When traveling... I think it's important for one to remember that not every culture is alike... Seems obvious but I think Americans can forget this idea at times or maybe be a little naive and think that the rest of the world is just like us...(don't worry I'm not bashing the U.S. I swear lol)
BUT...That IS the reason why, before I go on any trip (even if it's out of state) let alone out of the country, I think it's important to ask around or read up on local customs, thoughts and ideals.
Lord knows you don't want to offend someone in the wrong place!
It may be obvious or common practice for someone who grew up in an Asian or Eastern influenced house hold to know some of these things I'm about to share with you, but I think for a lot of westerners or Americans specifically...this may come as a total shock or surprise, while, on the other hand...others may see it like common sense.... but as they say, sometimes common sense isn't so common!
So to the point already woman...here are some common courtesies--aka--tid bits of cultural customs of Hong Kong that I noticed/or was made aware of...
1. Have business cards ready for action ...although you may be going on vaycay to HK and not working...a common thing that I noticed among The locals was:
upon first introduction with someone new, they always had their business card ready to hand out! This is not only the first order of business and a sign of respect, but what I also noticed is, people take great pride in delivering their card and receiving business card with two hands. It may be a bit different than you are used to but, I actually found it quite refreshing and I felt as though whoever was receiving my business card actually cared !
2. If you can swing it, give gifts... Hong Kongers are biiiiiig into giving gifts. Probably one of the reasons I loved it so much there lol. From meals to fruit baskets and pineapple flavored hookah (at the Mira hotel) this culture, and area, loves to give gifts!!! But not just any old gift! Avoid giving things in quantities of the number 4 and also steer clear of giving away sharp objects, clocks and handkerchiefs, so I hear! Rather, stick to items like wine, money or food offerings!
3. Food and drink etiquette.....what I noticed is everyoneeeeee in HK washes their hands before a meal (which is a good clean healthy habit to begin with) but don't be dirty and start chowing down when everyone else around you is cleaning up! Also, I noticed whoever is hosting dinner, tends to over order or cook by a long shot. Heaven forbid you leave the table hungry...it would never happen at a Hong Kong table. Lastly, a spot of tea, more like a gallon or two of tea when you go to Hong Kong.... If you don't like this warm, palette cleansing beverage before your trip, you'll be a tea- sipping convert by the end of your trip! This I can assure you! And while drinking tea in HK you should know, that if your cup is empty, they will keep on filling it up! So instead of saying no.. Etc...instead gently tap the table with two fingers to signal to your pourer, thank you, that's enough tea!
5. Notice I skipped right on over number four in this list. Well that's because like in the US where the number 13 is often seen as a bad/unlucky number ...to Hong Kongers the number 4 sounds similar to the word for death.... so whatever you do...DO NOT wear your lucky #44 basketball jersey while in Hong Kong... In fact do as the locals do and just avoid this number all together! On the other hand, looking for a favorable digit? Stick with the number 8, which is considered good luck by the locals!
6. Last and most importantly .....Hospitality and R-E-S-P-E-C-T ( yes like the Aretha Franklin song ) the locals too, highly revere this practice. So no matter how jet lagged you are...put on your game face and be a courteous traveler...(and whatever you do! Under NOOOOOO circumstances...will there be ANY talking about being approached by a call girl at the lunch table.. Aye yi yi...one of my crew members...god bless him, doesn't get out much!