22 December 2008

My Pet Peeves 無名火起

We all have our pet peeves. They are the minor annoyances that make your skin crawl and your blood boil but you don’t know why. The Cantonese expression mo ming for hey (無名火起), which literally means an “inexplicable fury,” is a close cultural equivalent.

Pet peeves are by definition personal. What bothers you often doesn’t get to the people around you, which makes them all the more frustrating. You are twice victimized when friends and family accuse you of being petty, uptight and unreasonable. The inexplicable fury can quickly turn into an uncontrollable wrath. Do you cringe when someone doesn’t use a coaster, starts every sentence with the word “actually,” presses his finger on your laptop screen, checks his Blackberry while talking to you or pushes the elevator’s “close door” button in rapid succession when he sees you coming? How about a slow driver in a single-lane road, a chewing gum smacker on the train, a line cutter at the check-out counter or an open-mouth sneezer on a crowded bus? The list goes on and on.

Below is the “top ten” list of my personal pet peeves, obsessive-compulsively arranged in order of increasing annoyance...


Read the rest of this article in HONG KONG State of Mind, published by Blacksmith Books, available at major bookstores in in Hong Kong, on Amazon and at Blacksmith Books.


  1. thought I'm the choosy one! cant help laughing while read along...esp.No.3,4,7,8,9 ;). re no.9, you can buy a small device (either at Wanchai computer center or 深水埠) to deactivate the signal! I do that whenever need to visit one of the most annoying customers, who picks up his mobile 10 times in 30 mins.

    Only if i can find a similar device for no.4 ;)

    Btw, gentlmen should always leave the toilet seat down!

  2. Thanks, nl79143. I really enjoyed writing this piece. It helped me let off some serious steam.

  3. Hey Jason,

    Good entry! Some of your peeves I haven't really been subject to, thankfully (e.g. the air-golfers - clearly I don't know enough Wall Street execs), but I have to agree with you on others, especially 4, 7, 9, and 10.

    Speaking of compulsive mobile phone use - when I was in London I once had lunch in Chinatown with a bunch of Hong Kongers, and at one point in the meal every single person on the table apart from myself was talking to someone else on the phone! What was the point of us meeting for lunch?

    ...I was the only one in the group who noticed this scene and found it funny. Truly the others are Hong Kongers at heart.

    By the way, 'tis said that anyone who *wants* to be King / President / Ruler of the World, shouldn't do the job. Not unless the world is in need of more despotic tyrants, at any rate! : p

  4. #6 park street station....that's in boston!! :)

  5. Thanks for pointing that out, Ani. I always thought Bostonians were very polite and now we have this picture to prove it...

  6. we're not known as massholes for nothing :)

  7. Interesting entry. What really gets me in this city (HK) is not queueing, not waiting to the side patiently while people get off the train, not standing right and walking left. Its good to know that I'm not the only one getting pissed off at seemingly insignificant little things.

  8. I love 1m 6 & 9 most. So true.

  9. One of mine is hearing excessively loud mobile phone ring tones containing segments of some cantopop or jpop tune!

  10. I have come across too many superficial duds like #1 and 3 though!