Lena Sin, one half of the team behind How to Hong Kong, tells us how their illustrated book came about…
The idea for How to Hong Kong sprung from my husband’s mind, not mine. Though it would become something of an obsession for me, I was steadfastly against it at the beginning.
“I think you should write a book about Hong Kong,” Nick said during one of our spring walks in Vancouver.
“No,” I think was my answer. I was a full-time journalist at the time, and though plenty of my colleagues had written books, this was never something I aspired to. News writing has its own particular rhythm and structure; writing a book, on the other hand, seemed so foreign and daunting.
Yet as Nick pushed on about the idea, I started to resist less and less, in part because I loved the idea of working on something completely cheerful — a much needed respite from the daily grind of journalism.
Hong Kong, the city where I was born and raised, was always the place I escaped to on annual vacations. Nick, who never visited until we married in 2007, fell immediately in love with the city too. It seemed like a natural subject for us to combine our skills of writing and art together.
We wanted to portray Hong Kong in a way we’d never seen before. Something beyond the big, brash neon lights. For us, the city has always been softer, a place more intimate than what we saw in guidebooks and magazines. Our Hong Kong was gritty for sure, but also nostalgic and romantic in a way.
The perfect gift for long time Hong Kong lovers, newcomers to the city or the armchair traveller, How to Hong Kong transports its readers to our fave city through its interactive pages. With each chapter devoted to a different neighbourhood that the authors love, the book as a whole is in essence their love letter to one of Asia’s most beguiling cities.
We wanted to showcase as much local flavour as possible, but also spotlight fellow creatives who make the city so interesting. Some of the people we feature in the book we found totally by accident, just by stumbling and wandering in places.