Why Asians Like To Queue

Queuing up. Lining up. Standing in line for something free, something new or something on discount. Most of the time we’ll see quite a few Asian faces in these lines. If not a few, then a lot.

I’ve been guilty of queuing on a few occasions. At one point while living in Singapore, I joined humongous Singaporean queues at McDonalds to collect all eight stuffed monkeys that came with McValue Meals during the Chinese New Year month. I did it, sometimes waiting half an hour to buy a meal. A few weeks ago, I saw a short queue in the Emporium shopping mall in the city. I joined it and after a five minute wait, got to the front and received a free macaron. I did notice there were some elderly Asian ladies in front of me, haggling at the top of their lungs for more than one sweet treat.

Queuing for Magnum ice-cream. Queuing for hours should be a sport in itself | Weekly Photo Challenge: Endurance.

Queuing for Magnum ice-cream. Queuing for hours should be a sport in itself | Weekly Photo Challenge: Endurance.

It seems Asians all around the world like to get in line for a new deal. The iPhone 6 launch lines in New York were made of up of many Asians. So were the lines in Melbourne.

Maybe for us Asians, we queue because we are curious; we genuinely want to check out what’s going on. Because we’re nosy. Many of us come from traditional Asian families that love swapping stories about the lives of their neighbours, asking how much that recent purchase cost us and where to get that branded bag. So when something out of the ordinary is around the corner, we usually go forwards and line up to see what’s going on.

Maybe we queue because we want to say we’ve been there, done that. Queuing is a pride and “face” thing. Or maybe we want to be the first to check things out. That’s what many of us are stereotypically taught from young: to be the first in class, to be at the top of the career ladder, to be the first among our cousins to get hitched. A few months ago, one of my Asian friends dragged me to wait in a half-an-hour queue for ricotta berry hotcakes at a cafe. It was something we wanted to try for a while and we did – now I can proudly say I demolished one of the most colourful hotcakes on earth.

Perhaps we line up to buy the latest gadget, try that new dish and snap up the house-with-the-view on the property front because we can afford to do so. After all, many Asians are typically wise with their money with the help of savings and investments, and so can afford a new thing or two every now and then (or maybe some of us are lucky enough to get pocket money from well-to-do parents). Having saved money in the bank, I knew I could afford the $18 ricotta berry hotcake, and so lined up for it.

If there’s a giveaway at the head of the queue, all the more reason to queue: some of us Asians are stingy with our money and love bargains. I hate parting with my money and if the McDonalds monkeys had cost more than $2 with the burger meals that they came with, I wouldn’t have collected them eventhough I love monkeys.

Queuing for freebies or some promotion comes with anticipation. Excitement. When we queue, chances are we’re looking forward to experiencing something we’ve never seen, tasted or felt before. At the same time, chances are queuing comes with boredom. Waiting. Maybe even frustration if we’re the fidgety kind. We might tap our feet on the ground or cross our arms, maybe even curse out loud.

And so queuing can bring out the best or worst in us. Queuing takes up our time, tests our patience. In a sense, it’s an endurance sport of some sort.

Lining up for something free or the latest product is different from waiting in line at the supermarket to buy groceries or post office to pay bills. This occasion is like a game of luck. There’s no guarantee we’ll get what we’ve been waiting for after lining up for hours. And so we should ask ourselves why we queue.

A year ago I joined the queue to get into dancing violinist Lindsey Stirling’s Melbourne concert. I’ve always looked up to her, someone who is very comfortable being the creative artist that she is. After three hours of waiting I got to meet her and found a spot at the very front of the stage. Watching Lindsey play the violin and jump in the air at the same time up close, I realised that anything, including being an Asian Australian writer who writes about everyday life with a dash of academic literature, is possible.

Sometimes we queue because there’s every chance it’ll lead to a once in a lifetime opportunity or experience, even for a fleeting moment. Sometimes we queue to take chances. And walk away learning a bit more about ourselves.

Have you queued for something?

Related articles

Advertisements

115 thoughts on “Why Asians Like To Queue

  1. Reblogged this on Takeshi's Flight and commented:
    Why we prefer queuing in the Philippines:
    1. We choose to ride the train (MRT, LRT, & PNR) rather than riding a bus. Travel with trains, though the stations are fully congested and the trains face technical problems everytime, takes 45% lesser travel time than traveling with a bus or jeepneys.
    2. Take this: Slow government service. Government employee’s tend to work slow because of very low income and rare insurance promises.

    Both of these test even the last strings of our patience. My article “At a snail’s pace” is related to this post.

