Though being disrupted periodically, Fong So has been working on and off on a new sketch series about his life in a state of self-imposed exile over a period of three years. This series will comprise more than 120 sketches and the whole project will be compiled as a book with his own narrative and reflection about what he has been through after leaving Hong Kong. It’s not yet certain when the book (tentative title: A Life in Exile) will be published. Posted here are some sketches. Updates will be forthcoming.


Cover image
It’s a self-imposed exile. I had no idea what could’ve happened had I stayed in Hong Kong. When I was walking inside the Greenwich Foot Tunnel in London, I felt a sudden chill. It’s not a dark tunnel. In fact, I have walked through a much darker one…. – FS

Project gallery

1. A fine mess: That’s what I had left behind by the time I left Hong Kong – a messy working studio. I didn’t know when I would come back and had no idea what the future would hold for me. – FS

2. First Snow: It’s difficult to find a place to stay during the Covid-19 pandemic. Fortunately, with the help of a friend, I was allowed to share an almost vacant house in Belfast for nearly one year. Winter came when I got there with my partner. We had to hole ourselves up inside the house most of the time. – FS

3. Seized work: I received a message with a news photo from a friend before leaving Belfast. It was the news about the closure of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Democratic Movements in China and the Alliance’s June 4 Museum. The Museum was raided by the National Security Police and many objects were seized, including a painting of mine on loan to the Alliance. – FS

4. Umbrellas Cities: After staying in Belfast for one year, my partner and I moved to London via Liverpool. The decorations I saw in two streets of Belfast and Liverpool reminded me of something about Hong Kong that had very strong impact on my mind: umbrellas. – FS

5. Beer Garden: I am not a frequent pub goer, but some pubs provide very good spaces for me to spend time when I have the need to think alone. In a chilly September afternoon, I sat still in the beer garden of a neighbourhood pub for two hours to think how to write a very difficult piece. I managed to figure out how to do that after finishing a pint. – FS

6. Reflection: I had an unspeakable shock while encountering this tear-shaped sculpture in Canary Wharf in London. The sculpture is made of polished steel and viewers can see their own reflections in it. The title given to it is Tear. Reflecting what I had been through in front of it, I was nearly in tears myself. – FS

7. House Hunting: In London, as in my stay in Belfast, I shared a vacant apartment recommended by another friend. The house-owner was kind enough to let me renew the agreement of staying on every six months. After living there for one and half years, my partner and I decided to find a more permanent place. We spent months house-hunting and eventually moved out of that east London flat. – FS


Last updated: August/September 2023