GAMES HONG KONG PEOPLE PLAY - A SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY OF THE HONG KONG CHINESE
BY GEORGE ADAMS
COPYRIGHT GEORGE ADAMS 1991
For Danielle, again
"For certain fortunate people there is something which transcends all classifications of behaviour, and that is awareness; something which rises above the programming of the past, and that is spontaneity; and something that is more rewarding than games, and that is intimacy." Eric Berne
INTRODUCTION This book is the first attempt to understand the behaviour of Hong Kong people, and any group of Chinese people in general, from the viewpoint of game analysis, an aspect of the psychological school known as Transactional Analysis. Game analysis as a technique of understanding human behaviour was first presented by Eric Berne in his book Games People Play (The Psychology of Human Relationships) in 1964 . Game analysis continues to be one of the most useful and comprehensible techniques of social psychology, that is the study of the individual's interaction with others and his behaviour in society: the family, at work, in the street and so on. It continues to shed light on human behaviour as it is applied in new contexts and as more games, or variants of games, are discovered in clinical, educational and organizational experience. Many of the games analysed in detail by Eric Berne are just as applicable to the Hong Kong context as those which I have compiled here. A number of Hong Kong people's games are ultimately variations of recognised Transactional Analysis games whilst some appear to be additions to the compendium. The problem faced by a game analyst in Hong Kong is quite clearly to differentiate charming aspects of accepted Chinese cultural behaviour (most of which are far from unique) such as deference, modesty and politeness, from true games. It was not always possible to do this as it became obvious during compilation of the present thesaurus that Hong Kong people conduct games as a part of everyday life to an extent quite bewildering to Western observers. Games, as opposed to their antitheses such as intimacy and straightforwardness, seem to be integrated into every part of Hong Kong life - so much so that only Westerners appear capable of perceiving the series of manoeuvres as games. (Perhaps, in return, only Hong Kong psychologists can truly describe the self-deception of Westerners). Hong Kong people are also, in our experience, some of the hardest and most indefatigable game players and do not take kindly to demonstration that a good proportion of their ordinary behaviour may be understood as games mostly circulating around ideas of power, prestige, identity, blamelessness, and, occasionally - in contact with foreigners - cultural uniqueness. The bases of these games differ in many respects from the sources of TA games in general, or games which can be applied to Western people. Many of the motivating malaises in Western games arise from sexual insecurity, childhood decisions or existential conflicts. The particular games of Hong Kong people seem to be derived from less abstract or primal sources. For these reasons - the general seamless integration of games into the social nexus and the differing emphasis of sources - some of the games cited in the present volume are not always, under present analysis, verifiable as TA games proper in that some of their essential elements (con, switch, payoff, Victim) appear to be absent or unclear. Eric Berne was aware of the problem of identifying each part of a game and he does not give perfect analyses of each of the games he cites in his work. Perhaps it does not matter, except to the dogmatist or the strict academic. It may be that a new understanding of the term "game" is required for application in the Hong Kong, and pan-Asian, contexts. Failing this, the status of some of the games we have listed will have to be provisional or be assigned to the category of interesting manoeuvres. Many of the games in the list are societal and group-oriented games rather than games played in the Western style with a relatively low number of players. The reason for this is obvious given the Asian context of group cultures. A further difficulty arises in categorising my analysis into etic (using universal concepts) or emic (culture specific) research. It is generally not acceptable in our times to conduct research from a Western standpoint on non-Western cultures. This difficulty is mitigated to a large extent by the long "interference" of Westerners in Hong Kong and the ways in which Hong Kong people have taken on some of the guises of the Western mentality. As one of the sources of games is the cultural ambivalence of some Hong Kong people in certain circumstances, a culture-free analysis will not reveal the element of game-playing involved in such identity crises, for what is the Hong Kong cultural standpoint?: eclectic, pragmatic and adaptable. Clearly then, any analysis from a consistent cultural position is valuable in aiding comprehension of a society in flux and I make no apologies for what may be dismissed as cross-cultural misapprehensions, especially by those unsympathetic to my approach. Study of any Chinese society presents a fertile ground for game analysis not only for the reasons cited above but also because the Chinese are such a socially-oriented people. They define man through and by his relationships to a greater extent than Westerners do and heterocentrism, accepting others as authorities for behaviour, is valued above Western autocentrism where rules of behaviour may be independent of others. Game analysis, which focuses on interaction and on socially-oriented manoeuvres, would appear to be the natural means of analysis of Chinese social psychology. It is also more interesting than the fog of self-contradiction and prejudice backed up with data on the one hand and preoccupation with guiding principles in the collective unconsciousness on the other which characterises much of what is presented as "Chinese psychology". The work of prominent Hong Kong psychologists comes to mind in this context. There is a kind of implicit racism underlying such approaches. They find a comparison in the plethora of "studies" aimed at emphasising the "uniqueness" of Japanese society which choose to ignore that society's links with other Asian or Pacific peoples. Armed with some recognisable examples of the games of the Hong Kong people (that is ordinary people who happen to live in Hong Kong), the bewildered novice to Chinese studies has some solid ground for predicting and understanding behaviour in a dynamic and lively sense usually arrived at only by long exposure to life in Hong Kong. The expert in Hong Kong social psychology may also see his subject in a new light and begin to make sense of the data available to him. Although the games presented here are said to be typical games of Hong Kong people, it is not our intention to attack, marginalise, isolate or elevate the subjects of this study. Hong Kong people are as fallible, likeable, comprehensible and, I think, as predictable as a large number of people living in Western cities. They are certainly not odd or strange and one of the aims of this book is to dispel the image of this group of Chinese, and Chinese in general, as being unique and exotic. They are not. Just as the British or the Americans have their particular ways of interacting and expressing their malaises, Hong Kong people, due to their origins, upbringing and sociological situation, have developed a series of coping mechanisms for maintaining the integrity of the psyche and avoiding pain. As we have already noted, experience has shown that the games of Eric Berne's thesaurus are generally applicable to all peoples, although research may prove unequal distribution of game frequency, flexibility, intensity and tenacity between people of differing cultures. In conclusion: Hong Kong people are OK, despite their games, just as all peoples are OK. Like everyone, they would probably be better off for not playing games at all, but this is a personal decision for the individual which lies outside the scope of this book.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT It is impossible to acknowledge all the people who have contributed by an idea, a word, a phrase to this book. They include students, teachers, writers, journalists and other friends and acquaintances - both local and foreigners. Many people will recognise their own conversations with me in relevant parts of the book and will know that I thank them with all my heart for sharing their insights with me. George Adams Hong Kong December 1991.
PSYCHOLOGICAL GAMES - HOW THEY WORK AND WHAT THEY MEAN The mechanism of games is explored in detail in the Introduction to Transactional Analysis but some points need to be emphasised. Games are series of interchanges between people leading to an outcome which appears entirely "unexpected" but which, on analysis, was entirely predictable given the personalities of the people involved. Some game players select unwilling partners for involvement in their games. More often, people select each other as both get some sort of satisfaction from the game. Thus, in a game of Chinese Girl, the over-eager lover finds a girl to exclaim "Rapo!" as much as the girl finds the over-eager lover. It is therefore difficult to speak of manipulation and exploitation in game playing in the sense we use the term. The second important point about games in the sense in which we use the word is that they are largely played outside consciousness. They are not attitudes, positions, tricks, ploys or manoeuvres such as those employed by, for example,insurance salesmen, confidence tricksters and seducers. This is not to say that the players are not, occasionally, aware of what they are doing at various points in the game. Few players of games would acknowledge that they are playing anything however and great embarrassment and confusion ensues when the mechanism of the game is revealed to them. Thirdly, there is usually some reverse in roles at the end of the game which leads to the point of all the interchanges: some negative feeling for one of the players and a sort of phony positive feeling for another player. It is however difficult to speak of positive or negative feelings because in a game, each player gets what he wants and likes it - humiliation, superiority, anger, frustration for example. The feeling reinforces his beliefs about himself and the world. The reversal in roles is most likely to be from Persecutor to Victim, from Victim to Persecutor or from either position to Rescuer. In a game of Kowloon Taxi, for example, the persecuting taxi driver presents himself as a victim and is "rescued" by the passenger. In this case, the "rescuing" takes the form of a large tip. Fourthly, it is important to remember that games are repetitive in nature, often being played by the same person in a variety of settings for months, years or an entire lifetime. The game of Refugee for example may be played during the whole of the player's residency in Hong Kong whilst a game of Banana or Connections can be over in a few sentences. The game of XOV probably takes many hours of preparation before the drinking begins to ward off the underlying sense of sexual insecurity. The final important point about games is that they are occasionally very serious matters indeed and the fact of them being termed "games" should not be taken as an indication of their triviality as in one-upmanship or gamesmanship presented by for example, Stephen Potter. Some games are relatively harmless whilst others have dire consequences for the players including death, the courtroom, ruined health or a destroyed marriage. Alcoholism is analysed as a game in our sense as are a good many rapes, suicides and "accidental deaths." In our present compendium, the game of Non-Interference In China's Internal Affairs is extremely serious in a collective sense whilst Suzie Wong can lead to actual tissue damage and a host of other legal, physical and psychiatric problems for the individual players. On the other hand, an apparently trivial games such as Night Club and Virginity, when played by the appropriate "hard" players, can lead to the courtroom as was seen recently in the Chin trial in Hong Kong. The selection of games which follows was compiled after several years of research in Hong Kong and is only a preliminary list. More games and varieties of existing games are constantly unearthed but the present list does contain some important games of the Hong Kong people along with others which are more amusing than meaningful. The analysis of the games undertaken here is briefer than that undertaken by Berne for reasons of clarity and economy. Each description of the game attempts to give its general background and character together with some examples of its more important moves. This is then followed by detailed analysis. Some of the terms used in the analysis need explanation. The THESIS of a game is the "magical" and/or unconscious and/or irrational belief which underlies its playing. Such beliefs are based on fundamental childhood decisions which influenced the character and personality of one or more of the players. The AIM is the general purpose of the game in emotional or externally real terms. Most games are played to maintain the balance of the personality and avoid change. The aim of justification or rage or revenge is usually secondary to this fundamental aim. The ROLES of the game are the players and their characters in the game, not their "stances" or "positions" . Games are mostly played outside consciousness and the "role" of the player is his function in the game, not a momentary guise which he can discard at will. The DYNAMICS of the game indicate the most fundamental source of the game as a whole expressed in traditional Freudian psychoanalytic or common psychiatric terms. Such analysis is an attempt to see things in the light of mainstream psychiatry/psychology. The attempt is not always successful or particularly well-informed but it may aid people who can only see games, or any other psychological phenomena, in these terms. The MOVES of the game are the two apparently salient interchanges expressed as a verbal statement, although many games proceed without words. The first statement usually indicates the state of play near or at the beginning whilst the second statement is an indication of the situation towards the end of the game. The SWITCH of the game is the sudden change in role before the game comes to an end. Thus, a persecutor becomes a victim and a victim becomes a persecutor. Subsequent analysis usually reveals there is nothing inexplicable about such a reversal of roles. The PAYOFF is the final benefit of the game for the players, usually some sort of reassurance that their character and their way of life is OK. It often represents a favourite position or feeling of the players needed in the maintenance of an harmonious psyche. It is the "point" or "punchline" of the game. ADVANTAGES of the game are presented as psychological or social gains related to the thesis, the aim and the payoff. The social advantage of a game is often as considerable as the psychological gain. Games are however not played primarily for social gain, even in the case of Hong Kong people's games. Like their mechanism, their significance is predominantly psychological.
Everyday games are played wherever and whenever Hong Kong people come together and thus this class of games may be played in any of the situations described later in the book : business, administration, politics, romance and so on. They are the key games needed for an understanding of the ordinary behaviour of Hong Kong people.
Minding My Own Business Whilst boarding the boat for my first junk trip in Hong Kong at Queen's Pier one afternoon, I was accosted by a film crew from a TV programme called, I think, Eye on Hong Kong. The very small but attractive lady interviewer wanted to know the secret of success of Hong Kong people. My host, the head of one of Hong Kong's business associations, came up with a most apposite reply: "Mind your own business". Disciplined occupation with one's own concerns is a practiced art form in Hong Kong. Moreover, very few actions of anybody seem to be spontaneous or aimless. But do Hong Kong people really mind their own business? The translucent plastic bag, besides being the representative national fish and flag of Hong Kong, appears to have been invented to only partially conceal its contents and thus satisfy the eternal curiosity of Hong Kong people for other people's shopping. Hong Kong people peer through bags in the street and on public transport with an impertinence not usually ascribable to Chinese people as a whole. Mainland people are of course great gapers but what is not usually remarked upon by foreign observers is their mastery of the surreptitious gaze. Hong Kong people are intensely curious about the contents of wallets, handbags, drawers, briefcases and, one must add, trousers and brassieres and their gazes are often far from surreptitious. To look at every person passing one in the street would wear one out: how do Hong Kong people select objects of curiosity? The common factor appears to be an attraction to what is concealed, hence the interest in the items mentioned above. Credit balances registered on the computer screen of ETC machines is of especial interest to local people but friends will usually walk away and leave one to deal with the machine in private. The display is not concealed but is private and as privacy is a negative concept in mainland society (it is always better to say one wishes to be "independent" rather than private), private matters present objects of great curiosity to people in Hong Kong although they are, in varying degrees, Westernised and treasure privacy (but seldom on the telephone to judge by the conversations held on portable machines in the street). Private life tends to be very private indeed for Hong Kong people and may account for the curiosity for other people's privacy (people who give little away like to take the most in general). The gazes through the plastic bags and into the wallets at the supermarket checkouts reveal an inquisitive people and not a people who mind their own business at all. The switch in MMOB comes with the look of indignation in the peeper when the owner of the plastic bag readjusts its contents and the payoff is a greater determination to pay less attention to insignificant others. ANALYSIS Thesis: You show me yours and I won't show you mine. Aim: Satisfaction of neurotic curiosity. Roles: Exposed Person, Peeper. Dynamics: Voyeurism. Moves: 1. That looks interesting. 2. What do you take me for! Switch: I was looking at your watch. Payoff: You'd better keep yourself to yourself. Advantages: Psychological - Suppressed intimacy Social - Semi-adventurous pastiming
Goldfinger Ostentatious displays of wealth are so common in Hong Kong as to be counted as normal social behaviour. There is also probably nowhere in the world where people are so concerned with getting rich quickly. As spending money is not synonymous with making it, many Hong Kong people are placed in a dilemma of wanting to parade their wealth but being afraid to reduce their chances of making more by extravagance. This has led to the classic Hong Kong game of Goldfinger, or how to appear rich without raiding the bank account. Copy watches, handbags and famous labels are not only sold to visitors. They find a ready market among Hong Kong people, as do (or did before the real thing became cheaper) dummy portable telephones, throwaway suits, gilt jewellery and, for rural Honkies, the Golden Smile (gold amalgam fillings on prominent teeth). Drinkers play the game of XOV which emphasises consumption of expensive liqueurs to the ruination of business competence ,the bank balance and sexual performance. The true status of "Goldfinger" as a game emerges most dramatically in many court cases with gamblers as defendants who, in the end, are forced to raid bank accounts which contain no assets belonging to them. Even well-to-do foreigners are not immune to this game after some period of over-adjustment to Hong Kong circumstances. A number of acquaintances have taken French leave owing large sums to credit card companies, friends and employers. The weekly listing of court writs in the newspaper is a useful index of Goldfinger players in extremis. The antithesis of the game would appear to try and earn as much as you can without bothering how you look. The Swiss have mastered this antithesis thoroughly, having the greatest number of scruffy millionaires in the world. Related Games: Indigence, Debtor. ANALYSIS: Thesis: We live in an age of surfaces. Aim: Deception. Roles: Playboy, Bimbo; Spendthrift, Credit Card Company. Dynamics: Desperation Moves: 1. Look what I've got. 2. Look what I had. Switch: Caught with my pants down. Payoff: Bills and bankruptcy. Advantages: Psychological - Ego enhancement. Social - I'm somebody.
Blameless If the Swiss are famous for being policemen citizens then the reverse is true of Hong Kong people. They are the masters of buck-passing. Involvement in potentially embarrassing situations is warded off with the same vigour as evil spirits are frightened away from houses in the New Territories. It is often very difficult to find who is actually responsible for any inconvenience such as a dead water buffalo causing an accident on a Lantau road (although the owners are found quickly enough if compensation for the demised beast is a possibility). As a glance at the readers' columns of the South China Morning Post will prove, Government departments, including the police, have a rubber wall to insulate them from involvement and each officer or civil servant is a trampoline for transferring the hot potato of responsibility to another department (cf.We Will Act). Blamelessness seems to be rooted in traditional admiration for inaction combined with low social consciousness (the flip-side of group solidarity). Hong Kong people are always blameless where littering is concerned (Filipinas do it), when hillside fires occur (an impromptu warm meal for the ancestor's grave) and when people expire unaided in the street (I didn't know what to do). The search for a party responsible for mixing up the contents of gas bottles used in hospitals continues without any conclusion. The destruction of Country Parks by property developers is allowed because no single Government official ever gave permission for the development to take place but no one broke the law (the phenomenon is called "spontaneous urbanisation"). Murder victims are usually discovered when the neighbours detect the smell of their decomposing body. They are not rescued from the hacking, torturing and beating. When a schoolchild commits suicide, teachers and parents proclaim their propriety, if not sensitivity (it is considered normal for ten-year-olds to have four hours of additional homework each night). Occasionally, public self-castigation does occur as highlighted recently in the case of the mother who said she should be sent to prison for leaving her children unattended. They were burnt in the privacy of their own home. In public life, however, negligence and incompetence are given a congratulatory retirement payoff. The Legal Department, probably the worst-run in the world outside Latin America until, we are told, quite recent improvements, is Blamelessness incarnate with the chiefs firmly in their posts or cruising home to continued prosperity. Where there is no accountability, there can be no blame. ANALYSIS: Thesis: It ain't me what's responsible. Aim: Relief of guilt. Roles: Accuser, accused. Dynamics: Anal extrusive. Moves: 1. Can I help you? 2. My fingers are burning. Switch: Get rid of this hot potato. Payoff: Vindication. Advantages: Psychological - I'm OK. Social - Get them off my back.
Banana This game stems from the insecure identity of certain Hong Kong people and is played to temporarily relieve this underlying malaise. Player A assumes a Western manner in stereotype, wears a Western suit, has Italian furniture in his house and peppers his conversation with English phrases. On encountering player B, who is certain about his identity, player A is thrust into a sort of cosmic panic and dashes from one pole to the other to "hook" player B into provoking him to emphasise his "Chineseness" or his "foreignness". The dichotomy is the invention of player A . The payoff comes when Player A pulls the switch and says: "We Chinese..." or "Of course, I've lived abroad too long...". This revelation of his "true" identity is made by Player A when B has made some innocent statement about local (or foreign) ways or people. It is a useful game in the business world, enabling the Hong Kong businessman to bamboozle his rivals. Unfortunately, as in all true transactional games, the player actually confuses himself and wastes a lot of psychic energy hiding, instead of confronting, his insecurity. The main point about the proclamation of identity is that it is unwarranted in the context. Recently, a Chinese friend expressed some concern about a little old lady who lived alone in an isolated village on Lantau. The lady was afraid that she might be burgled or attacked in her home. I said that there was little need for her to be frightened as burglaries were very infrequent in the village she mentioned. "But you don't understand," she replied, "the old lady is Chinese." I pointed out to my friend that little old ladies who lived alone in isolated villages all over the world were afraid of burglars. The fact that the old lady in question was Chinese was irrelevant. Expatriates who have lived in the territory for a number of years may in their turn suffer from a reverse Banana syndrome called "Old China Hand" in which they constantly put down any newcomer with less than twenty years' residence in the territory. Clues to this are references to "we in Hong Kong", "our schools, banks, way of life etc.", or "the riots of '67". They exhibit dubious expressions at the mention of words like principle, responsibility, humanity and express a scathing attitude to visiting delegations from anywhere except the mainland. This species of expatriate is frequently alcoholic, fat and/or demented. The obesity is explained by their low physical mobility as they tend to live and work within a small area of town, never venturing out much into the buzzing metropolis they so admire. Many vegetate on outlying islands with "adopted" sons, ageing spouses or their most popular companion, a bottle. "Tiffin" is a more refined version of the game in which a Colonial heritage is emphasised either in words or by attitude. It is largely played by elderly civil servants and former Colonial Officers in the better established clubs on Hong Kong Island. "Old China Hand" and "Tiffin" are the hallmarks of the expatriate bore. Related Games: Chinese Girl, NIGYSB. ANALYSIS: Thesis: There must be somewhere I can call home. Aim: Resolution of identity crisis. Roles: Insider, outsider; Local, Foreigner; Foreign Passport Holder, Homespun. Dynamics: Anal Passive. Moves: 1. I'm just like you 2. I'm really Chinese/a Westerner. 1. Welcome 2. Go home, newcomer. Switch: Now I've got you, you SOB. Payoff: Superiority. Advantages: Psychological - I belong somewhere 2. Social - I'm different, somebody knows it.
Refugee Although some people claim to be indigenous,practically every inhabitant of Hong Kong could be counted as a refugee, at most perhaps of third or fourth generation, but as script analysis makes clear, a refugee attitude takes at least two generations to dissolve, if it does at all. Foreigners are mainly "economic migrants" being paid on average twice the London wage and having additional advantages like being able to lord it over local people, to some extent, which they would not be able to do if they were immigrant workers in Europe or the USA. Hong Kong is also advantageous for physically small European people, men in particular. The Refugee attitude has been analysed earlier in the discussion of cultural scripts. The game of Refugee is of an entirely different nature from a simple set of beliefs but the beliefs of the Refugee mentality form the thesis of the game: " Earn, save, multiply, adapt - but do not forget your heritage in the new land." Players of Refugee would deny that they are in a new land. The simple fact that they live in a state governed by equitable law, where money may be earned and protection is given to rich and poor also escapes Refugee players. Shanghai Street, the Walled City and parts of Western District would not be allowed to exist in modern PR China: their archaic ghetto character is protected by the Colonial power. The moves in "Refugee" may encompass the whole period of residence in Hong Kong and are inspired by the two incompatible beliefs mentioned above: "Hong Kong is China" and "Hong Kong is a foreign country". Opening moves may include, typically, establishment in one of the more ethnically sound areas of the territory, reluctant registration, avoidance of income tax and lack of concern in community affairs. This is, of course, the pattern of certain new immigrants the world over. As a family is founded and progresses, some thought is given to establishing children in English schools for the prestige this involves but no thought is given to learning English outside school. Traditional learning methods of rote and memorisation are reinforced at home. Family members from the mainland may be brought for extended visits or may even be encouraged to become illegal immigrants. Ties are maintained with the mainland via regular remittances, regular visits at New Year and by interest in opera, sport and small economic ventures. There is no doubt that such loyalty to a cultural tradition is OK. The game element arises from a growing alienation from a changing society: voting, civic responsibility (no illegal extensions to one's flat for example) and children unable to cope with the demands of modern urban living present refugee players with insuperable problems. Queues are formed when rumour strikes a bank but should the bank fail, the Refugee player does not know the mechanism for recovering his savings. The switch in Refugee is bewilderment and panic at the turn of events (pregnant daughters, court appearances, eviction notices, poor invalidity benefits) and the payoff a reinforcement of superstition and a blinkered approach to life: "If I had only been more self-seeking and careful". As Hong Kong has become more stable and sophisticated, Refugee players have dwindled in number but older and harder players continue to give welfare authorities and planners many headaches. The dismantling of the Walled City in Kowloon is the present salient example. Refugee has its complementary game in the foreigner's game of "Expat" which can best be heard, if not viewed, every week in Ralph Pixton's Saturday morning show on RTHK Radio Three, Open Line. Complainants rarely show evidence of awareness of being in Asia and complain endlessly about inefficiency, shortages of essentials such as Hershey's chocolate and Crosse and Blackwell soups, being overcharged and not being taken seriously, or comprehended by the police and the Urban Council. The fundamental perceptive trick which brings the game into being is to believe the veneer of Western sophistication covering the basic chaotically Asian character - which has many good as well as bad points - of Hong Kong. A Gestalt awareness technique in which the Expat player imagines Hong Kong as Asian first and Western second yields remarkable results if practiced regularly and obviates the employment of tranquillisers, meditation, alcohol, irate letters to the South China Morning Post and tirades on Open Line. "Disco Bay" is an extreme form of the game in which the player loses all claim to knowing where he is, although he is in fact in the landscape of a second-rate British New Town. ANALYSIS Thesis: Hong Kong is a foreign country but it's just like home. Aim: Resolution of ethnicity crisis. Roles: Peasant, Them; Foreigner, Local Environment. Dynamics: Schizoid thinking. Moves: 1. It's a foreign shore. 2. Why isn't it like home? 1. Exotic life in the sun. 2. Why isn't it like home? Switch: (examples) 1. "I've been fined" 2. "What is jury service?". 1. Blasted karaoke machines! 2. Must you shout? Payoff: 1. Papa was right, you can't trust these people. 2.They'll never be like us / I'll never be like them. Advantages: Psychological - Avoidance of growth. Social - Ain't It Awful pastiming time structure.
