We Are Polite, You Jerk
So we’re not friendly. That’s according to a recent Reader’s Digest survey that sent reporters to 35 cities around the world to find the politest town. But while we came in 25th place, way behind No.1 city New York, at least we tied with Ljubljana and are ahead of those ultra-rude bastards in Singapore, Bucharest and Mumbai.Politely Consulting The Public. Our government is a world expert at this, especially when it comes to buildings nobody wants. "We usually make up some huge, albeit fictional, figure of support from made-up consultations," said one civil servant. "Otherwise, everyone usually moans and nobody’s happy. This way we construct a huge building downtown and then everyone just deals with it."
But we suggest that had they asked the right questions, everyone would be miles behind us. We did our own reporting to see what we’re best at.
Friendly Unannounced Videotaping. Had an annoying conversation on a bus with a bizarre pony-tailed man? Can’t quite describe the person who stepped on your foot when you’re exiting? Don’t worry, for a friendly teenager will have captured it on his mobile phone camera. "It’s my honor and duty to record everything," says one friendly teenager we talked to. "You should also see my extensive collection of upskirt shots. That’s my specialty and I’m here to serve."
Politely Cutting In Line. Been waiting in that hour-long grocery line only to have someone step in front of you? In this category, nobody comes close to us, except maybe Berliners when Germany’s about to play. "I’ve been cutting in line for nigh on 30 years now," says a neighborhood spinster. "McSnoopy line? Cut that. Remember the Maria’s Cakes coupon runs? Cut them. Rice queues? I cut those like a hot Ginsu through butter."
Politely Smoking In Someone’s Face. The satisfying meal is over. What better than light to up a cigarette to top off the experience? But, oh no, you’ve run out! Fortunately, our city is so polite you can guarantee your friendly neighbor will helpfully blow a plume of poisons your way before, after and during the meal. "I was in a family restaurant the other day with my six kids," says one diner. "And I noticed the gentleman in the nearby booth was not smoking. So I lit one up to do my bit."
Politely Humiliating The Bank You Work For. This one’s easy: pay $120 million for Latin dance lessons. After all, as one major bank recently learned, what’s $120 million when you’re on the top rung? "This doesn’t even make a dent in my bank account," one anonymous exec says. "I think I’ll open a disco for my friends next."
hk magazine 632 23/6/06