My friend C was talking to a group of friends, in English, in a restaurant in Hong Kong. She is ethnically Chinese but speaks fluent English.
Suddenly, a young lady sitting alone at the next table blurted out at them, “Why do you people speak such good English?” The young lady had her finger-nails painted black, and was dressed in a trendy way. C started talking to her, and got this feeling that the young lady was lonely and eager to talk, even though they are total strangers to each other.
Then the young lady had to go to the bathroom. As soon as she walked away, an adult lady at another table started to complain to C, “young people these days have no manners. They are not taught well at home. They have no respect for elders, ...”
C was from Hong Kong but has been away in the USA for many years. She teaches performance in a university and is very expressive. She got this feeling that many Hong Kong people are eager to communicate - even with strangers. Yet young people seem to find it difficult to communicate with the adults at home. And, equally, the adults find it difficult to communicate with the young people at home. Isn’t it ironic? Both sides want to communicate, yet both find seemingly impossible obstacles.
What can be done to help them (us)?