10/20 - Ten Questions, Answered in 20 Words or Less!
Local historian and writer Jason Wordie is a walking encyclopaedia when it comes to Hong Kong and leads entertaining private walks and lectures all over the city.
1. How did you come to be in Hong Kong and what made you stay?
Long story – but my home, friends, work, interests and the sheer physical beauty of the place all firmly anchor me.
2. Historian, writer, columnist, lecturer and docent – was this always your plan?
The first four career paths I’d wanted to pursue since I was young, but the walks grew of their own accord.
3. What's your favourite little-known fact about the history of Hong Kong?
That its entire existence has been dictated by the supply of fresh water.
4. Which area of Hong Kong do you find the most historically fascinating, and why?
Central – so many layers and levels to appreciate and understand – it’s not all gleaming office towers, designer rags and modernity.
5. What would you say is the biggest cultural shock that visitors to Hong Kong have to contend with?
The inescapable fact that Hong Kong is not, at a deep level, even remotely international. That’s all marketing flim-flam.
6. Which interesting area do you think is mostly overlooked by tourists?
Kowloon City. There’s so much historical and cultural interest there, but now the airport has moved, few visitors bother which is a pity.
7. Name two favourite foodie spots, one for a casual bite and one for a special occasion.
My favourite dai pai dong in Yuen Long where I know everyone, and Jimmy’s Kitchen in Central.
8. You lead a number of historical walks in Hong Kong, Macau and China - which is your favourite walk and why?
All are different, it’s not reasonable to single out one. Macau has such a long, varied history, it’s impossible not to be fascinated.
9. You’ve been living here for 20 years or more, have you noticed any differences since the handover?
“What’s going to happen in/when/after...” questions have ceased, the future has happened, and it’s been, in the main, a positive one.
10. What’s the strangest question anyone has ever asked you on a tour?
Where to find an opium den. It was like a sudden flashback to another era!