    Like

    • Thanks for reblogging, Takeshi. I really appreciate it 🙂 Queuing for public transport really tests our patience, especially if we’re tired in the morning or at the end of the day during peak hours. Asian cities tend to be crawling with people shoulder to shoulder, so I can certainly imagine lots of long queues for public transport in the Philippines. And Asians like things to be done efficiently or taking the most efficient, direct route (as opposed to the scenic route on a daily basis).

      Government service. employees there work slow, maybe that’s why there are always queues for government services…at least here in Australia.

      Like

  2. Thats funny! I didnt know Asians had this thing for queues!! In Brazil we hate it, maybe because there is never nothing free or good about queueing in Brazil… except buying a ticket for a show or when there is a new store at the city, only if American store like Forever 21. Apart from that we just queue because we have to, bank, post, pay a bill… Hahaha

    In Germany I queued once for buying a gift for my husband at the newbie Abercrombie store in Munich. Apart from that I queued because I had too… 😃

    Like

    • Interesting to hear in Brazil no one likes queues, except for special occasions like concerts or a shop. Maybe it’s because Brazilians don’t like to wait for things and have better things to do with their time? 😀 Or maybe it’s too hot in Brazil to queue up for long hours?

      That is so sweet of you to line up and buy a present for your husband. I am sure he wanted something from the Abercrombie shop and told you to get it. And you were just too nice, as per usual 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Ruth. Haha, I don’t know if my writing is poetic. Maybe simple.

      Maybe it’s in our blood to queue. Though I don’t queue up for freebies often, when I do I am always very patient. Never losing my cool.

      Like

  3. I hate queuing so it’s interesting to read your positive spin on it. I once queued for David Bowie tickets and it was exciting at the time, but I found out later there were still plenty of tickets for those who didn’t queue, so perhaps that made me cynical 😉

    Like

    • “…positive spin on it”. Now that made me chuckle, Maamej. I’m a very patient person, and if I want something terribly I don’t mind queuing for it – but it’s not very often.

      Glad you got to see David Bowie, I hope you got decent seats and they were worth the wait 🙂 Rumour has it concert promoters tend to release tickets section by section so certain sections will look “filled”. I hope that makes sense.

      Like

      • Yes, I’ve heard that too. With David Bowie it was back in the 80s and he played the Sydney showground – outdoors. It filled up just fine, but we could hardly see him, in the days before big screens. It was cool tho.

        Like

        • That sounds like a fun David Bowie concert you went too. Maybe next time you’ll get a spot at the front 🙂 I’ve only queued to get into two concerts so far and both times I’ve stood at the very front…yes, I’m one of those queuing people whose always in it to win it 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  4. When I read your title “Why Asians like to queue”, I pondered for a moment. There are Asians from some parts that cut queues especially on essentials like queuing for toilet or cabs. Why would they like to queue? I realized that by nature, these Asians from East Asia lived in a country with the world’s biggest population, grew up having to push their way through hence they do not queue. They pushed to get in front. However, of course when migrating to another country, these Asians learned to queue and one good motivation is ‘lining up for something free’.
    Back to your title “Why Asians like to queue” (before reading your story) I thought to myself, “No they don’t know what is a queue or choose not to see one.”
    Many sides to this post, Mabel. Many people may not like to queue but in day to day lives, queueing is unavoidable. The worst queue we face day in day out is the daily rush hour traffic. Endurance, indeed. Thanks for sharing, Mabel. 🙂

    Like

    • Very good point there, Jess. I am so glad you brought it up as it eclipsed my mind completely and I should have been more specific with my words (too tired, maybe working too much… -__-‘). So true that many Asians in East Asia are big on pushing and shoving each other to get to the front of queues and crowds. Manners go out of the window. I’ve seen this happen in Malaysian shopping malls when there are food and product samples given out for free in shopping malls.

      When you see such violent sights, you’d think Asians are desperate to own everything in the world. But why? Maybe after surviving the wars and colonial life with little belongings, these days they are keen on owning as much as possible to add on to their fairly cushy lives today.

      Rush hour traffic. Earlier this week I waited for six trams before I could get on one. The queues were so long. Thanks for stopping by, Jess. Always nice to hear your wise words on my blog 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow. That has not be my experience, at all. In Laos, I missed my bus because people kept cutting the queue and bought all the seats while I foolishly stood in line. At 7-11 or Tesco here in Thailand, we get the occasional line cutter which I find horribly annoying.

    I suppose I get what you are saying, but I think anyone will wait in a long line for something they really want. I’m picturing those reality TV shows where they have outrageously long lines for auditions. Or teens lining up for pop concert tickets.

