Fan Ho, poet with a camera

Source: SCMP (6/20/17)
How Fan Ho, Hong Kong’s poet with a camera, found his calling – in his own words
In one of his last interviews, Fan Ho, who died a year ago today, aged 84, recalls how he rediscovered his passion for photography – and some old negatives – to finally gain the recognition and respect he longed for

Cantonese is not dead

Source: Language Log (6/9/17)
Cantonese is not dead yet
Filed by

Not by a long shot, judging from several recent articles in the South China Morning Post:

American professor speaks up for Cantonese to preserve Hong Kong’s heritage: Robert Bauer from HKU is writing a Cantonese-English dictionary that will include colloquial terms, believing language represents cultures” (Heyling Chan, 5/21/17)

Hong Kong vloggers keeping Cantonese alive with money-spinning YouTube channels:  While many fear Cantonese may be in decline, for Hong Kong’s online stars it has opened a gateway to thousands of followers and lucrative careers” (Rachel Blundy, 6/10/17)

Use Cantonese as a tool to extend Hong Kong’s influence, academic urges:  Chinese University linguist says better teaching of the native language is the vital first step in raising the city’s profile in Beijing’s trade initiative” (Naomi Ng, 5/4/17)

In Vancouver’s ‘Cantosphere’, a sense of responsibility and an identity under siege:  Artists and academics in Vancouver are carving out a space to examine both the fate of Hong Kong and the diaspora identity” (Ian Young, 5/19/17)

All four articles evince a keen sense of the centrality of Cantonese language in maintaining the cultural identity of its speakers.  I urge anyone who is interested in Cantonese to read each of these articles to gain a better idea of the vital issues of language education and preservation that members of the Cantosphere are facing, wherever they are. Continue reading

Cha International Poetry Prize 2017

Cha International Poetry Prize 2017

To celebrate the tenth anniversary issue of Cha and to mark the twentieth anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover, we are hosting Cha International Poetry Prize 2017, in collaboration with PEN Hong Kong.

The competition is open to ALL poets. Thanks to several generous sponsors from the Asia-Pacific region, including the NINJA! Arts Grant, we are able to offer a total prize money of US$3201 (First Prize US$1501; Second Prize US$800; Third Prize US$400 and five Commended Prizes, each US$100). All eight winning poems will be published in the tenth anniversary issue of Cha, due out in late December 2017. As ever with Cha contests, there is no entry fee. Continue reading

HK police arrest nine more activists

Source: Straits Times (4/27/17)
Hong Kong police arrest nine more democracy activists

Hong Kong independence activists Baggio Leung (left) and Yau Wai-ching.PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (AFP) – Nine democracy activists were arrested in Hong Kong on Thursday (April 27) over an anti-Beijing protest, according to campaign groups, in the latest swoop by police as protesters say they are being persecuted.

Concerns are growing that the semi-autonomous city’s freedom is under threat from Beijing, fuelling calls from some activists for greater autonomy or even a complete split from China. Continue reading

Politics infuses art in HK

Source: NYT (3/30/17)
As Hong Kong Ponders Its Future Under Beijing, Politics Infuses Its Art

“Defense and Resistance,” on display at the Asia Society in Hong Kong, shows photographs of the artist, South Ho, walling and then unwalling himself in with bricks marked “Made in Xianggang,” the word for Hong Kong in Mandarin, spoken on the mainland. Credit: Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

HONG KONG — As 1,194 electors were casting ballots on Sunday for Hong Kong’s next leader, Sampson Wong was tagging Facebook videos that showed city residents making breakfast, riding trains and playing with cats.

