Cameron: Expat Antipodean
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Hong Kong, etc.
I am fairly used to expat life. I was born in New Zealand, but grew up in the Cook Islands and my first overseas post was in the United Arab Emirates. I moved from Dubai to Hong Kong in 2013.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
Living in Hong Kong provides a lot of interesting experiences to write about. I find having a blog forces me to write regularly. I try to update it twice a month.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
I am quite a film buff and used to review films back in New Zealand, so my favourite entry so far is probably my film review entry on Chunking Express.
Tell us about the ways your new life in Hong Kong differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
Back home in New Zealand there are a lot less people and life is much more relaxed – so pretty much the opposite of life in Hong Kong! I have been an expat a third of my life now. I find after the initial adjustment period, I am accustomed to settling in fairly quickly.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Hong Kong? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I thought more people in Hong Kong would speak English. Also, everyone talks about Hong Kong efficiency, but some things aren’t so efficient, some things can be downright infuriating here, in particular dealing with HSBC and certain aspects of the medical system.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
On one of my first days here, I was walking around looking lost and fiddling with a map. An old local man approaches me to help. He doesn’t speak English and therefore doesn’t understand where I want to go. A teenager is walking by, so the old man whacks the head of the teenager with his newspaper and asks him to help me. The boy understood English, and together with the old man they helped me find my way.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Hong Kong?
- Take a photo on your phone of some key place names in Cantonese to show taxi drivers.
- Don’t sign up with HSBC.
- Learn some Cantonese phrases like ‘thank you’ - Ngoi Sai.
How is the expat community in Hong Kong? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
There are some good sport clubs and lots of meetup groups if meeting other expats is your thing.
How would you summarize your expat life in Hong Kong in a single, catchy sentence?
(My answer in a haiku) Hong Kong offers culinary delights, dazzling lights and long fun nights.