    But I think what Little Borneo Girl is saying is spot on. In the “Motherland” there is no queuing – just hands extended with money to show their importance, rushing to be first, but after there has been some immigration into a new “Western” society, I agree, we do like a good bargain and don’t mind the wait 🙂

    Like

    • So true, Lani. I completely forgot about those aggressive queue cutters in East Asia. I must be doing too much these days… I am so sorry to hear that you had to pay the price for being polite. You really deserve to have gotten on the bus 😦

      Things such as restaurant food and fancy clothes are still hard for some Asians in East Asian to get their hands on today. So if they see a giveaway, they might be inclined to rush to the very front to grab as much as possible.

      I remember there was water rationing in Malaysia quite a few times when I was a kid. Big trucks full of water would park in my neighbourhood…and all my neighbours made a beeline for the truck to fill their buckets. It was very chaotic and the security guards had to herd everyone into a decent queue.

      “…hands extended with money to show their importance” 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Another interesting topic! I’ve never really thought about queuing before except with a tinge of annoyance. I do have one experience I would like to share. My father-in-law brought me to get some food straight from the airport when I landed in America. It was about ten or eleven PM local time and I had just arrived from a 30 hour trip so my clock was way off. But as we waited in line, the cashier asked me a question. I was confused for a moment. The guy behind me answered for me because I took too long. There was only one line because it was late so he had to wait in line. It was obvious he wasn’t happy. He only had one item as well. I guess I’m trying to say that since then, waiting in line in America can be a very stressful experience for me. There is a lot of impatience.
    David Foster Wallace has a wonderful speech about it. I’ll see if I can track it down. Thanks for sharing. Lovely words.

    Like

    • You really seemed disoriented at the airport, but that’s what traveling from one end of the world to the other does to us. It could be that the guy behind you who had one item was having a bad day or tired too. But that’s no reason to be rude. I do think if we’re queuing alone, there’s every chance we’ll feel emotionally and physically stressed. That is because in these instances (whether lining up for a freebie or at the supermarket), we’re left alone with our own thoughts to entertain ourselves and standing makes us physically tired. Mind over matter, perhaps, if we are set on making it to the frond of the queue.

      I hope you don’t get too stressed out from queuing. I can relate. Since changing jobs a few weeks ago, now I have to queue for the tram to get home after work. Can’t help but feel dejected when I’m at the end of the tram queue and have watched five packed trams pass by… That speech by David F Wallace sounds interesting 🙂

      Like

      • You’re right. We all have our moments of distress and maybe his just came at that time. I was so out of it I didn’t know how to react. I’ve always enjoyed waiting for some strange reason, as long as I can focus on something creative. It’s when my attention has to be on waiting when things start to become strained. Thanks for your positive thoughts. Also, here’s a link to that David Foster Wallace video: http://vimeo.com/68855377 Enjoy!

        Like

        • It’s interesting to hear you’ve always enjoyed waiting if you can focus on being on creative at the same time. When I have to wait in a queue, most of the time I don’t mind it too much as it’s an opportunity to observe the world around me, to people watch and try to work out what they are thinking. What I don’t usually do when queuing is look at the time, if I don’t need to be anywhere later that day.

          Thank you for the video. I will check it out!

          Like

    • Nothing remotely related to queuing in China 😀 Totally get what you mean there, Crazy. Have something on sale or free in a shopping place in Malaysia and there will be a small queue at first…and then other Malaysians will see the queue and rush over and something like a stampede to grab the goodies will ensue.

      Desperation seems to be in the air when there are such scenes. It’s as if every person for themselves going after what is at the start of the queue. Then again, many Asians who live in Asia today (especially the older generation) may have gained this trait from the days of the wars or the days of struggling to build a decent livelihood.

      Like

  7. I never understand when I see long lines of people in Hong Kong waiting for some fashion store to open. Time is precious to me, though different cultures value time in their ways, but I for one HATE waiting in line. That goes for theme parks like Disneyland too, the worst.

    And the pictures you see out there now of people waiting for iPhone 6s… I think it’s terrible. But fanboys & girl may be another matter entirely; there will always be those hardcore people who camp out for tickets etc.

    I suppose Asian cultures are generally well-behaved and patient, hence queuing. But funny you should say this. Because in mainland China, one of the big complaints here is that many people from villages don’t queue at all. They push and run and shove to get on trains and buses, cut in line at the supermarket, and all sorts of un-“Asian” behavior. Expats and particularly Hong Kongers really complain about this. (Though I think it’s getting better as China modernizes.) The stereotype you write about in this post may not necessarily be accurate for about a billion people 🙂

    Like

    • Like you, I am not a big fan of waiting in line too. Unless I know I will get something at the end of the queue AND that something means a lot to me, I usually won’t get in line. You are right, and a lot of others in the comments have brought up a very good point: that Asians in the Western world tend to be more civilized queuing up and Asians who live in Asia probably less. Maybe villagers in mainland China aren’t aware of the ethics of queuing up. Maybe some Chinese Malaysians simply don’t care about being polite – pushing past me like I was a leaf to get their hands on discounted branded bags…. Maybe rudeness is “Asian behaviour” after all. Then again, we’re all different depending on how we’ve been brought up and where we’ve grown up.

