The following is a story of a recent situation that has left me in shock. I nearly came to blows with a man. I had an encounter with God. And my view of the Hong Kong society has been irreparably scarred.
I was out with my wife and kids for an evening walk on Saturday. We were heading up an escalator to a shopping mall entrance.
Sidenote: It’s pretty much an unwritten rule for people riding escalators to stand on the right while people who wishes to pass may do so on the left.
I was pushing the twin stroller which was wide enough to occupy the entire width of the escalator. Needless to say, passing us was not an option.
So I’m riding the escalator with the twin stroller in front of me and I hear footsteps approaching behind me. The approaching person got up to the step right behind me and stomped hard on the final step.
I’m not an idiot; I knew what that meant. He was upset I was in his way.
Sidenote: I think it’s important to note that this escalator wasn’t one of those really long ones. It’s one story up and takes probably 10 or 15 seconds even if you just stood still the entire time.
Anyway, his behavior is trivial to me at this point. He’s just being a jerk. I let things like this slide because otherwise, I’d be too busy being mad about every jerk I see on the street.
What happens next is what pushed me over the edge.
I get off the escalator. He brushes past my shoulder, walked quickly ahead until he was a couple of feet ahead of me and loudly uttered the F-word.
W. O. W.
I took exception from this not because of the F-word. I mean, come’on. It’s so washed up from overuse in our society and the media. It means nothing at this point.
I took exception from the fact that this douche had something to say but not the courage to say it to my face.
So I called after him “Hey!”
He’s got his headphones on and pretended not to hear me.
I went after him and called after him again “Hey, you!”
I went after him and called after him again “Hey, you!”
Sidenote: I left the kids in the stroller behind with my wife. I didn’t completely forget about them.
He gave me the finger while walking away! What a coward!
So I went right up in front of him and told him “If you’ve got something to say, say it to my face.”
His response: “Fxxx you!”
Sidenote: This is Hong Kong. He’s Chinese. He could’ve used a Cantonese slur but he chose to use the English F-word. That’s why I approached him in English.
Anyway, back to the story. Basically what went on then was just us getting in each other’s face. A bunch of profanity came out of our mouths.
Sidenote: If this was a contest and there was a judge, he’d declare me the winner since the stuff coming out of the other guy’s mouth made no sense whatsoever.
At this point, I could have clocked him. He was being hostile. He even pushed me. And I would have unloaded on him or at least pushed him back had his push been a bit harder for me to actually feel it.
The fact was this guy weighed probably 40 pounds lighter than me. I’m not in the best shape of my life, but I’m 100% confident he was going down if this turned violent. Do you know of any fathers of twins? Check out his arms. They’re probably huge. It was simply a physical mismatch. It was like Joey Gamache vs Arturo Gatti. Search that on YouTube to know what I mean.
Anyway, it reached somewhat of a boiling point when he bumped me with his chest.
Sidenote: That was hilarious to me.
I had my fists clenched and I even prepared a fight-plan in my head.
I told myself, don’t aim for the head. That’ll just hurt my own hands. Start with a left hook to the liver. That should expose his right cheek. Double up on the left with a jab and then combo that into a right cross. Follow-up with another left hook. Objective wasn’t to hit him with those 3 punches. Just wanted to get him to cover up so I can finish him off by breaking a couple of ribs with a right hook.
My fight-plan never took off. Something happened to me at that point. A wave of calm washed over me. I’ve no doubt that God was intervening. I had every reason in the world to just knock that guy out. He instigated a confrontation. He was being hostile to me. He even threatened my family. But this puny man didn’t matter to me at that moment. And then it was like God spoke through me because what I said wasn’t something I would have said at that point.
I told him calmly “I’m sorry I approached you. You should turn around and leave.”
And he left, predictably. He knew he wasn’t in a good spot. And that was the end of it.
A couple of things I took from this encounter:
1. God’s intervention is powerful. He was able to turn my rage into peace right at the last moment. While I really wanted to just beat that guy up, I thank the Lord for giving me the strength which allowed me to simply brush that cowardly prick away.
2. I’m embarrassed to be ethnically Chinese and disappointed in the society of Hong Kong as a whole. I grew up in a country where people go out of their way to hold doors open for their fellow human-beings. Women need not worry when pushing a stroller or have heavy luggage when they approach a staircase because men would actually compete for the right to assist. Neighbors say “good morning” to each other. Complete strangers would offer to help push your car when it’s stuck in the snow.
Yet, I’d encountered a man who chose to express his disgust at being delayed a mere couple of seconds because of my twin stroller. A cowardly man who turned hostile despite clearly being in the wrong.
Sure, he’s not representative of all Chinese people. He’s not even representative of all of Hong Kong. But what type of parents did he have to instill such attitude in him? And what type of attitude will he instill in his kids? What reason is there for me to believe there’s hope for our society?