Sunday, April 06, 2008

Bus Reading Habits

My faith in Hong Kong has been partially restored. Or is it just wistful thinking?

Firstly, on this Sunday afternoon, I saw this young man reading a book full of words and no pictures while waiting for a bus on a busy sidewalk on Nathan Road. Amazing sight, isn’t it. Did you ever do it?

Thirty years ago it could have been me in that picture. Don’t get me wrong. I still do that. Reading while waiting for a bus, I mean. Actually I was there at exactly that same bus stop a few months ago, reading a book that I just bought. But I can not make myself as slim as this young man is now.

Then, just a minute later, this man on the upper deck of a bus, seemed to be totally engrossed in what he was reading. He did not even see me with my camera, sitting no more than 5 feet away in another bus. Not surprisingly, it was a comics.

On that same bus, this young man was studying some notes. It didn’t look too much different from what I give my students.

Another minute later, on yet another bus, this man was doing what a lot of adults in Hong Kong do - studying the tips on horse betting in a newspaper. Betting on football is increasingly popular nowadays. But the layout of his newspaper looked more like those on horse betting. And the football-betting crowd tends to be younger. So my guess is horses.

Finally, a couple of minutes later on another bus, this lady seemed to be enjoying the book that she was reading. And the young lady sitting to her right? I can not tell whether it was a look of envy, or contempt, on her face. May be neither.

So, out of the five people who were reading in or waiting for a bus within minutes of each other, three were reading books or some sort of notes. It was a simple majority. Not bad!


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