In a new series showcasing the stories shared by Expats in Vietnam, produced by photographer Fred Wissink, we put together a few tidbits of notable expat personalities in Vietnam. We start with the insights of Hanoi-based Singaporean Bobby Liu, founder of Hub.IT and active technology startup community advocate.
Occupation: Founder, Hub.IT
Overseas since: Time immemorial
Could you name some of the countries you’ve lived in since leaving the place where you grew up?
Hong Kong, Milan, New York, Papa New Guinea, Vietnam.
How has being an expat changed your perception of your home country?
I actually grew to appreciate and love what Singapore has become.
When you know exactly where to go to get your toothbrush.
I became an expat by…
By eking out a living overseas? I tend to think ‘expat’ is reserved for foreigners that are on big fat paychecks with housing benefits. I’m more like a nomad.
I once was…
The stereotypical Chinese food delivery boy? The Chinese man that everyone thinks is armed with pugilistic skills? Yeah, done that.
Moving away felt…
Rather than feeling like “I’ve left”, it was more like, “I’ve found a second home.” And it’s always better, like a mistress — don’t print that.
Being in Hanoi, open yourself up to discovery, rather than trying to change Hanoi to suit you. It’s been around 1,000 years, and will be around another 1,000 years.
Can you see yourself living in your adopted country indefinitely?
All I can say is, I have not set an expiration date.
If yes, what makes you stay?
Seeing and experiencing the change and growth. Intrinsically, I feel at home, maybe in my past life I was a Vietnamese. I’ll look into this more when I’m in a more zen state of mind. Right now, I’m too distracted to think much about it.
I worry about…
The insecurity of being a transient citizen. Of course visa changes are always a couple steps away to mess things up.
It’s the discovery of new things and surprises that keep us nomads going.