What is Facebook's 'Chaotic Hong Kong Expats' Group?
Hong Kong/ Vibe/ Influencers

Who is Behind Facebook's 'Chaotic Hong Kong Expats' Group?

What is Facebooks Chaotic Hong Kong Expats Group 4

Chaotic Hong Kong Expats (CHKE) is Facebook’s primary portal and space for the beefing of stupid rule-breakers, satire of Hong Kong’s unnecessary bureaucratic nonsense, and light-hearted poking at the news for many of the city’s expat population.

Created in February 2018, the group of 19,000 Hong Kongers is helmed by admin, British Hong Kong born-and-raised Cassi Fleur Thomas.

With mandated rules such as “The French are les baguettes,” posts must be satirical and meme-based, light teasing only, and absolutely no posting of impact font memes, it is obvious that CHKE means fun.

To learn more about the community, The Beat Asia challenged the chaotic founder of CHKE to a series of fun questions of the who, what, where, and why of her group.

Hey Cassi, thanks for chatting with me about CHKE. So, you grew up in Hong Kong, how was that like?

I am a second-generation Hong Kong. My mom was also born here. I went to an international school, which makes you have a keen eye for the absurdities of expat culture.

I went to boarding school as a teenager, came back, and then had a newfound appreciation for the city. Delving much deeper into local culture and exploring outside of my little expat bubble.

So, I learned to laugh at myself. You realize expats culture is such a small part of this city and once you're on the outside looking in, a lot of things expats take seriously just become hilarious.

What do you love and hate about online groups about Hong Kong?

Love and hate how unfiltered they are. People will leave extremely personal details of their lives to a group of a thousand strangers.

I love the heart-warming stories. Especially when there is a collective good involved, like the Hong Kong quarantine support group.

Hate when people use it as an outlet to bash less fortunate, particularly domestic helpers. Leaking personal details etc. It just feels vindictive in a way that is unnecessary and extremely privileged.

What made you create the Chaotic Hong Kong Expats group?

Mostly for the reasons above. There [were] so [many things that] expats [like to] punch down that I just wanted something to make fun of those people.

I was also two years into stand-up comedy, and I started using a lot of different comments sections as my own personal open mic. I wasn’t taken kindly in a lot of places, so I started getting banned from groups. So, that is when I started CHKE.

Originally, what did you want the group to be or do?

I just wanted an expat community that did not have the airs and graces of the other expat groups. Just don't take yourself too seriously but also be decent people.

Though the direction of the group changed beyond just close friends. More s***posting, more memes, but the core of it was still a community, not an anonymous entity. We do events, get togethers, collective action for some local causes etc.

What does it mean to be a chaotic Hong Kong expat?

For the expat who is not really an expat. But also, ones who truly love this city.

I actually asked this question in the group, so here are a few gems:

  • "To be a chaotic Hong Kong expat is both an honour and a responsibility. I have worked as an admin in the depths of the Hong Kong interwebs and the life there is poor and it's very sad. And I have always taught myself to look for the chaos in it; to look in the chaos of every expat anecdote and be grateful. I will bring this aspect as a Chaotic Hong Kong Expat, to see situations with a silver lining, and to assess where I could give something, where I could provide something as a spokesperson. If I can teach people to be chaotic, we can have an amazing world where cold water cannot grow and prosper, and every chaotic expat will have smiles on their faces, and hot water in every home."
  • "It means missing your stop on the minibus, because you're too scared to say “yau lok, mgoi,” in case a native [Hong Konger] laughs at you."
  • "Only true genius controls chaos.”
  • “Self-help group for Hong Kong Moms. I do not believe in essential oils. I cannot afford a tennis coach. My alcohol problem is not based around chardonnay, and I’m a hamster.”

What things do you/people like to mock and make fun about on the group?

French people, hot water (as much as I hate it), the use of “CUM” on government signs, current affairs, people in power, ourselves. We try not to punch down except for baggettis.

What are some of the best posts in the group?

Our most popular thread of all time was a thread about the craziest license plates in Hong Kong. Whether funny or weird or douchy, there is no shortage of weird license plates in this city.

My personal favourites are Hong Kong mom parody posts - everyone joins in in character.

What do you love and hate about Hong Kong?

The things that don't change and [do] change.

Lamma for example is amazing. It has been unchanged mostly since I was a kid. Still the same friendly faces. It's like a community trapped in time. Whereas so much of Hong Kong is constantly changing. It's bittersweet because every exciting new thing comes with the disappearance of something else. In general, I do think Hong Kongers have the ability to laugh at everything

Hate is a strong word, but Hong Kong's rigidity. This city takes too much stock in "order,", and it is more important to some people than common sense. Also, snitch culture. Hong Kong is the Karen hub of Asia, whether you are a local or expat. Something about this place turns you into a raging Karen; the city offers so much that people feel entitled to more.

What is the future for the group?

We have finally come out with some merchandise after years of demands. But we hope to leverage our chaos for some good; charity and non-profit initiatives have always been a part of Chaotic, and we hope to do more once COVID-19 is over. That is, if we don't get banned from Facebook.

Thanks, Cassi, for that chat.

Thanks Rubin!

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