Moikka~Welcome to The Hieno: Your Asian Insider’s Guide to Finland.
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.
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“.
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