAFE.

Cue the elbow jab, the hand flick, the shoulder thrust.

I cannot, for the life of me, understand the necessity to morph into a rock and plough through the ocean of humanity, especially if we’re all moving in the same direction anyway. It might be because I’m Canadian and/or perhaps the lessons of human decency and kindness my parents have instilled in me, but “Duuuude. What’s the rush?” Then, naturally, I think back to the coat-coveting stalker in the shop, and scratch my head at how the frenzied activity is only exacerbated by the fan-favorite: mob mentality.

I believe the term ‘hustle and bustle‘ must have been borne from an intense shopping experience.

Action/Reaction, Proactive/Reactive

Option #1: The “When in Rome” Method

I was skeptical, but apparently it was suggested that I be just as aggressive when it happens to me. Seriously? There are persistent folk around. So far, I’ve encountered the following:

Magnet Man: Even if there’s eight feet of space to walk around me, he swoops in to graze and/or shove me aside to get where he’s going.

Umbrella, Not an Umbrella: What must’ve been her protruding fist (I have no real prove that an umbrella ever existed in this incident), I was propelled forward so she could STOP in front of an escalator.

The Chewbacca Swat: The swat itself has nothing to do with the beloved beast, but rather a sleeveless fur vest that made it look like the lady took Chewie out back and turned the lights out, if ya catch my drift. I’m about 5’4″ or 5′ 5″. I had something in my eye so my bent arm–you know, the one attached to the rest of me–must’ve been in the way of this four foot nothing’s view and she actually reached up and swatted my arm to get by.

The results?

Ouch. Every. Single. Time. Pain of varying degrees and increased frustration. How could I possibly “do unto others” when I sure as frilly heck do NOT want that done unto me? #nothankyou

Option #2: I’m a Canuck, but what the f—

It’s second nature to bob and weave. Must’ve been all those years of playing Halo. Point being, I can slink my way through a crowd. When it gets a little too close for my liking, I’ll gently tap them on the shoulder and say “Excuse me” or “Pardon me” but often times, I try and say it while still going out of my way–literally–to stay out of their way–physically.

The results?

Arched eyebrows. Shock. Confusion. I know there’s the occasional language barrier, but I truly believe it’s the politeness that throws them off.

You just can’t win.

2014/12/24 @23h27 HK time

Given the day, however, I should go with Option #3: “It’s better to give than to receive.”

No, not gifts.

It’s better to give a crap than to receive more bruises. Do I want to go the tough love route? Not necessarily. But I ain’t no pushover neither. If this were a multiple choice test, I’d want the fourth option and go: “All of the above” or at least a combination thereof.

I’m a peaceful gal, but don’t poke the bear, ya know?


But for now, it’s peace, love, and high fives from my family to yours.



Until next time…

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