Interesting incident at my hotel in Hong Kong. Before I relate it let me tell you what I have read in all of my guide books about interacting in China and Hong Kong. FACE is a term everyone uses. You must never embarass anyone or point out their faults. THEY HAVE TO SAVE FACE. Even if you are right never say you are right. It is up to the wrong party to take action. If you point out an error, the person stonewalls you, smiles and never forgets the slight-- for their WHOLE LIFE.
Now with that cultural tidbit under your belt, let me proceed. The other day I got a note from the General manager of the Hotel under my door actually it was a formal letter saying that there has been 'an incident' and we needed to meet. Husband #1 said that I have been writing a blog critiquing the government and now they were going to throw me out. David, #2-3 son suggested that they were going to tell me that I was annoying. With that family support I trudged to the desk and at the time appointed on the letter. When I went to the desk of this giant hotel all of the hotel clerks said they were waiting for me. They called the general manager who wore a black formal tux and white gloves. They all surrounded me to listen to the manager.
The manager said there was an incident with my lampshade and then he produced two giant pictures of my lampshade. One was before I damaged it and One was when it was intact. The conversation follows with 12 clerks watching and nodding.
Manager: Do you see the damage to the lampshade
Me: yes it has a water mark on it.
Manager: I see it as well.
me: I guess we both see it.
Manager: nods and no one says anything.
me: Actually I was drying my laundry and placed my almost dry socks on the lamp because the lamp was near the sunlight coming through the window. I see that the socks have left an imprint on the lampshade damaging it.
Manager: Yes I understand. It was very smart of you to find the light for your socks. It was warmer there.
Me: I do it at home and this has never happened.
Manager: so you did it here thinking it was the same. Drying things my hand saves on energy and that is good.
Me: Yes but I damaged the shade and would like to pay to have it repaired or cleaned.
Manager: Oh that is very nice of you. It would not be much. Just $200 Hong Kong dollars ($30 Canadian)
Me: It would be my pleasure and thank you for contacting me.
Manager: We will add it to your bill since you suggested it.
The next day when we were checking out there was nothing added to my bill. I think they wanted me to confess my wrongdoing and offer to deal with it. WELCOME TO HONG KONG!
See pictures of the lampshades presented to me below: