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Narrating the Hong Kong Story: Deciphering Identity through Icons, Images and Trends

Catherine S. Chan*


     Simply trace the sketchy abstract of Hong Kong, and the city's endless journey for identity visually comes to life. Evidently, the ebbs and flows are quickly contemplated: the post-war years were spent in a collective scramble for endurance and advancement, the 1960s of extraordinary social instability, the 1970s of Hong Kong's economic take-off, the 1980s was a robust cultural upheaval in search of locality and the nineties emphasized by terrified emotions over the 1997 handover. Come the 21st century and Hong Kong has emerged as a post-modern city, shouldering a long history of evolution that unveiled in an impressively short period of time. Hong Kong today is no doubt a unique lifestyle propelled by capitalism, gnawing away at globalization and pushing through challenges under her continuous definition and re-definition of self-identity.1

     Gramsci referred to individuals as '…précis of the past;'2 Karl Marx believed that people make history in the conditions outside our choosing3 and Stuart Hall regarded identities as a process of 'production' that never reaches completion.4 Under this context, colonies in particular find their past, present and future developments inevitably attached to their colonial experiences. Marked by dissimilarities in control and exploitation, a different story of uniqueness comes with each individual colony and through the absence of self-governance, an identity crisis is almost always inescapable. The Filipinos, for some time took pride in American assimilation yet attempted to de-Americanize after independence.5 In India, identity remains diversified in a pluralist nation,6 yet like the Philippine experience,7 collective consciousness grew out of shared emotions against colonial rulers.8

     Enter the context of icons.9 Icons10 are images that represent mounds of meaning stuck in the collective unconsciousness of local peoples; they easily serve as shortcuts to phenomenon, thoughts and feelings that embrace pieces of history, each standing to represent varying values at differing points in time. Indeed, post-war Hong Kong is not a difficult story to tell, yet the complex emotions stringing the city's collective consciousness or in the earlier days- sub-consciousness and the ever-changing definition of locality tend to appear outside the norms of general Hong Kong history. Suggestively, icons help in re-narrating this part of Hong Kong's story. Through the use of images in popular culture and their symbolic interpretation, concepts and feelings that amount to form the Hong Kong identity are revealed, allowing the Hong Kong experience to be re-told through a mixture of pictures and text.11

The Problem of Hong Kong Identity

     Time and again, the same question is asked: who exactly are the so-called 'heung-gong yan' (Hong Kong people;香港人)? Matthew Turner argued that heung-gong yan is 'an identity of lifestyle,' 'an ambiguous construction that was more than 'resident' yet 'less than a people.'12 Sometimes perceived as 'part of the Chinese diaspora' if 'at least in spirit,'13 Hong Kong people are factually denied an official pass that equivocates neither the majority of 'authentic' Chinese living in the mainland, nor the 'minority nationalities' spread all over the world. The handover of Hong Kong most certainly escalated the drama- heung-gon yan, caught between a desire for nostalgia and confronted with re-Sinicization, came to stand in another two-way road, this time between locality and nationalism.14 According to Michel Foucault 'One should totally and absolutely respect anything that claims to be a return… there is in fact no such thing as a return.'15 In the event of 1997, Hong Kong people witnessed not decolonization, but a re-colonization, a juxtaposition of dual identities, standing in-between, being both local and global, somehow children of a Chinese mother and a foreign father, semi-diasporic in mentality yet geographically and politically unfit for the position. Hence, the emergence of heung-gon yan and the fabrication of a unique Chineseness, fed with cultural hybridity and complex ambiguity.

     This particular type of Chineseness is a result of the battering of age-old history and again, the never-ending search for identity. Thanks to the British colonizers, the Hong Kong identity was bred through freedom and acculturation, rather than assimilation and repression. Unlike a bunch of other colonies, Hong Kong culture was permitted and even encouraged to expand and flourish under British rule. Frantz Fanon's description of the Blacks in a White world as read in Peau noire, masques blancs- 'individuals without an anchor, without horizon, colorless, stateless, rootless, a race of angels'16- fails to apply to the Hong Kong experience. It is thus safe to confirm what Lo Kwai-Cheung suggested- there is in truth no Sino-British clash in a sense of external difference between contending civilizations; instead, an internal affair within a culture is realized and 'the city is actually struggling with itself.'17

Figure 1
  Figure 1.  

     Under the context of colonization, the identity of Hong Kong people came to be associated not with similarity to traditional China but dissimilarity from Western culture.18 Figure 1 represents the situation of identity in Hong Kong society pre-1997: A stands for the local 'heung-gon yan' whereas B symbolizes Westerners; in short, you were either A or B but never both at the same time.

Figure 2
  Figure 2.  

     After the handover, an overlap in identities could be witnessed. A being the local Hong Kong identity and B being mainland Chineseness, Hong Kong people could distinguish themselves by defining their distinctiveness from the rest of China.19 Although general Chineseness serves as the junction that joins the two identities in the overlapping area, the fact that A does not prefer being classified as a part of B results in a gray area that eventually diverges the two identities.

The Function of Icons

     Remarkably, icons20 are part of a shared unconsciousness representing values, identity or feelings society collectively treasures, distinguishes and feels without actual realization. Particularly outstanding is the fact that icons are made, not born; the creation ought to be an expression of sentiments and the support shown thereon says something that represents the mass, especially pertaining to collective needs and mental or material hunger.21

     Taking Japan as a brief sample, the iconology of Godzilla (also Gojira;ゴジラ) reveals the psychological aftermath of World War II on the Japanese- an apocalyptic imagination, supplemented by tensions, fears, animosities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and to some, remorse and regret over the war have subsequently created a popular culture that has repeatedly victimized Tokyo of natural disasters, alien invasions, toxic pollution, giant monsters, robots and even blobs.22 Japan's geographical vulnerability to catastrophic events of natural disasters has affirmed and intensified the country's 'doom-laden' pop culture, extending further to express Japan's troubled imagination during times of economic, social and demographic transitions.23 The reinvention of Godzilla in the 1980s was interpreted by longtime producer Tanaka Tomoyuki田中 友幸as the lack of spirituality in Japan's newfound obsession with materialism: 'Everyone's so concerned with the material, and then Godzilla comes and rips it all apart.'24

     In Hong Kong history, local icons similarly imply strong imprints of collective mentality that Hong Kong people have come to embrace through the years and across different times. It is nonetheless important to note again that icons are made, not born; this rule itself sufficiently stands to prove that icons convey local thoughts.

The 1960s

     Constituted by Westerners and a Chinese majority population, a huge portion of which were refugees from mainland China, Hong Kong in the sixties could be characterized by the notions of a pre-industrial and divided society.25 In 1967, Hong Kong housed four million people where nearly one-third comprised of refugees attempting to escape the fate of Communism in 1949;26 in a lighter note, the sixties witnessed a baby boom where by the end of the decade, half of the population was to be local-born and under the age of 25.

     Economically, Hong Kong advanced to become one of Asia's Four Little Dragons (亞洲四小龍) along with Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.27 It was at this stage that Hong Kong's textile industry boomed; morning, afternoon and late night shifts ran round-the-clock, textile manufacturing was continuously pushed up the pedestal by 472,000 local laborers (1968)28 and cheap low-grade products evolved to become classy as long as it came with the 'Made in Hong Kong' tag. In general, the number of registered factories jumped from 2,499 in 1955 to 9,454 by 1967.29

     Community-wise, the foundation stone for the new Hong Kong City Hall was laid in 1960.30 This symbolized a displacement of colonialism and Chinese tradition, the establishment of a civic center where political swearing-ins of Governors, beauty pageants, Cantonese opera and marriages took place, representing 'a Hong Kong citizenship based on loyalty to the local community and characterized by a fusion of European and Chinese traditions.'31 The reception of the landmark, however, was to a limited extent, appealing only to a small elite of well-to-do families, society notables and civil servants of higher education. Hong Kong, after all, was still largely made up of refugee-swollen subjects, to whom the territory served only as a 'transitional home.'32  

     Significantly, the sojourner mentality would subsequently cease after the 1967 riots33 where the rhetoric of 'citizenship,' 'community' and 'belonging' was deployed on a large-scale to counter Communism. Termed as the 'watershed' of Hong Kong, 1967 resulted in a number of welfare reforms and social developments in the next decade.34 To Hong Kong locals, 1967 successfully aroused 'the Hong Kong consciousness,' strengthening a sense of belonging amongst the younger generation whilst members of the public became increasingly critical of social problems in the city.35 As the breach between Communist China and British Hong Kong became more evident, Hong Kong people began to perceive themselves as different from the mainland Chinese- a survey conducted during the Cultural Revolution sampling 254 Hong Kong Chinese found about three in ten persons (29%) preferred to remain linked to Britain; another 12% offered the idea of an independent Hong Kong and only 7% indicated a desire to become a part of mainland China.36

     Mainland China had stopped to be the vibrant motherland that the Hong Kong mass once aspired to, appearing instead a closed, dark, distant place, slipping away from the grasp of the Hong Kong people. With growing negativity towards ethnic associations, the refugee mentality of local peoples could only be channeled into positive associations with Hong Kong, allowing the city to transform from a refugee society to a safe haven, and eventually as a final home.37

Identifying Icons in Shaping Identity

     During the 1960s, the most remarkable demonstration of local identity could only be found in the annual Chinese Manufacturers' Exhibition of Hong Kong Products. For one, the CMA Exhibitions triggered a pattern for Hong Kong's future identity as a consumer culture, 'an identity suspended between the fantasy of export promotion and the grim experience of factory life, neither colonial nor nationalistic, yet predominantly Cantonese.'38 After the 1967 riots, the 'Hong Kong Week' was engineered to include popular entertainments, exhibitions, fashion shows and a floats parade,39 later evolving to become the 'Festival of Hong Kong' (1969) where ideas of 'community as one' and 'a show-window for democracy'40 were further advocated.

     Other than the aforementioned events, which mostly tied consumerism and economic activities with social get-togethers, observable practices of traditional clothing and the domination of the Mandarin language in cinematic productions41 never came close to distinguishing a local identity for the Hong Kong people.

Figure 3

     Hong Kong icons in the sixties could be summed in three individual images: first, of local celebrity, Connie Chan Po-chu 陳寶珠, a yoyo featuring the famous tag 'Made in Hong Kong' and lastly, a 1968 stamp featuring the Queen and the Bauhinia flower. As the local sense of belonging was established through economic and political implications, Connie Chan's successful rendition of factory life garnered her fame and popularity amongst female factory workers, which in turn reveals the bigger picture of Hong Kong's industrialization. The importance of manufacturing and Hong Kong's prominence in exportation could be further evidenced by locally-produced toys and textile garments.42 'Made in Hong Kong' subsequently served as a pride to local peoples, particularly as a resulting improved standard of living proved that Hong Kong had the potentials of offering a good life and permanent settlement. It should nevertheless be noted British contributions in consolidating local community- the official adoption of the Bauhinia flower as city flower (市花) in 1965, like many of the aforementioned policies, stands for the British legacy in encouraging the development of a Hong Kong identity.

     During this decade, not much could be read on public discourse concerning the problem of identity except for a newspaper column in 1965 entitled 'Hong Kong Identity too Utopian?' The article offered the observation that the majority of local Hong Kong people were not able to 'talk' about identity.43 With this in mind, Turner believed that identity in the sixties emerged rather from a clash of discourses- 'between official rhetoric and lived experience, between the local and international, factory life and trade promotion of exports' albeit Benedict Anderson's 'separation of language from reality.'44 Either way, Hong Kong had found itself in an alternate route, or to say that the territory itself had emerged to be a third road does not come out as overly exaggerated. A 'community' and 'sense of belonging' could even be witnessed in the subjective change of the locals' attitude toward the city as seen in the increasing focus on local issues like the 1966 Star Ferry riot- to her denizens, Hong Kong was now close to being a city of their very 'own.'

The 1970s

     Certainly, the sixties proved to be a brutal weaning of Hong Kong from China as well as Britain- heung-gon yan found solace in the development of locality and in the midst, the making of an East-West cultural exchange became a necessity due to the unstable legitimacy and hybrid culture, thus the myth of the metropolitan business center. At this point, the essence of heung-gong yan was clearly not a political entity or a representation of civic loyalty but more an identity of lifestyle, a shared recognition of similar self-images, real or imagined of existential choices in daily culture that awaited confirmation or re-construction as Hong Kong had already lost its tint of mainland Chineseness. A pool of emptiness resulted from this- if Hong Kong was not to end up as a soulless business enterprise run by the norms of laissez-faire, then a unique representation that shouts Hong Kong ought to be found.