The scenes were unremarkable, and that was the point: Mr. Wong and other members of the Add Oil Team, an artists’ collective, were broadcasting the videos of people engaged in activities that did not include voting as a critique of an unrepresentative political process. “No Election in Hong Kong Now,” the title of their Facebook Live stream said. Continue reading

Raise the Umbrellas preview

For those in the vicinity of New Haven, on Monday, there is a preview of Evan Chan’s new film Raise the Umbrellas–Magnus Fiskesjö <>

Photo courtesy of PH Yang Photography (

While the disturbing aftermath of the Umbrella Movement is still unfolding in Hong Kong two years later, there’ll be a special preview of Raise the Umbrellas (Hong Kong version) at Yale University :

Raise the Umbrellas: Special Preview with Director Evans Chan

Monday, April 3, 2017 – 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Auditorium, Henry R. Luce Hall
34 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven, CT 06511 Continue reading

Carrie Lam vows to unite HK

Source: SCMP (3/26/17)
Newly elected Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam vows to unite sharply divided city
Beijing’s preferred candidate promises more inclusive leadership and better ties between executive and legislature
By Joyce Ng, Tony Cheung, Jeffie Lam, Stuart Lau, Kimmy Chung

Chief Executive Election candidates John Tsang, Carrie Lam and Woo Kwok-hing stand on stage during the announcement of the results of the Hong Kong Chief Executive Election. Photo: David Wong

Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor was elected as Hong Kong’s first ­female leader on Sunday, promising to unite a divided city with a more inclusive style of governance and appealing for the chance to start a new chapter.

The former No 2 official, who secured 777 out of the 1,186 votes cast by the Election Committee tasked to pick the next chief executive, also vowed to find ways to improve relations between the executive and the legislature.

Continue reading

Jin Yong exhibition

Source: SCMP (3/3/17)
In pictures: Hong Kong novelist Jin Yong’s works find a home
SCMP Staff

One of the works of martial arts novelist Dr Louis Cha Leung-yunk displayed at the Jin Yong Gallery at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum. Photo: K. Y. Cheng

An exhibition of the work of one of the greatest living martial arts novelists has found a home with the opening of the Jin Yong Gallery at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum. Continue reading

The Teddy Bear Chronicles of Xi Xi

Source: China Heritage (nd)
The Teddy Bear Chronicles of Xi Xi

The Teddy Bear Chronicles, a seal carved by He Fuxing 何福興.

In 1989, the Hong Kong writer Xi Xi 西西 was diagnosed with breast cancer. Post-operative treatment damaged the nerves in her right hand, but she taught herself to write with her left and, in 1992, published Elegy for a Breast 哀悼乳房 (adapted for the screen as 2 Become 1). Later on, in an effort to regain movement in her affected hand, Xi Xi focussed on handicrafts. Over the years, she crafted dolls houses, puppets and stuffed animals, and eventually teddy bears. Her bears started out within the familiar tradition of the Western teddy — the toy bears inspired by Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt in the 1900s and Winnie-the-Pooh in the 1920s — but over time Xi Xi developed her own, uniquely Chinese breed.

The Teddy Bear Chronicles 縫熊志 appeared through Joint Publishing HK in 2009. It consists of short essays influenced by the biographical style, or 列傳, of Sima Qian 司馬遷 (206 BC-220 CE), the Grand Historian of the Han dynasty. Xi Xi matches her biographical sketches with images from her ursine pantheon of handmade teddies. Continue reading

Hong Kong Studies–cfp

Call for Papers

Submissions are solicited for the inaugural issue of Hong Kong Studies. Hong Kong Studies is the first bilingual academic journal to focus on Hong Kong from an interdisciplinary arts and cultural studies perspective. Published by the Chinese University of Hong Kong Press, the journal will launch in 2017. The editors believe that the timely expansion of the field of Hong Kong Studies warrants a journal of its own, in order to provide a focused platform for facilitating exchange between different disciplines and viewpoints in relation to Hong Kong. We welcome papers from multiple fields in the humanities and the social sciences, including but not limited to literature, linguistics, cultural studies, sociology, politics, history, education, and gender studies. We also encourage intersectional and cross-disciplinary dialogues on Hong Kong affairs.  Continue reading

HK souvenir book launched cancelled

Source: SCMP (2/12/17)
Speculation rife over sudden cancellation of Hong Kong souvenir book launch
Though printing issues cited as reason, commentators and publishers believe problems in content of book commemorating city’s past 20 years a likelier cause
By Oliver Chou

The souvenir book, titled 20th Anniversary of Hong Kong’s Return, commemorates the 20th anniversary of the city being under Chinese sovereignty. Photo: Sam Tsang

The abrupt cancellation of a politically star-studded launch of a book commemorating the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong being under Chinese sovereignty has drawn talk that the reason goes beyond just a “printing problem”.

