Despite living in Canada for some eight or nine months now, I still sometimes get thrown off by the switches. To switch on a light or whatever, you flick the switch upwards. Sounds like a no-brainer, huh? I got the hang of my room after a while and didn’t think twice. Then I moved and had to rediscover how switches are up for “on” and down for “off.” I get confused by the occasional switch that has been installed incorrectly and goes the other way — the wrong way around, I guess.

I was flicking switches on and off so happily in the UK that I realised something was different and had to check. And yes, HK switches are modelled after the UK after all: you flick down if you want to switch something on and up if you want to switch something off. It made me laugh — I wonder how many born-and-bred Canadians are having trouble with the switches right now? I know a lot are having trouble remembering which side of the road to look at first when crossing; it’s actually a little dangerous when people get off the coach and hang around the side of the road they think no one is going to come and then have a coach honk at them. It’s also dangerous when people assume pedestrians have right-of-way. I think the safest thing in the world is to always assume that pedestrians don’t have right-of-way unless told otherwise. One of my friends, when heading back towards the coach/bus to get on, started going towards the wrong side while I kept walking — because in North America, you get on the right-hand side and in the UK, you get on the left-hand side. It’s funny to see how deeply enculturated we all are. I bet I’m going to take a couple of days to get used to Vancouver again when I get back.

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