Connections The Chinese people probably invented interpersonal relations, long before the social psychologists of the Western world began to write doctoral theses on the subject. For Hong Kong people, life is a web of connections in which the self is linked with the family, one's work colleagues, people with the same status or occupation. Hong Kong people like to know where they are and how to get to somewhere better fast. The latter task can best be accomplished by having the right connections. In the PRC, getting anything done at all is a matter of connections (guanxi) and the nation is paralysed by its rules. In Hong Kong, although an independent societal network, in which any citizen may orientate himself to get things done, does exist, the most important network is another hidden network of relationships. Certain key points in this second network have unassuming titles which belie their importance in much the same way as the Committee for Public Safety did in revolutionary France. A significant example is the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club. Although essentially a gambling syndicate with a charity rake-off, it probably exercises more power than the Government as a whole. Whereas such implicit and covert power structures are the subject of exposes and are mostly regarded as corrupt in Western societies, they are the norm in Hong Kong where corruption is a way of life. The libel laws prevent me from making more explicit connections, suffice to say that a little investigation of some of the caps worn by Government members are not always compatible with their actual, if not declared, interests. The activities of establishing, disclosing, hiding and using connections constitute much of the gamy activity in Hong Kong. A friend reveals that her brother is a police inspector at a critical point in the conversation to establish her ability to find out things about so-and-so. A teaching colleague reveals his connections with the Independent Commission Against Corruption as he slides some school stationery into his bag. An employer turns out to have been to the same University in Canada. Connections appear to be used by Hong Kong people like cards in poker. Hardly given to self-disclosure, Hong Kong people proceed at a snail's pace in relationships which sometimes appear to be aimed less at establishing intimacy but at establishing status. As in poker, the bluffer sometimes wins the day whilst the man with all the cards plays them close to his chest and wins the pot without so much as a sigh. Related Games: Blemish, Kick Me. ANALYSIS: Thesis: It's who you know. Aim: Reassurance. Roles: Protege, Intruder. Dynamics: Anal aggressive. Moves: 1. Look what I've got 2. Buzz off, Buster. Switch: Victim to Persecutor. Payoff: Superiority. Advantages: Psychological - I know where I am, Mama. Social - Keep out the riff-raff.
XOV Drinking cognac is popular with Hong Kong men. It is generally considered mean to pour a small amount for guests, bad form to order a small splash in a bar and unmanly to be illiberal in actual consumption anywhere (especially in public). As cognac was originally conceived for people of greater body mass than Hong Kong men, its enjoyment has had disastrous effects on certain individuals. One wonders how the villains portrayed quaffing large glasses of cognac in the local gangster films could ever have enough strength to pull a trigger next day. To borrow the terminology of Roland Barthes, there is a rich mythology surrounding cognac. Cognac is the imbibitional sign of Hong Kong maleness. Symbolizing conviviality, prosperity and masculinity in an oral medium, it cannot be drunk with any kind of ease. The underlying anxiety of the XOV player is most likely the shrivelled penis. Like macho games surrounding certain foods and drinks in the West, the XOV game has women in walk-on parts: acquiescent bimbos, pouting, available, partially denuded and excluded from the world of men except under certain circumstances. The message in the XOV bottle appears to be like the message in the Foster's can: imbibe and your penis will grow. Although increasing sexual desire by removing inhibitions, alcohol ruins sexual performance but provides the XOV imbiber with a good excuse for his generalised impotency and fear of women. ANALYSIS Thesis: Drink the elixir and become irresistible. Aim: Potency. Roles: Impotent Man, Sexy Barmaid, "Frigid" Wife etc. Dynamics: Oral/Phallic confusion. Moves: 1. This will put hairs on your chest 2. Shome mishtake shurely? Switch: Will someone stop revolving the room? Payoff: I was so drunk I couldn't perform. Advantages: Psychological - Rationalisation and relief of neurosis. Social - I am one of the real men. Subsequent pastiming: "Martini" (how many drinks and how they were mixed/served), "Morning After" (I'll tell you about my hangover), "Final Bill" (how much it all cost).
Face To Face Face behaviour occupies a good deal of space in the literature of Chinese social psychology. The essential element of face behaviour, from the present point of view, is its potential for duplicity: the appearance of power, advantage, equality etc. is prized as much as the substantial holding of it. This lack of straightforwardness indicates the gaminess of face behaviour. Winners, according to Berne, know their next move in life if they lose a battle so who cares who knows if we're winning or not ? We are all born to win in the end. Face saving is not a prerogative of Chinese cultures. As David Ho has persistently argued, it has parallels in the West and Westerners are as every bit conscious of "face-saving" as the Chinese are always thought to be. Like Westerners, Chinese people have a keen sense of personal self-esteem and dignity. In the absence, for many, of salvationist or transcendental religion and of a society aimed towards support of the individual, the Chinese probably developed Face to ensure the maintenance of personal dignity through ages which have tended to bring about a growing sense of the worthlessness of the individual. The present day People's Republic has attempted to crush the individual systematically but it has largely failed. The ordinary Chinese bides his time and waits for better circumstances. Human dignity has not surrendered in the PRC. Passive resistance to the Government is the main pastime of the mainland Chinese. One day, it will probably triumph. In the final analysis, Hong Kong is perceived by its population as a highly competitive and uncaring society where the individual must strive with all his might to survive today and all his increasingly bleak-looking tomorrows. Face, the gentle handling of one's own and other people's self-image, provides if not an abundance of strokes of recognition, at least the maintenance of dignity in circumstances which many Westerners could not cope with. There is very little sense in seeing the codes of behaviour in Face, so ably catalogued by Sinologists, as any other than variations of universal coping mechanisms. Face is a game when people engage in it unconsciously, manipulating reality and thus occasionally other people to a favourable interpretation. An antithesis to Face would be open mutual stroking based on mutual trust. This would appear impossible in most human intercourse in Hong Kong under present circumstances where the "stroke economy" (societal system of recognition) dictates a shortage of "warm fuzzies" (positive strokes of recognition). ANALYSIS Thesis: If I can't get stroked at least I won't lose anything. Aim: Maintenance of image of self and others. Roles: Stroke Seeker, Stroke Giver. Dynamics: Ego reinforcement. Moves: 1. Hello. 2. Stroke me! 1. Hello. 2. Can I stroke you? Switches: 1. Didn't I/you do well! 2. Never mind. Payoff: Fairly warm fuzzies. Advantages: Psychological - Appreciation in competitive stroke economy. Social - Harmony.
Badinage Visiting foreign businessmen in the People's Republic of China are surprised that the rulers of such a poor country do not appear to want to take advantage of the benefits of industrialisation quickly. Typically, the first days of the business trip are spent in seemingly trivial conversations which leave the businessmen seething slowly beneath the collar. What the visitors do not realise is that far from not coming to the point, the locals have begun negotiations in their way with great intensity and speed. The polite enquiries as to the education, background, family, hobbies and impressions of the visitor are carefully directed probes aimed at establishing his value as a possible associate. This is done by looking at his connections (see above). The badinage, or trivial banter, lures the unsuspecting foreign visitor to reveal key cards in his hand whilst his interlocutor remains largely in the shade. The switch in the relationship comes when the candour of the visitor is not matched by his straightforwardness in talking business. As mainland people do not see any important difference between personal relationships and business relationships, they usually interpret this split attitude as a sign of insincerity and halt negotiations. The carefully laid exploitative manoeuvres of the visiting corporation, and few Westerners have ever arrived in China with truly honest intentions, are stalled before they can get to first base. Badinage is thus a game in which the most important parts of the relationship are established by trivia and the trivia is of vital importance. For this reason much thought is given by Hong Kong people to conversational gambits which provoke revelations of motives, background and character. The foreigner especially should proceed with great caution. Candour may be taken as a lie. ANALYSIS: Thesis : You can't be too careful nowadays. Aim: Evaluation. Roles: Interviewer, Victim. Dynamics: Mistrust. Moves: 1. Tell me something about yourself! 2. We'll let you know. Switch: Persecutor becomes Victim. Payoff: Inaction, bewilderment. Advantages: Psychological - Papa was right all along. Social - Keep out the foreigner/the insignificant other.
Office Space or Make the Boss Pay Office space is at a premium in Hong Kong and the rising small businessman is faced with an additional problem when he wishes to do what Hong Kong is famous for: become his own company. In 1981, 92% of manufacturing companies in Hong Kong had fewer than 50 employees. Only 0.4% employed more than 500. The rising businessman needs to secure enough capital whilst starting off a business - how can this be achieved? The answer is to gain a desk, a telephone line and some other business facilities at someone else's expense: your employer's. Hong Kong is full of small businessmen occupied with their own company whilst sat at the desk of a salary-paying company. The pager, the portable telephone and the personal fax have made this game so much easier. The employee sits pretty for months, or years, often in an underpaid position, to the wonderment of his boss who cannot understand how such a talented and hard-working employee (he makes so many "representative" trips outside the office, often to his own first premises and is always on the phone) can accept such a lousy deal for so long. The employer gets a shock when his employee is the director of the company which buys him out a year later. He may even then be on the payroll. The switch is usually from underpaid employee Victim to Persecutor moonlighter but occasionally the roles are reversed and a Persecuting employee is brought to account for breaking a protective contract or acting against the interests of the company. In the absence of equitable employment protection in the frontier town of capitalism, Hong Kong suffers from an employee turnover rate and company formation/bankruptcy figures of burgeoning proportions. ANALYSIS Thesis: Salaries are gifts, and poor ones at that. Aim: Revenge for being exploited. Dynamics: Anal aggression. Roles: Bob Cratchit, Mr Scrooge. Moves: 1. Look how hard I'm trying 2. Your company belongs to me. 1. It's a good starting salary 2. It's a pension. Switch: Persecutor becomes Victim. Payoff: Can't get the staff. Advantages: Psychological - Big conditional strokes. Social - Rags to riches.
Joint Venture Experience of many foreign industrialists and other businessmen in the PRC has given them vivid memories of the meaning of "joint venture" and the accompanying "friendly cooperation". In certain PRC's central planners' eyes, a joint venture is a means of attracting foreign currency to the mainland and the venture usually consists of the con, or come on, of demand, cheap labour supply, adequate raw materials and so on. How can it fail? Governments may be a little corrupt but they are responsible aren't they? So what if you have to wait a little longer for profits to come through? A year or two ago, a Hong Kong businessman was severely bruised by a rubber glove deal which went wrong: the product, millions of pairs of them, did not meet international standards. The product was literally left on his hands. Other tycoons have died of heart attacks after securing a viable venture on the mainland (so-called third degree players). Yet most people who operate solely in Hong Kong know that Joint Venture can be played without travelling over the border. Usually, an over-eager businessman seeks out a partner for a deal in some "sure thing". For it to be a game of Joint Venture rather than a successful and straight business operation, there must be a stark contrast in the enthusiasm of originator and partner. This is the gimmick of the game: the mistaken belief of the originator that his partner is as committed to the deal as he is. Some months into the business operation, it becomes obvious that the partner is not doing his job and here the originator of the deal begins to notice that the parameters of responsibility are constantly being obfuscated by his partner. Where clear lines of responsibility existed, there now exists a hazy no-man's land. The originator's response is to take on more responsibility and to begin to make the partner's decisions for him. The partner willingly cooperates, only too glad to have found someone to do all the work. When the business folds or is an unexpected success (at the cost of the originator's patience and nervous energy) the players collect their payoffs; the originator exclaims " Never get a partner" and the partner cries "What's the problem? Don't you trust me?". Unfortunately,however, a switch is often pulled and the game ends in a breach of contract suit or a bar brawl. The antithesis to the game lies in securing from the outset clear areas of responsibility with sanctions for non-fulfillment and curbing the tendency to Rescue other people from their own fair share of the work. Rescuers hook Persecutors as easily as they attract permanent Victims. Much good can be done by looking at alternatives to the Drama Triangle such as those proposed by Acey Choy (see the switches in Love And Mercy). ANALYSIS Thesis: If you want a job doing well, you'd better do it yourself. Aim: 1. Frustration. 2. Surrender of responsibility Roles: Eager Partner, Laid-back Partner Dynamics: Masochism. Moves: 1. Can I help you a little? 2. Can anybody help me? Switch: Rescuer becomes Victim. Payoff: Ain't it awful. Advantages: Psychological - Kick Me. Social - I get things done.
I Call You Back The Hong Kong education system seems to specialise in producing a certain type of office employee who can be trained but who cannot reason. Faced with an unusual request or something outside the parameters of their responsibility, an inordinate number of Hong Kong office menials prefer to hang up, transfer the call to an unused phone or place the call on hold until the caller gives up trying. The sources of this unreasonable behaviour can be found in the life situations of Hong Kong people and the resulting coping mechanisms. Faced with the sociological reality of an uncaring society (poor welfare support), arbitrary rulers (a Colonial government) and the threat of Stalinism (the nefarious "transfer of sovereignty" in 1997), many modern Hong Kong people have developed an attitude to life based on extreme self-centredness with aggressive and cynical survivalist thinking. The prevailing circumstances of life in other Chinese societies have brought about a similar view of life which reinforces the attitudes in Hong Kong. Many Hong Kong people are thus conditioned to "filter out" of experience any extraneous concerns not directly relevant to themselves or significant others (people they know). Many Hong Kong people may be regarded therefore as unsociable, in a Western sense, and when they take up new lives in a new society, their isolation may be severe. The way in which ICYB becomes a game is when B does not return A's call and takes steps not only not to answer any more inquiries but to pretend that he never received A's original call. I Call You Back combines two aspects of archaic thinking: an inability to say "I don't know" or "I'm not capable" plus a reluctance to get involved in anything not in one's immediate sphere of responsibility. ANALYSIS: Thesis: Don't get involved. Aim: Self-protection. Dynamics: Compliance of Adapted Child. Roles: Inquirer, Inept Secretary. Moves: 1. Can I help you? 2. Buzz Off, Buster. Switch: Hot Potato. Payoff: I did my best to satisfy the customer. Advantages: Psychological - Security. Social - Maintains position, however lowly.
Being a member of the male sex has given me the opportunity to see the game-playing prowess of Hong Kong womanhood, mostly from a platonic stance, without having a similar opportunity to experience the games peculiar to Hong Kong men. Luckily, the latter coincide with women's love games in most instances for even in this age of the AIDS epidemic, which is beginning to shock Hong Kong people out of a certain dangerous complacency, few love games are played alone. The perspective in which I see Hong Kong love games is a male perspective but not, I hope, a sexist, or even heterosexist, one. It may comfort certain female liberationists to know that I view the dynamics of the Hong Kong heterosexual relationship as that between Beauty and the Beast or the Virgin and the Lecher (the Virgin and the Beauty being the female partner). This has its parallel, peculiarly enough, in the dynamics of many Western homosexual relationships which Quentin Crisp described as being generally conducted as between a chorus girl and a bishop. Equality and autonomy do not seem to be living concepts in sexual relationships in Hong Kong. Possessiveness is marked. Women, as much as men, derive certain advantages from their situation, as we shall see. Money and romance appear to be seamlessly entwined in the local consciousness. "Separation money" may be demanded from a girl or the new boyfriend when a couple break up. In a recent case, a policeman demanded HK$ 50,000 for the "loss of face" occasioned by losing his girlfriend to another suitor. Hong Kong men are generally fairly promiscuous, to judge by the thriving prostitution rackets all over Hong Kong (there are even some twenty practicing prostitutes on Lean-to), and hypocritical, to judge by their prudery. Their legitimate womenfolk are forced to be the embodiment, or at least must assume an air, of an abashed innocence, in part, which has not been known in Europe for a century or more, when Western men were just as lecherous but more hypocritical than they are now and women were advised to lie back and think of their country. In modern Hong Kong, a good many women, married to beasts for husbands, lie back and think of City Plaza Shopping Centre. In a desire for social harmony, local men sometimes support mistresses. In the past, some Hong Kong men kept concubines. Such an arrangement imparts some variety into the sexual regimen but is far from being a romantic solution to the wish for more sexual partners. Fortunately, love affairs abound in offices, schools, factories albeit in check and without significant public displays of affection. Such reticence to publicly express loving feeling can be seen as a mechanism for potentiating subsequent private expression and is not to be taken at face value as indication of a moral position. It may be regarded as a more refined, and essentially more wicked, means of sexual enjoyment. As we shall see, shame and guilt (two common standby emotions of local sexual behaviour) may add interest to an activity which, viewed in a dispassionate light, leads to little else but exhaustion, and for Asian males in particular, an empty wallet.
Chinese Girl This is the classic game of the Hong Kong girl and is not reserved for dealings with foreigners. In essence, it is a variety of the game "Rapo" (or "Kiss Off") described by Berne. The mechanics are fairly straightforward. A (male) makes a move of some sexual daring towards B, a local girl. The point about the move is that it was instigated to some extent by the encouragement of B in order to attract interest (there is intense competition amongst Hong Kong women) and, later, to prove the thesis of the game: that men are generally No Good. The game usually ends with a slap on the face and an exclamation of: "What sort of girl do you think I am ?" Given the flirtatiousness of Hong Kong girls, this is often taken as a come-on by the man in question and the whole situation may escalate into a third-degree "Rapo" ending in the courts or in hospital. An acquaintance related that he had always had the experience, when making love for the first time with Chinese girls, that they frequently exclaimed "No" whilst grasping his genitalia and drawing him towards the bed. This is a more dramatic form of "Chinese Girl" and may result in severe injury to one or both concerned if the girl is suddenly overcome by shame as her potential lover removes his underpants. Our researches have shown that sudden attacks of shame, or regret, are frequent in Hong Kong girls as the Child impulses are violently interrupted by Parental injunctions. Of course, this is not primarily a cultural problem. Some traditional social psychologists repeatedly refer to Chinese diffidence in sexual matters which has no real cultural foundation and one wonders what sort of sex life they have had whilst among the Chinese. Sociologically speaking, women are well aware of the value of virginity in securing a husband (Chinese and Japanese men, like late eighteenth century Frenchmen, are caught up in the thrill of innocence) and do not like to sell themselves cheaply. It is much easier for women to make money by a good marriage or even through prostitution in Hong Kong than by a solid career in business or the professions. An acquaintance referred to the Golden Hymen in this connection, but other researches have revealed a changing attitude to premarital sex (which was formally practiced in Chinese societies only when marriage was a few weeks away). The idea of Chinese chastity is often exaggerated. Emphasis on traditional Chinese chastity has been exploited in the past as a means of playing Banana (proclaiming a fictitious cultural separateness) and, in the PRC, of maintaining control of the population in the manner described by George Orwell. Once the region below the waist is secured by tyrannical governments, the populace's hearts and minds quickly follow. Proclamations of "Western influence" reinforce a xenophobia useful to the Chinese Communist Party and are even trotted out in Hong Kong by desperate politicians anxious for "popular support". This was highlighted recently in the debate over decriminalising homosexuality, some commentators suggesting it was all a Western invention. In the author's own experience, he has never encountered so many homosexuals as in Hong Kong, Oxford perhaps excepted. The antithesis to Chinese Girl for the man lies in correct behaviour tempered with perspicacity in being able to differentiate the come-on from the genuine refusal. Unfortunately, given the strength of male passion under certain circumstances and other possible intoxicating or disinhibitory influences (alcohol and traditional Chinese aphrodisiacs, commonly available in Hong Kong), the percentage of men skilled in avoiding "Chinese Girl" is rather low. The antithesis for the woman is to realise, perhaps, that virginity is not the prize it once was and that a fulfilled sexual life is a secure basis for a healthy organism. Moreover, coyness is charming but it wastes a lot of time. The power and lure of sexual games, combining as they do the libido and the imagination, mitigate however against successful avoidance and even more so against resolution once the game has commenced. ANALYSIS Thesis: Men are pigs. Aim: Alleviation of guilt and shame. Roles: Virgin, Lecher. Dynamics: Libidinal guilt. Moves: 1. SECs (Significant Eye Contact). 2. Buzz Off, Buster. 1. Don't stop! 2. Don't! Stop! Switch: Now I've Got You, You Son Of A Bitch. Payoff: I'm a good girl, mama. Advantages: Psychological - Parental self-stroking. Social - Builds dependency and respect.
Night Club On 29th October, 1991 one of the most sensational vice trials in Hong Kong history came to an end. Chin Chi-ming, a moderately successful businessman, was convicted of blackmailing a number of female starlets of Hong Kong's entertainment industry. His technique was to lure them to hotels on the pretext of requiring services for a rich acquaintance suffering from sexual impotence. In an interview prior to the verdict, Chin claimed that he regularly had sex with such women. Twice a week was usual and the fee in each case was $5,000. Chin had progressed to this means of securing a regular supply of available women after frequenting night clubs. Night clubs in Hong Kong provide legalised prostitution. The larger establishments have hundreds of girls available as "hostesses" ranging from the tawdry to the frankly alluring. The girls may be "bought out" and subsequently intercourse may be arranged for a high fee in private negotiation with the girl. It is unclear what commission the night club demands from them. Hong Kong, and Oriental men in general, apparently do not see any threat to their pride in arranging companionship and sex for money. Chin must have spent millions of dollars in his pursuit (he claims to have made love to 700 women). The man who never succumbs to the illusion of romance is of course not playing Night Club but even the most cynical and hard-bitten Hong Kong man probably succumbs to the illusion somewhere along the line, if only for a moment. In this sense, all night club visitors are players of Night Club. The night club arrangement of course finds its most deliberate expression in Japan. A friend relates of an evening spent with business colleagues in one of the karaoke hostess bars in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The evening began with drinks and conversation with delightful hostesses whose "spontaneous" attentions (including surreptitious thigh massage) ended abruptly at 11.00 p.m. (the pre-arranged time). The Japanese hosts then paid up and the party left. Night clubs and "pink salons", (low lit bars with groping) seem to provide the Japanese with a comfortable anarchic edge to their humdrum over-structured lives. The essential con in Night Club as a game is the suspension of reason and the acceptance of synthetic "stroking" as being the real thing. Cognac or beer aid the illusion. The switch in the game occurs with the sobering credit card bill, which the spouse may or may not see, a month later ; or even on the same evening as the alcohol wears off, the smile of the hostess fades and her feigned enthusiasm leaves her client with the realisation that the girl would just as eagerly have sex with a fat, balding, ugly impotent man as with him, providing the price was right. Hong Kong men seem to be remarkably resilient to reasoning regarding Night Club's affront to manly pride and easily succumb to the illusion of romance created by skilful prostitutes. They may even relate that "I got a discount", " She did it for free" or as Chin proclaimed: "They thought I was an excellent lover". ANALYSIS Thesis: Women love me really. Aim: Relieving perceived personal inadequacy. Roles: Punter, Prostitute. Dynamics: Phallic deprivation. Moves: 1. Hello, Big Boy! 2. Visa or American Express? Switch: Can I stop moaning now? Payoff: I am a success with women. Advantages: Psychological - Child stroking. Social - I can certainly pull the girls.
Virginity One of the interesting aspects of the Chin trial was the revelation of one of the prosecution witnesses who claimed that she was still a virgin, despite holding a rendez-vous with a complete stranger in a seedy hotel room and performing oral sex on him for money. We were reminded of an acquaintance's account of how he had spent nights with a local girl and her friend and how the girl would do everything but the most natural. She also claimed to be a virgin. He also related the story of another girl who had almost given up the idea of finding an acceptable husband but who resolutely kept her virginity at the age of 36. "She comes to see me any time but won't do the essential. I think she's hanging on to it for medical science.," he said. "Then why do you continue to see her?", "Well, she's so obliging, and skilful." A well-known song in the Beggar's Opera suggests that "by keeping men of, you keep them on." The thrill of virginity motivates men to overlook obvious sexual experience and Hong Kong women arrive at a compromise between purity and healthy sexual indulgence. An untoward payoff occurs in the game when the girl develops some sexually transmitted disease or possibly becomes pregnant after some particularly intimate heavy petting. The man responsible may then exclaim: "I never laid a hand on you". The inherent hypocrisy of the game usually escapes the players. ANALYSIS Thesis: There's gold in them there loins. Aim: Blamelessness. Roles: Virgin, Lecher. Dynamics: Anal retentive. Moves: 1. But I'm still a virgin 2. Was that nice? Switch: Look what you made me do. Payoff: I didn't get screwed, mama. Advantages: Psychological - Stroke the Parent and spoil the Child. Social - Stability of intersexual status quo.
Suzie Wong Suzie Wong is a character in Richard Mason's famous book of the same title which describes the love affair of an artist and a Hong Kong prostitute. It is a common fantasy of Western men to believe that the women touted for sex in Asia may become genuinely attached to them. German tourists in Thailand in particular may indulge the fantasy for weeks, touring the country with devoted bar girl at hand. Some even marry the girls. As the basis for all true intimate human relationships is equality and non-exploitation, the underlying imbalance in such relationships becomes obvious over time but excessive devotion to one's carrer and to alcohol aid avoidance of the truth. In the beginning, the game resembles Night Club in the willing suspension of disbelief but the fanatical search for a prostitute who loves one makes the game more sinister and pathological. Some players may not be able to have intercourse with anyone but a prostitute and quickly regret each encounter (the Child wishes being assaulted by the Parent). Some may decide to beat their former bar-girl wives to drown out realisation of the unreal expectations of their fantasy. The antithesis to Suzie Wong is a calm realisation that fantasies may be indulged at a certain significant cost but that a loving warm relationship with a partner on some kind of equal footing is more rewarding in the long run and more nurturing of one's self-esteem. Permission may be obtained from oneself to ignore Parental provocation to regard sex as only good when it's dirty. Adult information regarding the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases in bar girls may assist the exploitation of such permissions. The hold of the Prostitute Virgin with a Heart of Gold illusion is a powerful one however. "Suzie Wong's Kid Sister" is a common variant of the game in which the objects of the search are younger and younger girls. It is played from the same position of sexual guilt and personal inadequacy. ANALYSIS Thesis: Prostitutes are good girls really. Aim: Resolution of neurotic guilt. Dynamics: Oedipus complex. Roles: Fallen woman, Rescuer. Moves: 1. You look like a nice girl. 2. Don't talk dirty. Switch: Mommy was never like this. Payoff: All women are whores. Advantages: Psychological - Parent/Child harmony. Social - "At least he keeps them off the streets".