The large souvenir book, titled 20th Anniversary of Hong Kong’s Return, published by pro-Beijing Ta Kung Wen Wei Media Group, was originally scheduled for launch on Monday afternoon at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, according to a press invitation dated February 9. But a terse notice on February 11 said the event was cancelled due to a “printing problem”. Continue reading

HK divided over Forbidden City museum plan

Source: BBC News (1/10/17)
Hong Kong divided over Forbidden City museum plan
By Juliana Liu, Hong Kong correspondent, BBC News

A man walks through a gate inside the Forbidden City in Beijing on 29 September 2016.

GETTY IMAGES: Items from the Forbidden City collection would be sent on loan to the museum in Hong Kong

The Forbidden City in Beijing has housed generations of Chinese emperors for hundreds of years. A museum since 1925, it now welcomes more than 14 million visitors a year, drawn to its ornate gates, inner palaces and nearly two million pieces of imperial art and antiques.

Those cultural treasures, however, have become the focus of a dispute in Hong Kong. Continue reading

Hong Kong, a history battleground

Source: The Guardian (12/26/16)
Hong Kong, where history has become a battleground for Beijing
Residents of the city are being encouraged to engage with their past – warts and all – and not allow it to be airbrushed
By Benjamin Haas in Hong Kong

Members of a historical group pose in Hong Kong during an event marking 75 years since the British surrendered to the Japanese in WW2.

Members of a historical group pose in Hong Kong during an event marking 75 years since the British surrendered to the Japanese in WW2. Photograph: Benjamin Haas for the Guardian

Stepping off the subway in his army uniform, Victor Yu prepared to face the onslaught ahead. Instead of charging into a crowd armed with rifles, he was met with smartphones, overwhelmed on a street in Hong Kong by pictures and selfies rather than enemy fire.

Yu is a member of Watershed, a local historical group working to raise awareness of what they feel is Hong Kong’s forgotten history. The performance comes at a time when instruction of the city’s history is becoming increasingly politicised, with recent government attempts to bury details that may be embarrassing for China. Continue reading

Macao gambling firms visit Jinggangshan

Curiouser and curiouser. I wish I could have put this in the chapter on red tourism in my museum book!–Kirk

Source: Global Times (12/14/16)
Macao gambling firms’ trip to red site met with amusement, anger online
By Zhang Yu

A group of some 60 staff members from Macao’s casino industry recently visited red site Jinggangshan for a one-week patriotic course, sparking discussions from mainland netizens over its significance.

Staff members of Macao casino companies pay tribute to revolutionary martyrs in Jinggangshan, East China's Jiangxi Province. Photo: Courtesy of Sociedade de Jogos de Macau Holdings

Staff members of Macao casino companies pay tribute to revolutionary martyrs in Jinggangshan, East China’s Jiangxi Province. Photo: Courtesy of Sociedade de Jogos de Macau Holdings

Every year, millions of visitors flock to China’s red sites to pay tribute to deceased communist leaders and learn about the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) revolutionary past. Continue reading

Book on one-child policy scares off publishers

Source: Quartz (11/28/16)
A Pulitzer winner is giving away her book in Chinese because the topic scared off publishers
By Ilaria Maria Sala

Read them while you can. (EPA/Jerome Favre)

As the consequences of the abduction of five Hong Kong booksellers to China continue to ricochet throughout the city’s publishing industry, some authors are trying new ways to reach Chinese audiences.

Mei Fong, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter whose book One Child: The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment, on the many failures and human cost of China’s one-child policy—which was abandoned last year—could not find a Chinese language publisher in China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan. In order to by-pass the stumbling block, Fong decided to launch her book online for free (pdf), asking readers to pitch in a voluntary sum to help with her costs. Continue reading