     The British government, having earlier on encouraged a sense of community amongst the Hong Kong people, continued to provide social welfare as the locals became more and more community-conscious. In 1971, compulsory primary education was achieved and free education was extended to nine years by 1978. In infrastructure, the cross-border tunnel was opened and the mass transit railway system drafted. A ten-year housing plan directed at 1.8 million citizens was in the talks and the ICAC45 set up in 1974. This strong sense of building a sound society was echoed in reviews and articles from the government annual reports that read 'A Better Tomorrow' (1973), 'The Community: A Growing Awareness' (1974), 'A Social Commitment' (1975).46 In turn, local Hong Kong people robustly responded to challenges, an example being the local struggle for the use of Chinese as the city's official language.47 This implied another evolution of the distinct Hong Kong identity as through greater participation and more vocal expression, heung-gong yan had emerged to take their own stance in debates relating to the city, consciously realizing the realities of the society and unconsciously becoming a nucleus of Hong Kong Chineseness.

     Significantly, the seventies was an important era of legal acknowledgment for the Hong Kong people. In 1973, the official Hong Kong Identity Card (HKID)48 re-emerged in two different colors, the black was carried by permanent residents and non-permanent visitors held green IDs; thanks to the this, new immigrants were colloquially termed as 'green stamp guests' (綠印客). It was also owing to such a change that Hong Kong people affirmed their separation and difference from the mainland Chinese: apart from enjoying an increasing standard of living, Hong Kong's development had reached the standards of Western countries and the HKID was a confirmation that their settlement in the city was a permanent one that could not be confiscated for no probable reason. Carrying the identity of a permanent Hong Kong resident simultaneously signified welfare advantages that only heung-gong yan could enjoy as opposed to other Chinese identities from elsewhere.

Defining Locality through Icons

     Compared to the sixties, the seventies was a different picture in terms of local society: the economic miracle gradually unveiled though poverty remained an issue as people toiled hard to earn a living. Culturally, Hong Kong people were offered a wider range of recreation and entertainment. For one, the growth of television and the domination of TV culture over daily life grew an impact upon Hong Kong: from the mid-1970s onwards, the tube would act as an important medium in the creation of the Hong Kong lifestyle,49 increasing the import of Western ideas and pop culture into local society.50 Notably, television songs, sung in Cantonese, became the earliest traces of the emergence of Cantonese pop culture that swept over East and Southeast Asia in the 1970s and 1980s, including mainland China. In exchange, Hong Kong served as the largest exporter of television shows in the world between 1978 and 1984.51 Locally, drama series or soap operas were able to captivate up to 70% of the entire population of Hong Kong on a nightly basis52 and quickly, celebrities became household names and were even considered part of local families.

     Through the rise of local pop culture, Hong Kong quickly became the center of an 'alternative' Chineseness, a culture that has combined past and present, East and West, somehow signifying the beginning of the split personality that will cling on to heung-gong yan to this day.

Figure 4

     For the seventies, the icons of renowned local singer Samel Hui Koon-kit 許冠傑, the Lion Rock mountain and Hong Kong's very own amusement park Ocean Park can best bring out the developments of the decade. Riding the coattail of mainstream television, the 1970s saw the emergence of local popular culture. Sam Hui represents the rise of Cantonese Popular Music or Cantopop (粵語流行音樂), a genre of popular music from Hong Kong. Hui popularized Cantopop53 and the lyrics to his most popular songs are nonetheless humorous interpretations of the harsh working lives of middle and lower classes in the territory.54 The Lion Rock mountain, on the other hand, is associated with a highly local mentality55 (Lion Rock mentality; 獅子山精神) that emerged from the hardships of the decade. Speaking of strife (拼博精神) and a better tomorrow through perseverance, the mentality is today perceived as one of the psychological elements that turned Hong Kong from a small fishing village to a post-modern city. Thirdly, the opening of Ocean Park in 1973 suggested that Hong Kong locals, apart from being offered another option for recreation, finally possessed a theme park of their own- comprised of great locality, the amusement park is quite the Hong Kong experience which cannot be found in Europe, the United States or anywhere in the world.

