I was 29 years old when I moved to Hong Kong, two overweight suitcases and a one-year work contract in hand. I’d experienced life in a foreign city before, having spent three years in Tokyo, but Hong Kong sucked me in from the moment I stepped off the plane. The smell of something foreign filled my nostrils and I was immediately intoxicated. I vowed early on that I wouldn’t become one of those expats — the kind that comes for a year and ends up staying for decades. But little by little, year by year, one siu mai at a time, my plan came unstuck. That one-year jaunt turned into 16 years, and I have zero regrets.
There’s nowhere else quite like Hong Kong. Anyone who’s lived here, visited or even just passed through will sing its praises — for its food, the nightlife, world-class airport and ease of travel, shopping, professional opportunities and, of course, some of its lesser-known virtues, like the picturesque hiking trails, hidden caves and beaches, enchanting abandoned villages and unexpected wildlife.
At its best, Hong Kong fills you with wonder, delight, energy and inspiration. Yet, it’s one of the most expensive and densest cities in the world, where rich and poor live side by side, almost literally. It can be discomforting, overwhelming and exhausting. It’s a bit like living on a roller coaster. But if you can hack it, it’s a lot of fun.
In case you haven’t already guessed, this issue is our annual special edition, in which we explore and showcase the creative production and culture of one place, and this year it’s our beloved Hong Kong, the very birthplace of Design Anthology. These 180 pages are a tribute to the city’s steadfast creative community, its idealists and activists, its resolute entrepreneurs and devoted civil servants alike.
Cities change and evolve over time; this has always been true for every major city across the world. Regardless of what Hong Kong’s future may hold, it will forever be immortalised in the memories and hearts of its devotees.
So, while travel remains off limits for many of us, we hope you enjoy exploring one of our favourite places in the world through the pages of this issue.