Emigration A survey was conducted in 1990 into the criteria of male attractiveness in the eyes of Hong Kong women. It showed that although most women wanted to marry Chinese men and rated them highest, Canadians, Australians, Americans and New Zealanders were rated as the most attractive foreigners. British men came nowhere in the poll. It appears that the attractiveness of men had very little to do with appearance or character. The fashionability of men's country of origin for emigration purposes was however strongly correlated with physical attractiveness. Wealth seems also to have a similar magnetic effect - Dickson Poon, a wealthy shop owner, is similarly credited with Adonis- like handsomeness. Conspicuous display of wealth seems to be a pheremone-type aphrodisiac for certain Hong Kong women. Many Hong Kong women, like many Hong Kong men, want to emigrate. Canada and Australia are commonly perceived as presenting the best prospects for an undisturbed life style and freedom from racial prejudice. Emigration to other parts of Asia is low and Taiwan seems to interest nobody. Europe is becoming more attractive for the more desperate or culturally inspired emigrant - the Iceland Consulate in Hong Kong receives enquiries regularly from would-be emigrants. Britain is such an unpopular emigration destination that the 50,000 passports offered to Hong Kong people were almost under-subscribed. The game of Emigration is played from a position of hostility towards the prospective country of destination combined with a strong though largely unconscious desire to get out of Hong Kong. After a search for available overseas Chinese has been exhausted, the Emigration player suddenly discovers a strong romantic interest in foreigners. The attitude to foreign men has thus changed considerably even in the past few years in Hong Kong, largely unconsciously. The Emigration player dates more Western men and gravitates towards them at parties, meetings and even in restaurants. Some women's search ends at the thriving marriage agencies who charitably charge both parties double fees when a foreigner is introduced to a local person. The switch in Emigration comes when it is discovered that the foreigner is as poor as a church mouse, not interested or already attached. He, and the foreigner population in general, suddenly becomes unattractive and uninteresting. It must be stressed that in order for Emigration to be a game, the Hong Kong woman is largely unaware of her motivation and reasoning in pursuing foreigners. Active and aware passport hunting is not a game. ANALYSIS Thesis: I am not a passport hunter. Aim: Alleviation of shame. Roles: Xenophile Girl, Foreigner. Dynamics: Introjected guilt. Moves: 1. You are very handsome. 2. Which passport? Switch: It says here you're married with four kids. Payoff: I don't know what I ever saw in him. Advantages: Psychological - I'm not that cheap. Social - Escape from Stalinism and it is true love.
Restaurants, as George Orwell knew, are key areas of gamy activity largely revolving around ideas of one-upmanship and the accompanying snobbishness. Every Frenchman is aware that the better the restaurant, the ruder the waiters. In Britain, the land of gastrophobes, the restaurant games of the comic character Basil Fawlty are widely recognised and appreciated. In Hong Kong, restaurants are serious institutions because eating is a serious activity. Not for Hong Kong people the frivolity of the Americans who regard eating as a tedious occupation between sports, sex and television. Eating needs dedication and thought. Freshness is prized and unlike the West, where it is a tribute to refrigeration, freshness in Chinese societies is measured on the scale of recent demise or unearthing. The ultimate meal in certain Western cultures is thus a microwave TV dinner whilst the ultimate Chinese meal is expiring on the plate. The Cantonese have a love of wildlife, largely experienced through the digestive tract. One of my students wrote that Chinese food was so tasty because of the variety of "species" used. On the other hand, the ultimate Japanese meal is consumed in a sushi bar, seated on an individually sanitized, pre-heated electric toilet/bidet. The games outlined in this section are those between waiter and guest and between the restaurant and its clientele. As restaurants in Hong Kong are public and often crowded, other games do of course take place on the sidelines, which we have detailed elsewhere. Goldfinger is played for example in the conspicuous consumption of expensive dishes and Portable Phone is popular in restaurants well-equipped with courtesy telephones. The beginnings of Chinese Girl may be played at one table whilst Badinage is conducted at another. The guests might have arrived by a Kowloon Taxi and may go on to play Night Club or XOV. Nearly everyone plays Minding My Own Business. An evening hardly goes by in one of the better restaurants without a Celeb player arriving with train of admirers.
Western Style Western Style is the classic game of the dozens of lower- class European restaurants in Hong Kong and provides for a large degree of subtle hilarity for the game analyst in much the same way as Chinese restaurateurs derive great pleasure from seeing the locals play "Oriental Cuisine" in Britain (Chips and Fried Rice with Sweet and Sour Sauce twice). A European tourist is lured by the "French Restaurant" sign in the lace-curtained grimy windows. He is hot, thirsty and hungry. The confusion begins with the menu which is often highly pretentious in English but quite straightforward in Chinese (for example, "garoupa" is just "fish" for the locals and "minute steak" just "beef"). Waiters stand around in their shabby- genteel uniforms, curious as to why a European would wish to eat in their restaurant of all places but carefully avoiding eye contact in case they are summoned to decipher the misleading, and occasionally misspelled, English of the menu into something meaningful (cf. Minding My Own Business). At this point a game of Service may be instigated by the one proficient English speaker of the restaurant, the boss. As the guest looks around at the dismal chrome and velvet chairs, greasy carpet and low-lit decay of the restaurant, he may choose to leave or to stick it out. It all depends how much the shopping has taken out of him. Guilt raises its ugly head. Did he really come all this way for European food? Shouldn't he try some local food again? Actually, he is having a deeply ethnic experience by being in the restaurant. As the ancient lady with the wellingtons and the rubber gloves enters to throw the dishes at the next table into her filthy bucket, as the plates of rice and chops awash with gravy are thrown onto the ash-laden tablecloths and as the toothpicks are placed on his table with the nonchalance of a salt cellar, he has arrived at one of the more lowly culinary expressions of intimate Cantonese culture and, if he can abandon his own pretensions, he can start to enjoy the buzz of life which makes Hong Kong - any part of it - so stimulating. As for the food itself, the "garoupa" may arrive with a meat sauce on it, "salads" are actually adulterated mayonnaise and "minute steak" is as tough as a boot. But why go to such a restaurant for the food? ANALYSIS Thesis: This is a Western Style restaurant. Aim: Partial accommodation of exotic culture. Roles: Pretentious Restaurateur, Confused Guest. Dynamics: Insecurity. Moves: 1. Rice or chips with the meat? 2. More toothpicks? Switch: Yes sir, it used to be owned by a Mr French. Payoff: (Guest) Indigestion. (Restaurateur) We have many European customers. Advantages: Psychological - We are exotic. Social - We are not a dai pai dong.
Service It is the mark of the aristocrat and the gentleman in general that he knows how to treat servants. Hong Kong has a dearth of gentlemen, most of the money around being new money and money acquired in trade ( I now use the terms of people who know how to treat servants). Much of the training given to hotel staff is based on the traditions of European hotels of the old style where people generally knew how to behave. This has led to a certain disparity in the behaviour patterns of servant and master in hotels and restaurants in Hong Kong. "Service" is played between a brash but apparently suave (because he is wearing all the trappings of sophistication) Hong Kong businessman and an obsequious waiter or series of waiters. As in all games, Service is played largely outside consciousness and is not aimed at establishing a conscious point. The businessman enters the restaurant and is fawned upon by the attendant waiter, or proprietor. At this moment, the game is set in motion because both players have "spotted" each other as unerringly as a brawler chooses his victim from the assortment available in a crowded bar. Perhaps the smile of the waiter was too false or the gait of the businessman too swaggering. The businessman may open the game by refusing to sit at the table offered to him. This is usually not greeted with anything but enthusiasm by the waiter as it indicates the willingness of the businessman to play the game with vigour. The ensuing moves may include the following examples: menu presented before drinks offered (glare from businessman); businessman ignored for ten minutes (businessman seethes); businessman orders something not on menu (waiter glares); businessman requests ice bucket, special sauce, unavailable liqueur, cigar cutter, pepper mill etc.(waiter knots brow). An additional technique employed by the guest is to change waiters and get all the restaurant's staff gradually infuriated. The waiter often cooperates with this move by passing on the guest to his four or five colleagues in the course of a meal. The underlying hostility is never declared or made apparent throughout the game as it moves to its switch. The businessman's credit card is not accepted ,his dish is "off" or he is mysteriously overcharged; the businessman "pulls" dirty fork, dirty seat or nonexistent service to insist on a reduction of the bill. Hard players of the game march out and later call the Urban Services department. Hard-playing restaurants call the police. Such endings are rare in Hong Kong. The important point about the game is that no matter who "dirty", each player experiences a favoured feeling as payoff in the end. ANALYSIS Thesis: Now I'm this rich, nothing's good enough. Aim: Vindication. Roles: Discerning Guest, Obliging Waiter(s). Dynamics: Guilt complex. Moves: 1. I'm a big spender. 2. Now I've Got You, You SOB. Switch (examples): 1. There's a fly in my soup 2. Would sir care to pay cash? Payoff: (Guest) I showed them / How dare they?; (Waiter) I showed him / How dare he? Advantages: Psychological - Relives unresolved archaic dramas or (waiter) confirms professional position. Social - Separate variants of Ain't It Awful: "Canaille" (waiter) and "Restaurants Nowadays" (guest).
Hover Just as the air conditioning, lighting, music etc. in the majority of Hong Kong restaurants is arranged for the comfort and entertainment of the staff and not the guest, the whole aim of the service offered is often to extract a tip, not to live up to any abstract idea of restaurant standards or professional pride. The better restaurants are noted for their deviance from this accepted path and do not, for example, crowd their guests into a corner of the restaurant at lunch time to facilitate speedy clearing up afterwards. The eagerness to get the tip at the expense of propriety is seen in the game of Hover, to be differentiated from the irritating manoeuvre of Hover when waiters present a tray with the change and look appealingly at it like a dog ogling finnan haddie at breakfast time. The game of Hover however has an unconscious motivation, rage, and an apparently unexpected payoff, frustration. Just like the game of Service, waiter and guest usually find themselves but unlike Service, the relationship is strongly Persecutor to Victim with no repricocity until the final switch. Underlying the obliging service for the guest is the waiter's rage at being forced into such a servile position. His unconscious hope is to gain more frustration points so he can leave the job; his conscious aim is to gain a little money in the meantime from the slobs he has to serve. Food arrives too fast, drinks are poured with undue haste and there is too much smiling for the guest to take (for it is instinctively felt to be false). Essentials like a clean tablecloth, sharp knives and the table the guest wanted may be ignored. The unconscious resentment of the guest grows. When the change arrives, invariably including over ten dollars of silver, he leaves the dish on the table and pretends to be engrossed in the scene outside or in his companion. This infuriates the waiter who hovers aimnlessly, then rushes off to curse in private. Fortunately, the antithetical good game of "Obliging" can be played with a change of attitude in the waiter from fawning servility with contrasting brusqueness to genuine interest and pride in his profession. The tips are usually better. ANALYSIS Thesis: Want out of this profession. Aim: Venting confused discontent. Roles: Servile Waiter, Gullible Guest. Dynamics: Rage. Moves: 1. Anything to please. 2. And where's my tip? Switch: You can have the tip of my boot. Payoff: Why Does This Always Happen To Me? (WAHM) Advantages: Psychological - Brings malaise vaguely into consciousness. Social - He's so helpful.
Get Avay From My Vindow! The game's title is derived from the German immigrant jeweller who shouted at children staring into his shop:" If you vonna vye a votch, vye a votch. If you don't vonna vye a votch, get avay from my vindow!" In the Tsim Sha Tsui area, tailors often call out to passers-by, proclaiming the merits of six shirts, a tweed suit or silk blouses. Obvious enjoyment of the benefits of good clothing does not deter the persistent trader. The writer was offered made-to-measure leather trousers ("Ready tomorrow. What time your flight?") to match his leather jacket one cold winter afternoon in Mody Road. Copy watch sellers are not only persistent but impervious to satire or to confrontation in general. Pointing to my modest but genuine watch one morning outside the Holiday Inn in Nathan Road I said: "But I've got a real one. Why should I want a copy?" "Ah, but what about your girlfriend." "She has a real one too." "But wouldn't you like a change?" "No!" "Okay, what about a handbag? Where you from?" "Look, I live here. Do I really look like a tourist?" "Yes." The urge to sell has placed the traders in a difficult situation - they wish to attract customers but they do not want them to waste time "Just Looking". Tradesmen tricks such as engaging the customer in conversation, complimenting him/her in subtle ways and gently creating the idea of need and opportunity are not aspects of game playing, however covert the real transactions are between customer and salesman. The game of "Get Avay From My Vindow!" is a mechanism for expressing scorn and rage towards tourists and silly punters in general. The payoffs are a shrinking business and duodenal ulcers. Mr Apparently-Artless from Adelaide is looking for some kind of gift for Auntie May and thinks a goods look round the shops might be a good idea. The essential misunderstanding in the game arises from the local tradesman believing that tourists have a definite aim in wandering about shops. Western people and holidaymakers in general are not the same as the local Hong Kong people who are more likely to have a definite aim in doing anything, shopping included. Mr Apparently-Artless sees nothing wrong in talking at length about the merits of a certain item and whether it would suit an elderly spinster. The tradesman in the game (Mr Scheister Bhagwan-Wong) is at first encouraged by the naivety of Mr Apparently-Artless who may exclaim how cheap everything is really compared to back home. The genuine interest of Mr Apparently-Artless causes Mr Bhagwan-Wong to salivate with anticipation. Then a sudden switch occurs as Mr A.-A. ( who is in fact a chartered accountant and has left his cash and credit cards in the hotel) reveals that he has seen something cheaper in Mong Kok and that he is just looking to compare prices. Scheister can now rush him to the door muttering imprecations. ANALYSIS Thesis: Customers are idiotic geese. Aim: Reinforcement of depressive position. Roles: Apparently Gullible Customer, Scheister Trader. Dynamics: Rage. Moves: 1. Sale Now On! 2. Get Avay From My Vindow! Switch: I'm sorry, I was deliberately wasting your time. Payoff : (Somatic) I suddenly have terrible indigestion. (Existential) Just look what you get for being nice to people! (Business) Bankruptcy. Advantages: Psychological - Temporary I'm OK - They're not OK. Social - Next please!
Peng Di La! One of the commonest pastimes in everyday conversation in Hong Kong is "I Can Get It For You Wholesale" in which the better connections of he who can get it cheaper are paraded for the poor unfortunate who has, for example, paid two hundred dollars more than he might have done for a video recorder ("and it doesn't even have Nicam!"). Hong Kong people are obsessed with cheaper prices, a fact of which the Government is only too aware. It maintains a very cheap transport system to keep local people happy (as well as cheap hospitals and schools but you actually get what you pay for). Local people will even go shopping in Shamshuipo to get a better price. All this money saving inspired the well-known joke of the Hong Kong person entering Heaven where he complains about all those foreigners on earth and "why did God create them anyway?" "Well, someone has to buy retail," was God's reply. Peng Di La! (Cheaper) becomes a game when concern for the cheap item outweighs the benefits of the article or the quality of life in general It is clear that the quality of life is an alien concept to many Hong Kong people. Thus most live in appalling conditions whereas outlying islands are practically deserted during the day. Convenience is the key word of the ideal Hong Kong life style - escalators, condominiums, shuttle buses, theme restaurants in chrome and marble mausoleum shopping centres. In all fields, the discounted item wins the day. ANALYSIS Thesis: Never mind the quality, feel the width. Aim: Survival. Roles: Careful Shopper, The Big Store of Life. Dynamics: 1. Anxiety. 2. Anal retention. 3. Consumerism. Moves: 1. That looks nice. 2. Oh what a price tag! Switch: Save for a rainy day. Payoff: Discontent. Advantages: Psychological - Conformity and solidarity. Social - I am getting somewhere in life.
Special Customer Just as business in Chinese cultures, and elsewhere, depends on personal relationships, the client/shopowner relationship is crucial for success in the retail trade. Hong Kong people - although they window shop, ask relatives to "Get It Wholesale" and take advantage of generally available chain stores - are also loyal to certain traders in markets, shopping centres and in the street. The reason for this is quite obvious: after a certain relationship has been established, bargaining, a common Hong Kong pastime, may be initiated with greater ease and the risk of exploitation, Hong Kong's religion, reduced. Customer relations are especially important in the business sphere. Visits to night clubs and expensive restaurants are accepted ways of establishing business relations as a welcome accompaniment to the usual commissions, bribes and favours which are the norm of commercial life in Hong Kong. In the PRC, all foreign guests, business customers or not, must be banqueted even if their knowledge or projects are finally rejected. Deng Xiao Ping expressed reservations about this practice in his interesting set of essays: "Fundamental Issues in Modern China." (1987) (which incidentally also contains the intriguing advice that "execution is a good method of education") when he writes that in the past, the PRC has given too many banquets and not listened to foreigners enough. He is probably right. The intimacy created by the status of Special Customer makes exploitation irresistible for traders conditioned by a hard controlling script (life plan) based on dominant Refugee and survivalist components. Thus it is that the naive customer may realise that he has been overcharged on certain items for years and that the smiles of the trader have cost him dearly. The confusion in the customer's mind between personal and business relationships is not one some traders share for long. Employers have also been known to have departed for Canada owing their loyal work force months of salary and benefits. Caveat emptor thus extends to a caution for all engaged in the booming economy of Hong Kong. The traders in Special Customer are oblivious to their disregard for normal human decency and do not see that short-term gain also has its disadvantages in lost goodwill and the lowering of personal morale. The shopper (or employee or wholesale buyer) does not appreciate the ruthlessness of Hong Kong tradesmen and may be playing a game of "Kick Me". Foreigners usually follow this up with a session of "Ain't It Awful". The cheapening of the trader's personality operates independently of regarding the ethos of Hong Kong people as an example of shame culture where the personal conscience present in guilt cultures is usually absent. The avoidance of intimacy, which is how we regard exploitation, is a psychological process not linked to such outdated anthropological considerations. ANALYSIS Thesis: Business is business. Aim: Exploitation. Roles: Ruthless Trader, Vulnerable Customer. Dynamics: Fear of intimacy. Moves: 1. Friendly Cooperation. 2. Get lost. 1. Welcome to Hong Kong. 2. Now go home. Switch: I am a businessman, not your friend. Payoff: Masochistic lowering of self-esteem. Advantages: Psychological - None. Social - Monetary gain.
Street and Traffic Games
Kowloon Taxi This game contains in its apparent triviality some of the main game concepts of certain Hong Kong people and possibly of Chinese people in general. Its essentially anarchic property may find its origin in the arbitrary way in which the Chinese have been treated by their rulers, both foreign and native, throughout the ages. The game begins when a well-meaning person hires a taxi on Hong Kong Island to go to Kowloon. For some reason, some taxi drivers on Hong Kong Island object to travelling to Kowloon although they are compensated for the trip back to Hong Kong by the imposition of double the toll for any car using the tunnel. There could be some triad carving up of territory but this has not come to light so far. The rules of holding a taxi licence state clearly that a passenger in the urban area must be driven anywhere he wishes within the urban area, the trip from Hong Kong to Kowloon included. Were this not so stipulated, passengers would have to hunt around for taxis which would take a long trip or a a short trip, taxis which would not go to the south of the island on Sundays or work after midnight in Kowloon and so on. In other words, the admirable and relatively cheap public transport provided by taxis would become ludicrously complicated. More often than not, passengers requesting to be driven to Kowloon from Hong Kong are taken to a secret rendezvous where a "Kowloon Taxi" (one operating mainly in Kowloon but now stranded in Hong Kong) stands waiting for the passenger to transfer. This is done at the passenger's volition as he is under no obligation to do so. He must pay the first taxi driver. Now, some passengers know their rights and will not stand for such treatment. They insist, despite the mumblings of the driver, on being driven directly to Kowloon. However, being such nice sorts, they are persuaded by the driver's irritable behaviour that they have wronged him and put him to some inconvenience. To alleviate the guilt of upsetting the driver, he tips him generously on arrival in Kowloon. The dynamics of the game are interesting: the Persecuting taxi driver manages to present himself as a Victim and is thus Rescued by the generous passenger. Taxi drivers are not the only people to play this game. New Territories farmers are compensated for not polluting the environment with pig manure (dollars per crate of dung) and squatters are regularly resettled at Government expense. Even Vietnamese "economic migrants", shockingly mistreated in other respects, are given resettlement allowances by the Hong Kong government to induce them to comply with international agreements. At a higher level, Kowloon Taxi is a time honoured game of the PRC government in Peking who are granted trade and other concessions for releasing "dissidents" who should never have been locked up in the first place. Western governments nearly always acknowledge as a favour what is normally accepted as a duty and an inalienable right amongst non-Stalinists. More subtly than this, the PRC, as one of the world's greatest polluters, has made minimal commitment to international environmental agreements such as the Montreal Protocol dependent on Western aid and technology to the tune of US$ 200 million. (Far Eastern Economic Review, 19.9.91). Related games: Blameless, Non-Interference In China's Internal Affairs. Thesis: I am blameless no matter what the law says. Aim: Vindication of lawlessness. Dynamics: Anal fixation. Roles: Persecutor, Victim. Moves: 1. Just do your duty 2. I'm so sorry I made you do your duty. Switch: 1. (Passenger) Victim to Rescuer. 2. (Driver) Persecutor to Victim. Payoff: (Passenger) I support helpful people. (Driver) I am a helpful person. Advantages: Psychological - Avoidance of guilt and responsibility. Social - I am not inconvenienced and I still collect.
Sorry! (Shoulder charge) An acquaintance relates that now that he knows the Cantonese for "Sorry!" he still does not hear apologies very frequently in normal street contact with Hong Kong people. Given the high density of Hong Kong's urban population, collisions, foot squashing and near-misses of the same are frequent and an intricate technique of shoulder swerving has been developed to avoid accidents. The game of Sorry! (played in both vocal and silent versions) is however quite different in psychological character from unforeseen stumblings. It is played to express aggression and to assert oneself. It may be played on pavements by pedestrians and on the roads by car (and bus) drivers although in the latter cases the threat of physical contact constitutes the aggression and assertion (statistics are not available to prove what percentage of vehicular accidents are caused by Sorry! players). The game is also played by bicyclists and, to some extent, by users of public swimming baths. In essence, Sorry! is a game of bluff, the main aim being to prove that the other party in the game is worthless and uninteresting. The Sorry! player steers determinedly on towards someone travelling directly towards him and feigns obliviousness (for attention to what is going on around them is taken by some Hong Kong people as a loss of face). The trick comes in a last- second adjustment of the shoulders or a subtle change in course which far from avoiding collision gives the player(s) the opportunity to exclaim Sorry! or look slightly apologetic as the attempt to avoid collision of the other player is skilfully nullified. The game is genuinely played outside consciousness; were the player(s) aware of what was happening, they would feel angry and aggressive. The Sorry! player plays from a position of suppressed emotion. Related game: Schlemiel. ANALYSIS Thesis: Get them before they get you. Aim: Release of suppressed aggression. Dynamics: Paranoia. Roles: Aggressor, Victim. Moves: 1. Get out of my way, punk. 2. I'm so sorry, madam. Switch: Look what you made me do. Payoff: People are so pushy nowadays. Advantages: Psychological - Emotional homeostasis. Social - Manners maketh man.
Portable Phone Just as brandy is the imbibational sign of Hong Kong people, the portable telephone is the technical sign of the Hong Kong identity. Completely selfish, showy, irritating, expensive, superficially sophisticated and stress-inducing, the portable telephone seems to have been invented for Hong Kong people. One of the more amusing sights in the Hong Kong street scene is people sailing along the crowded pavements waiting for connections with their wives, children and friends only a block or two away. Some PPPs (Portable Phone Persons) use the instrument in hotel lobbies with traditional phones on the table in front of them. As many Hong Kong people exist in a personal bubble of social withdrawal even when surrounded by dozens of people, PPPs see nothing wrong in shouting into the phone in places usually regarded as peaceful and quiet. The assumption is that the insignificant others who surround one are locked in their own bubble and will not perceive noise emanating from your bubble. PPPs are thus not being rude when they break the silence of a relaxed restaurant with their babble - they are simply declaring their awareness level and playing the game of Portable Phone. The essential point of portable phone use is that it avoids contact and thus intimacy. The voice of one's interlocutor is distorted by radio noise and even if the line were crystal clear, the encounter of a mobile phone conversation would not replace the effectiveness of face to face conversation (and nobody in Hong Kong's urban areas is that far away). Again, although the portable phone is actually meant to make life more convenient ( a Hong Kong leitmotif), carrying it is like being tied to a telephone, to be summoned at will by anyone who knows the number, and occasionally by those who don't or shouldn't. Pagers are similar in this respect. The paradoxical need expressed in the portable phone is not a desire to communicate but a desire to be enslaved by sociality and yet to be excluded from proper intimate contact. Withdrawal and insecurity, combined in fun time structure, are thus the psychological realities expressed in the use of the portable phone in Hong Kong - not "I need it for my work" (Hong Kong has hundreds of available free telephones); "It's so convenient" (even the newer models are heavy); and "It helps me to stay in touch with my friends" (are healthy human relationships maintained by radio?). These arguments constitute the cons in the game of Portable Phone. ANALYSIS Thesis: Get a portable phone and never talk to anyone again. Aim: 1. Withdrawal. 2. Relieving urban insecurity. Dynamics: Sociopathology. Moves: 1. Stay in touch. 2. Can't get a connection. Switch: Don't come over to see me. Payoff: Why doesn't anyone call me these days? Advantages: Psychological - Comforting regression. Social - Public display of status symbol.
