Hong Kong is a place brimming with talented and intriguing people. In our new 27 Questions column, we get up close and personal with notable Hong Kong personalities, learning about their whims and aversions, pivotal life moments, and hopes and dreams — all revealed in roughly the same amount of time it takes to sit through a round of speed dating. 

Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Margaret Chung Lai-kai moved to Hong Kong and joined TVB as an actress and model at the age of 18 — soon supporting her family after her father’s retirement. Through the glamorous career and the opportunities to jet around the world on movie and television sets, Chung demonstrated an unwavering dedication to her family. She married businessman Nardone Ruggero in 2010, and together they have two young daughters. Her first daughter, Isabella, was diagnosed with a rare syndrome that only occurs in one in every 50,000 babies. Facing these challenges head on, she founded Beyond Children’s Special Needs Foundation, which gives back to families and aids them with resources to support children with special needs.

These days, Chung stays centred by working as a yoga instructor at Pure Yoga. She also recently made appearance at French fashion house Chloé’s new boutique opening at Elements Mall, appearing as one of the representative #ChloéGirls — a mark of a daring, free spirit with unshakable grit. We can’t think of many more inspirational Hong Kong women who fit this description so well, so read on to learn more about Margaret Chung.

27 Questions - Margaret Chung

Name: Margaret Chung Lai-kai
Age: 42
Occupation: Mom/Yoga teacher/Founder of Beyond Children’s Special Needs Foundation HK

 

1. What is your life motto?

Learn from the past, live for the present, let the future be.

2. What is the best meal you’ve ever eaten in Hong Kong?

Obviously there’s a lot of best meals I’ve eaten, but if I really have to pick, I’ll go with congee with preserved egg and pork. It’s really weird, I know.

3. Who is your role model?

My mom. She’s in heaven now but she had taught me so much in life. Everything I am, she helped me to be. She’s my inspiration, role model, best friend, and so many more other things in my life.

4. What was your first job?

TVB artist.

5. What is your drink of choice?

Coconut water.

6. What is the best thing in or about your apartment?

The people in it that make it my home.

7. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Shrimp dumpling (har gow). Someone asked me that question over a decade ago and it’s the same answer today. I actually haven’t eaten it for almost eight years now, and still haven’t today! I was in a challenging position in 2011 as my daughter had some major medical issues; as a parent I felt quite helpless because I wasn’t able to do much to help her. As part of my prayers for my daughter’s health, I thought that I should sacrifice something I loved in exchange for it. Yes, har gow popped into my mind, because I really really did love to eat them! But that’s not the case anymore for me… with no regrets!

27 Questions - Margaret Chung
Image credit: @yogachung/Instagram
8. What do you hate most about living in Hong Kong?

Hate is a strong word…but I highly dislike Hong Kong cockroaches.

9. What is your biggest regret in life?

None. Yes, mistakes were made, but it all led to what my life is now… so nope, no regrets!

10. What is the top destination on your bucket list?

Maldives. It is a place that I’ve always wanted to visit and a lot of my friends have been there as well. I planned going there twice but failed because of family, work and other conflicts. I just really hope I can find time to visit soon.

11. How often do you prepare your own meals?

Every day. At the moment I’m making a lot of fried rice because my daughters love it and it’s the best way to sneak in vegetables.

12. What is your biggest guilty pleasure?

Potato chips, they make me happy.

13. What is your typical Sunday like?

Chill — a lot of yoga!

27 Questions - Margaret Chung
Image credit: @yogachung/Instagram
14. Which moment in your life would you most like to relive?

Hawaii with my mom. I went there for work and I was able to bring an assistant along, so I brought her but I ended up being the assistant instead. It was before she got sick so it was a really precious mother and daughter experience for me, as we got to do a lot of things together with just the two of us.

15. If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

Here. There really is nowhere I want to live other than Hong Kong because I have settled in with my family here. I don’t even see myself moving back to Toronto, where I grew up, any time soon.

16. If you could invite any five people in the world to your dream dinner party, who would they be?

Mom, Mother Teresa, Michelle Obama, Gandhi, my older brother Joseph.

17. What is one song you know all the lyrics to?

At the moment, Moana (“How Far I’ll Go”)…but hopefully it will diminish from my brain once my daughters lose interest!

18. Where do you go when you want to be alone?

It is the best place to be where I can be just be myself when I really need some personal space, locked away with no kids around. Just to relax and let loose.

19. What’s your favourite childhood memory?

We used to go snow tobogganing with my family when we were kids growing up in Toronto during wintertime. It was like a family tradition. I haven’t been back for a really long time, and I hope that eventually I can bring my kids to experience it, too.

20. What is one thing you’ve never revealed to your parents?

I’m a pretty open person and I tell them everything.

21. What is your favourite scent in the whole world?

Lavender — it’s my go-to scent for relaxation. It helps calm my mind and body almost instantly, and when something happens beyond your control, it immediately helps to calm my senses after taking a lavender-scented bath. This is especially the case after having kids!

22. What's the best dish you can make?

Sesame noodles.

23. Who is the best teacher you’ve ever had, what is one important lesson that they taught you?

My mom is the best teacher I’ve ever had. Amongst all the things she has ever taught me, the most important lesson from her is to always see the glass half full. This has really helped me get through the toughest moments in my life.

24. Have you ever experienced love at first sight?

With my husband…I don’t know if you can call it love at first sight but I definitely knew he was the one. We met at a lounge — my friends just introduced me to him. We started talking and he asked me some really cheesy questions like what my hobby was. I told him it was fishing and he thought that I was joking because he loves fishing, too. That really connected us since it’s not common activity in Hong Kong and we really kicked off from there.

27 Questions - Margaret Chung
Image credit: @yogachung/Instagram
25. How many pairs of shoes do you currently own?

Too many to count. I wear running shoes most often. I do buy a lot of heels because they’re pretty, but I usually just end up wearing them once or twice. I mostly wear heels for work.

26. How many countries have you been to?

I’ve travelled all around Asia, Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, Nepal, as well as Syria, Iran, around North America and Mexico to name a few. I used to work for TVB and I got to travel to different countries for work, so I am grateful to be exposed to so many places such as Tibet and the Middle East before the conflicts.

27. Would you rather never be alone for a single moment, or be alone for the rest of your life? Why?

I would rather be with my family.

Evelyn Lok
Associate Editor
When not trying out the latest beauty and wellness trends, Evelyn is likely enjoying a perfectly balanced negroni or exploring some of Hong Kong's best new places to eat and drink. At Lifestyle Asia she covers everything from the biggest events in town to interviews with Hong Kong specialists, with topics spanning art, food and drink, health, tech, and travel.