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Bamster Briefing: Hong Kong

Hong Kong! World's largest per capita consumer of shade cloth. Filled with people formerly called Patrick.

Bus in Hong Kong

It was easy sitting in an Irish Pub, not too far from Kennedy Town, surrounded by the billowing green to think that I too might cease to call myself Patrick and stay a while. Or perhaps I might stay over the water with my Celtic cousins in McAu.

Ah dreams! But I only had a week and there is more to Hong Kong than Shamrocks and Thistles. Lots more. Lots of roads. Lots of vehicles.

Learner driver in Hong Kong

What better way to see these roads than to have a driving lesson? Who better to teach me than Raymond Fung of City Driving School, Hong Kong? Raymond has years of experience teaching Hong Kong bus drivers, so I felt in safe hands.

I also spent a lot of time in taxis, a lot of time in mini-buses and a lot of time on the top deck of double decker buses and trams.

Driving Hong Kong Island is not for the fainthearted. The city streets are packed and a lot of the roads (excluding the excellent freeway system) are very narrow. The driving is aggressive, but generally of high quality (maybe because the vast majority of vehicles are driven by professional drivers). Although aggressive in driving, most Hong Kong drivers are not easily fazed. They seem to accept that the roads are the way they are so why stress? Many Sydney drivers could learn from this.

The biggest weakness of Hong Kong drivers is their unwillingness to use their indicators. This combined with the same suicidal pedestrian behaviour also seen in Sydney must lead to excessive casualties.

Bus crash in Hong Kong

Bamster gives the drivers of Hong Kong Island an S+. We suggest that you do not drive in Hong Kong unless you have plenty of experience and confidence. And why bother? Hong Kong's public transport is excellent and cheap. Sydney could learn from that too (but it would help if we could pack another couple of million people into about half the space).

Like all civilized countries (India, Japan, Australia, etc) the people of Hong Kong and Macau drive on the left hand side of the road. Indeed, the next major leap forward in China (after the 3 Gorges hydro scheme and putting a man in orbit) will be the conversion of the entire transport system to comply with Hong Kong road rules.

Click Here for Hong Kong and NSW Road Fatality Stats 2002

"Leave 5 minutes early"
- Sir Henry Bammmster,
Seoul, 1946

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