HK's Top 10... Types of people on the MTR

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1 The pole hoggers

Whether they’ve been born without vertebrae or whether they just like a bit of extra support, these particular train riders love to keep the pole to themselves. Like a civil disobedience protestor, these individuals love to occupy and lean right up on the poles – just like a Lockhart Road straggler on a lampost – leaving everyone else struggling to keep their balance.

2 Those who like it loud

Whether it’s a guy screaming into his phone or a lady playing Candy Crush on full volume for maximum immersion, nothing is more grating than someone who disrespects the silent sanctity of the MTR by being extremely loud and incredibly close. This includes those that scream out their life story to not only the person sitting next to them, but to everyone else in the same carriage. We hear your struggle lady. No really, we all do.

3 The unprepared ones

Really? You still haven’t found your wallet? Come on! These cretins slow down your entire day, not having their Octopus cards ready at the turnstile like every other person in the city, leaving the queue behind them still impatiently waiting as they continue to ruffle through their bag 28 days later. If you’re an Octopus-less traveller, well, then you’ve got even more of a wait ahead of you as those MTR ticket machines love to return even the most perfect of coins and notes.

4 The runners

The MTR dash is one of the few sports that locals do daily. We’ve all seen these fast and furious sprinters – dashing off the train as soon as the doors open, racing across the platform to their next train. Why are they running? Maybe they’re late for work or perhaps they’re busting for the toilet in the mostly bathroom-free train system. Either way, they will run around, over or through you to get where they need to go.

5 The baggage bearers

These are perhaps the most hated of all passengers. These walking baggage carousels take up the space of four people with their oversized suitcases. Often travelling in packs, these luggage-dragging nuisances clog up every free space on the platform and in the trains.

6 The aromatic individuals

These are the ones that you smell before you see. Please mind the platform gap and the smell of your fellow travellers. Especially lethal in summer, the smell of sweat and non-deodorized armpits is compounded by the fact that the trains are usually so packed you can’t move away. Like tear gas, only worse.

7 The seat warriors

Snagging a seat on long journeys is serious business, but there is always one person who takes it just a little too seriously. They’re sneaky, strategic and there will be blood if needs be. They’re like hawks – slyly edging closer and closer to the row of seats, striking when the moment arises. Oh, and if they have to knock a pregnant woman out of the way to get that free seat they will. This is a dog eat dog world remember?

8 The door blockers 

We’ve all been there. You’ve had a hard day at work and all you want to do is go home. You’re crammed on the train and about to leave for your destination, but suddenly just as the doors are about to close someone does the impossible and squeezes into a space where there was none before. The doors can’t close, the train can’t leave, but they stand their (non-existent) ground until the doors manage to close after a hundred attempts. 

9 The personal space killers

These travellers have never even heard of the concept of private space. While Hong Kong does have a smaller personal space bubble than most cities, these individuals don’t find spooning with a total stranger strange at all. The weird thing is it happens equally on empty and packed trains – just try your best to avoid that awkward eye contact.

10 The overseas ones

Of all the people on the list, the tourists stick out the most. Bum bag firmly clasped around their waists, these specimens are often seen squinting up at the MTR map, attempting to work out which direction they’re heading. Remember to keep your distance – the tourist’s body won’t be adapted to the MTR speed and they’re likely to lose their balance and knock into you, bum bag and all.

Annie Wong and Judd Boaz

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