     The 1970s thus could be concluded as a decade of growing 'self-consciousness' (本土意識); Hong Kong was at this point an acknowledged home56 where one's future is set to take place and to make things happen, hard work and toil described the general picture of a local citizen's life.

The 1980s

     By the end of the seventies, Hong Kong came to realize Anderson's 'popular imagination' as a consumerist identity evolved.57 However, the well-known concept of a 'borrowed place, living on a borrowed time'58 was simultaneously felt around the city as the fate of Hong Kong faced uncertainties with the Treaty of Nanking expiring in 1997.59 Despite the hopeful guarantees of 1984's Joint Declaration,60 it became apparent that the handover was indeed going to happen in a little more than a decade.

     In local society, immense efforts to study Hong Kong's popular culture and social structure exploded in search of a distinct Hong Kong identity different from that imposed by Chinese nationalism. Evidently, it was no longer possible for Hong Kong people to reunite and take on the identity of their mainland counterparts; there was a general sense of resistance towards the idea of coming under the rule of the PRC. With this in mind, a second wave of identity crisis emerged in Hong Kong- although the past two decades affirmed the existence of a heung-gong yan lifestyle, the future representation of Hong Kong locals was unaccounted for as a change in regime implied uncertainties and doubt.

     Importantly, the 1980s would be concluded by two other events of great significance: first, the Tiananmen Square massacre61 of June 1989 and the opening of the Cultural Centre in November.62 Months before the opening of the Cultural Center, attempts were seen to reclaim Chineseness as dancers, dramatists, painters and designers increasingly articulated their rediscovery of the Chinese heritage in preparation for Hong Kong's return to China. The glory of the Cultural Center, however, could not compensate for the loss and shock of Tiananmen. Quickly after '6/4,' expressions of cultural identity retreated. Hong Kong, as disgusted as she was of the PRC's violence, went back to being as confused and ambiguous as she was in the past two decades. What differed this time was the growing consciousness of the need for a political identity- if Hong Kong were to escape the fearful fate of '6/4,' regional representation had to be strong enough. This consciousness, no longer reserved amongst scholars and critics, came to challenge old and new concepts of representation and power in local Hong Kong society.63

Iconology of the New Consciousness

Figure 5

Figure 6

     The 1980s is represented here through three individual images. As an important figure of Cantopop, Leslie Cheung張國榮 symbolizes the flooding of cultural imports- the opening of Japanese stores like Sogo(崇光百貨;株式会社そごう) and the rise of Hello Kitty64 vulgarized the local trending of foreign cultural icons. Leslie Cheung's hit single 'Monica' carried one of the biggest trends of the eighties, translating Japanese songs to Cantonese65 and merging the local with outside elements.66 Hong Kong culture boasted its East meets West or here, East meets sophisticated imports from neighboring Japan. Thus, the eighties witnessed a strong capitalist culture as consumerism came to be a significant part of local lifestyle. To the political developments of the 1980s, the historic image of Deng Xiaoping and Margaret Thatcher's meeting in 1984 serves to represent the confirmation of Hong Kong's fate in 1997; Larry Feign's political caricature, on the other hand, hints at Hong Kong's desire for democracy under the PRC. Taking both in the same context, the irony of local identity is sufficiently demonstrated and the schizophrenic feature of Hong Kong identity had never been as strong as it was by the end of the decade.

     The 1980s was therefore a confirmation of the Hong Kong lifestyle in face of an imminent void in political representation.67 As Rey Chow observed from Larry Feign's political caricature for the South China Morning Post (SCMP): 'The 'everyday' is poignantly suggestive not only because it is part and parcel of a fashionable postmodernism that relativizes the significance of everything by leveling it as the quotidian. It is also because, in the political discussions, deciding Hong Kong's future, the everyday- in its mundane and automatized routines, its mindless repetitions- is virtually the entirety of the status that Hong Kong is allowed to have.'68 To Lo, 'the creation of lifestyle in Hong Kong, given its specific political circumstances, is less interwoven with the process of individualization than integrated into an illusion that belies the very lack of an identity.'69 Turner confirms this by writing that '…there is no such thing as a 'people' of Hong Kong, and indeed the Joint Declaration describes the population in neutral, neutralizing terms such as 'inhabitants' or 'residents' while local culture is rendered merely as 'lifestyle.''70 Ng Chun-hung further complained that 'after all these years we were still basically at the stage of asserting the presence or otherwise of a Hong Kong way of life.'71