Whatever a culture emphasises should not be taken at face value. The converse of what is suggested is so often true. The closeness of Chinese families is a major theme of the classical literature of "Chinese psychology". Confucius emphasised filial piety, ancestor worship and the unity of the family but, as Lin Yutang relates, Confucius did not know his own father and buried his mother on the street. Only later in life did he find his parents a respectable common grave. A major misconception propounded by countless psychologists is to speak of the "group/family orientation" of Chinese people set against the individualistic ethos of the West. On the contrary, Chinese people are best regarded as amongst the world's great individualists, as can be seen in their game playing. There is nothing to be gained in regarding the West from the point of view of individualism and Chinese culture from that of utilitarian familism etc. in the understanding of modern human behaviour in Hong Kong. The author once asked a student in East Kowloon, in the course of an English oral examination, how many people were in his family. The reply was "78". The Cantonese have a highly differentiated vocabulary to describe their extended family: eight words for aunt or aunty and cousin (differentiated by mother/father relationship and being elder/younger) ; six for uncle and sister/brother-in-law; (highly differentiated between,say, husband of one's younger sister and elder brother of one's wife); two words for grandson and daughter (depending on whether the child is of a son or daughter) and two words each for mother/father-in-law, niece/nephew and grandfather/grandmother. It would appear that family relationships, tenuous or formal in Western contexts, are established, real and important for Hong Kong people andthe individual likes to know where he belongs. Such a picture of happy families is belied by the reports only this week as I write of child psychologists, one of whom stated that the local population has the attitude that feeding and clothing a young child is sufficient child-rearing and the revelations that children, as young as six or ten, are deserted by "astronaut" immigrants from Hong Kong in New Zealand. The parents leave the children with a large sum of money to buy food and other essentials and return to Hong Kong for months. The lack of parental support comes to light when the children use up the money and resort to shoplifting and bullying other children to get food. Even the guarded pages of "Chinese psychology" suggest child neglect is the norm in Hong Kong, speaking of a tendency to beat rather than instruct the young child.As in Western countries, neglect of old people is common and any tour of the Government hospitals provides striking examples of old people left in cramped wards and visited seldom. The mentally handicapped and ill fair little better and some are kept away from special education out of a sense of family shame. Families would then appear to be self-reliant closed systems of mutual material support rather like clans were in Western culture. The outward signs of closeness are not to be taken as predominantly signs of affection, as they would be taken in viewing a family in the West. This is not to say, of course, that Hong Kong family members do not behave affectionately towards each other. Affection is however subordinate to the idea of material support.
Pere de Famille (Father of the family) The paintings of Greuze (1725-1805) and the plays of Diderot (1713-84), sentimental, stilted and ridiculous to our modern eyes, presented the family of the French bourgeois in the 18th Century as the symbol of perfect humanity. Fortunately, Diderot's views on human nature were actually more advanced and subtle than those presented in the play Pere de Famille. Greuze's portrait of Le mauvais fils puni (Punishment of the wayward son) is a perfect antidote to those who cannot take any more histrionic Cantonese soap opera, film or, indeed, actual emotional behaviour and who see this as a failing of the culture as a whole. The picture shows an old but dignified man about to expire with his family ranged around his death bed in various statuesque poses. His wayward son has just arrived to see the horror brought on, perhaps, by his own behaviour and is stricken by grief and remorse. To see the picture is to know that Hong Kong people did not invent over-acting. We can only speculate why the drame bourgeois and the paintings of Greuze came about and why they were so admired and imitated by such geniuses as Diderot (Marx's favourite leisure author). Perhaps it was a an attempt at compensation for the real moral corruption and emotional decrepitude of the French 18th century. In turn, the over-acting of Cantonese film and soap opera may have the function of stimulating "brutalised" (in Rousseau's terms perhaps) urban people of Hong Kong and appealing to lost emotions.Pere de Famille as a game revolves around the figure of the patriarch in Hong Kong families. Women seem to be peripheral figures in Hong Kong society, striking public figures, sometimes, but more often forgotten. The idea of a husband and wife team is becoming more respectable however. In actual fact, women and the concerns of women seem to be the driving force in Hong Kong families. In my village in the New Territories (where all good social psychologists and anthropologists should stay for eighteen months or so before they write a book on Chinese psychology), I hardly see any men doing any work. Perhaps they are occupied with affairs of state. Women pick up children from school, do the shopping and the fetching. I have never seen a local man hang up washing. The only relief for some women out of all the drudgery is, perhaps, to take a part-time job so they can hire a maid from the Philippines. Research done into the emotional dynamics of the Hong Kong marriage is scanty but the general impression is that, in common with many Italian families, the man pretends to be in charge but in reality the woman runs the show. Apart from working hard, she does this through a) sexual blackmail b) concerted action with children and relatives c) progressive control of financial resources. As we have already noted in the section devoted to Love Games, local girls possess a considerable reserve of guile and manipulative skill which they receive, we propose, with the mother's milk from examples in her environment as she grows up. In Hong Kong, men have their wishes but women probably have their way. ANALYSIS: Thesis: Let her know who wears the trousers. Aim: Dominance. Dynamics: Castration anxiety. Roles: Patriarch, Submissive Wife. Moves: 1. No woman tells me what to do. 2. Certainly, dearest. Switch: All right, anything for a quiet life. Payoff: She's a good little woman, really. Advantages: Psychological - I've still got my balls. Social - Preserves status quo. Family members are nurtured even in absence of responsible male partner.
Happy Families A: You're quite close to your family? B: Oh yes. I see them all the time. A: When did you last see your parents? B: Ten days ago. A: But you only live five minutes' walk from them, right? B: Yes. A: What does your father do in his spare time? B: I don't know. A: Tell me about your sister. B: She studies at the Polytechnic. A: Which course? B: I'm not sure. A: Does she have a boyfriend? B: I don't know. A: Tell me about your brothers. B: What do you want to know? One of them died a year ago. A: You never told me that before. B: I know. I didn't like him really. The above conversation could be replicated quite easily in conversations with Hong Kong people. The replies are not taken here as being evasive but rather as signs of comparative ignorance and unconcern regarding relatives. Similar replies might be evinced in a dialogue with Western people. After all, relations are often "a tedious pack of people who haven't got the remotest knowledge of how to live, nor the smallest instinct about when to die." We have already cited the example of "astronaut" children in New Zealand but instances of institutionalised child neglect are at hand in Hong Kong. Children are regularly farmed out to aged relatives in the New Territories for example and rarely see their working parents. Schools have elements of a borstal model with lining up in the morning, uniforms, detentions and, until recently, corporal punishment. Children are made to clean their own classrooms. The gaminess of the Hong Kong person's attitude to his family is seen in the vivid affirmations of filial piety, concern for one's sick relatives and attendance of family gatherings which are taken by foreigners especially as signs of close emotional family ties. This declared attitude is often belied by actual knowledge and action. Many Hong Kong families are factionalist and centripetal (excluding other groups) and, internally, function mainly to further its individual members materially, not to provide emotional support. ANALYSIS Thesis: Let's keep the family together, I suppose. Aim: Emotional security. Dynamics: Socialization. Roles: The Clan, Clan Member. Moves: 1. We have a happy family. 2. Auntie who? Switch: I never liked her really. Payoff: I did my best for Auntie May. Advantages: Psychological - Security. Social - Group survival.
Perfect Child This game is the most pathological family game played in Hong Kong and is also a noted game of mainland people suffering under the dictatorial One Child policy of central government. Given the hypothesised strong capacity for nurturing behaviour inherent in the personality of Chinese people (Nurturing Parent) and the special refugee-based life plan of many Hong Kong people, inordinate demands are made on children by Hong Kong parents. These expectations find parallels in Western cultures and the willingness or ability of children to meet parental demands is a favourite theme of our literature and drama. High educational attainment is seen as supremely important in the production of the Perfect Child but is viewed as an achievement of effort and application rather than inborn competence. Thus less able students may be aided throughout their academic career by hack tutors, some only slightly more proficient than the student himself. Kindergarten is well subscribed and English may begin at three years of age. Hong Kong parents appear to derive huge gratification from hearing toddlers pronounce English greetings to foreigners although the parents do not usually greet the foreigners themselves. As the children do not hear English at home, in most cases, the language begins its polarized association with school, the non-intimate and the Important (see "I Really Must Do Something About My English"). Long homework hours are expected from even five-year-old students. A strong adaptive mechanism is instilled into the child. Knowledge is regarded as a series of exercises to be memorized if not necessarily understood. The school system encourages backward educational attitudes through rote learning and endless cycles of tests and examinations (sometimes before anything meaningful has been learned). The educational precepts in traditional culture are harsh and demand almost absolute submission to teachers. Hong Kong students usually fulfill these demands readily, only rarely questioning the authority of the teacher. In Hong Kong, the Education Dept. provides a list of schools for parents to select what they consider the best establishment for their child. Parents often move across town or use a relative's address to fall into the catchment area of a desirable school, even at primary level. Sending children overseas for study, although the child is quite incapable of benefitting from the experience, is another common educational "help". Children are often ridiculously spoilt and receive useless educational gifts such as high-powered computers and irrelevant books which are never read. Relatives are engaged in the game of acquisition for the children of the family and are expected to fulfill the whims of their nephews and cousins (perhaps because they claim "I Can Get It For You Wholesale"). Perfect Child usually becomes a game when the behaviour of parents does not match the demands placed on the child or when expectations assume an element of fantasy. Unfortunately, this is practically always the case. Children learn what they live, not what they are told and in a home environment dominated by traffic noise, the TV, exhausted money-earners, bad air, few books - or, at the other end of the social spectrum, by slavish accumulation of wealth, long parental absences in Canada and hedonistic values and behaviour - children are not made into winners but losers. The unreal expectations of the parents may cause them to fantasise about their child's success in the entertainment world, perhaps as a concert pianist or pop singer. Undue admiration is given to mathematical geniuses and other prodigies. The parents actually express their past frustrations through their child and thus the intensity of the "encouragement" may reach absurd proportions. This finds an obvious parallel with the "loving furtherance" of certain Western parents who send their children to summer schools, riding stables, elocution tutors, talent contests, dancing classes and a legion of other " extras I never had when I was his age". Some hard players of Perfect Child insist on orthodontics or plastic surgery to bring about the desired faultlessness.Very few children can become even academic successes. In Hong Kong, with its low percentage of higher education places (which is rapidly improving), educational attainment is actually very difficult and has become competitive to the detriment of genuine quality. As a consequence, Hong Kong students are good exam passers but often lack a capacity for independent thought. The entertainment industry can only absorb a certain amount of talent and mathematical geniuses do their best work before they are usually allowed into University. The antithesis to Perfect Child for parents is an examination of their motives for raising children; a rapprochement of example and precept; an appreciation of the child's right to autonomy; and a clear realisation of any personal frustration and inadequacy before it is transmuted into the various manoeuvres of pathological child "furtherance". ANALYSIS Thesis: I/we must have a perfect child. Aim: Regulation of past inadequacy and frustration. Roles: Kind Providing Parent, Talented Child. Dynamics: 1. (Soft version) Anxiety. 2. (Hard version) Script-driven "hot potato game" (transference of neuroses). Moves: 1. It's time for your piano lesson. 2. You play just like that Richard Clydermann. Switch: You never play your beautiful piano any more. Payoff: Where did we go wrong? Advantages: Psychological - Relieves panic of uncertain parental role. Social - They are devoted parents.
Does The Man In Your Nightmare Ever Mention My Bill? This game is played either from a position of magical expectation in the power of well-paid doctors to cure all known conditions allied with naivety concerning medical ethics and expense or, in the second version, a position of justified distrust of all Hong Kong medical practitioners which, however, excludes even a trial consultation. The first version is often played by an over-stressed expatriate executive who falls ill with one of Hong Kong's mysterious viral conditions. This is made worse by the foul environment, the demanding working world and a tendency of expatriates towards physical inactivity and alcohol abuse. The tired executive runs from private hospital to private consultant with impassioned cries of "Cure Me (I'm paying you aren't I?)." In the second version, often played by Hong Kong people of a lower income group and educational attainment, the patient with a serious but curable medical condition is delivered to hospital in great distress having spent a large amount of time and effort with traditional medicine, self-medication, prayer and rest (the mainland panacea). In the first version, the payoff for the patient comes when he cannot be cured quickly (he needs a long rest) and accuses his doctors, wife, employer and anyone else of negligence, cruelty desertion, etc. His condition is exacerbated and he falls into depression or has a nervous breakdown (which was what he wanted all along as an excuse to leave Hong Kong or to hate it even more than he does). A further switch in the game may be made on his subsequent recovery when he divorces his wife, sues the hospital or quits his job. Somewhere along the line, his magical belief in money to cure himself will also find some switch as he threatens to "expose" his medical insurance company (who refuse another consultant's test). Later on, this patient may become a regular of alternative medicine clinics on Hong Kong Island. These generally fulfill his subconscious wish to be charged huge fees for bringing about health (the difference being that the advice of the clinics to change diet, get into the countryside more and lay off alcohol is non-medical and undramatic). In the second version, the ill man incurs the extra expense of an emergency operation when with some guarded trust in medical science at some earlier stage, he might have spared himself the final outlay. The payoff comes when he is presented with the bills for his operation, after-care etc. which confirm his belief that Western medical practitioners are scheisters and money-mad. He leaves hospital even more determined never to consult orthodox doctors and sends a bouquet to his bone-setter: he was right all along. All the Western doctors did was to do it quicker.ANALYSIS: Thesis: 1.Pay them and they can cure you. 2.Western medicine is humbug. Aim: 1.Avoidance of responsibility for self. 2.Confirmation of hostility to Western things. Roles: Expensive Doctor, Difficult Patient. Dynamics: 1. Adolescent rage. 2. Paranoia. Moves: 1. Cure me, here's my cheque. 2. Cure me, here's my writ. 1. See what you can do. 2. What did you do to cost all this money? Switch: 1. Stupid/ I'm Only Trying To Help You. 2. Helpless. Payoff: 1. Doctors know nothing. 2. Doctors are crooks. Advantages: Psychological - 1. I really am special. 2. You can't trust anybody nowadays. Social - 1. I can quit at last 2. I had to pay in the end.
Xiuxi Xiuxi is the rest taken by mainland people generally after meals but any other time is not excluded from acceptable behaviour. It finds an echo in the attitude of certain local private practitioners of Western medicine in Hong Kong who because of considerations of professional pride, cannot prescribe such a simple thing as rest even when it is in the best interest of the patient. Such simple recommendations might result in the patient's refusal to pay (because why should he pay for what is obvious). The subtle argument of professional training and skill expressed as inaction (no antibiotics, no painkillers and no tranquillisers) is lost on the local patient and is actually lost on the doctor (who perceives Western medicine as actionist in character). Thus, although the instinct of the doctor is to prescribe rest , he lets himself be persuaded that he must diagnose (often most obscure illnesses) and prescribe (often useless medecine). The self-deception arises from the fact that doctors in Hong Kong generally perceive medical practice as a means of making quick money - like teachers, very few leave their salaries to work on the mainland for half a year for example. Western medicine's decisive character is used as a convenient excuse to win the patient's readiness to pay whilst preserving a sense of professional ethics. ANALYSIS Thesis: If I suggest the obvious they won't respect me. Aim: Mystification. Dynamics: Suppression. Roles: Doctor, patient. Moves: 1. What seems to be the trouble? 2. Take the pills. 1. Can you cure me? 2. Gee, You're Wonderful Mr Murgatroyd! Switch: If you don't prescribe, he won't pay up. Payoff: Professional reassurance. Advantages: Psychological - The force is with me. Social - Let's buy that house in Vancouver.
Sterilise The Instruments Despite the familiarity of local doctors with bodies, which they dissect as part of their training, they show some reluctance to touch such bodies with their bare hands, especially those of the opposite sex. At least one clinic has robes to be worn during examination and nurses usually serve as chaperons in all clinical encounters. Such shyness is at odds with medical efficacy, therefore doctors devise manouvres to avoid touching patients. The most ingenious of these manouvres is to plead that the instruments needed for an internal examination have to be sterilised and that the machine is not functioning properly etc.. In general, same-sex doctors are recommended for cases of piles, vaginal discharge, urethritis, lower back problems and so on. A non-tactile version of STI is played by the doctor reluctant to discuss the intimate life of the patient. ANALYSIS Thesis: I may be a doctor but I still get shook up. Aim: Avoidance of intimacy. Dynamics: Phobia. Roles: Shy Doctor, Opposite-Sexed Patient Moves: 1. It says here you're a doctor. 2. You're Uncommonly Perceptive. 1. Treat my piles. 2. Is that the time!Switch: 1. I never liked dissection. 2. You probably need a psychiatrist. Payoff: Now I have more time for some real medical problems. Advantages: Psychological - Parent stroking. Social - Clean hands and sweet dreams.
I Really Must Do Something About My English Although people have achieved success with English in Hong Kong, English itself has not been very successful. The language is often learned from the age of two-and-a-half on yet very few Hong Kong people speak it really accurately or well compared say with India, Singapore or some African countries. These are probably not fair comparisons. English is of course an auxiliary language in Hong Kong, not a lingua franca, and is drowned out by Cantonese culture. The facilities for learning the language are however very good and people who want to learn it have excellent opportunities for doing so. Students are far from convinced of this and often complain of "Lack Of Opportunities To Practice" (LOOP). Psychodynamically speaking, English in Hong Kong is best understood as a Parental language: that is a language associated with power, success and even duty. Real Hong Kong parents expect their children to learn it even if they themselves make no effort to learn it. Students are led to believe, through the confusing device of being taught in a bewildering mixture of Chinese and English, that fluency in English is impossible. As few teachers or anyone else show enthusiasm about English, it is held to be uninteresting and a little like Latin was to schoolchildren in Britain. English is forced down students' throats and treated as a formal asset, not a liberating creative tool. By the time the students reach the higher forms in secondary school and possibly before then, they suffer under a schizoid attitude to English: they want it but they don't. They want it because it makes study easier (and higher education is virtually impossible without it). They don't want it because they have been conditioned to regarding it as a bit of a grind. The game of IRMDSAME is now ready to be played. Languages can't be learned like mathematics because they are very personal and intimate things which involve the whole of the personality. One part of the IRMDSAME player really wants to learn English and looks for extra courses, buys the Reader's Digest Big Book Of English Words and tries to steer his eyes away from the subtitles on the English TV channels. Another part of him, perhaps more powerful than his conscious self knows,is certain that English is very dull and that it is associated with strange unknown people and places his parents have always treated with disinterest if not mistrust. The game is played to partially reconcile the paradox in attitude. A student enrolls for extra lessons but does not exploit classroom time to practice; he drops out because the course is too far away from home; he refuses to practice English with strangers; he doesn't buy one of the excellent English newspapers (too difficult) and doesn't listen to the radio (can't follow); he spends hours in the library producing reports which would take fifteen minutes if he were fluent in English. He becomes more aware that he really must do something about his English but doesn't know what. At the end he can say "At Least I Tried" with the absolute conviction that he did his best. The Hong Kong Language Campaign or the British Council attempts to rescue him. The antithesis to the game is presented in my previous volume, Transactional Analysis in Education. Teachers in Hong Kong are devoted players of the complementary game, "I Really Must Do Something About My Teaching" and are often unaffected by long courses in didactics, humanistic education and educational psychology. "I Really Must Do Something About My Cantonese" is played by foreigners who never acquire even a smattering of the local language although numerous Chinese dictionaries and Cantonese courses stand on their bookshelves as an expression of their willingness to "be with the people". ANALYSIS Thesis: English is useful but it can't be fun. Aim: Relief of Parent/Child impasse. Roles: Learner, Teacher; Real Child, Real Parent; Student, Subject. Dynamics: Masochism. Moves: 1. I really must do something about my English! 2. At least I tried. Switch: Too close for comfort. Payoff: English really is difficult, isn't it? Advantages: Psychological - reinforces favoured learning style Social - Group cohesion; TEFL book sales; demand for English teachers and social standing of fluent English speakers.
I'm Only Trying To Help You A version of this classic game is played with especial fervour in Hong Kong between visiting intellectuals and the local educational establishments The intellectual takes up a post on a three-year contract determined to do something useful in one of the last British colonies. The situation is quickly assessed and remedial measures proposed. The local population of students, colleagues, government departments nod along and play a side game of "Gee, You're Wonderful Professor" (admiration without action). The intellectual in question may play up to this with a game of YUP (You're Uncommonly Perceptive). So far the game is fairly harmless but as time goes by and the advice given by the visiting intellectual is ignored, sabotaged, under-funded (but never attacked), the frustration of the intellectual grows and he begins to make desperate attempts to "shake up the establishment", "get the media on his side" and to "show them who's boss". The unconscious aims then come to the fore - "Why don't people do what I tell them" and "They don't deserve me". These are in turn motivated by a fundamental I'm OK - You're not OK life position. The passive resistance of the local population to social and personal change, one of the strongest forces in the world, wins the day in the end. The intellectual storms off to Kai Tak with or without official car. The complementary game to IOTTHY (or ITHY for short) is Peasant and is played by the institution wish invited the intellectual to take up the post in the first place with come-ons of "You're so eminent", "We need you" and "Poor us". Financial outlay, although often considerable, is unimportant given the perverse psychological satisfaction obtained by making the intellectual prescribe remedies which the Peasant player can ignore ("but just look how much we paid"). ANALYSIS Thesis: Why don't people ever do what I tell them? Aim: Superiority. Roles: Visiting Intellectual, Local Staff and Students. Dynamics: Insecurity. Moves: 1. Here's what you have to do. 2. Why don't you do what I say? Switches: 1. Rescuer to Persecutor: I'll show them. 2. Persecutor to Victim: I'm going. Payoff: They don't deserve me. Advantages: Psychological - I'm OK - They're not OK. Social - 1. (Institution) At least we tried 2. (Intellectual) At least I tried.
Civic Education Educating the public is a boom industry in Hong Kong, although it has not reached the proportions of Singapore where citizens are now told how to defecate. Visitors must also declare chewing gum to customs. The British Empire's aim until disintegration was to make the whole world like West Hartlepool. Fortunately, they were only marginally successful. In Hong Kong, people were presumably told in the earliest public information films to bury their dead, feed their children and to cook their food. The latest films attempt to prevent people throwing television sets out of high buildings (it could kill a child), to warn against leaving knives and poisons lying around (they could kill a child) and urge people to hurry up while they are crossing the Light Rail Transit lines (especially if you are a child). You can complain about unfairness to your legislative councillor (if he is not under investigation by the ICAC), listen to practical legal advice (they put a tape on for you) or even complain about television (particularly about Government information films). All this Civic Education has gone over the heads of a great many Hong Kong people who continue to spit, jostle, crowd the MTR, neglect their children and get out quick when there is a fire without warning the rotten neighbours. This is usually the effect of Civic Education in Britain as well. Civic Education is a game because although it aims to present good advice for everyone's good, it is perceived as, and is inspired by, a Controlling Parent ("I will tell you what to do"). It has bee noted elsewhere that Hong Kong people already have a resilient Parent (or superego) which has strong ideas about the world which do not always tally with Western beliefs. The Government believes in its turn that it is aiming its advice at the rational self (or Adult) in the population. In reality, the advice is dictated by a superior Colonial mentality and is resisted as such by the Hong Kong people. ANALYSIS: Thesis: Be reasonable - do it my way. Aim: Dominance. Roles: Colonial Example, Unenlightened Native. Dynamics: Paternalism. Moves: 1. Here's how to behave 2. Why don't you do as you're told? Switch: What do you mean - "Ethnicity"? Payoff: They'll never learn. Advantages: Psychological - Maintains superior position. Social - We must go out into the far corners of the fading Empire.
Lunch Bag Lunch Bag, one of Berne's discoveries, is usually a game played by a married couple. Mr White decides to save money by using up all the bits of cheese and ham he can find in the fridge to make a sandwich to take to work instead of buying lunch in a restaurant. This show of economy so impresses Mrs White that she surrenders all control of the family's finances to Mr White. Mr White can then shamelessly indulge his expensive desires for stereo equipment, golfing clothes and fishing weekends with impunity and without personal guilt. After all, a man who takes his own lunch to work in a brown paper bag every day can't be a spendthrift, can he? By extension, the game is played with subtlety and enthusiasm by Government and other organisations, especially public ones, in Hong Kong. Crammed into tiny offices with old typewriters and rickety chairs in unsavoury parts of town, forced to use hideous brown envelopes for correspondence and ageing telephones for more direct communication, the typical public servant presents a picture of threadbare shabby-gentility which masks his department's unquenchable thirst for public funds. Hong Kong is probably one of the most over-administrated but undergoverned places in the world. The tiers of bureaucracy at every level, especially in education and public works, are extraordinarily dense and resilient. Moreover, the questionable resource allocations of Councils and departments are periodically exposed in the Press . A recent example of the gravy train mentality was a delegation of Regional Councillors sending themselves on a fact-finding holiday to Australia to look at shark nets ( a somewhat less important problem than the prospect of the PRC- run nuclear generators at nearby Daya Bay). On return, the Councillors and their assistants work on in their humble brown offices and, presumably, submit a humble claim for expenses incurred during their necessary and humble tour of the Gold Coast's seafood restaurants on a recycled paper form inside a tatty reused envelope. ANALYSIS Thesis: 1. Be humble and ye shall prosper. 2. Watch their pennies and you can spend the pounds on yourself. Aim: Guiltless exploitation. Roles: Uriah Heep Administrator, Taxpayer. Dynamics: Rationalisation. Moves: 1. Let's save money 2. I saved so much at Lane Crawford! Switch: I deserve this for being so careful with money. Payoff: This Department has imposed drastic cost-cutting measures in order to meet Government targets in the next fiscal year. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Advantages: Psychological - Relieves guilt. Social - Maintains governmental credibility.
