zombie walkers – the hong kong basic (running) law

I run a lot in Hong Kong. Running is good for you. But not if you suffer a trauma from […]

I run a lot in Hong Kong. Running is good for you. But not if you suffer a trauma from a collision with the undead. So here’s a set of rules I really wish pedestrians in Hong Kong would abide by. I know it’s a crowded place and we share limited footpath real estate. When I can, I run in the road, mainly non-downtown roads at off-peak times, but where the footpath is the only option, I basically look where I’m going. It’s not that hard. Is it?

  1. The footpath is inanimate. It isn’t going to suddenly rear up and attack you. And, it’s going to look pretty much the same 5 seconds, 5 minutes and 5 years hence. So why the intense head-down scrutiny of it? Also, no-one is going to mug you in Hong Kong so staring at the floor according to the hopeful philosophy of what you can’t see can’t hurt you, is unnecessary for your psychological wellbeing.
  2. Following from rule 1, Hong Kong is a remarkably visually stimulating place. Look around and enjoy it. And notice the runner coming your way. Plus, you might see a die die must buy real estate opportunity. Bonus.
  3. Drifting is a peculiar way for some (mainly Japanese and American people) to energetically and overcomplicatedly drive their cars around corners by turning the steering wheel the wrong way. It is the subject of many poor films. Drifting, whilst at the same time being a Hong Kong pedestrian is odd, unnecessary and adds many metres to your journey. If you must re-enact a movie while out for a stroll, pick a better one than The Fast and The Furious. In fairness, many of you seem to have done so, but honestly, 28 Days Later is a really crap second choice.
  4. World of Witchcraft or Call of Duty or whatever other multimedia killing spree you’re engaged in on that glued-to-your-face smartphone is going to quickly change to an old-school live special edition of Emergency Room if you have a head-on collision with me. It’ll still be interactive though. Between you and the doctor.
  5. If you are walking a dog, you are supposed to be doing just that. Mostly the dog appears to be walking you. You’ve obviously seen me approaching from in front so why do you blankly persist in giving your utterly pointless living mop 3 metres of slack lead? I’m a runner, not a hurdler.
  6. If you have a dog, or don’t have a dog, or whatever, I might be running in your direction, from behind you. Be sensible. Footpaths are narrow. Try to be reasonable in your occupation of it. Regardless, I will squeeze by you as best I can but be warned your pretend dog is less important to me than my new personal best. (Get a proper dog anyway, Jack Russell’s are normal, don’t take up any more space than mopdog and – compared to Vileda mutt – are super-intelligent).
  7. If you are walking towards me I am going to assume you have seen me. I am wearing white. The streetlights are on. I reflect. I will choose my line and aim for it. This line will give you as wide a berth as possible, for your uninterrupted leisurely perambulation. I have accounted for and possibly moderated my speed for any obstacles in our mutual paths. In fact, you do not have to do anything at all. How thoughtful am I? We will not crash. Except you will suddenly veer into my path wearing that vacant expression (the same look people wear in the Louis Vuitton queue in Kowloon). I have the momentum. Basic physics should have taught you that momentum can be dangerous.
  8. A footpath is never a sitting out area. Hong Kong is liberally supplied with them. Try sitting in one. Not in the middle of the footpath. I am not an HGV, but it will still hurt.
  9. Char Siew tastes great but it is not healthy. Roast duck tastes phenomenal but it is even unhealthier. Go running. Then you can eat even more of it. And see where I’m coming from (literally and metaphorically no less).
  10. In the unlikely event we are approximately converging on a rare super-wide, otherwise unoccupied footpath (like the new elevated one at China Resources) and there is no-one around (like 7am on a Saturday for example) try not to aim directly for me. I have no idea why you did this. There can be no explanation other than you – whoever/whatever you were – were very, very undead.

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Living in Hong Kong... a Brit... via Singapore