The 1990s

     The 1990s ought to start with Governor Patten's policy address in October 1992. It was owing to Patten that Hong Kong's political vacuum came to be extended from a mere lifestyle;72 as the Governor proved the potentialities of political representation amongst Hong Kong locals, a politicized vision of the aforementioned lifestyle gradually emerged. However, it remained a fact that Hong Kong's road to democracy was far from easy. Remarkably, a portion of Hong Kong locals remained apathetic as Turner observed: '…the population of Hong Kong is composed of rootless, a-political opportunists: short-term residents with expensive tastes but no real culture. In this pragmatic, individualistic view, concern about identity might amount to no more than acquisition of a foreign passport.'73 The nineties was suspended between a remote, vague London and a suspicious, vindictive Beijing. It was obvious that heung-gong yan once again stood on a two-way street, forced to make a choice between conflicting self-images.

     The concept of nationalism after Hong Kong's return to the bigger family of the PRC provided Hong Kong with another paradox: would Hong Kong people forfeit local culture and acquiesce to mainland Chineseness? Could 'nationalism' and 'identity' co-exist without a clash in interest? As values, features and identities simultaneously overlapped between Hong Kong Chineseness and mainland Chineseness, the problem of identity became much more complex in light of the handover.74 This was demonstrated in surveys conducted before 1997 which showed the following results:


Hong Kongese

Hong Kong Chinese










Table 175

Another survey observed a similar pattern in identity: a shift to greater polarization of identities, either as purely Hong Kong, or primarily Chinese and a decline in identification as Hong Kong-Chinese.76

     By the nineties, Hong Kong sentiments of local pride reached a point where the mainland Chinese people's newfound affluence was mocked for their 'lack of sophistication.'77 Other claims of superiority pointed to wealth, cosmopolitanism, capitalism, freedom of consumption and linguistic difference.78 It was thus during this decade that the long-established schizophrenic feature of the Hong Kong mentality transitioned from a rupture between East and West to a paradox between nationality and cultural identity.

The Iconology of Political Uncertainty and the Nineties

     Politics, if only in thought and ideal, came to be part of the Hong Kong identity by the early nineties- democracy, human rights, and the rule of law,79 these were gradually incorporated into local awareness and desired lifestyle.80 Thanks to the handover, a rush to embrace political liberties emerged in Hong Kong society. However, Mathews argued that such political ideals worked as a fragile basis for Hong Kong identity, quoting a recent writer's comments on the paradox that Hong Kong's democracy advocates 'deprecate China… because they say it is totalitarian… They should have stood up long ago to defy colonialism, under which the Hong Kong Chinese have been living as second-class citizens until lately.'81 But then again, putting forth such debates may not be necessary as the fact that Hong Kong was not to enjoy political autonomy already encompasses all other substantial points.

Figure 7

     The icons here for the 1990s all represent local sentiments over the 1997 handover. In the first image which shows a movie poster of Her Fatal Ways (表姐,你好嘢!), the joining of Hong Kong and mainland people is depicted through a demonstration of Hong Kong's cultural superiority as the mainland policewoman in the story struggles inelegantly to fit in the city's more sophisticated way of living.82 By mocking the mainland Chinese, confidence over the Hong Kong identity is reclaimed; many also believe that it was owing to uncertainty and anxiety over Hong Kong's future that locals came to grow fond of comedy productions. The popularity of cinematic humor and the existence of tension in Hong Kong society is further confirmed in the success of second icon Stephen Chow周星馳. His creation of the so-called 'nonsensical' subculture (無厘頭) proved a highly applicable theme in entertainment throughout the decade, further demonstrating local preference of a good lighthearted laugh.83 Lastly, the iconology of the British Nationals Overseas (BNO) passport symbolizes an end to the era of British colonization. Similar to its expiration, Hong Kong people were left at a loss for identity, thus the emigration craze and rush to apply for a renewal of the passport.84

     The decade is concluded in an identity transition. There was a shift from the old focus on Chinese-British relationship to a new focus on Hong Kong-mainland Chinese relationship.