We Will Act Although Hong Kong Government departments proclaim their willingness to act, their essential character is passive. This accords well with the laissez-faire, commercial character of Hong Kong which dictates that money making should not be unduly interfered with. As the Hong Kong Government is a branch of the British Government (or rather a ruse for appeasing the locals' demand for some control over their affairs: see Who's The Boss?), it incorporates some of the principles of enlightened government, in particular the concept of law enforcement and the idea of the Government servant. Government servants in Western societies are bound to be not only responsive to requests from the taxpayer but also active in the enforcement of laws and regulations. In Chinese societies, their character is generally quite different. Chinese public servants are a dictating elite whose duty it was, and still is, to carry out the wishes of a controlling minority, enlightened or not. Their responsivity to individuals is commensurate to the individual's social status. It was, therefore, quite uncommon for a worker or peasant in Imperial China, and still is for the the lower classes in the present PRC, to complain to an authority higher than his immediate superior (and as complaining may lead to a loss of Face and goes against the pragmatic nature of most Chinese people, as noted elsewhere, it is not the favoured strategy for effecting change in general). In Hong Kong, people are encouraged to complain to the Consumer Council and to Legco, for example, but it is not generally popular. Complaints against medical doctors, many of whom are unscrupulous and grasping beyond the parameters of professional ethics, are rare. Public servants in Hong Kong are thus supported in their fundamental Imperial position of passivity and unapproachability by a general attitude of the populace. When it is pointed out to public servants that they should be more active in their enforcement of regulations concerning planning permission, littering, hawking, inspection of restaurants, holes in the highways and pollution, their response is "We Will Act" rather than "We should have acted" or "We will continue to act". Citizens are expected to be policemen who report injustices and grievances to Government who then consider such complaints for action. The assertive nature of Government, which sometimes needs to be that of a Persecutor of injustice and inefficiency, is then devalued to that of a reluctant Rescuer. The citizen himself may be transformed by the Government's passivity from concerned to active Persecutor. As the game of Michael Kohlhaas shows clearly, he may then be turned into a Victim of Government ,the Police or the original third party wrongdoer (hawker, builder, landlord for example). ANALYSIS Thesis: We are government servants paid to act only when people complain. Aim: Abnegation of social role. Roles: Aggrieved Citizen, Public Servant. Dynamics: Passivity. Moves: 1. We will act 2. But why didn't you do it in the first place? Switch: What? A rat in the same restaurant? Payoff: Aggrieved Citizen becomes Policeman, Public Servant becomes Judge. Advantages: Psychological - Blamelessness. Social - Appeases burgeoning middle class.
Michael Kohlhaas This game is derived from a novella of the same name by the German writer, Heinrich von Kleist (1777-1811). The attempts of the story's hero to redress the wrong done to him in a province of feudal Germany, actually amounting to no more than the harsh treatment of two horses, leads to the involvement of the Holy Roman Emperor and, finally, to Kohlhaas's own execution. A main theme of the story is an obsession with absolute justice. It is clear from an analysis of the preceding game that absolute justice in Hong Kong has the shelf life of a soap bubble. An examination of Judicial Games (q.v.) will confirm this. The law, taking its lead from the Hong Kong Legal Department, is an ass. Nevertheless, some people harbour unreal expectations of the administrative machinery in Hong Kong, believing that it exists to further good government and justice rather than its real aims - being a Third World administration in statu nascendi - obfuscation, delay, bargaining, plastering over cracks and, occasionally, taking kick-backs. The real Michael Kohlhaas player's unconscious motivation is however quite different from the apparent concern with justice - he wishes to alleviate boredom and frustration from other sources, perhaps from an overly comfortable bourgeois lifestyle. Michael Kohlhaas is thus a game favoured by foreigners and Hong Kong's enlightened middle class. The mechanism of the game resembles Berne's "Now I've Got You, You SOB". Mrs Treegrunter-Smythe moves into an expensive apartment block in Mid-Levels in the belief that she has at last escaped the hordes of hideous and noisy people her husband's latest posting has made her come into contact with. She has just finished discussing arrangements with the interior decorators when major renovation work begins on the whole building and bamboo scaffolding obstructs her view of the harbour. Jack hammers and pile drivers operate seemingly round the clock and bits of masonry are found in the pots of her favourite balcony plants. Telephone calls are made to the building contractors, management agency, landlord, husband, radio stations. Letters are written to the Government, the police and the English newspapers. The reactions of the police and the Government departments is to listen politely, take notes, inspect, reassure but, in the end, to look up to the heavens, complaining about insufficient powers to remove the nuisance. In fact, the Government in Hong Kong, a virtual police state, can come up with regulations to do almost anything it wants with the greatest ease and speed. Mrs Treegrunter-Smythe doubles her Valium and enrolls at the Vital Life Centre. The noise and discomfort continue - at $40,000 a month. Exasperated beyond belief, the lady now decides to strike back against the forces arranged around her. Steeled by a shot from an expensive single malt whisky her husband thought he had concealed underneath his Japanese teenager pornography in the guest bedroom, she selects a large knife from the kitchen and hacks one of the bindings on the bamboo scaffolding close to her balcony. One of the mainland workers sees her but decides to keep quiet. The incident is quickly forgotten and the lady now employs one of Hong Kong's renegade lawyers to sue with vehemence. Nothing can be done. Only temporary injunctions and a small reduction in the rent bring some feeling of redress in Mrs Treegrunter-Smythe's increasingly desperate mind. The landlords are now heartily tired of what they perceive as a tedious troublemaker, as are the police. When a worker falls several floors from the scaffolding outside Mrs Treegrunter-Smythe's flat and sues here for malicious endangerment, the police, the Government departments and the landlords breath a sigh of relief and issue joint writs. Mrs Treegrunter-Smythe pays the compensation but spends her remaining time in Hong Kong protesting her innocence in the media or anywhere else people might pay attention to her. At a more mundane level, the game is played by people who have something against police in general (possibly because they are reformed criminals or have been rejected by the police recruiters). They persecute the police for not enforcing traffic or security regulations and enjoy many minor victories until they provoke the police by taking the law into their own hands (causing an accident by redirecting traffic or joking about bombs at the airport for example). The antithesis to this variant of the game is correct behaviour and clear realisation that suing the police or Government authorities costs the latter nothing in personal terms in most instances. The machinery available to Government and the police in Hong Kong for persecuting the individual citizen is however considerable, and free of charge, for individual public servants provoked by hard Michael Kohlhaas players. ANALYSIS Thesis: I know what justice is. Aim: Justification. Roles: Victimized Just Citizen, Persecuting Authority. Dynamics: Masochistic Rage. Moves: 1. How dare they! 2. I'm sorry but I got all shook up. Switch: (Judge) It looks to me as if you are the criminal party, Mrs Treegrunter-Smythe. Payoff: I am innocent. They have got it in for me. Advantages: Psychological - Bypasses underlying malaise. Social - At least she's got principles.
Legco or Uncle Wong's Cabin Until recently, the composition of the Legislative and Executive Councils was safely in the hands of a species of over-adapted individuals so like Governor Sir David Wilson's Foreign Office crowd that they had even begun to speak like him (an ethereal but essentially effeminate voice borrowed from Runcie, the former Archbishop of Canterbury). Such imitation would not be a game if it did not occur outside consciousness. The sad truth is that the old crowd of appointed members and "elected members" from "functional constituencies" (oligarchic cliques) are largely unable to perceive what has happened to them: their true identity having been surgically removed like a large part of Michael Jackson's nose. The payoff of Uncle (and Auntie) Wong is a growing bewilderment that it is now not enough to suck up to Colonial rulers even if the colonial system is not too far removed from what could await Hong Kong in 1997. The switch pulled by Mr Martin Lee in the first direct elections reverses their roles from Persecutors of democracy to its Victims. ANALYSIS Thesis: Suck up and shut up. Aim: Adaptation. Dynamics: Alienation. Roles: Colonial Ruler, Local Worthy. Moves: 1. Yes, massah. 2. Who are all these Hong Kong democrats? Switch: Direct elections. Payoff: Political graveyard. Advantages: Psychological - Temporary self-aggrandizement. Social - Power to the oligarchs.
Non-Interference In China's Internal Affairs This game's title is the favourite cliche of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in much the same way as "Stability and Prosperity" is the call-sign of every self-respecting politician in Hong Kong. Allen Lee for example never gives an interview without at least one mention of the phrase. NIICIA originates from the "News Agency" of the PRC , a very large building in Happy Valley, Hong Kong Island. Actually, employing so many staff to spy and prepare for Stalinism in the sovereign territory of another country is usually considered to be interference in most country's internal affairs and even Libya in its heyday was not as cheeky in London as the PRC is in Hong Kong. It is all a matter of national self-respect. The story still told in PRC schools is that Britain kidnapped Hong Kong from rotten corrupt rulers and that it is a power of occupation, not a landlords or a rightful owner. This is the Victim position taken up by the PRC. In fact, it would be hard to imagine the PRC existing without the entrepot of Hong Kong or something similar. It was an Adult necessity for all Communist power blocks in the past to have access to foreign exchange and foreign goods (in order that they could maintain some contact with the real world ). The lamentations of the PRC have been fulsome indeed since 1949 but they never quite got round to invading Hong Kong. It would be tantamount to cutting off your nose to gain Face. Despite the advantages of Hong Kong in keeping an inefficient and decadent empire afloat, the PRC wept enough crocodile tears to secure the unequal treaty of 1984 known as the Joint Declaration. The real fact of the PRC being the Persecutor in the piece has become more evident since the Tiananmen massacre. NIICIA has the advantage of halting debate on real issues (surveillance, incarceration, torture for example) whilst securing a position for more Persecution. Related Games: Kowloon Taxi, Blameless. ANALYSIS: Thesis: "No one should know what goes on behind closed doors." (Josef Stalin - Unedited Memoirs). Aims: Confusion Roles: Victimized Nation, Persecuting Colonial Power Dynamics: Little Old Me. Moves: 1. Stop beating me! 2. Hand me the whip. Switch: Feigned Victim to Persecutor. Payoff: 30th June, 1997. Advantages: Psychological - Maintains sadistic stance. Social - Enter the Dragon to eat the golden goose.
Who's The Boss? The three-cornered fight in Hong Kong between Legco, the British Hong Kong Government and the mainland's NCNA seems to be the perfect illustration of Stephen Karpman's drama triangle. In most disputes, one of the three parties occupies the position of Persecutor, Rescuer or Victim until a switch or reversal in roles occurs. In general, most Drama Triangle activity is also game activity and in Hong Kong, the favoured game is Who's The Boss? In a typical game, say over the Court of Final Appeal, Legco represents itself as a Victim of two Persecutors: Big Bad Britain and Even Worse PRC. The Press asks as a Rescuer in the favourable coverage it gives to Legco's quite legitimate concerns over the rule of law after 1997. The British, through the Hong Kong Government, do not like to occupy the Persecutor position for long and make concessions to Legco, arrange for public debates and promise to make strong representations to the PRC. For years, of course, the PRC acted as Rescuer for the local people against what was perceived as the iniquitous colonial regime. Legco and allied human rights organisations begin to persecute the NCNA through demonstrations, candid statements and petitions. After some negotiation at the Joint Liaison Group it becomes obvious that the PRC will not budge and, moreover, if it gets any more trouble, the airport project may be delayed. The rumour of such a calamity sends shock waves through Legco's vested interest groups in construction, trading, land and other pertinent spheres. The British are also alarmed by the threat to their power in the unprecedented moves towards actual protest in Legco, which was hitherto a chamber for nodding through government policy. They begin to Persecute Legco once more whilst Legco Rescues the PRC by mumbling that "it is all Britain's fault". The British are transformed into the Victims but are Rescued by the PRC who arrange for some last-minute tactical concession on something quite unconnected to divert attention from a subject which has exhausted its political interest anyway. Apart from the switches in role, the most important feature of Who's The Boss? is the assumption of power by Legco in a game where it effectively has none. The power of the effective agents in the game (Britain and the PRC) is in its turn diluted by representatives (the NCNA and the Hong Kong Government). These two agencies have no power in the non-game of Realpolitik played by the Foreign Offices of the two countries concerned. This non-game is not played around the idea of authority, which is the fundamental con of Who's The Boss?, but around real concerns such as mutual advantage, maintenance of influence and continuing profits; or the avoidance of destabilising events. The antithesis to Who's The Boss? would appear to be Legco's recognition of the fictitious nature of the Hong Kong Government and the NCNA. They should conduct direct negotiations with Britain and the PRC without the illusion of authority but with a real concern for local people combined with the real threat of Hong Kong people's power to disrupt the smooth running of a Stalinist regime. ANALYSIS Thesis: We are powerful mandated representatives. Aim: Authority. Roles : Persecutor (typically the PRC), Rescuer (typically the British), Victim (typically Legco). Dynamics: Domination. Moves: 1. What about human rights? 2. I think we have to adjourn this debate. Switch: China was right all along. Payoff: They are listening to us at last. Advantages: Psychological - Relieves insecurity. Social - Democracy for the people.
As we have indicated in a number of previous sections,certain games may be played in a "hard" way which leads to the courthouse or to prison, if not to hospital or the morgue. Just as medical practitioners are able to collect high fees for ministering to some of the more pathological game players in Hong Kong, the practice of law is a lucrative occupation given the number of willing players of hard versions of "Goldfinger", "Michael Kohlhaas", "Fung Shui" and "Joint Venture", or even "Night Club" and "Chinese Girl" (as recent sensational cases have shown). There are few lawyers for the population in Hong Kong compared with the USA (2,100 solicitors, 384 barristers in 1989) and a lot of work for them to do. Fees are very high. In criminal cases, one well-known firm charges even for ballpoint pens and sweeties (only M&Ms and transparent fruit drops are allowed) for clients detained in a Reception Centre or Correctional Institution (Hong Kong has few "Prisons"). This is in addition to its usual care, conduct and control @ HK$ 2,000 per hour. A key game in the Hong Kong legal world is thus "Hidden Fine" in which an acquitted accused may face an horrendous legal bill after the case, a fact of which merciful judges are perfectly aware. The employment of a "London Silk" is the legal fraternity's major extortion racket but apparently so impresses the more insecure Hong Kong judges that acquittal is a mere formality. Despite being one of the most vigorously policed territories in the world (one police officer for 200 citizens in 1989), the rates of violent crime have soared steadily from 24.8 per 100,000 population in 1956/7 to 307.7 in 1989/90. Armed violence in shopping centres, banks and jewellers' is now relatively commonplace. Mugging and other petty street crime against individuals is however still uncommon. Divorces give lawyers a lot of comparatively easy work as the games of Pere de Famille and Happy Families reach one of their more dramatic culminations. There were ten divorce petitions for the courts to deal with in 1953 compared to 5,056 in 1985. On the other hand, bank fraud, money laundering and insider trading, although undoubtedly common in Hong Kong, provide only a few expert legal representatives with steady work, albeit for a number of years in some cases, due to the small number of prosecutions initiated. This is a reflection of the general tolerance towards kick-backs and other sharp business practice in the territory. Prosecution of big triad bosses is also rare. The degree to which triads rule certain areas of Hong Kong life appears to be growing after suppression in earlier decades. The film industry, which makes films glorifying some triad heroes, held a public demonstration recently to protest against the "tea-money" needed to film in certain locations. Some film stars were also intimidated to star in certain gangster films by the triads whose life they represented. It is difficult at present to gauge the degree of hypocrisy inherent in the stars' protest. The demonstration certainly gave many a good deal of free publicity. Although it is quite obvious to even the most ignorant and unprejudiced observer that many aspects of the legal system in Hong Kong - laws, courts, judges and not least lawyers - present elements of oddity or amusement and arouse suspicion, the game playing of the legal world is not clear in many respects. This is largely due to the legal world's general liking for obfuscation, privileged information, cabalism, and in Hong Kong, active protection of the venal and the incompetent, especially at Government level. Complicated surface structures, such as those present in most legal systems, often mask the ulterior mechanisms of self-deception and destructive interaction which characterise the essential nature of games. Thus it is that the long and complicated submissions of the lawyers in Mrs White's divorce case may mask an essential game of "If It Weren't For You" or "Now I've Got You, You SOB". The protracted legal resistance against extradition in the Osman affair conceals underlying games of "Cops and Robbers" and "Bum Rap". Sociology and conventional criminology do not satisfactorily explain the motivation of the criminal or account for the dramatic increase in certain crimes in Hong Kong during its periods of greatest economic progress. Ordinary legal analyses cannot account for the development of law in Hong Kong nor for its sudden reversals and inconsistencies. Without the idea of games, no analysis of human behaviour - and probably collective human behaviour - is comprehensive or convincing. The inadequacy of strictly disciplined psychological or sociological approaches to social questions is sometimes inadvertently expressed by the investigators themselves. One recent assessment of legal questions in Hong Kong, although written from a sociological viewpoint, employs some of the terms of game analysis to reach a full understanding of its subject. Writing in Crime and Justice in Hong Kong, (ed. Traver and Vagg, OUP 1991) Lo Man-chiu uses terms such as "Game", "Player", "Actor" and "Role" not in the specific Bernean sense but clearly aware that some important structure operates beneath the surface phenomena. The real problem in analyzing legal games in the sense we use the term is to differentiate the deliberate "professional" ulterior transaction (such as provoking the witness whilst apparently complimenting him) from the ulterior transactions which go on outside the awareness of both parties. This latter interaction may constitute a game. The former is the professional trick. Despite the assertions of many, Hong Kong lawyers are probably just as dishonest, in a moral sense, as any other Western legal fraternity. Judges on the other hand, like many Hong Kong academics, belong to the Third World circuit and are usually not quite the best in either probity or competence. The degree to which lawyers and judges (and their ancillary secretaries, clerks and translators) play games in the Hong Kong legal system appears to exceed the gamy activity of other legal worlds, however, because they reflect, as professionals, the game-ridden behaviour of their Hong Kong clients and paymasters. The demand for litigation has increased greatly in Hong Kong in recent times. An alternative to building more law courts to complement the existing tower blocks would be to employ game analysts instead of lawyers and judges in the vast majority of civil proceedings ,and in an advisory capacity to the bench in criminal cases. This would have the effect of expediting expensive trials, most of which are prolonged salvoes of legal jargon aimed at proving total guilt or innocence. In most legal disputes, however, the question of guilt is hardly ever one-sided or wholly conscious in nature. The adjustment of the legal framework of Hong Kong to the advances in psychology made in this century will probably only follow when Britain or the PRC shows some willingness to do the same.
Aborigine The resistance of certain New Territories people to the rule of law was detailed amusingly by Austin Coates in his stories of his time as a District Officer. Alternately obtuse, conniving, stubborn and audacious, New Territories people, although in many ways spoilt children of a benevolent protective regime, maintain their position of being aboriginal inhabitants of the New Territories entitled to separate development. Of course, only few New Territories people (at most one in 8) can trace their family's residence in the territory back further than two generations. In the game of Aborigine - which can also be played in town - genuine entitlement to ethnic separateness, which is perfectly legitimate, is subordinate to the power of the assumed role. The greater part of the law applied to the New Territories is, in the final analysis, no different from that applicable to Hong Kong as a whole: British common law, precedents and a few local touches (such as the death penalty). The British, perhaps out of a feeling of guilt which they did not feel for their occupation of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, have attempted to respect the curious laws of ancient China with regard to the New Territories. Concubinage was a notable example. Even today however, the local elder rules supreme in New Territories villages and must be consulted by the police before they enter his hallowed ground. Failure to inform the elder before the police arrive can have disastrous results. On Lantau, Hong Kong has the perfect open cultural museum in Tai O, a place which although it has two police inspectors, is as beyond the rule of reasonable law as was Treasure Island. The basic con of the Aborigine player is the assumed role of confused indigenous subject under unjust Colonial role. Such confusion and olde-worldiness does not affect the Aborigine player's enjoyment of modern bourgeois society in Hong Kong: off-course betting, laser disc karaoke and Danish butter cookies. The confusion usually arises when the Aborigine player is asked to comply with the law - for example pay rates or income tax, to stop using his land as a rubbish dump/garage or, occasionally, to send his children to school or court. The authorities often pull "Crown Land" (claiming that the Government is the ultimate owner of the land in question and requesting the Aborigine to "Get Orff My Laaand"). The confused Aborigine player may appeal to the NCNA or the more sinister Heung Yee Kuk for help exclaiming: "Colonial Infamy". As in the game of Fung Shui (which may be played simultaneously with Aborigine), some cash payment usually smooths matters over and, emerging suddenly out of his confused wronged state, the Aborigine player seizes the cheque with both hands. The most remarkable example of this in 1991 was the huge compensation paid out to a man who had squatted under a staircase in a Kowloon building for some twenty years. Instead of being summarily evicted when the building was condemned, the man pulled Aborigine to claim he was a bona fide resident, in the olde worlde understanding of the term. An alternative to the 1984 Joint Declaration, by which Sir Geoffrey Howe showed the mettle which made his usual comparison with a sheep all the more convincing, might have been a subtle manoeuvre of Aborigine on the part of the British Government and the seeking of commensurate compensation for ceding Hong Kong to the PRC. Of all arguments, this would have been the most convincing in the eyes of the People's Republic. Related games: Fung Shui, Refugee, Blameless. ANALYSIS Thesis: I am a poor confused aborigine living under colonial tyranny. Aim: Freedom from responsibility. Roles: Wronged Aborigine, Colonial Tyrant. Dynamics: Absolution. Moves: 1. Here is your rates bill. 2. Help, I'm being suppressed! Switch: Suddenly I see you and your cheque were right all along. Payoff: Times change and so mustn't I. Advantages: Psychological - Reinforcement of ethnic stance. Social - We still have our dignity, you know.
Lock 'Em Up Hong Kong was created to serve the drug trade and some of its earliest laws tried to regulate hemp, betel nuts and opium in order to derive profit from their distribution. Opium became a Government monopoly in 1912 and led to even bigger profits for the public coffer. Dangerous Drugs Ordinances were inspired in the beginning by a desire to keep the trade in official hands, not to address a serious social problem. Thus it was that 1n 1924 20-25% of the adult male population of Hong Kong smoked opium and as recently as 1965, this figure stood at 12.5% (official estimates). Recent times have seen a switch to heroin as the drug of choice and a fall in the Government figures from 60-100,000 in 1977 to 42,000 addicts in 1989. Even if "recreational" use (a misnomer of course) and official optimism in compilation of figures are discounted, Hong Kong clearly has a significant hard drug problem. The efforts of all Western countries to deal with the social problem of drug addiction to date has focussed on interrupting the supply of hard drugs rather than, for example, addressing the mechanism of demand or analyzing the psychology of addiction. Drug traffickers are persecuted by police and even specially created para-military organisations. In Hong Kong, trafficking ia defined as possession of more than 0.5 grammes of heroin or morphine, or 2.5 grammes of any mixture containing not less than 0.2 per cent morphine. The trials of drug traffickers seem to revolve around a technical formula of conversion of the drugs seized into the power of No. 3 heroin. The sentence given is related to the amount of morphine equivalent the drugs actually contain. The specific social effect, the actual people supplied, the economic necessity of the dealer (who are often users themselves) are gone over in favour of a primitive scale of guilt based on power to intoxicate. Thus it is that much court time is taken up by quibbling whether to send the accused to incarceration for ten, thirteen or fifteen years. The logic of relating sentencing to narcotic potency might lead judges to impose stiffer sentences on drivers of limousines involved in traffic accidents as a limousine is capable of causing greater damage than a Fiat 500cc. Again, the same logic presumes that there is a significant difference between a sentence of thirteen and ten years in prison. Perhaps there is for someone who has already served ten years, or eight, but as a move to reform wrongdoers and protect society, the effect of stiff sentences is questionable. As one year in prison is the equivalent of being knocked unconscious, the repeated beating of a long prison term will not make the prisoner more unconscious. The possible use of drug traffickers as trainee drug therapists or in day release schemes with electronic monitoring has not been considered in sufficient depth by a Government obsessed with retribution. The fact that there is a hard core of hard drug abusers in Hong Kong who constantly reoffend and do not respond to the programmes of SARDA (The Society for the Aid and Rehabilitation of Drug Addicts) cannot be addressed in an atmosphere of crime and punishment. TA analyses alcoholism and other drug abuse as a game with at least five players, usually Abuser, Persecutor, Rescuer, Patsy and the Connection (see Berne, Games People Play and Claude Steiner, Games Alcoholics Play). The Persecutor is the drinker or drug addict's excuse to use or drink, often a spouse. The Rescuer is the person who cleans or covers up afterwards; he Rescuer is typically a doctor or some organisation like AA or SARDA. The Patsy, perhaps mother or a willing welfare agency, is the person who slips the drug abuser some money or the rent. Finally, the Connection is the barman, or the drug trafficker who supplies the goods. Viewed in this way, drug abuse presents a predictable set of social relationships which can be verified in the examination of any drug "scene". The important point in this analysis is that the group of players is usually exclusive and complementary and rarely involves outsiders. One of the traditional myths of retributive justice - the drug pusher - is incompatible with the reality of the addiction game which is played by a clique of mutually destructive insiders rather than a vicious threat to Society. This small group model of drug abuse is related to the games of governments around the world, including Hong Kong, in tackling the problem of drug abuse. The role of the Hong Kong Government and Government-sponsored agencies - excepting perhaps the Community Drug Advisory Council - appears to be alternately retributive and Rescuing in nature (for example in its ordering of addicts to Addiction Treatment Centres in lieu of prison). The courts seem intent on shifting society's guilt away from the central problems such as our drug-using culture and the widespread desperation of modern urban life. ANALYSIS Thesis: Lock up the Connection. Aim: Justification. Roles: Social Menace, Strong Arm Of The Law. Dynamics: Retribution. Moves: 1. We have found certain substances concealed about your person. 2. How much morphine equivalent is that? Switch: We still have 42,000 addicts. Payoff: The war against drug abuse is unceasing. Advantages: Psychological - Alleviation of guilt. Social - Say No and Lock Them Up.
