Moikka~Welcome to The Hieno!
Hi! This is Wan Wei, the founder of The Hieno. The Hieno! wasn’t always a niche blog about Finland. It started as a personal blog in 2013 where I ramble about everything under the sun.
Because I also did blog about my experiences from Singapore to Finland, I started getting regular emails from random Asian tourists. I also started getting lengthy emails from ladies who have fallen in love with Finnish guys, seeking advice on long-distance relationships. In 2016 alone, albeit spending 6 months outside of Finland, I actually hosted many Asian friends on ten separate occasions in Finland!
There is indeed a trend of increasing Asian tourists coming to visit Finland. When I first arrived in Finland in 2014 to study at Aalto University, 99% of locals thought I was either from Japan or China, or that Singapore is in China. This is because there are so few Singaporeans in Finland. We as a nationality are almost a rare commodity! I didn’t even know we have a Singaporean ambassador to Finland until mid-2016. In addition, it is only in 2016 and 2017 that saw a trend of increasing Asian tourists to Finland, especially from East-Asia, Southeast Asia and North Asia.
Which led to an Eureka moment one day in May 2017:
Why don’t I pivot The Hieno! brand such that it becomes an insider’s guide to Finland, specially written for an Asian audience?
To be honest I NEVER realised the unique problems faced by Asian tourists as opposed to for instance, African, Middle-East or Western travellers. I only found out that Asian tourists faced rather special challenges when I listen to my friends’ experiences in Finland over meals. Then it struck me HOW MUCH they are missing out on as tourists.
Asia of course is a big region. However, some cultures are closer than “the West’s”.
Let me give you just three examples of the pains my Asian friends face when they visit Helsinki:
- Cannot read road signs and names because Finnish road names are too long. They can’t even find road signs to begin with because the signs are too small;
- Unfamiliarity with random drunk people they meet on public transport;
- Unfamiliarity with silence, for certain Asian cultures; etc.
So well, I went ahead to niche down The Hieno! to make it more of a guide to Finland for my Asian friends. You can still find posts related to Singapore though, under “Misc“.
Enjoy! Would love to hear from you 🙂