The Case of New York

     At present, the problem of Hong Kong identity has yet to reach an answer; the overlapping implications of local Chineseness and mainland Chineseness has so far resulted in disputes between Hong Kong locals and the mainland Chinese.85 In the United States, similar issues in identity tend to exist. According to Michael Walzer, the inhabitants of America do not claim exclusivity to the title 'American' as '[there is no] common patrie, but rather many different ones- a multitude of fatherlands (and motherlands).'86 Horace Kallen claimed that 'The United States… has a peculiar anonymity' since anybody can live in America.87 Although Americans are entitled to political representations, Walzer regarded patriotism in the country as something that is not assumed.88 Therefore, like the concept of being Chinese in Hong Kong, the problem of being American similarly faces an imminent crisis. For one, immigrants make up a part of U.S. population and this group of people refers to their native motherland, instead of the United States, as home.89 For another, states distinguish from each other through differences in political stance,90 cultural differences,91 religious identity92 and so forth.        

     Specifically, New York carries striking resemblances to Hong Kong. As early as the 1880s, New York successfully outdistanced herself from other large American cities through the rise of a commercial culture- wealthy elites, cultural institutions, clubs, museums, concert halls, opera houses, New York was the center of entertainment and nightlife.93 After the 1920s, New York had already emerged as a new mass culture with a national network radio, theater chains and wire service journalism. No matter which aspect you look at New York, the city runs her own story. Placing the focus on culture alone- the dance capital of the world, the Carnegie Hall, Broadway, Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden, the Statue of Liberty, Viacom, NBC, The New York Times, New York is home to many of the biggest names in entertainment, tourism, media and sports.

Figure 8

     With her continuous rise, New York came to distinguish herself from the rest of America. In light of her achievements and unique features, residents of the city proudly refer to themselves as 'New Yorker;' more than just an American, the typical New Yorker is 'contentious, cantankerous, aggressive and aggravating, tasteful or tasteless, thoughtful or thought-provoking or thoughtless.'94 Iconic-wise, it isn't difficult to come up with representative images: the Statue of Liberty symbolizes freedom- anyone can be a New Yorker and the city has served as an immigrant territory for quite a long span of time.95 Apart from being an authentic New Yorker, Woody Allen conveys a strong sense of love for New York,96 further offering views of being, and not being New York in his films.97 Thirdly, the Lower Manhattan skyline, like Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor, is an important representation of the city's historical developments.98

     Historian Kenneth T. Jackson identified New Yorkers through their tempo: they 'talk very loud, very fast and altogether. If they ask you a question, before you can utter three words of your answer, they will break out on you again and talk away.'99 An article entitled 'How to Be a New Yorker: Terribly Useful Rules for Life' further suggested concrete suggestions of living the New York life.100 Surprisingly, a number of the rules carry a dramatic resemblance to the Hong Kong way of life:

     In the article, Jen Doll referred to New York as 'family,' quoting: 'Speaking of families, the city is one of your own. Which means you can complain about it all you want, and frequently do, but if someone else starts talking [negative things] about it, you'll defend it with every resource in your arsenal;'101 moreover, Doll described New Yorkers as 'a bunch of nostalgic saps' who hate change despite the fact that the city evolves in a wear-and-tear rapidity.102 In another article, American graphic designer Milton Glaser openly suggested that New York may as well be 'a set of projections, and it can be anything you want,'103 concluding 'New York is the Madonna (Ciccone) of cities' for her constant re-envisioning of her own identity.104

     Due to the existence of a lifestyle that is proudly unique, New York and Hong Kong have come to emerge as highly individualistic cities, carrying internationally acknowledged cultural features that to some, can only be expressed through the entity of a nation; similar tendencies of identifying with one's city of residence can be further found in places like Berlin,105 Shanghai,106 or in Tokyo.107 Going back to our context, the self-identification of New York and Hong Kong citizens is strongly bound to the development and prestige of their cities, thus the usage of 'New Yorker' and 'Hong Konger' or 'Hong Kongonese.' In light of this, tourists come from afar to experience the New York or Hong Kong lifestyle; attempts to 'move into' these two cities and become a true New Yorker or Hong Konger have also received much publicity and exposure.108 Owing to their uniqueness and historical experiences, the urban identities of New York and Hong Kong have not only overlapped but further encompassed the national identities of being American or Chinese.

