How @hkmehmeh Creates Hong Kong’s Viral Instagram Memes
Hong Kong/Vibe/Influencers

How @hkmehmeh Started Hong Kong's Viral Instagram Meme Page

How hkmehmeh Started Hong Kongs Viral Instagram Meme Page

Hong Kong meme account @hkmehmeh has captured a zeitgeist of the city in recent years, becoming the talk of the town and in our DMs for her sardonic, sarcastic and super funny memes. With her posts aimed at mocking our embarrassing culture, silly traditions and habits, and everyday bizarre news, the social influencer has created a great online community formed with humour.

In a quest to understand the workings of these zany and funny memes, The Beat Asia caught up with Hong Kong’s princess of meme to explore her journey mocking our wonderful city and why Hong Kong Instagram loves her.

How did @hkmehmeh start, and what convinced you to continue growing the account?

It started out as something I did for a few laughs during my time at university and shared among friends. I guess I found out that way that I have a knack for creating memes, and simultaneously realised that nobody in Hong Kong was doing something like this at the time — namely, memes with a distinctly Hong Kong-centric edge that was relatable. It just grew from there, and there was never any intention of making it a big account. It was a happy accident.

Do you think being a “non-native Hong Kong citizen” has allowed you to have a better perspective of the city, and thus create better memes?

I’m sure it has made a difference! I’m not saying my perspective on Hong Kong life and its nuances is all that unique, given that it’s just through the lens of a typical expat — but that’s also probably what makes it relatable to so many who have lived in the city for a few years. It could be anyone, but I think my page came onto the scene a bit earlier than most.

How do you create a meme? What sources of inspiration do you have?

As a non-native but now permanent resident in Hong Kong, I faced my fair share of struggles and interesting experiences adapting to this city, and I just wanted to make light of the more peculiar aspects of Hong Kong and its culture. Anything from rude taxi drivers to inexplicable English names people give themselves. It’s a place that just keeps giving, and I haven’t even scratched the surface with loads more to poke fun at.

At the beginning of my meme-making journey, I just posted any ideas that popped into my head, but after making around 1,000 memes, I had to devise a way to be more creative. Over the years, I have collated a database of meme formats and templates that I find funny, so that whenever a promising idea comes around, I can come through them to find the best format for it. It sounds a bit methodical, but it's organic, given that I keep mental notes on what I’ve stored away. As much as I’d like to say that my memes take hours of work, they’re usually made up in five or so minutes.

How has your cultural background and childhood inspired your meme creation?

I think a person's sense of humour is most influenced by the environment they grew up in. It might surprise many people, but I am Korean and spent my teen years growing up in Singapore. The school I attended had a diverse mix of nationalities and cultures, so I was exposed to lots of types of humour — whether brash American or sarcastic like English. My sense of humour is the melting pot of everything.

I’m also the youngest member of the family, which probably meant I had a bit more freedom growing up. Being the “baby” of the family likely took some pressure off my career choices (outside banking, law, engineering) and enabled me to pursue interests that were more creative. I have a feeling that shaped my personality in a significant way.

Tell us about Just Diu it. What’s the inspiration behind the merch series? What’re you hoping for the series to achieve?

The phrase itself came from one of my older memes, as a response to not wanting to do any more work when your boss gives you more to do. The meme has gained a surprising amount of traction, but that makes sense given it contains the most commonly known Cantonese swear word “diu.” I am grateful that people still love the phrase!

What is the future for HK Meh Meh? Any other exciting projects in the pipeline you can tell us about?

I just released some new merch for my new line, “Diur.” I'm cooking up some new ideas for new releases before the Christmas or Chinese New Year period, so people can look forward to that. I'm also planning to commit more time to creating content for my YouTube channel. I’m also always open to working with local influencers and brands too!  

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