Translator One of the greatest amusements in Hong Kong is a morning in the public gallery of a court, preferably a magistrate's court, but District Courts have been known to draw large crowds. The higher courts, being deadly serious, can be very dull especially for the judges and jurors. In recent times, several jurors have been found dozing during more than usually tedious submissions whilst one High Court judge was disciplined for reading a novel whilst listening to counsel in open court. Luckily, in the lower courts the entertainment value is so great that no one feels inclined to sleep or read. A typical morning will include a brawl, a gambling school, a dog or traffic incident, some hawkers and several common thieves. The author's only court appearance in Hong Kong, in which he managed to argue successfully that he did not own the dog who had bitten everyone, was sandwiched between an expatriate appearing for indecent exposure at Central and a group of card players who had on average twelve previous convictions for illegal gambling. The magistrate was an Englishman. He did not need a translator. Many of the judges and lawyers in Hong Kong courttsrequire translators as they are Europeans not acquainted with Cantonese. Moreover, although the court may proceed in Cantonese for some time, the official language of law in Hong Kong is English, few of the laws having been translated into written Chinese. The interpreters in court have to serve as a bridge between the accused and witnesses and, as the process of translating every statement takes time, they are encouraged to be selective in their translations. What actually happens is that an abridged version is supplied to the judge from the accused or the witness and a garbled version of a lawyer's or a judge's question is posed to the witness or accused. A dialogue may run thus: Judge: How many other people were present in the restaurant when the accused entered with a knife? Translation: How many people were there with you? Witness: Seven, but the man with the knife was already there. Translation: Seven. Judge: Did you know all of them? Translation: Did you know all the people in the restaurant? Witness: My uncle and my nephew were in the restaurant. Translation: Two. Judge: And when did the stabbing take place? Translation: When did the man stab the victim? Witness: I couldn't see the clock because of the other man with the gun. Translation: I don't know. The lack of verbatim translation may lead to a lot of the case being misunderstood and a false impression of the situation arising in the judge's mind. The game aspect of the interpreter's activity arises when he begins to select material either for or against the accused based on his own unconscious prejudices and sympathies. In the above instance, the mention of the other man with the gun and the fact that a man with a knife was already in the restaurant when the accused arrived would have altered the run of the case significantly. Of course, in reality the game of Translator is very subtle, affecting the appearance of evidence in mere nuances. The vast majority of court interpreters are trained not to play the game but slips outside consciousness are not prevented by even the most rigorous prior tuition in objective translation, for every translation, especially between languages as dissimilar as Cantonese and English, is an interpretation. Local accused in courts in Hong Kong should therefore bear in mind that they must be careful not to incur the displeasure of either of the two effective judges present and should treat the court interpreter with the respect he deserves. ANALYSIS Thesis: I am an objective reporter - even of horrid people I don't like. Aim: Professional reassurance. Roles: Accused, Interpreter Judge, Other Judge. Dynamics: Blamelessness. Moves: 1. Judge - Do you behave violently towards your spouse? 2. Interpreter - Have you stopped beating your wife? 3. Accused - No. I mean yes. Switch: The accused says he hasn't stopped beating his wife. Payoff: I just tell it how it is. Advantages: Psychological - Justification. Social - It is a difficult job but someone has to hang these criminals.
Boob Toob Jan Morris, writing in her book about Hong Kong, describes the television of the territory as some of the worst she has seen anywhere. The major quality of TV in Hong Kong is its power to infuriate. Films are often cut in such a clumsy way that a prodigious literary imagination is needed to patch together the fragments of incident presented into a comprehensible whole. News broadcasts (stipulated in the companies' charters) are interpolated at crucial points in the film to reduce the tension and artistic integrity of even the finest film to the quality of a poor soap opera. The essential cons proposed by the two television companies in Hong Kong are the ideas of "public utility" and "journalistic ethics". Operating within the British tradition of high quality television and public responsibility (Lord Reith, Dimbleby, et al.), the TV companies, especially TVB, pander to the worst instincts of the Hong Kong public and provide gaudy, throwaway culture most evenings with the occasional alibi political discussion or government-made documentary. Rates for commercials must be very low to judge by the frequency with which they are re-broadcast. Bewilderment and unease manifest themselves when news broadcasts run half a day behind the BBC World Service and when even the prospect of cable TV becomes so appealing to bored TV consumers. The TV companies then run to their government lobbies and exclaim: "But we provide a public service". ANALYSIS Thesis: We are a serious public utility. Aim: Justification. Roles: Responsible Public Broadcaster, Viewer. Dynamics: Boredom. Moves: And now another chance to hear the in-depth interview with the Governor. 2. Why are people not buying our advertising? Switch: Cable TV, Video Rentals, Nintendo. Payoff: Due to falling revenue we are forced to radically restructure major capital expenditure in the next fiscal year. (Ed., you're fired). Advantages: Psychological - Professional pride. Social - We shall inform and entertain.
Hello English Audience Hong Kong benefits from a large amount of English language media: two TV stations, about six radio stations and two daily newspapers. The newspapers' readers and the TV stations' viewers are mainly Cantonese mother tongue. It is likely that very few people listen to the output of the English radio stations given the excellent upbeat attractions available on the Cantonese channels. Nevertheless, radio presenters on the English channels are called on to appear relevant and alive, as if their audience were in the hundreds of thousands rather than in the hundreds. Many presenters gained broadcasting experience in systems where audiences were reasonably large. Others derive their amateurish or pedestrian style ( imitating the old BBC Home Service or Radio Luxembourg of the 70s) on the fact that they have never broadcast anywhere else. The quality of the newspapers, on the other hand, depends on the particular merits of whichever provincial editor from Australia or Britain can be persuaded to take up one of the two leading positions on the fringe of English language journalism (Third World division). The game aspect of the radio, and to some extent the other English language media in Hong Kong, is expressed in the unconscious assumption of a wider audience than is actually the case. The broadcasting style is derived from this and "cons" the audience into believing that it is in an English-speaking environment. This may contribute to the bewilderment underlying the games of Expat and Disco Bay. A more intimate style of broadcasting combined with more local broadcasters might contribute to a reversal of the social marginalisation of English speakers in Hong Kong, something which English language broadcasting originally sought to prevent. The English newspapers offer disproportionate coverage to anything in English or anybody who can write the language. Although this is a bonus for the more obscure psychological, humanistic and environmental groups in the territory, social impact of such world improvers is obtained more efficaciously through even minimal partial exposure in the Chinese press rather than saturation coverage in the English media. As some world improvers like to be eternal minorities and shrink back from even partial realisation of their goals (cf. I'm Only Trying To Help You), they are the media's most loyal partners in the game of Hello English Audience. Hello English Audience may also be a game played by writers of popular psychology in English aimed at the Hong Kong market (cf. Celeb). ANALYSIS Thesis: We have a large English-speaking audience. Aim: Relevance. Roles: English Media, Audience or Readership. Dynamics: Fugue. Moves: 1. What time can you fit me into the programme? 2. What time can you get here? Switch: He's the English-speaking housewives' favourite. Payoff: I get everything I need from the English media, thank you. Advantages: Psychological - Relieves alienation. Social - Commonwealth Union of Broadcasters etc.
Bilingual In order to save money in trying times, one of the TV networks took to employing "bilingual" staff to present its news and other filler programmes. Imported from Chinese communities in Canada and the West Coast of the USA, they are competent in neither Cantonese nor English but illustrate the underlying game played by English TV in Hong Kong. This is aimed at persuading the local population that although the station is in English, it offers no threat to their identity or way of life. A parallel is the use of newscasters with thick Allemanic accents on the radio in Switzerland reading High German barely distinguishable from Swiss dialect. The Swiss complain if the accent becomes too neutral. English language TV in Hong Kong is really an advertising medium for certain consumer products and services: watches, brandy, travel, expensive handbags and clothes, imported furniture. The viewer is thus already alienated by watching English TV before the barrage of bad English begins. He thinks that only very rich people live in Hong Kong and, perhaps, he is very rich. More alienation occurs when he sees long discussions at midnight on the comparative merits of horses. This is the longest English language programme of the week devoted to local affairs. Apparently, people in Hong Kong are not only rich, they also are all gambling mad. Although the main presenter is a European person, his English is sufficiently transfigured by a thick Irish accent to meet the requirements of the Bilingual game. Can any local people follow his wise pronouncements on the 7.00 at Happy Valley? English can be garbled, crushed, mispronounced, cut mid-sentence (in film presentations) or broadcast in a sound quality which only clever whales or bats can decipher (particularly in CNN re- runs of "current affairs"). Perhaps all English speakers in Hong Kong are lip readers. In any case, the sub-titles (often only an approximation of the English) reassure the local audience that English is impossibly difficult and they were right not to learn too much of it at school. ANALYSIS Thesis: English is an alien and alienating language. Aim: Reassurance. Roles: English TV Service, Local Viewers. Dynamics: Xenophobia. Moves: 1. Here's Crystal Kwok with Maxell Music Motion. 2. Did she really say that about Freddie Mercury ? Switch: Off. Payoff: BBC World Service Television. Advantages: Psychological - English is for external purposes. Social - We are with the people.
Fung Shui (missing in this online edition on the advice of a Fung Shui master).
The Undead The first missionaries in Hong Kong must have been shocked by the religious practices of the local people. Far from simply worshipping deities in the way missionaries may have encountered in earlier postings around the "savage" globe, the locals worshipped their dead ancestors through pictures, lacquered ancestor boards and graves on hillsides. Moreover, the heathen enemy had a variety of names and influences: Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism differently emphasised by different peoples. Buddhism in particular was a particularly difficult enemy as it incorporated so many Christian ideas like purgatory, self-denial and humility. Taoism was so ethereal in tone that Christianity's mysteries could not compete for interest in the popular imagination. Pomp and ceremony were highly developed and the ethical guidelines from Confucianism had been absorbed into sociological reality over a greater period of time than Christianity's fundamental messages had had time to influence the Western mentality. The most difficult thing for the missionaries to swallow was most probably the local people's attitude to death. Chinese people do not generally praise suffering and do not see it as ennobling or transfiguring as Christianity has done. On the contrary, death is an inconvenience to be borne with fortitude and prepared for by the engendering of sons who may pray for one after one's demise. This seems to be a very practical arrangement of survival of the personality in the memory of those still alive. Some local people are of course very superstitious and do not like to talk about death. This does not prevent the Queen Mary Hospital placing its Death Certificate Dept. right next to the Admissions section. It is right to be realistic and no one objects to what Westerners would term insensitive. Death in Western societies has been marginalised and made tabu although, as Philippe Aries has argued, it was familiar and integrated into everyday life in the Middle Ages. Death is regarded not only with practicality but with great spirituality by the Chinese, something which belies the common Western perception (propounded in, for example, David Bonavia's work) of Chinese people as pragmatic materialists. The spirit world is much more tangible in Chinese religions and ghosts, ghouls and zombies may even marry, eat and persecute the living (in more than a psychological sense). In Western thinking, the split between the spiritual and the actual is comparatively clear. The sociological reality of clans, survivalist thinking, hierarchical structures and filial piety has not damaged the fundamental spirituality of the Chinese. This is one of the main reasons why Christianity has been such a failure in Chinese societies. The apparent hedonism, practicality and superstition seen by righteous Christians hide a sense of spirituality unmatched in Western culture. The Chinese are surpassed in sensitivity to the Beyond by the Balinese, however, who, amongst other things, store their ancestors in their back yards. ANALYSIS Thesis: Spirits can be part of the living world. Aim: Resolution of sociological/spiritual impasse. Roles: Christian Missionary, Local Heathen. Dynamics: Rationalisation. Moves: 1. We will convert you. 2. What can you offer us? Switch: Ancestor worship. Payoff: Rejection of the "superiority" of Western religion. Advantages: Psychological - Relieves existential anxiety. Social - Emphasises practicality
Insurance "Of course I go to the temples. It's fun actually, a part of the festivals. We all get together and go to Wong Tai Sin or to one in a village if we are in the New Territories. Just for luck really. Some people are really lucky. They win lotteries all the time. There are so many stories to tell. Everyone believes in luck. Even Westerners like you. We Chinese try to get the best deal from what's offered. You don't want to be limited to just the Buddha or worshipping the ancestors. That's too boring and you just don't know which one is right. I think the strict Buddhists must be crazy. I'm not really religious, not like the bible readers at work. Every Friday lunch time. Who wants to waste time doing that? Actually, Christians are very nice people. But they always want to make you think about their religion. Sin and all that. What does that mean? Sin. Am I sin? Sin. People do wrong all the time but how can you carry all that with you. Not only what you do, what you think as well! No one can be so cruel with themselves. Chinese people are very careful what they do. They don't want to make a mistake. I make a mistake in my office, everyone knows. Very embarrassing. Westerners in the office can make mistakes. Everyone just thinks they're funny anyway. You think Chinese people are funny. That's why you wrote the book. Don't you think that's why Chinese people play games? They don't want to make a mistake. Religious? No, I'm not religious. My mother isn't really religious. Lights her sticks every morning, more often at festivals. For the dead. Who will remember you when you die? Where are your family? All away. How can you live so far away? And you talk all the time about whether this is right or that is wrong. Life is a bet. You can win if you bet on the best horse. Who's going to help you if things go wrong? You can't count on anyone but your family. And 1997. You're OK. Who's going to help the Chinese? Has Britain helped the Chinese? You all don't care. Hong Kong people made this place what it is. The British with their big hats! They all wear big hats. Of course I go to the temple. I celebrate Christmas. I think it's good. It's your religion. Your luck." ANALYSIS Thesis: You never know. Aim: Security. Roles: Defenceless Mortal, Cruel Destiny. Dynamics: Anxiety. Moves: 1. There is another world. 2. Life is a bet. Switch: All bases covered. Payoff: I always paid my dues. Advantages: Psychological - Relieves existential anxiety. Social - Festival feasts.
Readers of the present volume may have gained the impression that psychological game playing is inherently bad and that the Hong Kong people are bad people. This is not true. As mentioned in the Introduction, Hong Kong people do indeed play a large number of games and such games appear to be integrated into everyday life to an extent quite bewildering for Westerners. This is not to say that Hong Kong people's games are more pernicious than those played by Western people or that game playing is a sign of a bad person. Usually, game players are more sad and unsuccessful than inherently evil. In any case, a moral perspective has very little to do with the examination of psychological mechanisms. Part Two of this volume was devoted to an analysis of what we perceive as characteristic games of the Hong Kong people. As the vast majority of these games waste psychic energy and avoid personal growth and awareness, they are usually considered to be undesirable or "bad" both from a humanistic and a psychic optimization viewpoint. Game players are, in a general sense, psychologically inefficient and hardly achieve their full potential. The fact that some games are socially acceptable or integrated into everyday life does not lessen their harmful effects on the personality. Games always destroy the individual's ability to cope and to adapt. As Hong Kong society is in a constant state of flux and as many Hong Kong people wish to take up residence in other societies, this is an important point to ponder for those who dismiss game analysis as being irrelevant to the examination of partially or totally non-Western cultures. This section is devoted to the analysis of some Good Games. Although good games are fundamentally dishonest, like all games, inasmuch as they are played for ulterior and largely unconscious psychological satisfaction, they are redeemed by their socially desirable effects. If games are lies, good games are white ones. It appears that few societies can function even in their nurturing and altruistic roles with complete honesty. Thus the world abounds, thankfully,in silent helpers, anonymous donors, good sorts, kind persons. Perhaps the ulterior nature of certain good deeds is unimportant. As goodness is timeless, it would appear to be just as good a means of removing the mask of Time as intimacy, the avoidance of games.
Love And Mercy Hong Kong is a low-violence society and the streets of the territory are some of the safest in the world. Rape, mugging and other assaults against the person are infrequent perhaps because of traditional stress on harmony and non-confrontation. It could also be that a lack of concern for strangers in general may even extend to not doing them any harm. White foreigners are especially safe in Hong Kong, although certain women complain of sexual assault (usually amounting to frottage) in the MTR. Perhaps some of the complainants are playing a game of "That Man Keeps Looking At Me, Mamma", a variant of "Let's You And Him Fight". On the other hand, fleecing tourists is normally achieved without any physical contact but there are stories of threatening behaviour towards foreign shoppers playing a recalcitrant game of Get Avay From My Vindow!. Local uncooperative customers may be threatened with triads. Despite the violent character of films and comic books in Hong Kong (sex is heavily censored whereas brutality is hardly touched), the overwhelming impression on the visitor to Hong Kong's urban areas (which is as far as most tourists roam) is one of an industrious people engaged in positive gainful activities. Beggars, drunks and the homeless are not as persistent or as noticeable as in, for example, San Francisco or London. In the countryside, peace and harmony are seldom disturbed unless the police decide to break up a gambling school or arrest a local hero. The resistance of the villagers can then be vehement and fists often fly. Notwithstanding the prospect of being handed over to Stalinists in 1997, very few Hong Kong people have contemplated urban terrorism to oust what could be perceived as a tyrannical and traitorous Colonial regime. It is difficult to believe that Westerners would react in a similar way in similar circumstances. Riots have taken place in Hong Kong, however, as Old China Hand players relate with especial relish.. Love And Mercy is probably a game because of the underlying and rising discontent of Hong Kong people which finds its expression in growing impatience, nervosity, personal desperation and a decline in ethical standards. At present, Hong Kong is a peaceful and delightful place in which to live with many smiling adult faces, contented children and old people integrated in extended families in meaningful roles. ANALYSIS Thesis: It's a wonderful life. Aim: Contentment. Roles: Citizen, Fellow Citizen. Dynamics: Social cooperation. Moves: 1. Can Do. 2. M'goy Tsai. 3. M'sai Haak Hei. Switch: Players leave Drama Triangle: Rescuer becomes Concerned, Persecutor becomes Assertive and Victim becomes Vulnerable. Payoff: I'm OK - You're OK - They're OK. Advantages: Psychological - Gets needs met efficiently. Social - Growing stability and prosperity. Disadvantages: Psychological - Frustrates creative conflicts. Social - Where are the great artists?
Celeb Andy Warhol would have loved Hong Kong. The marvellous advantage of living in this territory is that everyone can be a star not only for minutes but for the whole time of residence in the territory. Being a foreigner is a great asset but not strictly necessary if access to the media can be secured. Newsreaders, talk-show hosts, walk-on parts in soap operas, pop crooners and porn movie stars are major celebrities in Hong Kong although their impact is strictly limited to the territory. Below this first division there is another section of important persons: wine importers, eccentric newly-rich tradesmen, socialite dandies, war veterans, former radio announcers, restaurant, film and theatre critics, public relations managers. In the absence of serious competition, academics can become leading experts on their subsidiary subject and are given lengthy broadcasting time to air their views. Government leaders, once provincial civil servants in Britain, suddenly acquire a media profile which their real profile hardly ever matches. The problem seems to be that the media resources are quite out of proportion both to the quality of their focus of interest and to the quantity of true celebrities. Hong Kong is rather a vain and self-important place which takes such ego insecurity too seriously. Celeb is thus a game played by the hordes of society stars who appear, clutching glasses, in sections of a Sunday newspaper and constantly in the pages of glossy magazines. Celeb players raise money for charity, keep photographers and hoteliers in business and bolster a dying fur industry. The social advantage is therefore real and considerable. An embarrassing switch in the game arrives when some newcomer in a hotel or restaurant does not recognise the Celeb player and takes exception to his or herhauteur and bad manners. The payoff circulates round exclamations of "Do you know who I am?" and replies of "I don't care who you are." Fortunately, local people usually play up to Celeb's self-importance and there are relatively few ugly scenes of personality deflation. ANALYSIS Thesis : King (or queen) for a day. Aim: Ego enhancement. Roles: Celebrity, Admirer. Dynamics: Insecurity. Moves: 1. I am a star 2. Who he? (ed.) Switch: Could sir move his Mercedes off my pavement? Payoff: He pretended not to recognize me. Advantages: Psychological - Goodbye, and I love you all.Social - She's a good customer/ She launched the charity ball.
Consideration Despite pushing and shoving and the loud behaviour which is so criticised by visitors to Hong Kong,the local people, in dealings with people they know or with whom they work, are inordinately considerate and sensitive, taking hints most Westerners would not even vaguely detect. Intermediaries are used to conduct negotiations and thus avoid embarrassing confrontation. Silence or acceptable excuses are employed when something embarrassing has occurred. Relatively few people say bluntly "No" preferring "maybe" or a swift change of the subject. Consideration is a game because the subconscious motivation is not simply to avoid inflicting injury or loss of Face in others but , firstly, to protect some deep-seated concepts of which very few Hong Kong people are really conscious and, secondly, to make life easier for oneself. Its payoff is thus a feeling of relief rather than one of moral pleasure. The same can be said of a related game, Tolerance. Active tolerance is really accepting, not putting up with, people you know to behaving in a manner quite differently to your own principles. This is not quite the same as ignoring the deviants or turning a blind eye. Very few societies are really tolerant in this strict sense. The deep-seated concepts of harmony and group consciousness on the one hand, and Face combined with a horror of confrontation on the other exist quite outside awareness for many Hong Kong people. They are perceived not as codes but as objective rules. There does not appear to be any other way of behaving. Every parent knows that children, before they are fully socialized (an event which in some individuals never takes place) are not subject to rules or codes. This part of the personality becomes submerged in the directives and controls of other more desirable psychic functions (termed Parent and Adult in TA). The anarchic capacity of the Child is never quite superseded as the potent executive of the person, and its clash with the more socially programmed personality constitutes the essential problem in living. This reality probably applies to all peoples, no matter how strong the social controls injected into the personality and consideration hardly features in the Free Child part of the personality at all. The satisfactions experienced in the game of Consideration are through the Parent and the Adapted Child, not through the Adult or Free Child, as it may appear to those playing the game. This said, there is no denying that the Hong Kong people are both tolerant and considerate, especially to people they know. ANALYSIS Thesis: Let's be considerate, like Mommy told us. Aim: 1. Avoidance of conflict. 2. Non-involvement. Roles: Considerate Person, Grateful Friend. Dynamics: Social stability. Moves: 1. Let me show you how considerate I can be. 2. Yes, you really are considerate. Switch: You are such a valued colleague. Payoff: Friendly cooperation. Advantages: Psychological - Confirms parental programmming. Social - It's the only way to behave.
