Andrew Leyden

Where were you born? Born in the USA, raised in downstate Illinois.

Where else have you lived? Washington, New York, London, Moscow, Hong Kong along with a few college towns in the Midwest.

How long have you been in Hong Kong? Seven years this month, so time for a new HKID.

Which part of Hong Kong do you live in? Midlevels Central

Children and ages? 8 & 10

Are you working in Hong Kong and what do you do? I write iPhone apps and do some tech work. I created the Hong Kong Air Pollution app that many parents use, and I also do quite a bit with social media under the moniker @penguinsix. I will be launching a new social media advertising company that is launching this spring with a few others.

What work did you do in your past lives? I was a national security aide on Capitol Hill and an attorney in Washington DC, but I turned my back on politics and policy and started a dot.com in the late 1990s and have been in technology ever since.

What brought you to Hong Kong and why have you stayed? I often say I live a village lifestyle in an urban metropolis. The easy access to so many different things and a strong community of friends is what keeps me in the city.

What time of day do you check Hong Kong Moms? I check in periodically throughout the day here and there, but regularly before I have to run to the Southside for school activities as Hong Kong Moms has some good Repulse Bay Road traffic reports.

What posts do you comment on and why? Usually posts where people are asking for a specific technical questions or the location of something. Frequently I end up recommending something in Mongkok or Sham Shui Po, a place many Hong Kong Moms readers don’t often visit. I often want to go off on the crazy alternative medicine and anti-vaccine nonsense but I usually bite my tongue and just message my friend Lester Lim who has no qualms entering those debates.

What is the best thing you have learned from Hong Kong Moms? Quite a bit about Asian travel options and vacation destinations. If there is a place in Asia you want to visit, someone on the group has been there.

What is your favorite Hong Kong Moms post? The ones that make me go “huh?” Frequently ending in “should I call the doctor” after listing a ridiculous set of symptoms.

What do you ask Hong Kong Moms? When my son was only one, he climbed on my desk and started swiping the monitor of my iMac with his finger. I realized he thought that’s how you accessed a computer after seeing me on an iPhone. I’m very interested in how people are parenting with technology — how do they manage the usage in their houses and what things work and don’t work. It’s a battle we all face but the guidelines given by professionals are considerably vague and easily ignored. Our kids will grow up with technology and use it in ways we cannot predict. Hearing how others are dealing with these new uses is quite fascinating.

What is your biggest Hong Kong fave? My favorite thing about HK is how walkable everything is in the city. I walk 20k steps a day partially as exercise and partially to run errands. The city has a real village feel for me as I’m frequently running into friends while walking in Central.

And frustration? Pollution and the cost of living. Not just the overall price, but the value. I have a saying about things in Hong Kong – 80% of the quality at 120% of the price.

What is your craziest Hong Kong experience? I was out for a hike in Central one day doing a live video on Twitter’s Periscope app when a wild boar ran through Hong Kong Park. I just sort of tagged on with a police unit that was chasing him, broadcasting the events live all around the world. By the end of the day the Guardian, BBC and other major papers were featuring my video and calling me for play-by-play of the boar hunt. Was a tad surreal.

Does anyone ever recognize you or your name from Hong Kong Moms? Not really. I get some recognition from my social media accounts as @PenguinSix but generally I’m able to skirt under the radar around town.

What kind of friendships have you made through Hong Kong Moms? I recognized a number of my children’s schoolmates’ families on Hong Kong Moms so we’re able to keep in touch and help each other out with things quite a bit easier.

Which Hong Kong Mom would you like you to see featured next? Kelly Shannon Warde

 

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