A few weeks ago, I was out to dinner with a group of friends while in a different city. After the evening wrapped up, everyone in the group — around six other people — all jumped into their Ubers, leaving me alone waiting for my ride in a relatively quiet area I was unfamiliar with.
“Do you think that I can drop you a line when I get back to my hotel?” I asked one of them.
“I mean, you can if you want to, but you’re only getting into an Uber,” he responded, before also stepping into his Uber and riding away.
I felt completely alone. Chances were, nothing bad was going to happen to me. But you just never know, which is why I’ve always believed that we should look out for each other’s safety after a night out — especially when it comes to women who are journeying alone.
I learned this early on during my student days. As a teen, whenever I went out, my mom would ask me to tell her, over the phone, the license number of the taxi I was in while making my way home. Whenever I got a ride home from my friends’ parents, they would always make sure I’ve stepped inside the house and shut the doors, before they drive away — even in the leafy suburbs of England. At the time, I saw this as a nuisance — though as a grown woman, I now realize the importance of all of this.
Here in Hong Kong, which is renowned for being incredibly safe, I have always been lucky enough to have people around me who make sure I get home in one piece. The 15-minute walk from my best friend’s apartment in Mid-levels West back to mine through the streets of Sai Ying Pun isn’t exactly a dangerous journey, though he’ll always ask me to drop him a line to let him know I’m home. If a friend has had too much to drink on a girls’ night out or after junk trips, then I would never let them leave on their own.
People from considerably more dangerous cities who move to Hong Kong may see this as extreme paranoia, but when it comes to women’s safety, you simply can’t afford one mistake.
You could say living in a place as safe as Hong Kong makes you weary of other cities, especially the one I was in when I was ditched, which is one with an exceptionally high number of knife crime offences.
Or you could say it really is basic decency to ensure your female companions get home safe, no matter what city you’re in. Please, everyone — ask your women friends who are going home alone to send you their location, text you when they get back — and if need be, hop in a cab with them.
All Tea No Shade with Andrea Lo.
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