Islands and Continents
Short Stories by Leung Ping-kwan
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU
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Over the years I have noticed people experiencing some difficulty when deciding how to address the author of these stories. For a start, there is the dilemma of whether to use the pen-name he has adopted as an author of fiction and prose, Yah See; or his more formal name as a poet, scholar and teacher — Leung Ping-kwan. ...
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We acknowledge the contributions made by the translators, who brought this book into being, and heartily thank them for their work. We are also grateful to the Centre for Translation Studies at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and to Professor Chu Chi-yu, Director of the Centre, for lending us their support and assistance. Above all, we would like to thank Colin Day of Hong Kong University Press for his enduring patience with this long-drawn-out project. ...
Transcendence and the Fax Machine
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I am thirty-seven years old and single, I work as a research assistant at the Institute for Cultural Research, and I moonlight at an accounting firm. In my spare time I like to read the Bible, the Koran, and Buddhist sutras. My field used to be British and American literature. But with the emergence of a Chinese Studies clique among the local scholars and the importance they attached to bibliographic citations, and since I was never on particularly good terms with these people, I began to find my name and my writings excluded from every bibliography and anthology they had a hand in preparing. ...
The Romance of the Rib
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He lost a rib in a car accident. It happened on the campus of the University of Chicago. He had gone there to participate in an international conference on cultural criticism, and had just given a presentation that afternoon, his discussion ranging from Habermas’s notion of the ‘public sphere’ and Eagleton’s The Function of Criticism, to the complicated and diversified cultural ecology of the small island he came from. ...
The Dentists on the Avenida de la Revoluci�n
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Drizzle started falling just as we turned into Avenida de la Revolución. I kept worrying about the donkeys: would the paint on their bodies wash off in the rain? I still remembered the first time I stepped on this broad street and looked up at the sign: Avenida de la Revolución. I couldn’t help getting all serious, snapping out of my tourist cool, just as if we were on a pilgrimage to some military establishment or visiting some vertiginous monument. But the very next minute I relaxed. ...
Postcards from Prague
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I’ve arrived in Prague and it’s the evening of the day of Havel’s inauguration, and even though I’m just passing through I can feel the excitement in the air. It’ll take place in St. George’s Basilica. An old man said to me excitedly, ‘They’re using the old ceremony for the first time in 50 years.’ After I settled down I went to look for that toy salesman at the address I’ve got for him. ...
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Less than half an hour after the performance was over, everyone had left. My friend had said he might drive down from New York, but failed to show up, and I found myself alone on the square outside the theatre, the lights behind me going out one by one, the trees and bushes all around slowly melting into ominous pools of shadow. I finally awoke as if from a dream and grasped the seriousness of my situation. ...
Islands and Continents
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There was really no way I could do any more reading, so I thought I’d go down to the beach again. Normally I never go downstairs without checking the mailbox. But this time, to avoid my landlady and her unstoppable banter, I decided to go out by the door on the other side. I walked on a little way, but it was no good, I couldn’t put it out of my mind. I turned back and went to open the mailbox. It was only then that I really gave up all hope. ...
Postcolonial Affairs of Food and the Heart
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Ah Lee stumbled into my bar just as it was getting dark, carrying a bag of some fruit or other, something he’d picked up down the road in Peel Street Market. I hadn’t seen him for an age. He sat down at the counter and started crunching up the long narrow brown fruit. He offered me a bite. He kept on saying how long it had been since the bunch of us last got together. Perhaps we could meet up some time soon and have a bit of fun, perhaps on my birthday, which was coming up. ...
Afterword - Writer’s Jetlag1
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You could say I’ve been a traveller all my life. A permanent migrant. My parents migrated from the ‘continent’, from mainland China, to Hong Kong in 1949. They were literature lovers who adored things like The Story of the Stone2 and the new twentieth-century Chinese vernacular literature of the May Fourth Movement. They brought few valuables with them in their travelling bags. But they did carry loads of books. ...
Contributors’ Biographical Notes
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Page Count: 150
Publication Year: 2007