Introduction to Transactional Analysis
Transactional Analysis is a way of understanding what goes on inside people and how they behave towards each other. It can be used to look at specific thoughts, feelings and actions and to predict thinking, behaviour and feelings. More importantly, Transactional Analysis provides the knowledge for people to change, should they wish, and to avoid unpleasantness with other people. Familiarity with ourselves obtained through Transactional Analysis increases our opportunities for getting more out of life and as such it is not simply a therapy or a technical framework for psychotherapists and counsellors. TA (the common abbreviation of Transactional Analysis) is concerned with the non-pathological, a sense of wholeness and the rediscovery of latent positive aspects of the personality. TA is not religious or mystical and it does not propose any set of moral precepts.Origins of Transactional Analysis TA was developed principally by Dr Eric Berne (1910-70), a Canadian psychiatrist, in the 1950s and '60s and popularised in two bestsellers:Games People Play (The Psychology of Human Relationships) andWhat Do You Say After You Say Hello? (The Psychology of Human Destiny). After emigrating to the USA in 1935, for better employment prospects, Dr Berne worked principally in the San Francisco area of California. He gradually became disillusioned with orthodox psychotherapy and devised his own methods to demystify psychology, and thus speed up recovery, by actively engaging his clients' ability to analyse their own condition. Some of the ideas in TA are derived from Freud and Adler and, in its developmental theory, from Erik Erikson. Wilder Penfield influenced Berne's theory of ego states. Paul Federn, one of Freud's inner circle, was among Berne's teachers and his mentor. It would be wrong, however, to suppose that TA is a mere "recycling" of Freudian or Adlerian concepts and the reader is advised to clearly distinguish the latter from TA ideas (which are generally less abstract, more dynamic and expressed in everyday language).The aims of Transactional Analysis The aims of TA, used in psychotherapy and education, or less specifically as general humanistic aims, are awareness (being more alive), spontaneity (having more choice), intimacy (being closer to more people) and autonomy (leading a life of one's own unfettered by the past). TA does not exist as a movement to promote these goals as an alternative, say, to religious faith, personal ethics or philosophical speculation. It does not make any "born again" promises, although many people do benefit from TA in their personal and professional lives. TA is not another "therapy from California".Ego States Transactional Analysis sees the human personality as consisting of three basic ego states: Parent, Adult and Child. Ego states are not abstract concepts like, say, Freud's ego and id butactual observable realities. People exhibit consistent patterns of behaviour and feeling which are typical of their own individual ego states. (Ego State diagram ) We analyse the ego states both functionally ( how they actually express themselves) and structurally (their content and history). In order to understand the ego states fully, Transactional Analysts carry out a "second order analysis", which breaks down the individual ego states into smaller units: (Second order diagrams) TheParent is that part of the self which contains norms, values and principles but also prejudices, hang-ups and "blocks". People are using their Parent ego state when they are being very critical, prejudiced or dogmatic but also when they are being nurturing or "loving" like a real parent. This ego state is derived from parental figures in the past and is stored in our heads like old tapes which constantly replay themselves. Examples of the messages we here in our heads are "Be a good boy (or girl)" "Don't be too friendly" or "Work hard". Familiarity with the Parent ego state can help us to turn off negative messages or to bring out a more positive nurturing side of our personality. TheAdult is that part of the personality which processes information, estimates likelihood and thinks rationally. The Adult is often "contaminated" by impulses from the other ego states so that what is experienced as "rational" is coloured by prejudice or wishes and hopes. Familiarity with the Adult ego state helps us to think and act better. TheChild ego state resembles a real child of about six years of age with all of its charm, naivety, vulnerability and energy. It is the "feeling" self which needs regular recognition and love. People are said to be in their Child ego state when they are joyful or depressed, whining or withdrawn, tearful or excited. The Child is an enormously powerful resource of creative energy or negative behaviour. We usually divide it into two parts: the Free Child, which is autonomous and is not subject to any controls; and the Adapted Child which is subject to parental commands and functions like "Daddy's good little girl". Familiarity with the Child ego state can help us direct our efforts towards getting the kinds of recognition and love we need and help us to recognise the Child in others (because we are all feeling selves). How do we know when people are in a particular ego state? Here are some clues: (Woollams and Brown)Stroking and Time Structuring After the basic needs of food, drink warmth and shelter have been provided, people have three other hungers to be satisfied:stimulus hunger,recognition hunger andstructure hunger. Babies need to be actually physically stroked in order to survive which gives them both stimulus and recognition. In adult life, stimulus from our environment is not usually lacking but it tends to become less "physical" as actual physical stroking is replaced by the symbolical stroking we get from being recognised for being attractive, hard-working, lovable, conscientious, original or anything else which we think is important to be recognised for. Some people need lots of recognition whilst some people need comparatively little. In TA, we call units of recognition "strokes". As strokes are requirements for survival and for happiness (people get depressed when they are not stroked properly) it is important that we get the right type and learn to give them to others. People want to know why they are being recognised and want to be recognised in their way and for their reasons! It is also important to stroke ourselves and to learn to ask for the strokes we want. Strokes can be conditional or unconditional, negative or positive, real or plastic.Conditional strokes are strokes people get for doing things or strokes which are only valid for some reason or other. Positive ones are quite nice to hear: (e.g. "You look nice in red", "You're a good student of mathematics", " Thank you for being so kind.") whilst negative ones can be gentle criticism or vicious rebukes ("You look awful in that colour", "You're not cut out to be a mathematician" or "You never write me".)Unconditional strokes are strokes we get for just being and in both the positive and negative modes they are very powerful, even if they are only implied: "I love you", "You're wonderful", "You have beautiful blue eyes" or negatively "You disgust me", "Drop dead!" or " I hate short people. Why are you so short?" Strokes are not to be confused with "Dale Carnegie" type recognition (remembering people's birthdays even if you don't like them and appearing to agree with them all the time) which is fictitious and insincere. We call this kind of stroke "plastic" as it is usually discerned to be worthless and an imitation of the real thing. Besides stimulus and recognition hunger, people need to fill their time and in Transactional Analysis we believe people structure time in the following ways: through withdrawal, rituals, pastimes, activities, games and intimacy.Withdrawal is what people do when they retreat from the world around them e.g. on the subway, in a lift, daydreaming.Rituals are low-contact exchanges of a predictable nature in everyday life. Certain greetings are rituals e.g. "Hello. how are you?", "Not so bad. How are you?", "Where are you going?", "To the supermarket", "OK, have a nice day. See you later."Pastimes are what people do when they engage in small talk about a certain subject, e.g. holidays, airlines, cars, shops, children, life nowadays. Contact is slightly higher than in ritual exchanges but there is little exchange of real feelings or of original insights. Like rituals, pastimes are safe options and no one will get hurt if they stick to pastiming.Activities are goal-oriented pursuits such as "work", "study" and "teaching". Activities are great producers of strokes and of material rewards.Games are a predictable series of exchanges, verbal and non-verbal, between people leading to some kind of unpleasant and/or unexpected outcome. They are a major type of time structuring not only for the neurotic but also for people who are usually considered "normal" or "ordinary". Transactional Analysts analyse the games people play. When the game player is made aware of the "mechanics" of his negative cycles of behaviour, he may opt to adopt different and more positive patterns. Games are usually played between individuals. This volume introduces the idea of games played between groups of people or by groups of people amongst themselves.Intimacyis game-free autonomous behaviour when people exchange their innermost thoughts and feelings freely with "all their cards showing." People are very vulnerable at such times and consequently, intimacy is high-risk activity which most people experience rarely and with few people after childhood. It is one of the most rewarding experiences in our lives and one of the four aims of TA is to awaken people's capacity for intimacy. For this reason, TA people tend to be straight talkers who openly express their needs and feelings to others. Transactions When people interact with each other they do so by means oftransactions which Berne describes as the "unit of social action". In the TA model, people transact from a certain ego state to an ego state in another person. Transactional Analysis proper focuses on these interactions in order to understand what is going on between people. For this purpose, the ego states are represented by circles and the interaction by arrows. (complementary transaction diagram) The above transaction iscomplementary in that the stimulus elicits a predictable and desired response. Communication of this type is generally straight and harmless. Another type of transaction is thecrossed transaction where the stimulus elicits a response from a different ego state than that intended or expected: (crossed transaction diagram) Crossed transactions may indicate the beginning of an argument or the preparation for a game but may also be the beginning of more intimate and direct communication. We can cross transactions deliberately to get a different type of communication going. The third type of transaction which is the most insidious and is calledulterior as there is usually something else going on besides the surface stimulus and response. There are two types of ulterior transaction.Angular transactions use, often deliberately, an ulterior stimulus to elicit a crossed surface response.Duplex transactions usually occur outside immediate consciousness and elicit both a surface and an ulterior response to surface and ulterior stimuli in a complementary ("parallel") fashion. The examples below make this clear. Complementary ulterior transactions are the beginning of games in TA and as games are usually negative and avoid intimacy, ulterior transactions are important areas of analysis. Not all ulterior transactioning is insidious however: it may be stimulating, romantic and charming, at least in the beginning. (two types of ulterior transaction) When people transact in an ulterior way they are usuallydiscounting, i.e. ignoring their own ego states and the ego states of others. In other words, they are ignoring the potential of each other's personality. When people constantly discount their ego states in a relationship, asymbiosis arises: that is, an unhealthy relationship where a person's capacity for intimacy, reasoning or nurturing is decommissioned.Games and Rackets A game in TA is not like a game of football or a ploy, a simple dissimulation or plain manipulation. A game may incorporate all of these elements. In TA, a game is "an ongoing series of complementary ulterior transactions leading to a well-defined, predictable outcome." More specifically, we use a formula to decide what is a true game and what is something else (such as lying, cheating or attempted manipulation of narrower scope than a game): CON+GIMMICK = RESPONSE---SWITCH----CROSS-UP----PAYOFF. In other words, a game runs thus: an ostensible stimulus is issued such as "Do you want my help?". In some way, another message is issued at the same time at a covert psychological level which contains some statement about the self (thecon). In Goulding's example, it is "What would you do without me?" or, in more abstract terms: "You're inferior to me". This represents the dynamics of John and Jane's relationship: Jane is the strong Parent who plays to John's weak Child. John is not the sort of person who can or wants to solve his own problems. Jane needs somebody to dominate and "help", as long as it suits her. (Goulding's game analysis) The con hooks something (thegimmick) in the second player ("Poor me, I can't make it on my own" or in more abstract terms: "You're right, I'm inferior"). The response which follows this initial exchange consists of a series of pieces of "advice" given by Jane. Both Jane and Johnswitch ego states and the secret messages are revealed. Jane says: "You can't be helped. You really are inferior". She changes from being a rescuer to being a persecutor. John's belief in himself is confirmed: "I really am no good". The "cross-up" is experienced as a moment of confusion. Jane thinks: "Why am I being so cruel?" and John thinks: "I thought she was trying to help me!". Thepayoff, or psychological reward, is that each player can experience their favourite "racket feelings": Jane feels superior ( for she has played "What Would You Do Without Me?"and John feels inadequate (for he played "Poor Me!".) This is the psychological advantage of the game (because people do not like to change). The dependent relationship of Jane and John (which is clearly also symbiotic) is maintained. This represents thesocialadvantage of the game (stability). Perhaps also John or Jane are collecting "trading stamps" of frustration or anger or hopelessness or inadequacy to be saved up for a future tantrum, divorce or suicide.Stamp collecting in TA describes this process of collecting fictitious feelings needed to support fundamental beliefs about oneself and the world based on one's lifescript ( pre-conscious life plan) and life position (basic attitude towards other people). Like real trading stamps, such books of invented or manipulated feelings can be cashed in later for big or small prizes depending on how pathological the stamp collector is and how long he wants to save his resentments. Another way of looking at games is to see the "switches" in terms of switches of roles on the Drama Triangle: (drama triangle diagram) In our example, John pesters Jane in the beginning with his woes (Persecutor) and she attempts to help him, even without his express desire to be helped and thus she acts as a Rescuer and a Victim of John's problems. At the end of the game, John is the Victim and Jane is the Persecutor as she removes her help and probably criticises John for being weak-willed, good-for-nothing and so on. It is of course possible that a third party was involved ( John's mother, his boss, the landlord) who could take up one of the positions in the triangle. The analysis of games often provides us with theantithesis of the same which may consist of switching ego states, ignoring the opening move or refusing to be discounted ( i.e. refusing to play a role of Rescuer or Persecutor for example). In this volume we propose that certain games may be termed culture-specific if it can be demonstrated that certain groups of people play them more intensely and more often than other groups of people. The way that groups of people play games differs in some respects from the way individuals play them. When games become part of everyday life, it is often difficult to differentiate them from straightforward or "intimate" behaviour. As intimacy appears to be behaviour which occurs in all cultures, its avoidance offers the best evidence of game behaviour.Scripts and Life Positions The most persistent system in people's personality, which ultimately influences all their most important decisions and which programmes action and reactions to events in life such as choices in work or relationships, final success or failure, fundamental aims and aspirations, recurring conflicts and problems is the individual's underlyingscript which is: "A life plan based on a decision made in childhood, reinforced by the parents, justified by subsequent events, and culminating in a chosen alternative." There is nothing definitely mystical, arbitrary or genetic about scripts. Although formed under influence of the environment and of parental figures, they are constructed by the individual not by fate or by chromosomes. Some people havewinner's scripts (Be Happy and Productive) and some haveloser's scripts(Go Mad, Drop Out, Be a Drunk). A winner in TA is someone who achieves what he sets out to achieve. Most of us are non-winners as we don't quite achieve what we want but we don't destroy ourselves in the process. Fortunately, in the TA system, it is possible to redecide our script orientation and swap a losing script for a winning script by achieving autonomy (or "getting our own show on the road"). Finding out our scripts is not an easy - but also not an impossibly difficult - task. Script analysis concerns itself withpre-conscious processes (it is not psychoanalytic which concerns itself primarily with the subconscious). Transactional Analysts do not put their clients on a couch! The preconscious is said to be just outside consciousness and can be recalled on reflection. This is not to say that TA does not believe in the unconscious. It simply does not emphasise it.An individual's life script is partly generated by thelifeposition which is expressed in the famous formulas: I'm OK - You're OK (the winner's position characterised by GETTING ON WITH); I'm OK - You're not OK (the mediocre "superior" GET RID OF position); I'm not OK - You're OK (the depressive inferior GET AWAY FROM position); and I'm not OK - You're not OK (the futile and destructive GET NOWHERE WITH position). We can also have three-handed positions (I'm OK, You're OK, They're not OK). An important component of the individual life script is the effect of the person's culture on e.g. his decision criteria and on his fundamental aims. This component of the individual's individual life plan is termed cultural script. Aspects of the cultural script promote individual development whilst others may hinder it.TA Organizational Theory Besides investigating the individual and the individual in his relationships, Berne was interested in how organizations and groups work. HisThe Structure and Dynamics of Organizations and Groups can be employed in a complete analysis of a business, governmental or educational system.TA in Education "Transactional Analysis in Education" refers to the efforts of hundreds of educators to apply the direct and original ideas from Transactional Analysis into their work in the classroom, the lecture hall, the counselling group and the staff conference. As a loosely structured movement, it has grown in momentum since the death of Berne and now has solid bases on four continents. TA educators emphasise autonomy and the individual's capacity for change. They frequently combine moral and strictly academic education and undertake to remove the barriers to communication between teacher and student, teacher and supervisor, supervisor and school board. Cooperation is stressed rather than competition. Transactional Analysis thus presents a complete system of reference for the understanding of how people feel, think and behave expressed in terms which are both flexible and communicable. This volume applies TA ideas regarding individuals to the understanding of groups of people and a society in general. This is in keeping with one of Eric Berne's original definitions of Transactional Analysis as a "theory of social action". It is hoped that by understanding the typical games of a society, which is really an analysis of typical behaviour, a greater understanding may be achieved of what actually constitutes "cultural difference" in Hong Kong and elsewhere.
FUN AND GAMES: WAYS HONG KONG PEOPLE STRUCTURE THEIR TIME
The ways in which a social group structures time give social psychologists and the general observer important indications of the essential nature of the group and aid prediction of behaviour. It has already been noted in the Introduction that Hong Kong people appear to spend an inordinate amount of time engaged in games, defined then loosely as activity which was not straightforward or confined to the concerns of the here and now. In general, humans spend a large part of their actual clock time and even more of their essential energy engaged in games. Such games may extend over hours, days or months whilst some games may take a whole lifetime to reach their culmination. Games are usually played repetitively and the game player may easily recognise the payoffs (in terms of lost friends, gratuitous or inexplicable anger, triumphant justification or in alcoholic hangovers for example) after some elementary application of Transactional Analysis to his own life experiences. Because many game payoffs are feelings rather than observable events and no systematic research from a TA standpoint has been undertaken into societal time structuring in the Hong Kong context, any analysis is bound to rely on speculation and interpretation of generally available data. Withdrawal appears to be a time structure undertaken by Hong Kong people not only in the ordinary situations of crowded urban life such as public transport, lifts, the street but also in contexts which would belie the conception, common amongst commentators on Chinese social psychology, that Chinese people are essentially socially oriented. An aggregation or gathering of people does not constitute affective communion and people may withdraw even in the company of their closest friends. Hong Kong people live and work almost literally on top of one another and a very dense filter is employed by Hong Kong people on outside stimuli in order to survive. The stress of the Hong Kong environment makes an ability to withdraw essential and the daydreamers, sleepers and the "switched off" constitute a large part of any social scene in Hong Kong. Dozers in cinemas and concert halls are legendary. A peculiar perception of personal space, strict and cramped by Western standards, frequently excludes Hong Kong people from concern for strangers in close physical proximity. The Hong Kong person may withdraw in this sense (excluding himself from his environment) at will and genuinely fails to understand why the noise emanating from his perceived personal bubble may cause actual annoyance to those unaccustomed to such perceptions. There is usually an incredulity that the person complaining about loud music, strident voices, smoke, beeping pagers etc. cannot withdraw in turn. Westerners, and anyone brought up or resident for some time in "polite" cultures (such "politeness" being of course only relative) may see such behaviour as confirmation of the common perception of Hong Kong people's public behaviour, and increasingly by themselves, as loutish, loud and inconsiderate. Peculiar forms of withdrawal take place in the family gathering, at the racecourse and in the electronic game salons. In certain family gatherings, where forced intimacy often becomes unbearable, withdrawal may be assisted by concern with the permutations of the lotteries, the vibrations of the pager or by rapid intoxication with brandy. At the racecourse it may be observed that the mass of people leave the course alone at the end of the meeting. Gambling may be a means of securing withdrawal and may be another explanation of its popularity in Hong Kong. Electronic game salons, although suggesting activity, are places to switch off and find popularity with schoolchildren who cannot yet place bets at the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club outlets. Drug abuse as a means of withdrawal is common in Hong Kong. Cheap hard drugs are freely available and medical practitioners are generally prescription-happy. Cough syrups and medicaments not generally available in Western countries may be purchased at certain more liberal druggists'. The compounds of traditional Chinese medicine have unpredictable effects, including intoxication, and poisoning is always a risk. Rituals are notable areas of interest in Chinese social psychology and it is not our intention to add to the voluminous literature concerning rituals in their usual sense. Ritual as a TA time structure finds less favour in Hong Kong than in the PRC as it is usually a hindrance to profit or progress. Hong Kong businessmen are usually polite to potential allies and card exchanges and formal dinners are the rule but do not take on the grotesque obsequiousness of Japanese encounters. In the educational sphere, the ritual is a hindrance to learning and survives very well in Hong Kong. In certain respects, the whole educational process in Hong Kong may be regarded as a ritual of low contact exchanges of a predictable nature in which the student progressively adapts to the system and becomes a by-product of it. Breaking up niceness, adaptation and obedience are goals not only of the humanistic educator in Hong Kong but also, curiously enough, the higher management trainers. In the war of the sexes, transactions are often ritualised and "romantic" weekends on Lantau or Cheung Chau, gifts from Lane Crawford and "meet the family" dinners are thought de rigueur. An acquaintance renowned for his success with women related that it was very unusual in his experience to become intimate with a local girl before a formal introduction, dinner and a moonlight walk along the harbour front had been "gone through" (as he put it). Hurrying the process along was generally unacceptable, no matter how strong the desire on both sides to deritualise and take a short cut to consummation. In government, ritual is the order of the day with policeman on the beat often ignoring clear breaches of the law and civil servants thriving in departments which have long ago been axed by every other progressive administration in the world. The Hong Kong Government is always bypassed in important matters by Peking or London and its function is largely to nod through the latter's decisions, appease the locals and assume an air of ritualistic importance. Official cars, residences and titles contribute to the illusion of power and thus relevance. In conclusion, certain conversational rituals often cause bewilderment to the uninitiated: inquiries in English about whether a foreigner has had lunch or dinner is a translation of a common Cantonese greeting, not an inquiry about whether the foreigner has had lunch or dinner. "Mr Chan is not back yet" means he has not come in yet and "Do you like Hong Kong" may imply "Do you want to talk to me". Hong Kong people do not usually issue empty invitations such as "We must have lunch some time". Eating is too serious an activity to treat with such levity and vagueness. Pastimes in the TA sense are practiced with as much interest in Hong Kong as anywhere else. Gambling, besides being a major source of fun and a vehicle for games and withdrawal, is a favoured pastime of the Hong Kong male and an obsession for many. Despite being remarkably hard-working when self-interest has opportunities for reward, Hong Kong people like to chat with each other and the free telephone system provides the means for constant contact with one's friends. The subjects of pastiming include the antics of pop stars and TV personalities, fashion, food, films and delays in the traffic. Questions to relative strangers tend to be aimed at their present work or occupation or their immediate destination (or where they have just come from) rather than their state of mind or health. The local climate is perceived by Hong Kong people as generally unpleasant and much air conditioning is used to chill the populace even in the low humidity temperate weather of autumn. It does not constitute a popular conversation topic except when a typhoon approaches (such an approach being reckoned in hundreds of kilometres). The panic which then seizes the population and the endless debate which then ensues make the weather a temporary universal pastime. The price of goods is a subject of eternal fascination and everyone knows where an item can be got cheaper. Conversation is usually not directed towards the merits or functions of appliances, cars, gadgets or even clothes but to their price. Being such a practical and down-to-earth people, Hong Kong people see no merit in complaining as e.g. the British tend to do. Hong Kong people circumvent difficulty or tolerate the same and do not introduce it into their conversational routines. This may partly reflect an immigrant mentality to overcome misfortune rather than todwell on it. Activities for Hong Kong people are usually frankly pecuniary in nature and even pastiming may develop into a sales pitch. This is sometimes termed "entrepreneurialism". Curiously, pastiming and activity in selling are often difficult for the Hong Kong trader to combine effectively and although Hong Kong people are good traders, they may not be not good salesmen. As in pastiming, the question of price overrides quality. Work hours are long and wages, by Western standards, low. The active saving of money and the quest for a better salary has thus become an obsession with large numbers of Hong Kong people and the job market has a high turnover in all businesses and professions. Some office staff are willing to change jobs for only a few hundred dollars monthly raise and the cheaper shopping areas are always crowded with bargaining hordes. Certain Western people, who prize convenience and quality and who often have the incomes to support such attitudes, are regarded by many Hong Kong people as having more money than sense. Many charities, welfare organisations and many campaigns are instigated and, to a certain extent, predominantly staffed by Western people. Expatriates carry an unequal burden in the social responsibility of Hong Kong. Welfare concerns were until recently more likely to be focussed on a certain area, group or even clan association. Expatriates in their turn still have a strong tendency to form semi-exclusive groups and clubs. Activity and interest in ecology, universal human rights and even politics in general is still quite low. Education and further training are obsessions and the evening schools are full. Knowledge of English is valued as a key to a better job . Investment in gold, the stock exchange, in property and in land are important activities, even in a small way, as is the pursuit of a foreign passport: either by good business performance, when a passport may be bought by investing in a suitable country; the securing of a successful, preferably overseas Chinese, marriage partner; or by educational or other contacts with mainly North American or White Commonwealth countries. Only a minority of people hope to secure the option of a British passport by continued public service in Hong Kong's schools, the police, civil service etc.. Religious observance, often eclectic in nature, may be included under activity as its aim is usually to secure better luck in the present life and mercy in the life to come for oneself and one's relatives alone and, except in Christianity and other mainly transcendental religions, tends to have no general symbolic or salvationist role. Games are essential occupations of Hong Kong people for a number of reasons: the competitive nature of the society, a traditional occupation with status and power, a tendency against altruistic humanism in people's dealings with each other and thus also a low potential for intimacy and straightforwardness. Status and power games are documented in the standard literature. Games however extend into all spheres of Hong Kong life from the offices of Government to the squalid housing estates, from the classroom to the board room, from the karaoke bar to the morgue. Many of the mechanisms of "Face" may be understood more profitably from a game perspective and much of the "mystery of the Orient" as usually represented by Sinologists is demystified by simple game analysis. Hong Kong people are not exotic or mysterious. On the contrary, their behaviour is explicable and highly predictable in most contexts. The gain from game-playing is usually an avoidance of intimacy, autonomy or of personal growth. Few people discard their games with ease and often seek professional help not to give them up but to learn how to play them better. Where game playing becomes seamlessly integrated into everyday life, as is the case in Hong Kong, the capacity for the individual for intimacy is severely restricted but, as Eric Berne pointed out, the birth of each new citizen in a society creates a fresh stock of potential achievers of intimacy. The anarchic child-rearing practices of certain Hong Kong parents mitigate against the restrictive education system's power to destroy the child's capacity for intimacy and offer a glimmer of hope to the more idealistic social psychologist. Intimacy is defined as game-free autonomous behaviour without exploitation. As a frontier town of capitalism, exploitation in a societal sense is pervasive in Hong Kong and as people have a tendency to carry over behaviours from one time structure to another, people employed in pastimes or in situations where openness and candour may be profitably employed (such as in love affairs) carry over behaviours from activity, ritual and from games. In TA parlance, this may be termed "time structure contamination" in analogy with ego state contamination. Experiments have been made with previously unrelated people to engage in eye-to-eye contact for a matter of minutes in a relaxed setting. The findings were that the bonds of intimacy created between strangers (as the eye contact led later to general openness) were long-lasting and powerful. Even at an advanced state of cynicism and mistrust (and most people over the age of six are no longer capable of sustained intimacy in their everyday lives), people are capable of having their capacity for intimacy awakened under special circumstances. Straight talkers, thinkers and feelers tend to be more successful in every part of life and this represents the essential appeal of intimacy for Hong Kong people, before they begin to appreciate its more general and humanistic qualities. The intimacy experiment may be thus profitably employed in the Hong Kongcontext. The consequences of an avoidance of intimacy constitute the theme of this volume. People in general have everything to gain by regaining intimacy and autonomy. This is basically a process of getting rid of the rubbish which has accumulated in the personality over the years and beginning to live as a real person in the here-and-now. Such a transformation gives us more time and energy to address the essential questions of life such as how to say Hello, how to say Goodbye and finding something to do instead of waiting for Santa Claus or for Rigor Mortis. Expressed more mystically, the essential point in the observations which follow is that in order to remove the mask of Time, we need to take off the mask from our own Faces. Fun is a time structure not mentioned in Berne's theoretical taxonomy but in his life he was not averse to jumping-up-and-down-parties or to poker evenings. Fun is a liberating procedure when the Free Child may take over and let it all hang out (sometimes quite literally). Hong Kong people generally have permission to have fun and the restaurants, bars and cinemas are all well-patronised in the territory. Unlike many Japanese and Westerners, local people do not have to be drunk to have fun and any ferry ride, traffic jam or lunch break will find Hong Kong people goofing off, playing cards and reading comics. Barking into telephones is a major source of fun. Hong Kong people have fun on and through TV . "Enjoy Yourself Tonight" and "A Vigorous Life With Great Fun" are often riotously upbeat programmes very popular with local people. Pop music tends to sound solemn and melancholy to Western ears and frequently features a pouting girl bemoaning life at the harbour front of Sai Kung or an outlying island (in the video performance). It probably serves as a useful relief to all the fun. There is however a more lively genre called Canto-Rock music which is an acquired taste. Little of the local music or film industries is exportable to countries outside Asia.
