Welcome to Humans of Hong Kong, a brand-new story series on Localiiz that takes a deeper look at the many colourful characters and unique personalities that call our beloved city home. In this episode, we met up with Marc Guyon, Wing Chun master and president of the French Expat Society in Hong Kong, to tell us about what inspired him to move to the city.
It all started with a film on Wing Chun. Growing up in Marseille in the south of France, access to martial arts came mostly in the shape of popular entertainment, and Guyon’s interest was piqued at the sight of this seemingly efficient form of self-defence. Known formally as Wing Chun Kuen, this concept-based Southern Chinese kung fu style has set surprising roots in pockets of Europe, especially Germany, and he was able to dip his feet into the sport with a German teacher in Marseille.
What spurred his initial visit to Hong Kong was wanting to become familiar with the school that started this martial arts style, where his European teachers learned their form. “I felt like I was coming to a land of opportunities—everything is possible here,” he enthused when recalling his first impression of the city.
In particular, coming to Hong Kong and immersing himself in local culture made Guyon feel closer to his Wing Chun practice. To him, Wing Chun is the best of both the “traditional world and modern world.” Drawing from his own melting pot of cultures—his own background counts Vietnamese, Chinese, and French heritage—encountering the multitude of nationalities and international communities immediately made Guyon feel at home.
Although his intention was to visit martial arts schools over the duration of a few months, Guyon ended up meeting so many people and making so many connections in Hong Kong that he decided to stay and make his mark in the city. Eventually, he even met his future wife and raised two kids, becoming a lot more active in his social circle.
Coming from France, Marc joined the French Expat Society to “meet people and meet some new friends.” He quickly became an integral part of the organisation, in charge of planning and executing events and now “I'm in charge of the whole society who help (other French expats) to settle down, find a flat, find a job, and meet friends, and network.”
To him, “life as an expat is very exciting here because it’s very easy to make connections and everybody loves Hong Kong. All [the] French people love it. You get used to the upsides and downsides of Hong Kong [and] you just become a Hongkongnese. I’m part of Hong Kong now.”