To those of us coming from India and Nepal, Hong Kong seemed clean… a little too clean. The reason soon became clear. Wherever we went, we saw tags on doors, escalators, and other surfaces, noting how often those surfaces are disinfected.

The push for cleanliness dates back at least to the 1970s, with the Keep Hong Kong Clean campaign and its mascot, the villainous  Lap Sap Chung (Litterbug).

The Keep Hong Kong Clean campaign, now a museum piece

Lap Sap Chung faces a crowd of Hong Kongers

But it was the 2003 outbreak of  Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that led to Hong Kongers current obsession with disinfection. I suppose one can’t blame them. A bunch of people crammed onto a small island are faced with a disease of mysterious origin sweeping through Asia. I’d probably be generous with the Windex. Although cleaning up too well can be a hazard as well.

And so, a decade later, the disinfection continues.