Friday, April 8, 2011

Be prepared

I was at lunch with a colleague a few weeks ago when, over post lunch coffee, he announced that he'd just bought some survival rope (or some such, there was a name but I can't remember it) for his survival kit. Thinking he was joking, and he is a colleague of whom I am very fond and work with a lot, I was a bit bemused. This came a couple of days after the Japan earthquake, after which most of HK had totally overreacted to the idea that radiation might reach HK, so I really thought he was joking.

He then proceeded to tell me the contents of his family's survival kit. He strongly believed that he should have sufficient food, clothing and water for a week.

I didn't quite know what to say. Having been stuck in a natural disaster myself, my main thought was a) helping other people b) getting out and c) making sure the duty free booze and the chairs we had bought got out with us. I don't joke lightly about this. We were on the coast of Sri Lanka when the boxing day tsunami hit and I saw and did some horrible things and have never felt fear like it before or since. The focus of the chairs and champagne got us through with relative good humour and sanity in the face or the tragedy around us. However, I can't think of that many situations we would ever be in within HK when we would need a survival kit. I take on board the food and water argument, but sleeping bags and ropes? Are we assuming all our apartments will be flattened and I'll need to scale a mountain?

Maybe I am a cynical Brit. Maybe I am somewhat fatalistic about things and take each day as it comes. Perhaps I should think about this more seriously and he has a point.

This post invites comment so please do.


LottieP said...

This seems like a typical Hong Kong over-reaction to me. Perhaps not on the same scale as the full biological weapons gas mask worn (to the office) by someone we did some work for during SARS, but still, an over-reaction. And you're right to highlight, as gently as you did, that really, even if well-intentioned, this speaks of a selfishness and "me first" attitude which is quite common in HK - as I previously commented regarding expats sending wives and children overseas during SARS but leaving the helper behind (because he still needs his shirts ironed).

I am intrigued by the rope, though. Is the man intending to abseil his way out of trouble?

Muddling Along said...

This rope intrigues me - what is survival rope and how is it different from normal rope?

I wonder if this is a way the SAS are raising extra funds? Selling off old rope as rebranded super survival rope?

Mummy said...

The gentleman in question is European, married to a Yank. I think he took his military service rather seriously. I'll ask about the difference between survival rope and the usual kind.

I sort of assumed he would use it to tie up people who tried to panic purchase in front of him at the supermarket :-)