      Like

    • Time is valuable. Time is money. Why stand in a long, long queue for half a day just for a shirt when you can use that time to travel to another town and explore it and come back home? You are very wise, Sue 🙂

      Like

  8. I only queue when I must. Maybe for a concert or for a train or flight. Maybe when I was younger I would have queued for a book release or something – but no longer. I queued with my children some times though. At EuroDisney, I remember. I don’t mind queuing, but I find very few things really wort it!

    Like

    • You’ve definitely got a lot of patience there, Leya. Queuing for what your interests back in your younger days, and then later queuing with your children. I’m sure both sets of queuing experiences were different, and hope you walked a away with good memories…if not, then a story to tell 🙂

      Like

      • Different they were – far more patient when queueing with my children because I knew they were so eager and would have so much fun. Interesting question again, as usual!

        Like

        • Awww. So sweet of you to patiently wait with your children. I bet they didn’t mind queuing one bit and were chatting excitedly while standing in line. Maybe you even forgot you were standing queuing up… But it sounds like those were happy memories.

          Thanks for supporting, Leya. I really appreciate it 🙂

          Like

  9. Haha, This was such an interesting post ! your reason for queuing were very fascinating and funny !
    I’ve always admired nations and people who promote and actually practice queuing, mainly because it speaks of discipline and harmony..In my country we do make queues (with much difficulty) but it isn’t as perfect as Asian queuing ! lol
    Loved the Article Mabel ^.^

    Like

    • Queuing as discipline and harmony. I never thought of that. I guess in the western world there are laws to punish those who behave wildly in public, and people are more inclined to behave in a civilised manner, hence orderly queues. Or maybe we are just nice… 😉

      I hope queuing isn’t too bad in your country, and people there don’t push and shove and cut queue 🙂

      Like

  10. Last week, I queued at Pandora Shop for the free essence bracelet or bangle promotion for every $125 purchase 🙂

    Speaking of Asians, Louis Vuitton or any luxury boutiques in Orchard Road or even in Paris, people who always line up are mostly Asians. According to survey, the pie eaters of of the this market are Asians, especially the Chinese. One of the privileges of the Asian shoppers in Europe is tax refund. If you live outside Singapore and purchased goods worth S$100 from the Lion City, you can claim 7% refund, so there’s another queue at the airport hall.

    My first and second examples speak about discounts and SAVINGS 🙂

    I also found some shops in Singapore with Q signs, “queue starts here” 🙂

    Like

    • I hope you were happy with your Pandora purchase. Jewelry does make some girls happy, and jewelry is always fun to play with during fancy dress-ups 😀 The tax refund or duty free scheme. Yes, that makes a lot of sense the way you explained it. And which Asian doesn’t like discounts? Some say Asians have more money than Westerners and so can afford to line up to buy things. Maybe this is because Asians have good saving habits – in Asia, salaries tend to be paid monthly compared to weekly/fortnightly in Western countries, hence forcing Asians to tuck more money away…and come back later to discover a great sum.

      Oh my gosh! I remember when the first Uniqlo store opened in Melbourne a few months ago, there was someone carrying a “Queue starts here” sign with the logo on it!!! I got the impression the store were prepared for the onslaught of Asians 😀 And everyone in the queue was mainly…Asian. No surprises.

      Like

    • I really don’t think you’ve been missing out, Sylvia. Hours spent queuing, you could have spent at the beach, going to a new town, or even staying at home and cleaning out the closet ^^’ That’s productivity for you!

      Though when you queue alone, you’re left to your own thoughts…and you never know – you might have deep reflective moments about life while standing in line.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I wish Czechs were as disciplined queuers as Asian people. We’re typically impatient and undisciplined, so whenever there is a queue, there is jumping the queue and grumbling. I wish we could see the delights of queueing like you do 🙂

    Like

    • It does seem queuing in the Western world is more civilised. In general, the Western world has a more laid-back lifestyle than, say, an Asian city where it can be a dog-eat-dog world, metaphorically speaking. So maybe that’s why there is more tolerance for queues in Australia and other Western countries.

      Sorry to hear queuing is a stressed out affair where you live. When someone complains, it can rub off you. Or maybe sometimes people are not rude or don’t mean to be rude, and they are just too excited that they forget about being polite and having manners 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I absolutely don’t queue. I only allow myself to wait in line is in the museum. I waited 4 months to get my new iPhone last time to avoid the line, I may wait 3 months for the iPhone 6 😀 Have a great weekend, Mabel 🙂
    Love this photo! Great capture.

