Rick Wong Smits

Where were you born? Once upon a time, far, far away in a country called Never Never Land… Ehh, the Netherlands.

Where else have you lived?  Just the Netherlands and Hong Kong.

How Long Have You Been in Hong Kong?  I came here in September, 2011 — so, four-and-a-half years already.

Which part of Hong Kong do you live In?  LOHAS Park on the far east side of Kowloon. It’s a little more quite here and the outdoor area is lovely. We have a view of the city so, we still really feel like we’re in Hong Kong.

Children and ages?  My wife and I enjoy two amazing daughters. Mulan, who turned three in January; and Zosha, who is just seven months old.

Are you working in Hong Kong and what do you do?  Well, I do three things:  First and foremost, I’m full-time employed with the care of the kids and the household.  Although I must admit that we have someone coming to clean twice a week.

In the evenings, I edit videos as a freelancer. Mostly for Hong Kong moms who capture their lives with their mobile phones but don’t do anything with it. I’ve made all kinds of videos for them — yearbooks; gifts for anniversaries and father’s day; Christmas presents for the grandparents back home, etc.

Just think of how many video clips you have on your phone, at this moment. Most of us don’t know how to deal with them, or don’t have the time for it.  Well, I guess I’m on a mission to save these videos and bring them back to life.

Lastly, I do some acting.  I’ve done some acting in my “pre-kids age” here in Hong Kong and I still do the occasional gig for TVB as an extra. At the moment there’s not really a chance for me to participate in projects because no filmmaker will schedule the shoot around my children’s bedtimes.  And, of course, if you’re hardly ever available, they slowly stop calling you at all. But who knows I can pick that up again in a couple of years.

What was your career in your past life? Before I came to Hong Kong, I worked as the sales manager in the Netherlands with a hearing-aid distributor. Prior to that, I was the manager of a cinema and I ran a CD-shop (when that that was still a thing).

What brought you to Hong Kong and why have you stayed?  My wife’s parents are born in Hong Kong — an obvious link to the city. My wife was the one who put migration on our map, but I chose to go to Hong Kong as an investment in the heritage of my new family. The idea was that I could pick up the language and the culture a little bit and my wife could enjoy having some family around. It has been an interesting step in our lives. We both quit our jobs and planned to come for one year — and when my talented wife found a fun job almost immediately, we decided to stay longer.  Four years down the road:  We have two kids “made in Hong Kong”! We want them to speak Cantonese like a local and so, we will probably stay a couple more years. 
But that said, we found that John Lennon was actually right! All you do need is love — as long as we have that, we can move around the world and we’ll be alright. I always found it inspiring to find that apparently, you can move halfway around the world and still live happily ever after.

What time of day do you check Hong Kong Moms?  Sings: “Oops.. I Did it Again. I played with my phone…got caught up in it..

How does it feel to be a dad in the group? Do you offer a different perspective?  As I’m a boy, I might look at things differently and comment from an unexpected angle. Maybe some mom even understands her husband a tiny bit better because of me showing my line of thought, if that makes sense. But even if not, I am a mom, just with a different title. I feed my kids, bathe them, correct them, love them and play with them. Therefore, I am happy to be an active guest member of the Hong Kong Moms community.

I do realize that the diversity in the group also makes for unease with certain moms, that a man would be reading about what they post. But, believe me, I don’t read everything and I try to respect everybody always.

What posts do you comment on and Why?  Questions about the area that I live in or have lived in; technical stuff, if I know it. If I feel that the OP could use a hug, or just to welcome someone that is new to HK. I like to share my experiences with toddler issues or recommendations on products that I’ve used and love.

What is the best thing you have learned from Hong Kong Moms?  I love reading “tips ‘n tricks” about raising toddlers — I’ve learned a good set of tricks from that.

But what I’ve really learned is that what we read isn’t always how the original poster (OP) wrote it down. Especially since English isn’t the first language for many of us. So, I learned to read a post or comment two or three times in a different tone of voice when I can’t see the good in it. People don’t actively try to be nasty or mean, but language behavior differs so much in all our countries that we don’t all write it out as if we were natives. My language, for example, is quite to the point. So, I find that the Dutch on here tend to be very direct in English. And if I read it again, it doesn’t sound all that harsh.

What is your favorite Hong Kong Moms post?  I think it was a Friday night when one mom asked about a Brazilian blowjob, rather than a Brazilian blowout.  Well, that became an entertaining night and I still want to thank the OP for that.

What do you ask Hong Kong Moms?  When we were looking into hypnobirthing, I asked for references and experiences. I could ask for restaurants that have cool kids’ areas; how to prevent myself from strangling a screaming toddler; or how to get her to brush her teeth when she’s so tired and she just refuses.

What is your biggest Hong Kong fave?  And frustration?  I love going into Central and strolling around the buzz of the city. This city inspires me. It has the same touch as New York, as in, I feel like the city sucks you in and shows you all these opportunities and ways of life. The old and the new. The energy. I just can’t get enough of that. Unfortunately, I can’t go out that often as we don’t have a helper and we do have a busy mom.

My frustrations are on the political field. I feel the people of Hong Kong are being done no justice with the way things are arranged.  Of course, they are still better of than many in the world, that is another thing that Hong Kong shows us so brutally honestly, but the people are being cheated out of their culture and heritage. And then the cage people, the refugees — there is so much so wrong in Hong Kong.

What is your craziest Hong Kong experience?  I think acting jobs are crazy for me.  Like dancing with Ms. Hong Kong; and my wife’s family recognizes me from TV! haha! Oh, and I’m in Bryan Greenberg and Jamie Chung’s latest movie — that’s something that could only have happened here.

Does anyone ever recognize you or your name from Hong Kong Moms?  A friend of mine recently told me that people knew me from the group. But with the video editing, I usually feel like I know people really well — while they don’t know me — since I see their whole family on screen throughout a project, and they only meet me once or not at all sometimes.

What kind of friendships have you made through Hong Kong Moms?  I’ve invited some folks over if they were interested to experience the estates that we lived in  — and we’ve made some friends through that.
Which Hong Kong Mom would you like you to see featured next?  I think we all can’t wait to get to know Lady Salunga Kim a little better!

Where it all began…

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