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Hong Kong Culture

Word and Image

Edited by Louie Kam

Publication Year: 2010

Hong Kong as a world city draws on a rich variety of foundational "texts" in film, fiction, architecture and other forms of visual culture. The city has been a cultural fault-line for centuries — a translation space where Chinese-ness is interpreted for "Westerners" and Western-ness is translated for Chinese. Though constantly refreshed by its Chinese roots and global influences, this hub of Cantonese culture has flourished along cosmopolitan lines to build a modern, outward-looking character. Successfully managing this perpetual instability helps make Hong Kong a postmodern stepping-stone city, and helps make its citizens such prosperous and durable survivors in the modern world. This volume of essays engages many fields of cultural achievement. Several pieces discuss the tensions of English, closely associated with a colonial past, yet undeniably the key to Hong Kong’s future. Hong Kong provides a vital point of contact, where cultures truly meet and a cosmopolitan traveller can feel at home and leave a sturdy mark. Contributors include John Carroll, Carolyn Cartier, David Clarke, Elaine Ho, Douglas Kerr, Michael Ingham, C. J. W.-L. Wee, Chu Yiu-Wai, Gina Marchetti, Esther M.K. Cheung, Pheng Cheah, Chris Berry, and Giorgio Biancorosso.

Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-9

Preparations for this book began in 2007, when the Faculty of Arts at the University of Hong Kong convened a conference to look at Hong Kong culture a decade after the “return”. I must say that the exercise of acting as conference committee chair and then editor for this volume has been a humbling one...


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pp. ix-xi

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Introduction. Hong Kong on the Move: Creating Global Cultures

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pp. 1-7

It is now over ten years since Hong Kong’s return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997. In the scale of Chinese history, mere decades seem relatively short. In many respects, the physical and cultural landscape of the former colony seems to have remained the same, yet we all know that there have been a great...

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1 - Ten Years Later: 1997–2007 as History

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pp. 9-23

How has Hong Kong changed since July 1997? Is it better or worse off as a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People’s Republic of China than it was as the only significant remaining colony of a long-gone British empire? These are two of the most frequently asked questions since Hong Kong’s...

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2 - Power Plays: Alternative Performance Art and Urban Space in the Political Life of the City

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pp. 25-40

In the decade since the handover, political life in Hong Kong has entered the realm of the performative. Political perspectives have moved beyond debate in broadcast media and institutional forums to emerge in performances in the public sphere — alternative art actions and performance artworks...

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3 - The Haunted City: Hong Kong and Its Urban Others

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pp. 41-54

When we travel to other cities as a result of personal desire — for example in our identity as tourists — we are driven to a significant extent by the place that city has in our imaginative life. Early in Proust’s monumental work In Search of Lost Time the young narrator looks forward in anticipation...

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4 - Chinese English, English Chinese: Biliteracy and Translation

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pp. 55-73

In the past decade, local activism has encouraged public interest in cultural identity but there is little doubt that the global attention on Hong Kong evident around 1997 has receded. As one local historian and sinophone literary scholar lamented,...

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5 - Louise Ho and the Local Turn: The Place of English Poetry in Hong Kong

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pp. 75-95

The year 2009 saw the publication by Hong Kong University Press of Incense Tree: Collected Poems of Louise Ho, a book by Hong Kong’s leading English-language poet. The consecration of the poet’s work by publication by an academic press says something about the institution of literature in English in Hong Kong...

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6 - From Xu Xi to the Chief Executive: Hong Kong in the Dock

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pp. 97-111

As Hong Kong’s culture and politics have become more inexorably intertwined over the years since the handover, it is significant that its cultural production has reflected a subtle shift away from pure escapism toward something approaching a critical discourse. While a few critical swallows cannot...

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7 - The “New” East Asia and Hong Kong Cinema

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pp. 113-130

A notable cultural development during the 1980s and the 1990s, the decades of the so-called “East Asian Miracle”, has been the increased cultural production, innovation and circulation of both high culture and mass culture within East Asia. Mass culture includes films from Hong Kong, China...

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8 - One Country Two Cultures? Post-1997 Hong Kong Cinema and Co-productions

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pp. 131-145

The “one country, two systems” idea famously proposed by the late Deng Xiaoping maintains that within one socialist China there can be capitalist economic and political systems in special administrative regions such as Hong Kong and Macau. Shortly before the tenth anniversary...

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9 - Departing from The Departed: The Infernal Affairs Trilogy

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pp. 147-167

Hong Kong’s fortunes have been linked to its status as an entrepôt — an import/ export merchandise mart for the world’s manufactured goods and a point of assembly, repackaging, re-labeling, recycling and transshipment. As the world economy swings from goods to intellectual property and image...

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10 - On Spectral Mutations: The Ghostly City in The Secret, Rouge and Little Cheung

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pp. 169-191

What we now call “hauntology” in critical and cultural studies arises from attempts by critics and theorists to articulate the relation between textuality and materiality. Some are particularly interested in the new world order after the world-wide events of 1989 — a “time [which] is out of joint...

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11 - Global Dreams and Nightmares: The Underside of Hong Kong as a Global City in Fruit Chan’s Hollywood, Hong Kong

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pp. 193-211

The tenth anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China took place amid great media attention. Of particular note are the full-page official newspaper declarations, in Hong Kong and abroad, that celebrate the event by attributing Hong Kong’s success to the fact that it has achieved the status...

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12 - Hong Kong Watcher: Tammy Cheung and the Hong Kong Documentary

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pp. 213-228

Born in Shanghai in 1958, Cheung came to Hong Kong with her family at the age of three. After studying sociology at Shue Yan College in Hong Kong, she studied film at Concordia University in Montreal. In 1986, she helped to found and run the Montreal International Chinese Film Festival. But:...

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13 - Global Music/Local Cinema: Two Wong Kar-wai Pop Compilations

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pp. 229-245

Primarily as a result of his own statements in various interviews, much ink has been spilled over Wong Kar-wai’s literary tastes and cinephilia. The names Murakami, Cortazar, Puig, Garcia Marquez and Liu Yichang on the one hand and Hitchcock, Suzuki, Scorsese, Bertolucci and Antonioni...


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pp. 247-262


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pp. 263-282


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pp. 283-312

E-ISBN-13: 9789882206137
Print-ISBN-13: 9789888028412

Page Count: 324
Illustrations: 56 b/w illus
Publication Year: 2010

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Hong Kong (China) -- Intellectual life -- 21st century.
  • Hong Kong (China) -- Social life and customs -- 21st century.
  • Popular culture -- China -- Hong Kong.
  • Hong Kong (China) -- Civilization -- 21st century.
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