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hkmehmeh
Photograph: Courtesy hkmehmeh

HK Profile: @hkmehmeh Instagram memes creator in Hong Kong

We speak to one of Hong Kong’s most hilarious meme creators on Instagram about her cultural background, inspirations, and what shapes her humour

Written by
Time Out Hong Kong
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Hong Kong-based memes creator @hkmehmeh has built a massive following of over 34k by capturing the city’s simultaneously iconic yet oftentimes embarrassing culture through humour. Sarcastic, borderline inappropriate, and just plain silly, @hkmehmeh has managed to create an online community for many with her unique take on both the eastern and western side of culture in Hong Kong. We caught up with the memes queen herself to find out more about how it all started. By Erika Yip

What made you start this Instagram account?

“I started it as a laugh between my friends and I realized I had a bit of a knack for making memes; more specifically, I realized there weren't that many pages that were posting funny content with a Hong Kong edge. So, I thought I should work on this more and see where it takes me, but I never started this thinking that it would be 'the next big thing'. Building 30k within three years has all been a happy accident.” 

How did you come up with the name 'hkmehmeh'? 

“Just three years ago, memes weren’t as well known as they are now. There were still people who didn't know how to say it correctly and they were pronouncing it either ‘mee mee’ or ‘meh meh’, so I wanted to poke fun of that with the account name hkmehmeh”. 

What inspires you to create these memes? 

“I’m inspired really just because I'm a non-native Hong Kong citizen. I've had my fair share of struggles, as well as interesting experiences while adapting to this city. There are so many issues that everyone relates to but are not communicated on a public platform. Those are the things that inspire me – my personal experiences and peculiar things about Hong Kong that I think are quite comical.” 

What’s your process behind creating memes? 

“Well, my process is not as fun as what people would think. When I first started, I would think of a funny idea, and I would start scavenging for appropriate materials to go with it. But now after making over 490 memes, I have a huge database of meme formats that I have saved. So, what I do now is think of an idea, go back to my database, find something fitting to what I thought of, and mash them together. It sounds quite mechanical but it's still organic.” 

Has the pandemic changed the way you post or the type of content that you post?

“It hasn't really affected my content, but the difference that I've noticed is that people consume my content a lot more. The engagement rate is much higher because people are just forced to stay at home. That's why I'm consistently pushing out memes these days.” 

You have over 30k followers, does it make you more aware of what to post? 

“I cannot say that I'm not afraid of posting, because you know, I'm a human being and I have feelings. I don't like to offend anyone, but one thing that I've been quite dead set on since starting this is that I'm not going to water down my content just because I'm worried that I'll ruffle some feathers.

I post without any malicious intent. I don't do it for the sake of offending people, and I wouldn't want to make people feel bad about who they are or what they believe in. But there's not going to be a universal moral line that everyone will agree on. For certain topics, some people will find it offensive, some people will find it funny, so I'll just post stuff that doesn't cross my own moral line.” 

How has your cultural background influenced what your memes and what you find funny? 

“I am Korean, but I grew up in Singapore, and I went to school with students with diverse nationalities and cultures. Being surrounded by different people really exposed me to different types of humour, like American humour or dry British humour, so I think that my humour is like a melting pot of that. In terms of culture, I'm a third culture kid. I'm Korean, but I see Singapore as my second home, and Hong Kong as my third one. Being born Korean doesn't solely define me.

I can actually speak a little Cantonese. I know all the trashy Cantonese slangs, especially. But more than ever, I ask my friends to tell me about all the cool slangs that young people are speaking, or just peculiar things about Hong Kong that I wouldn't have known. These are the things that I actively look for and apply to my memes. For example, I find it funny that I still cannot understand what the cha chaan teng lady tells me; or every time I walk into a restaurant, the first thing I ask for is the English menu. My lack of knowledge in Cantonese helps shape my memes.” 

Are you working on anything new? 

“I just released my new merch, ‘Just Diu It’. I'm thinking of coming out with a few more before Christmas or Chinese New Year, so people can look forward to that. I'm also actually working on something like a dating series. I want to call it ‘Super Tinder’, but it's nothing official yet. So many of my followers complain about how single they are. So I thought to myself, why don't I just matchmake them? If they like my page, it means at least they have a similar sense of humour. Finding a partner with the same sense of humour is very critical for me, so I'll probably start working on that next year. Other than that, I'm hoping to collaborate with more local brands or local influencers too.” 

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