    Like

  13. Your post took me back several years ago to when the first Minster Donuts Store (a Japanese Donut Chain) opened in Taipei, Taiwan. It was on a hot day in the middle of June and I was on my way to work when I was met with a three block line-up of people waiting for the store to open. Later that day, one of my student’s mom presented me with a box of donuts which she proudly said she waited over 3 hours for. A perfect example of being the first to try something new.

    With that being said, I find that Taiwanese rarely like to wait to complete daily, normal tasks. And when I am writing this, the post office primarily comes to my mind. I often line up and people cut in line to ask a simple question or to give pass in their mail because they already have stamps so they believe it gives them more priority. I remember one incident in particular when it was my turn and a woman just cut and started to talk to the person who was suppose to be serving me. I politely told her that I was next and she should line up. Getting the hint, she stepped aside.

    Like

      • That is indeed a classic story of people in Asia desperate to try something first, thanks for sharing. I am sure your student’s mum kept pushing you to take the donuts and looked very proud as she was pushing them towards you, and that she knew that you knew she queued up for them – like it was a massive feat to get those donuts. Then again, maybe the mum was genuinely feeling very generous.

        Perhaps this cutting queue things happen more in Asia. In Melbourne, it’s not often you see people cut queue. Maybe Westerners have more manners, I don’t know. Great that you stood up for yourself. It was really rude of the woman to ignore you on purpose – and everyone else behind you too.

        Your incident reminds me of the times i stood in line in Singapore. On many occasions here, I lined up for chicken rice at hawker centres during lunch. Of course there were quite a few Singaporeans in front of me in lines, which is what you expect during eating hour. What annoyed me was that a lot of the time, their friends would join them in the queue, making it longer for me to place my order. This seems to be a very normal thing in Singapore.

        Like

        • She (my student’s mom) is actually a very generous person and went out of her way to show her appreciation to me as well as my Taiwanese co-teacher. She even designed a gold necklace and pendant and got three made as a teacher’s day present (one for me, my co-teacher, and herself).

          As for standing up for myself, I assume they thought I didn’t know what to say – they were quite surprised when I spoke Chinese. The entire post office experience was rather unusual that day – they guy serving me even asked me how to translate several Chinese words into English that day.

          Like

          • Rarely have I heard Asians queue up for something and give what they eventually get or buy away. The things some of us will do for others… But for me, it will take a lot of convincing from those close around me to line up for most things 😀

            Like

  14. I’ve never heard this referred to a “queuing” I’ve also never had an interest in it! I think your comment “In a sense, it’s an endurance sport of some sort.” is pretty accurate.
    We have a “tradition” here in the United States called “Black Friday” It is the day after our American Thanksgiving holiday. ALL of the stores have massive sales. People begin lining up Thursday evening….stores have started opening at midnight sometimes earlier. Once the doors open people push, shove and dive for THE big item.
    Honestly I would rather pay full price!!
    Queu on my friend….you won’t find this old lady in line with you!! 🙂

    Like

    • I don’t think you’re missing out on queuing, Tree. Time spent lining up for hours can always be spent doing something more productive, like cleaning the house, gardening and writing.

      I’ve heard of Black Friday but didn’t know that there were massive queues and people rushed for sale items on this day – a physical test to see who can out-shove each other and walk away with the items in one piece 😀

      Yes, you definitely want to pay full price for your safety’s sake! That’s wise.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. my father did the queue for bargain price or promo ticket, but me, my mother and both of sisters didn’t unless we had to…..
    my mother used to let us invest bigger for better service, a first flyer airiline ticket or other vip member that can skip us from lining up
    i gues it’s not refer to asian people, but more to a cheap person, lol
    #kidding

    Like

    • Your dad sounds like a man who is determined to get anything…even if it means queuing for a long, long time…LOL, you mum is funny. Paying much more to skip lines 😀

      Very interesting point. Maybes sometimes Asians queue because they are cheap. Maybe sometimes Asians don’t want to queue because they are cheap too.

      Like

      • i guess the ethic is to make you work harder to earn some previlledge,
        Being a VIP is a previlledge for your hard work, you work harder to made more money, then you spend more of your money to suits you as a VIP, hence you didn’t lining up or other people used to, on board immigration service for first class ticket for example ….
        this is how the world playing games

        Like

        • Very good point, Dedy. Such a smart cookie you are. Who doesn’t like VIP treatment? And yes, it’s like a game! 😀 So maybe in the end all of us don’t really like to queue, perhaps secretly. After all, not queuing and getting something is always more comfortable than queuing up and getting something.

          Like

  16. that photo is a queue for magnum ice cream?! that’s hilarious!!! i first discovered magnum ice cream on a trip to paris over 10 years ago. it was delicious then and it’s still delicious now. and thankfully they finally started selling it in the States. and i’d definitely line up in a queue for it if it was hard to find!

