Interview with hongkongfong

It’s Monday morning… and I’m hungry again. Why’s that? It’s because I’ve been looking at Deb’s hongkongfong way too long and now want to go and eat at one of the many places Deb recommended in her ‘one year in’ post and book at table on the small boot at the Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter!

What I love about her blog is the mix of different topics – news places to try, old regulars to revisit, markets and temples Deb visited (with some amazing photography), as well as travel experiences she collected. It is a great mix of different impressions, and it is easy to navigate, as you just pick what you are most interested in – anything from eating out to cultures and festivals as well as travel locations are featured on her blog.

So without much further ado, let me introduce Deb and her blog hongkongfong in her own words.

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Describe your blog in one or two sentences
hongkongfong is the intersection of a colorful visual diary and carefully considered commentary on all things Hong Kong and beyond, from my perspective as an ABC (American-born Chinese) expat, recently relocated from New York City. It is my way of sharing my discoveries and observations – the big city draws and hidden little gems, local nuances and more western influences, the traditional and the evolving – and immersing myself and others in the amalgam of culture, incredible natural surroundings, and of course the vibrant people that are the pulse of this great city and region.

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What made you decide to start a blog?
In the past, I have been guilty of taking my surroundings and where I lived somewhat for granted – experiencing quite fully but not really considering my experiences all that carefully. Once we decided to move to Hong Kong, I vowed I would never tumble into that pitfall again. While I have traveled extensively, including throughout Asia, I had never lived abroad and knew I would be entering a whole new world. I began considering how I could best document my fresh observations and realized that friends and family were also interested in them. Blogging had never been on my radar before, but it seemed (and has proven to be) the perfect forum to share.

Interview with hongkongfong 2

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Walking outside! With an open mind, I find inspiration almost everywhere – on the street, in markets, parks, temples, at any of the over-the-top festivals, in faces or even in the trees that tell stories in and of themselves. I also seek (and find) inspiration in the work of others – photographers, bloggers, artists and designers that embrace and celebrate things as they are or push the envelope and look toward what’s next.

Interview with hongkongfong 3

What has been the highlight of working on your blog so far?
Blogging has inspired me to showcase my photography in a new way – in a different and better context. And somewhat unexpectedly for me, blogging has reignited my love for writing, something I had not indulged in since my teenage years. Having others appreciate and recognize my work has also been very rewarding and encouraging – since although I still blog mostly for myself, of course it’s always lovely to know that my photos and musings resonate with others, as well.

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What do you like to do when you are not working on your blog?
Above and beyond anything else, photographing. Even when creating photographs that I choose not to include in my blog, the act of photographing is what brings me the greatest joy and satisfaction, transporting me to a completely different and elevated headspace. For me, it is visceral and immersive. And while some don’t always understand or agree with this, photographing makes me feel more connected to the world and the people around me. I’ve included a few examples in this interview post. Eating well and traveling/exploring (especially with my husband, Mark) are a very close second and third – not necessarily in that order, and often together!

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What three tips would you give to someone visiting Hong Kong for the first time?
Hong Kong is justly famous for its more touristy sights like the Tian Tan (Big) Buddha, so definitely visit it. Spring for the Crystal Cabin option on the cable car to get there – if for no other reason, to access the express queue (with the glass bottom as a fun bonus!). Skip the faux village, but don’t forget to stop by the lovely Po Lin Monastery next door – perhaps even give the vegetarian lunch a try.

HK is much more than its massive skyscrapers, endless shopping malls, and Lan Kwai Fong. Take time to visit its greener side – via its numerous hiking trails, charming surrounding islands, beaches a short ride from city central, or simply a stroll by the awe-inspiring, sprawling tree roots lining the streets such as those in my fave ‘hood – Sheung Wan.

Definitely set aside a day (or evening) to check out my new favorite spot in HK – PMQ (the revamped Police Married Quarters). PMQ primarily showcases emerging artists/designers and offers unique, handmade retail therapy, fun new restaurants, and opportunities to chat up these inspiring rising stars!

What are your favourite blogs?
There are many blogs that I follow and truly enjoy. A few examples are:

  • Steve McCurry (demonstrating the power of photography to bring humanity to greater light, with intensity, honesty, and vibrant color)
  • International Bellhop Travel Magazine (sharing fun stories and recommendations for travel around the world)
  • Legal Nomads | Telling Stories Through Food (thoughtfully uniting travel and food in insightful stories, and demonstrating that one is not always limited to a single career path)
  • Pundit from Another Planet (a fun, rapid-fire source of mostly news snippets and intelligent, satirical commentary – and in a shameless plug, its cofounders have also generously brought me on board to become their new Asia Photo Editor-at-Large, a very exciting opportunity for me!))
  • In addition, these may not really count as true blogs, but they feature many fantastic, diverse posts that I find extremely entertaining and inspiring: Distractify and BoredPanda. And of course, BlueBalu, (thank you, Ruth – for providing regular updates on the latest developments in HK and especially great recommendations for hikes around this green and scenic city!)
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    Thanks Deb, it was nice talking with you and learning more about your blog. I’m curious what you’ll experience in the next months, here in Hong Kong! So do keep blogging and I’ll keep on reading! You can follow Deb on her adventures on her hongkongfong blog, Facebook page and Twitter account.

    [All pictures in this post belong to Deb at hongkongfong]

    PS: Missed a previous interview with a Hong Kong blogger or expert? Check out my series here & contact me on bluebaluinHK at gmail.com if you want to participate.

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    6 responses to “Interview with hongkongfong

    1. Reblogged this on pundit from another planet and commented:
      Our In-House Photo Rock Star Deb Fong, interviewed. They beat me to it! Happy to see we didn’t even have to assign an interviewer, we had nothing to do with it, honest! We only wish there were an audio version of this, Deb is known for a uniquely high-velocity verbal style. Thanks to bluebalu, a favorite HK site of ours, too.

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