Long time reader, first time contributor.
This post is probably going to strike a number of the same chords as the "Spatial Awareness on the MTR" thread from many months back. Though we've lived out in the NT for the past several years, my wife and I work on HK Island and have encountered behavior identical to what I'm going to mention pretty much everywhere in HK - with the exception of expat-majority settings.
Yesterday evening, we were unwinding at home - watching a documentary on DVD. We paused the film to make coffee and chat a bit about what had gone on in our respective days and found that we were very nearly out of whole milk. We mostly do "big shops" once a week at one of the CitySuper locations or Oliver's but Oliver's would have been closed by the time that we would have gotten there and we weren't up for a long ride to the nearest CS. It was decided that we'd wait a bit (until everything would be even less crowded) and then pop out to the closest supermarket that stocks Pura (we get the whole milk in the "royal blue" carton).
We left our apartment at about 10PM and legged it to a PnS that's located adjacent to our development.
(1.) On the way there, walking across a nearly deserted plaza, two different locals changed their courses to intersect with ours. Both times, we braced for impact and I raised my elbow just to have them re-adjust their velocity and direction so that they lightly brushed against me instead of bouncing off of me.
The PnS was practically empty. Even emptier than we remember it being at similar hours on the handful of other weekday evenings that we'd swung by. Maybe John Tsang's "global financial tsunami" is at work, sending people to wet markets for staples?
While we were there, we decided to pick up some other items, like hand soap and onions and garlic, to tide us over to the next weekend. My wife and I stood in front of the onions bin with our cart parked behind us as a defensive measure. We were only vulnerable on one side ...
(2.) No sooner had we begun sorting through the onions, looking for some that were solid, than a local couple swooped in to our right and bumped my wife in the rear with the front of their cart. They were absorbed in looking at, I think, the carrots. No apologies were offered. I shot the one pushing the cart a nasty look and they backed up and shot away.
From sad past experiences (people bumping into us and ramming our asses with their own carts), we've gotten into the habit of getting into supermarket checkout lines with our cart behind us and pointed backwards towards the rest of the line. Unloading the cart onto the checkout counter or conveyor belt is no more difficult and it affords us a certain amount of protection.
(3.) While the PnS cashier was checking us out, a very large local woman marched up behind us and bumped her stomach into the nose of our cart.
On the way home, we took a different route - one that didn't use the plaza very much. We walked through a mostly deserted shopping mall. In an empty hallway, with just my wife and I carrying our shopping bags and one local guy passing in the opposite direction, far to our left.
(4.) Sure enough, the guy veered towards us. At the last minute, I raised my shopping bags to eye level to see whether he'd swerve away. Maybe he did, but he still wound up getting a face full of green plastic. He made some muffled sounds but walked on without stopping, as did we.
None of the people who collided with us acknowledged the impact, let alone apologized. It wasn't crowded and, in every instance, they had to go out of their way to try to hit us. Though they'd have had to have been lunatics to blame *us* for the collisions, they didn't try that either.
There aren't lots of Mainlanders in the area in which we live. These were almost certainly all locals.
What's going on? Any and all guesses at the motivations of HK's people-seeking human missiles are welcome.