    Like

    • Yes. That photo indeed showed the queue for an $8 stick of magnum ice-cream (sprinkled with three toppings of your choice). Pity my camera only captured half of the action. What you see in the photo is only half of the queue, and I wager there were about 500 people waiting there.

      Good that you can get it easily now in the States, I’m surprised it took that long to get it there. Agree with you that Magnum is mouth-watering delicious. I really wouldn’t blame you if you stood in line for a Magnum 😉

      Like

  17. This is funny, as in China the one thing I notice is that Chinese do NOT queue…instead it is just a moving mass that is trying to get at the head of the line at all costs 🙂 There have been many programs in the big cities to bring proper queuing techniques which actually have worked quite well, but it still has a long way to go.

    Love this post, as I do see in HK the opposite (the locals queuing up for just about everything, and always leaves me wondering as I walk by “what are the queuing for?!?”). Cheers!

    Like

    • Good observation, Randy. Some Asians don’t queue at all. Isn’t it funny. “Moving mass”, very apt description of them. That reminds me of the times I’ve accompanied my mum to buy groceries at the wet markets in Malaysia. All the ‘aunties’ would be shoving each other out of the way to get the freshest and largest cuts of meat. It’s like a competition to them 🙂

      I suppose in the Western world, there are more strict rules about violence, and etiquette is admired. So perhaps that’s why Asians in the Western world are more inclined to queue.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is such a funny sight to see at times, all the ‘aunties’ getting their elbows out ~ I had to just smile and realize that I was never going to get to the front 🙂 In such situations, my friends always end up helping me!

        Like

    • Ah, that reminds me: I always looked forward to getting food (such as fried rice with ham, chicken nuggets and Yakult) from the canteen during recess in school. Whenever I left class five minutes late there would be long lines in the canteen and sometimes I wouldn’t get anything until just before the bell when the queues were shorter.

      Hope you managed to get your lunches when you were in school and got what you wanted to eat 🙂

      Like

  18. lol 🙂 well, ok… me personally, queueing is frustrating for me, I’m not patient enough maybe… If I see more than 5-6 people in the line before me, I bail… in my country, people don’t usually stand in the line, they may come last but always try to get in first, so jumpin the queue could be said to be a national sports here… lol 🙂

    Like

    • Yes, queuing requires lots of patience. I don’t blame you for not joining a queue with 5 or more people – who knows how long it will take to reach the front. The worst people who jump queue are those who purposely rub up against and squeeze past you, trying to push you out of the way 🙂 I hope that has never happened to you. Indeed that is a sport of it’s own!

      Like

  19. 😀 I guess I am one of few Asians who hate queuing..I am easily giving up – unless if it relates to the state administrative matters like renewing passports or driving license (oh gosh, still it was no fun for me :)). BTW, I saw some pictures of Indonesians queued in front of H&M shop on its first opening day in jakarta – that is an example of your analysis that the queuing is a pride and “face” thing, maybe because we love all the newest and hip thing 😉

    Like

    • Queuing up for state matters always feels like it’s forever, doesn’t it 😀 In queues, most of the time there will be that one person in front of us who will ask a lot of questions or haggle for more and hold up the queue!

      I didn’t know there was a H&M in Jakarta. Not really surprised there were queues. Apart from the face thing, maybe Indonesians were after the small sized clothing the store sells 🙂

      Like

  20. I’m not a big fan of standing in line, but Scandinavians have a pretty good culture about it. I’ve heard from someone in the travel industry that at a hotel with mostly Scandinavian and Russian guests, they had to separate the breakfast buffet between the Scandinavians and the Russians, because the Scandinavians would line up, while the Russians would just walk over and bring whole trays from the buffet over to their tables.

    A little P.S, Apropos what you mentioned in my blog: If you like self-portraits, I can warmly recommend strataoftheself.wordpress.com. (You might even find some self-portraits of the cardinal there).

    Like

    • That is an interesting queuing story about Scandinavians and Russians. I really don’t know what to say about Russians taking trays of food to the tables. I’m sure they returned them to the buffet tables eventually. Really, you don’t need to wait too long in a breakfast line in a hotel…it’s just two minutes…

      I checked out a couple of your self-portraits over there. Quite different from your blog usual, a lot more abstract and mystery around them.

      Like

  21. I’ve been out of the blogging loop for a while, so it’s time to do some catching up! Glad to know you’ve still been plugging away while I’ve been the unfaithful blogger. 😛

    Living in Hong Kong, my wife and I quickly discovered that long lines were usually indications of how popular certain restaurants were. The whole “popularity” factor really isn’t a big deal for me, at least not if it means I have to wait in line more than 5-10 minutes to get into a restaurant! But my wife loves to find the super crowded places because it means the food there is good. Which is quite true, actually!

