Never Give Someone a Clock As A Present
Never give clocks as a present because in Chinese, “clock” is associated with “death” since it closely sounds like the word “termination.” In Cantonese, the phrase “to give a clock” is homophonous to the expression “to prepare for the end” which refers to the rites performed on loved ones nearing their end. Clocks are grim reminders that time is running out. If you give someone a clock, you’re implying that your relationship is coming to an end.
While some of the locals consider watches as acceptable gifts, other citizens still find watches inappropriate. In fact, in 2015, Mayor Ko Wen-Je of Taipei was disconcerted when UK transport minister Baroness Susan Kramer gave him a watch as a present. The mayor was later quoted saying that he would give away the watch or sell it to a scrap metal dealer. Though this awkward incident might be due to the mayor’s limited skill in diplomacy, it’s best to avoid giving timepieces as gifts.
Hong Kong is a beautiful and exciting metropolis with a unique culture, interesting history, and fantastic food. Respect the culture and customs, steer clear of things you shouldn’t do, and have an amazing trip.