YK PAO, LI KA SHING AND STANLEY HO AS ROLE MODELS? LIFE PLANS OF HONG KONG PEOPLE
Certain individuals, through the pattern of their lives, seem to fascinate us. The inherited wealth of a Rockefeller does not interest us so much as the success, and decline, of a self-made man like Robert Maxwell, and not only because the latter had more interesting ways of using his, and other people's, money than most wealthy heirs and heiresses. The important factor in our admiration of successful men is their link to underlying patterns of behaviour which programme our own visions and dreams and ultimately, in our small way, our achievements. A script is a pre-conscious life plan formed under influence of the parents and early experience and lived out in the person's lifetime. Important decisions regarding career choice, success, choice of marriage partner, final destiny and so on are said to be laid out in the basic life plan, of which most people are only vaguely aware. Although culture is by no means the main formative factor of people's personal scripts, (which depend on the individual's reactions to his parents and his environment) "cultural script" is a concept we can use to incorporate a sociological and cultural element in the formation of individual life stories and to gain an understanding of the pressures of culture on the individual. The cultural script may or may not play an important role in the individual's own life story. It does appear, however, that large numbers of Hong Kong people follow certain patterns of life plan which have their origins in the past, sometimes generations removed from the present. Scripts are often repetitive in certain families (whole families go from rags-to-riches and whole families go mad and drop out) but this has nothing to do with culture and cultural scripts, unless, of course, the behaviour of the family is heavily determined by cultural factors (rather than its own qualities of being infuriating, non-cooperative, alcoholic, autistic etc. to name only a few common familial traits!). Families would appear to be heavily culturally influenced in Hong Kong just as the individual is heavily influenced by the family. Attention to cultural scripts in order to understand the individual's day-to-day behaviour and ultimate destiny would therefore seem to be warranted. The cultural scripts of Hong Kong people have at least six important bases: a conception called Proto-China; a Third World component; aspects of a Refugee mentality; the Nouveau Riche syndrome; a Decadent Colony legacy and, finally, for the younger generation in particular, the benefits of New Hong Kong. These terms obviously need some definition and elucidation.Proto-China is a conception of China often confused with the present day People's Republic,but which has no significant relationship with the PRC in an understanding of its function in cultural scripting. Proto-China is a largely abstract concept, equivalent perhaps to Britannia or Uncle Sam, in which certain cultural assumptions regarding identity and ultimate destiny are contained, albeit largely implicitly and unconsciously. This component of the cultural script is the only one to receive attention in most social psychologists' conception of the underlying life plan of Hong Kong people. It manifests itself in deep-rooted behavioural patterns such as group identity, familial consciousness, harmony maintenance. It is the key factor in the conception of even many third generation Hong Kong people of their own cultural uniqueness. The Third World element is a sociological factor composed of generally chaotic concepts of civic role and social responsiveness. There is an implicit acceptance of corrupt government and business conduct. This element, when combined with traditional group dynamics, makes the triad societies such an intractable social problem in Hong Kong. In addition, Third World thinking makes environmental consciousness very low - another major Hong Kong social problem. The Refugee mentality is one in which the personality is always somewhere else in ultimate aim: either looking back with loyalty to the old country or with anticipation to the new. Main concerns are with accumulation of wealth as a means of maintaining stability, the furtherance of children in the educational sphere and matter-of-fact indifference to the host society. This mentality gives the ruthless edge to life in Hong Kong. The Nouveau Riche syndrome of conspicuous consumption, continued and disproportionate concern with wealth allied with insecurity and problems with one's children (who were neglected whilst the money was being made) is a key element in the culture of modern Hong Kong. The input from a Decadent Colony legacy into the cultural script is seen in the identity crisis and insecurity of Hong Kong people having to deal with the manoeuvrings of a former world power extricating itself from one of the most audacious handovers in history. This malaise contrasts with the security of the Proto-China element of the cultural script. The New Hong Kong element, perhaps the most hopeful of all, is derived from the development of Hong Kong in the 50s and 60s of this century into a liberal affluent society with all its trappings: good housing, educational opportunity, improved health care and, in general, an expectation of "stability and prosperity". The New Hong Kong element has led to the great generation gap in Hong Kong as older members of the community did not benefit from it in formative years. TYPES OF HONG KONG LIFE PLAN Berne originally divided the type of life plan a person may have into six basic types: Never, Always, Until, After, Over-and-Over, Open-ended. A Never script for example is one in which the individual never achieves his goal of fame, success or dramatic failure although he is surrounded by tantalizing opportunities to do so. An Open-Ended script is inconclusive and the potential of the individual is strangely unfulfilled. The Over-And-Over life plan is one familiar to the man who marries the same kind of woman ten times over, changes career or locality twenty times in a lifetime or who bankrupts a series of his own companies. An Always script is compulsive, whilst Until and After scripts await certain life events (death of a parent, old age, illness, marriage) for their more dramatic development. A recent article in the Transactional Analysis Journal by David Chan, a Hong Kong clinical psychologist, has attempted to relate the six types of script with examples in Greek mythology outlined by Berne to six Chinese myths. Although the parallels from Greek mythology are tragic, the examples of the script type in Chinese myths may have more positive endings. Script was conceived by Berne primarily as a negative concept. As a psychiatrist, he did not spend much time analyzing positive or winning scripts. The Chinese mythical examples are useful not only for Chinese people but also for Westerners who may be discouraged by Berne's examples if they have a predominantly negative script. In the Hong Kong context it is thus quite common to see people becoming successful only when they reach a certain age or when a parent dies; making the same successful business venture over and over or always making progress towards their ultimate goals. On the other hand, mistakes and even tragedies occur in some people with great regularity. All these script types appear in every sense to be dramatic - indeed they are often lived out in a histrionic way and one of Berne's analogies to the lifescript was the stage drama. A key question in any "Life Script Questionnaire" is: "If your life story were put on stage, would it be a comedy, a tragedy or something else?" As anyone who has listened to people's life stories knows, many people's scripts are better regarded as a dull soap opera than an exciting box-office success. This may account for the popularity of soap operas. BANAL LIFE PLANS IN HONG KONG The success script called "rags-to-riches" has already been mentioned at the beginning of this section. This may be termed a classic culture-conditioned script. Where it becomes reinforced by a good personal script (or if it is inserted into a winning lifescript), such as the case of Stanley Ho for example, the result is dazzling enough. On a more mundane level, this script is lived out by many Hong Kong people who later become proprietors of small-to-medium size businesses, headmasters, doctors, lawyers and so on. The main difficulty for such self-made people is to know when to stop being prosperous and to start living. Claude Steiner, a close colleague of Berne, speaks of banal scripting, in other words, life plans which are not especially tragic or winning but rather joyless, loveless ,mindless, powerless and unequal. Perhaps the life stories of most discontented people are best understood in this way - as low intensity expressions of banality. Such banal scripts are thought to be sex-specific. Thus typical banal male scripts are Man In Front Of The Woman (in which the man's dominance is a sham, a common Hong Kong situation); Playboy, Intellectual and Woman Hater. Typical banal women's scripts are Mother Hubbard (who takes care of everyone but herself, a common Hong Kong situation), Poor Little Me, Queen Bee and Plastic Woman. Banal scripting appears to be widespread in Hong Kong where the expectations of life are confined, in many people's minds, to certain basic patterns. Unlike other city states in history, Hong Kong has not produced great writers, inventors, artists or intellectuals. Its central concerns appear to be survival, accumulation and imitation, all fairly banal ideas. If the life plans of Hong Kong people have certain characteristics, what of their personality? Are there any common denominators, even of the vaguest kind, which we can propose in an effort to understand what sort of people play Hong Kong games? The next section tries to briefly answer this question.
DOMINANT PARENTS AND ADAPTED CHILDREN THE PERSONALITY OF HONG KONG PEOPLE
Functional Analysis is a way of understanding the human personality derived from the basic three ego states of Transactional Analysis. Two of the basic ego states, Parent and Child are subdivided into Controlling and Nurturing Parent and Free Child and Adapted Child respectively. We can further divide these personality functions with positive and negative signs to obtain nine basic functions. In the Parent ego state, a positive Controlling Parent called Structuring Parent and a negative called Critical Parent; a positive Nurturing Parent called Protective Parent and a negative called Overhelpful Parent. In the Child ego state, we may have a positive Free Child called Creative Child and a negative called Rebellious Child; a positive Adapted Child is a Helpful Child whereas the negative may be termed a Fearful Child. The Adult is not usually subdivided. Different Transactional Analysts use slightly different terms in their subdivisions (and some call the Structuring Parent the Critical Parent). TA escapes from being a dogma for this and other reasons. People are free to use the terms which they can use profitably. In any case, with a nine-way split of the personality, TA escapes the charge of being reductionist, unless that is one wishes to present the human personality as a boiling cauldron of inchoate impulses, ideas and feelings which can never be understood. This is a perfectly legitimate way of looking at things. For our present purposes however, which are aimed at understanding the personality and then the behaviour of a group of people known as Hong Kong people, Functional Analysis is a useful instrument for demystifying the apparent complexity of the "Chinese soul".
THE PARENT PART OF THE PERSONALITY - NURTURE AND CONTROL The Parent ego state of Hong Kong people appears to be remarkably powerful and resistant to change. It probably functions as the dominant ego state for the great majority of mainland people as well. In other words, Hong Kong people are concerned with achievement of goals, maintaining self-image but also with nurturing and providing for offspring and other dependents to a degree rarely experienced by Western people. The Parent checks Hong Kong people's behaviour more readily than the behaviour of Western people and real Hong Kong, and mainland, parents smother their small children with an affection which would be regarded as exaggerated in the West.A real question arises for observers of Hong Kong people when we begin to suggest behavioural clues to ego state diagnosis which are applicable to them. The Parent ego state usually expresses itself in Hong Kong people by either a raised finger, slightly flared nostrils, a set jaw and other signs applicable to Western people (although the ability of Westerners to read such signs in Orientals is limited). Changes in voice and vocabulary are also discernible, especially when Hong Kong people speak English. Indeed, for most Hong Kong people, English is a Parental language associated with control, prestige, formality and little else. A major component of the Parent ego state is prejudice. Hong Kong people, as a group, are as racist in Parental thinking as the worst Westerner and given the power of the Parent ego state in directing behaviour, attitudes to many other racial groups are frequently negative (Indians, Vietnamese, Filipinos and Japanese are generally detested and despised). Attitudes to Western (usually considered to be White) people occasion a Parental impasse. White people govern key areas of Hong Kong society and most belong to the middle classes, thus commanding respect on the hierarchy scale. This fact partly accounts for the mixture of genuine friendliness, deference, envy, hostility, admiration and automatic rejection in the Hong Kong person's mind (and we are aware of the brutality of the generalisation) when encountering foreigners. It is too easy to attempt to resolve this conflict by terming the attitude of Hong Kong people "positive" or "antagonistic" as the situation decides when the Parent is "hooked" in each of us and Hong Kong people are no exception. Prejudices are best regarded as dormant phenomena in the majority rather than active forces in the minority. We must register here, however, our disquiet at the matter-of-fact racism apparent in Hong Kong people's reactions to Blacks and those they perceive as being borderline Blacks. Racist attitudes of this kind appear are becoming the exception in Europe and North America: in Hong Kong they are presently the rule. This can be confirmed by any cursory inquiry. Directives from the Parent of Hong Kong individuals dominate much of their behaviour and combine with script directives to make them generally very hard-working and ruthless in pursuit of their goals. Most have "permission", that is a message received by example and by encouragement from their real parents in early life, to succeed and to prosper. Unfortunately, some do not have permission to spend their money or to spend it tastefully and well. Decor is considered gaudy and overdone by Western experts (and their comments are more valid as a Western style is usually imitated). Hong Kong people in general are conspicuous consumers and flashiness, new money and tastelessness predominate in certain spheres. In keeping with a certain nouveau-riche mentality, some seem to overlook their Child instincts as to what is seemly and beautiful and are driven by archaic Parental ideas to emphasise what impresses and expresses wealth. They are willingly supported in this by droves of third-rate resident foreigners.
THE CHILD PART OF THE PERSONALITY: SHAME, FUN, COMPLIANCE The Adapted Child is that part of the personality which functions as if the person were observed by parent figures. As Parental and actual parental figures are very potent in Hong Kong people's personalities, the Adapted Child is likewise a strongly cathected (energised) part of the personality. People operating under the influence of the Adapted Child tend to be compliant, shameful and industrious and occasionally rebellious (if that is how they reacted to their parental figures in childhood). Compliance and shame are said to figure prominently in the dynamics of Chinese personality and have been analysed at length in the standard literature. Avoidance of shame is a major component of face behaviour. Compliance is seen in traditional filial piety and in the hierarchic structures of traditional Chinese society. As we shall see, compliance and shame are major factors in game playing. For example shame is apparent in Blameless and Chinese Girl whereas compliance is seen in Legco or Uncle Wong's Cabin as well as a host of educational games. Wilful rebellion against authority also figures highly in the behaviour of certain Hong Kong people as is apparent in games such as Refugee, Aborigine and Kowloon Taxi. The Free Child, although dominated by the Adapted Child and the Controlling Parent, is like the Free Child of all peoples - fun- loving, spontaneous and highly energised. Hong Kong people are often exuberant and are avid sportsmen, gamblers, dancers, singers, musicians and so on. The degree to which real spontaneity is expressed in such time structuring is variable according to the individual personality's ability to free himself from Parental directives. Genuine spontaneity, in the sense of aimless, unstructured or assertively original behaviour, appears to be reasonably uncommon in the behaviour of Hong Kong people, at least in public. This does not imply however that the same people cannot be aimless, fun-loving, creative or assertive. Nor does it imply that Hong Kong people are boring.
THE ADULT PART OF THE PERSONALITY - REASONING AND LEARNING Studies tend to show that Chinese people excel in mathematics but are not relatively proficient in verbal abilities. The memory is highly developed. Learning strategies tend towards rote and adaptation but some studies would suggest a "deep" learning approach characterised by engrossment and personal interest in the subject. Teachers complain that this is hardly encountered in experience. All the "differences" in reasoning mechanisms and abilities mentioned are probably derived from differing ways of teaching and of upbringing in general. There is no evidence for superiority or inferiority or for deep-seated differences from Western data-processing etc. which cannot be accounted for by later development in society. The grown-up Chinese person is however likely to have quite a different set of habitual thought patterns and affective mechanisms which are expressed in different types of games with differing intensity, tenacity and regularity. As games are largely played outside consciousness, the reasoning self is only vaguely aware of them. The habitual thought and data processing patterns of Hong Kong people, and probably Chinese people in general, can be demonstrated to be very close to those of Western people and the search for inherent differences in the collective unconsciousness etc. quickly succumbs to self-contradiction and mysticism. The analysis of games, however, highlights clear differences in behaviour which can be verified in everyday experience.
GLOSSARY (See the Introduction to Transactional Analysis for more detailed explanations.) Key to Sources: G - Games People Play by Eric Berne. W - What Do You Say After You Say Hello? by Eric Berne. WB - Transactional Analysis by Woollams and Brown. Other definitions are by the author. Activity - One of the ways of structuring time in TA. The person's energy is directed to influencing the external world by means of work or hobbies. Adapted Child - This Child ego state function behaves as if the person were observed by parent figures. People operating under the influence of the AC are typically compliant, shameful, industrious or rebellious. Adult - An ego state oriented toward objective, autonomous data- processing and probability-estimating. (W) Antithesis - The way out of a game. Autonomy - The capacity for positive and creative self-management unhindered by dependency, the past or by undesired influences from the Parent or the Child of an individual. Cathected - Charged with mental energy. Cathexis - The energy within an ego state. Child - An archaic ego state. The Adapted Child follows parental directives. The Natural Child is autonomous. (W) Cold Pricklies - A colloquial term for negative strokes. Complementary - A transaction in which the response is appropriate and follows the natural order of healthy human relationships. (G) Usually indicated by parallel stimulus/response from and to the intended ego states. Con - The secret or ulterior message which begins a game. It "hooks", or attaches itself to, the gimmick in the other participant(s) in the game. Contamination - The condition of one ego state being influenced unconsciously by another ego state. The contaminated Adult is experienced as "reasonable" and "true" when it is coloured by delusions and prejudices from the Child and/or Parent. Cross-up - The period of confusion which follows the switch and precedes the game payoff. Cultural Script - The component in the individual's life plan derived not from particular parental programming or from a specific environment but from "cultural influences". Such influences may, of course, be transmitted through parental figures or through the environment. Decision - A child commitment to to a certain type of behavior, which later forms the the basis of character. (W) Discounting - The act or process of ignoring some aspect of internal or internal experience. We can discount the existence of a problem, its significance, change possibilities or personal abilities. It is the mechanism by which symbiosis is maintained. Drama Triangle - Developed by Dr Stephen Karpman. A simple diagram showing the possible switches of roles in a game or script. The three major roles are Persecutor, Victim and Rescuer. (W) Dynamics - In game analysis, the fundamental source of the game as a whole expressed in Freudian psychoanalytic or common psychiatric terms. Egogram - Developed by Dr Jack Dusay. A visual representation of the use of the functional ego states drawn as a bar graph with five separate bars, one representing each ego state. Ego State - A consistent pattern of feeling and experience directly related to a corresponding consistent pattern of behaviour. (W) The basic building blocks of Transactional Analysis. Ego states are observable realities, not abstract concepts. Free Child - Also called Natural Child. Highly energised Child ego state function and the most capable of spontaneity and intimacy. Functional Analysis - Describes how a person uses her ego states to relate to herself and others. (WB) Game - A game is an ongoing series of complementary ulterior transactions progressing to a well-defined, predictable outcome. (G) Games may be also understood as culture-specific behaviour of groups rather than individuals. Gimmick - A special attitude or weakness which makes a person vulnerable to games or scripty behaviour. (W) Intimacy - A game-free exchange of emotional expression without exploitation. (W) One of the goals of Transactional Analysis.Life Position - A basic attitude towards the world expressed in four formulas: I'm OK-You're Ok, I'm OK-You're not OK, I'm not OK-You're OK, I'm not OK-You're not OK. Explored in depth in the works of Thomas and Amy Harris. Loser - Someone who does not accomplish a declared purpose. (W) In TA, a loser is someone with a poor script. Moves - In our game analysis, two salient interchanges expressed as a verbal statement, although many games proceed without words. Non-winner - Someone who works hard just to break even. (W) Parent - An ego state borrowed from a parental figure. It may function as a directing influence (the Influencing Parent), or be directly exhibited as parental behaviour (the Active Parent). It may be nurturing or controlling. (W) Pastime - One of the ways of structuring time in TA. "Semi- ritualistic topical conversations" (G) "A series of semi- ritualistic, simple complementary transactions arranged around a single field of material, whose primary object is to structure an interval of time." (G) Payoff - The psychological "reward" of negative racket feelings which ends, and is the purpose of, a game. Permission - (1) A parental license for autonomous behaviour. (2) An intervention which gives the individual a license to disobey a parental injunction if he is ready, willing and able, or releases him from parental provocations. (W) Racket - The sexualization and transactional seeking and exploitation of unpleasant feelings. (W) An internal or external process by which a person interprets or manipulates her environment as she justifies a not-OK, or discounted position. (WB) Ritual - One of the ways of structuring time in TA. Usually a predictable, low contact exchange of strokes. "A stereotyped series of simple complementary transactions programmed by external social forces." (G) Roles - In game analysis, the players and their characters in the game. As roles are not assumed consciously, they are not stances, attitudes or positions. Script - A life plan based on a decision made in childhood, reinforced by the parents, justified by subsequent events, and culminating in a chosen alternative. (W) Switch - 1. A switch from one role to another in game or script. 2. A manoeuvre which forces or induces another person to switch roles. 3. An internal or external stimulus which turns off adaptive behaviour. (W) Stroke - A unit of recognition, such as "Hello". (W) Structural Analysis - Analysis of the personality, or of a series of transactions, according to Parent, Adult, Child ego states. (W) Deals with the each ego state's developmental history and innate capacity for expression... the content of the ego states. (WB) Switch - In game analysis, the sudden change in role, or in the situation generally, before the game ends. It is followed by confusion (the cross-up) and the payoff. Symbiosis - An unhealthy relationship in which two or more individuals behave as if they were a whole person. Neither individual uses all ego states. Discounting is the mechanism used to maintain it. Thesis - The "magical" (usually unconscious and irrational) belief of the players which underlies the playing of a game. Trading Stamps - A feeling "collected" as the payoff in a game. (W) A feeling or a stroke which is collected to justify some later behaviour. (WB) The currency of rackets and games. Transaction - A transactional stimulus from a certain ego state in the agent plus a transactional response from a certain ego state in the respondent. A transaction is the unit of social action. (W) Transactional Analysis - (1) A system of psychotherapy based on the analysis of transactions and chains of transactions which occur during treatment sessions. (2) A theory of personality based on the study of specific ego states. (3) A theory of social action based on the rigorous analysis of transactions into an exhaustive and finite number of classes based on the specific ego states involved. (4) The analysis of single transactions by means of transactional diagrams; this is transactional analysis proper. (W) Ulterior - Transactions involving the activity of more than two ego states simultaneously. (G) Besides the social level transaction, another transaction is made largely outside consciousness. Ulterior transactions are moves in games. Warm Fuzzies - A colloquial term for positive strokes. Winner - Someone who accomplishes his declared purpose. (W) In TA, a winner is someone with a good script. Withdrawal - One of the ways of structuring time in TA. Removing ourselves mentally from others by daydreaming, fantasies etc..
INDEX OF GAMES AND PASTIMES (P) Aborigine Ain't It Awful (P) Badinage Banana Bilingual Blameless Blemish Bum Rap Buzz Off, Buster Canaille (P) Celeb Chinese Girl Civic Education Connections Consideration Cops and Robbers Cure Me Debtor Disco Bay Does The Man In Your Nightmare Ever Mention My Bill? Emigration Expat Face To Face Final Bill (P) Fung Shui Gee, You're Wonderful, Mr Murgatroyd! Gee, You're Wonderful, Professor! Get Avay From My Vindow! Goldfinger Happy Families Hello English Audience Hidden Fine Hover I Call You Back I Can Get It For You Wholesale (P) If It Weren't For You I'm Only Trying To Help You Indigence Insurance I Really Must Do Something About My Cantonese I Really Must Do Something About My English I Really Must Do Something About My TeachingJoint Venture Kiss Off Kowloon Taxi Lack Of Opportunities To Practice Legco or Uncle Wong's Cabin Let's You And Him Fight Love And Mercy Lunch Bag Martini (P) Michael Kohlhaas Minding My Own Business Morning After (P) Night Club Non-Interference In China's Internal Affairs Now I've Got You, You Son Of A Bitch Obliging Office Space or Make The Boss Pay Old China Hand Peasant Peng Di La! Pere de Famille Perfect Child Portable Phone Queen's Silk Rapo Refugee Restaurants Nowadays (P) Service Sorry! (Shoulder Charge) Special Customer Sterilise The Instruments Suzie Wong Suzie Wong's Kid Sister The Undead That Man Keeps Looking At Me, Mamma Tiffin Tolerance Translator Virginity Western Style We Will Act Who's The Boss? Why Does This Always Happen To Me? Xiuxi XOV You're Uncommonly Perceptive INDEX OF SUBJECTS AND PEOPLE A Activity time structure Americans Autonomy B Barthes, Roland Berne, Eric Bond, Michael Banks Bankers (expatriate) British Business C Cantonese language Chan, David Child ego state Child-rearing China (People's Republic) China (concept and culture) Choy, Acey Clans Corruption Diderot Doctors Drunkenness E Education Eating (see food) Egogram Engineers (expatriate) Ethnicity Executive Council Expatriate (see Foreigners) F Families Films Food Foreigners Fun time structure Functional Analysis Funerals G Games Geomancy Government Governor H Hill fires Ho, David Ho, Stanley Hong Kong Club I Identity Individualism Intimacy J Jockey Club, Royal Hong Kong K L Law Lee, AllenLee, Martin Legislative Council Lin Yutang Littering M Marx Mong Kok Music N New China News Agency O Orwell, George P Parent ego sate Pao, YK Philippinas Prostitution Q R S Schools Scripts Shing, Li Ka Shopping Social Psychology Stalinism (see China, People's Republic) Steiner, Claude T Time Structuring Traders (expatriate) Triads Taxis Transactional Analysis TV TVB Ltd.UV WXYZ Walled City Western District