    Like

    • The longer the line, the better the food. Rarely have I queued up for food and have not disliked the dish in front of me. Food is big in Asian cultures, so maybe that’s why Asians like to queue for food too.

      On a tangential thought, you’ll never really see a queue to find get a table in most crowded Asian food courts. In Singapore, Singaporeans like to “reserve” an empty table for themselves by putting a tissue packet on it before going off to get food. Everyone else looking for a table usually walks up and down, eyes darting left and right ready to pounce on an empty, tissue-packetless table 🙂

      I am sure you spent your time productively away from this blogging world. We all need to live in order to write and share stories 🙂

      Like

      • Sharing tables with complete strangers at restaurants was a new experience for me when I first came to Hong Kong. Is it that way in Malaysia and Singapore? It’s definitely like that here in the mainland!

        You’re right – there’s nothing to write about if we don’t take time to just live life. 🙂

        Like

        • Actually, sharing tables with strangers at restaurants or even popular outdoor food courts is very rare in Malaysia and Singapore. I’ve seen a single person eating at a table for four and people standing around waiting until he/she finished the meal. Seems Malaysians/Singaporeans would rather wait than sit with a stranger.

          So hearing that in Hong Kong is surprising. I suppose restaurants there urge customers into sharing tables so as to make more money and shorten the queuing time 🙂

          Hope you have been up to something good during your disappearing act, like studying Mandarin and keeping healthy 🙂

          Like

          • If it’s a food court, Hong Kong people will do the hovering around a table, too. But if it’s just a single person, or even two people, they won’t hesitate to share a table if there are vacant seats! Hong Kong is known for being a very busy, rushed city, so I suspect this is partially demonstrated by how people are seated at restaurants.

            Studying Mandarin has definitely been on my agenda, along with various other activities of course! 😀

            Like

            • That is a very good theory. It does sound like people in Hong Kong queue for their food first, and then queue for a table – or try to squeeze themselves into any empty spot. In Malaysia and Singapore, no one really dares to queue for food first. Standing around holding a bowl of hot food on a tray and waiting is quite awkward 😀

              That is good to hear. Busy bee you are. Looking forward to your next post!

              Like

              • Well, if you’re smart (and aren’t eating alone), you’ll get one person to scout for tables while the other person orders food. My wife and I ended up doing this a lot in Hong Kong. It’s true standing around holding a bowl of hot food on a tray can be a little awkward. The good the thing is that you’re often not the only one doing it!

                Thanks! I’m looking forward to my next post as well. 😉

                Like

                • You and your wife sure know how to go after your own seats in food courts. When one of you sits down at the reserved table by yourself, the other goes to line up for food…oh, what a lonely affair eating out is 😉 And queuing can never seem to escape us!

                  Like

  22. I’m not sure I completely agree with you! My family hates to queue, they like to save time. They won’t wait in a line for something…. though you are right in that the ONLY reason they would join a relatively small queue is because they’ve heard how great the food is. I was thinking that in New York, Americans like to queue! There were queues for everything… maybe it’s just a symptom of too many people in a place?

    Like

    • You family not liking queuing and don’t do so to save time? That’s very practical of them!

      Maybe sometimes it really is a matter of too many people rushing for one thing and they don’t mind queuing. Or maybe they have nothing better to do. Maybe the queue looks exciting. Or it could be because the service is a tad slow.

      Like

  23. Well, queueing for service is a necessity these days unless they have numbered tickets, but that is still queueing metaphorically.

    Everyone has a nominal value they place on their time. If the reward is greater than the perceived waste of your time queueing then so be it. Personally, queueing for curiosity or “face” thing makes no sense to me and suggests those people queueing place no value on their time. Sorry, I’ve never thought of queueing as an “Asian” thing.

    Like

    • Interesting. Maybe some people queue because they don’t have anything else to do with their time. Which is sad, because we could always be enjoying the finer things in life if we didn’t queue. It’s always a matter of choice.

      Like

    • Push, push. Shove, shove. Yelling here, and yelling there. You are right, survival of the fittest with no queue in sight in many parts of Asia. Especially in wet markets to see who gets the biggest and freshest vegies and meats.

      Like

    • Interesting. In the context of restaurants, not sure if that’s the case here in Australia, or at least Melbourne. There are always queues for newly opened restaurants or cafes here. A few months later, no queues. Blame it on the hype. Or maybe most food in Australia is really that bland.

