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Had lunch with a friend at Cova in Harbor City the other day. The food was alright. Well, I ate too much the night before and was still a bit full by the time I had lunch the next day. So, I wasn’t really paying too much attention to the food. But it certainly was not bad at all.

During that lunch, we heard a guy from the table behind asking a server if there’s a menu in Chinese, and the server coldly replied, “NO."

The immediate reaction of mine and my friend’s was bursted into giggles. But then, both of us thought it’s actually not quite right.

Just imagine yourself being in New York, walk into a restaurant and you open the menu and find that it’s not written in English. Won’t you find it odd?

This is Hong Kong. Isn’t it? And Chinese IS our language. Right? Chinese IS our official language. Why the server could reply with a ‘No’ as if it is absolutely right to be so and that it’s the guy’s fault to ask for a Chinese menu?

Of course, we understand that the logic behind is people who speak English in Hong Kong are those who are better educated and may spend more. However, isn’t this just pure discrimination to those who are not so good at English? Even if it were true that English speakers are those who may spend more, why isn’t Cova treating the customers with less money in the same manner? Did they assume that Chinese speakers, who they believe to be poorer, would not pay the bill after the meal?

Just what if a customer ordered and ate something that he/she is allergic to because there’s no Chinese menu and thus got severely sick? The customer may sue Cova of negligence. As Chinese is an official language in Hong Kong, it is a reasonable expectation of the customer to have Chinese menu in restaurants in Hong Kong – no matter what kind of restaurant it is.

Not that many people would bluntly admit that they discriminate Chinese speakers. Not that many companies/restaurants/organizations would openly confess that they discriminate customers who speak Chinese only. Nonetheless, subtly many are doing just that.

A small town in UK started the fair-trade campaign. The campaign aims at treating the primary producers (farmers) fairly – paying them what they deserve without exploiting them.

Hong Kong needs a different kind of fair-trade – to treat customers, both English speakers and Chinese speakers, alike; Serve them fairly without discriminating them and exploiting their rights to know what they are spending on.

一月 2021