      Thanks for commenting 😀

      Like

  24. You know, your post reminded me of how we haggled for prices of everything in the market. Queuing takes a lot of patience and stamina. I admire people who have the patience to wait in line for a long time. Now, I remember, when I was a teenager, I waited for a long long time, from afternoon to late at night, to get in a (Menudo) concert. I guess, you can search the group and guess how old I am. 🙂 Anyway, that was the most memorable queuing that I did.

    Oh, I saw some Lindsey Stirling videos. She is indeed amazing.

    Like

    • That is so true. Queuing does take a lot of patience and stamina. It’s a physical and mental challenge at the same time. Haha, I’m sure people groan when they see people in front of them in the queue haggling and basically holding up the line.

      Ah, Menudo. Googled it, looks like a very big good-looking boyband 😀 You did the right thing by lining up to see them. I hope to meet Lindsey Stirling again – I really want to tell her how she inspires me.

      Like

  25. I did.

    Boybands were the “in thing” back in the day. There was this band that I admired. When I learned that they are visiting the Philippines for a concert and album signing over at a big mall in our city, I marked the calendar to make sure I’d be at the mall by then. I queued for their signature on my newly bought CD. (sigh) I was young…

    What I learned from the experience is, when you really want that something at the end of the queue, patience is the only option. That is no different from queuing for a woman’s sweet yes.

    Like

    • Oh yes. Boybands. I do remember them in the 90s and 2000s. They were really big in Asia. I hope also got to say a few words to the band, a once in a lifetime experience for you. I was a huge fan of Backstreet Boys, Westlife, A1, Savage Garden…all of the “in” boybands. They all did come to Malaysia/Singapore when I was living there. But I was way too young to go, according to my parents. I hope you still have that CD 🙂

      Sounds like you know how to treat a woman well, Sony. Suave.

      Like

  26. Dutch people are horrible at queueing and have no patience. So I was in for a lesson when I moved to Japan. The Japanese are frequent, patient and polite queue-ers. They wait for three hours to be able to buy Krispey Kreme donuts, Bon Jovi concert t-shirts, or to ride a Disneyland attraction (all from my own experience). And much much more. Returning for visits to the Netherlands, after learning patience and queueing in Japan, I was often amazed at the impatience of Dutchies. My own mom refused to wait to pay at the store (we had especially driven to for that purpose) because there were four people in line in front of us. She preferred coming back another time, which was just silly to me.

    Like

    • It must have been very interesting watching people in Japan queue. Krispy Kreme? Recently they opened a store in Perth (west part of Australia) and there were queues; first person in line got a year’s worth of supply of doughnuts!

      Never knew Dutchies were impatient. I was always under the impression the country was laid-back and didn’t mind a bit of a wait :O Maybe you need to take your mum to Japan for a holiday!

      Liked by 1 person

      • For a year’s supply of donuts, I can understand lining up! In Japan they were just lining up to buy a box of donuts. And since the wait is so long, everyone bought full boxes of donuts, which meant they were out of donuts quickly and new ones needed to be made constantly, adding to the wait. People waiting in line did get a free donut while waiting though. The first few months after opening the three-hour-long lines were a daily occurence. Krispey Kreme made a lot of money. I never bought one of their donuts in Japan, I did not have the patience :).

        Yep, Dutchies are very impatient! They’re also always very punctual, meaning at least 10 minutes early. They have no patience for late-comers.

        You should see what happens when a train arrives at the station and the doors open up. People waiting on the platform storm at the door, like it is a Black Friday Sale or something. They won’t even let people come off the train first. They are pushing in like animals while people are still trying to climb out of the train. It is quite embarrassing to look at as a fellow Dutchie.

        My mom, brother, and stepfather visited me in Japan for two weeks a couple of years ago. They had an awesome vacation, but they did not have the patience to wait in line (a very moderate line) for a restaurant. If they can’t have a table immediately, they will move on to the next place :D.

        Like

        • Krispy Kreme must be very popular and a big hit in Japan then :O At least some people got free doughnuts waiting in line. That is certainly worth the wait. I am sure the lines have simmered down by now, so when you go back you might want to try a Krispy Kreme there!

          Oh dear, people pushing to get in the train and not letting others alight. This is generally not the case in Melbourne. But today I was on the tram and when the doors opened, a woman just rushed in and stood right at the door. She wouldn’t move and the passengers who wanted to get out had to squeeze past her 😀

          Liked by 1 person

          • The hype has died down I think. I wanted to go to the big one in Osaka Shinsaibashi this year, but it has since been closed. I believe they’re still going strong in Tokyo.

            Maybe that tram woman today was Dutch ;).

            Like

            • It’s funny. People like wait hours in line to get something…when if they just waited a few more days, there would no queue 😀

              The tram woman who wouldn’t let people get off was probably Indian or Sri Lankan. People were standing in line behind her to get off!

              Liked by 1 person

Share your thoughts. Join the discussion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s