Under Globalization and a Transnational Context

     Since the handover, Hong Kong has served as a unique stepping stone to and for the outside world. Quoting Elizabeth Sinn: 'Hong Kong culture grew in a unique environment full of historical contradictions. Hong Kong is a window to the world for China, as well as one for the world to look into China;'109 the world's interest in China as a market has become a lifeline for a post-industrial Hong Kong where simultaneously, China's re-entry into the world community had been achieved.110

     Further complemented by her position as a renowned finance center, particularly in Asia and carrying the title 'Asia's World City,' Hong Kong has undeniably emerged as a global city under the significant contexts of growing globalization and transnationalism.111 In 2011, Hong Kong topped the Globalization Index 2010,112 surpassing Singapore and coming first in embracing the highest level of globalization among 60 largest economies in the world:113 Hong Kong is currently 'playing a very significant role in the world,' especially considering that she is the gateway to enter and invest in China, which is the second largest economy in the world; for Chinese enterprises, Hong Kong serves as a springboard for further expansion into the international market. Moreover, Hong Kong was also listed as Asia-Pacific's top listing hub in 2010, receiving credit for the high level of freedom on capital flows and transfer of securities.114

     In terms of culture, Hong Kong is truly a culturally-diversified society, often termed as 'international with a strong local identity.' Notably, local identity has continually transitioned since the eighties: the incorporation of outside cultures and concepts, together with the export of local culture and output have combined to make Hong Kong a global city. In the local entertainment scene, Hong Kong actors Chow Yun-fat周潤發, Jackie Chan 成龍 and directors Ronny Yu于仁泰and John Woo 吳宇森have all become big names in Hollywood.115 Local movies, on the other hand quickly took on Western themes- renowned filmmaker Wong Kar-wai王家衛 went from Hong Kong-centered productions like Tears Go By (Mongkok Carmen) 旺角卡門 in 1988 to sojourning in 2004's 2046. It is also worth noting that Hong Kong has been featured in several Hollywood productions in recent years, including a scene from the 2003 Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life where Angelina Jolie and Gerard Butler leapt off the 88-storied International Finance Center (IFC).

     Since her entry into the world of globalization, Hong Kong's transnational culture has become much more fluid and malleable, perfectly suited to contribute significantly to the creation of a global culture that it poses no threat to anything at all. In turn, outside forces easily invade and the Hong Kong identity finds itself in crisis time and again. With further regards to the problem of identity, globalization can be simultaneously perceived in a pessimistic and optimistic light: to the former, Hong Kong's interaction with the global community serves to complicate identity, making locality prone to foreign ideas, culture and concepts. However, through globalization, Hong Kong is able to expand and affirm her role and importance in an international context; despite the absence of legal political representation, the term 'Hong Konger' has no doubt found acceptance in today's transnational world. Therefore, if the city's prominence and purpose continues in an international context, the global scene may actually serve as a feasible space for the consolidation and survival of the Hong Kong identity.


     What then, by the end of the day, is heung-gong yan? Certainly, lifestyle is not supposed to be contingent on national identity. Turner supports this by pointing that Hong Kong will remain tightly circumscribed by politics.116 Helen Siu hopes that Hong Kong should take pride and insist on the social institutions it has built, whilst taking on the historical role of engaging China positively with the outside world in the nexus- Hong Kong will no doubt be politically linked to the PRC for as long as imaginable and a convenient purpose must be realized to confirm its worth.117 Perhaps the city's involvement in the global community is indeed a viable road, for if the Hong Kong identity is to be strengthened and affirmed, it needs a release away from the control of mainland China.

     Three quarters of other people living in the world were once shaped by colonialism and must now come to terms with the new realities and the loss, or lack of identities. In light of this, Stuart Hall's words shall prove useful if not inspirational: 'Far from being grounded in a mere 'recovery' of the past, which is waiting to be found, and which, when found, will secure our sense of ourselves into eternity, identities are the names we give to the different ways we are positioned by, and position ourselves within, the narratives of the past.'118 Perhaps, it is now safe to conclude that Hong Kong's paradox may well be Hong Kong's unique identity- the strains and skid marks of yesterday will never cease to wear down; history, after all, has shaped Hong Kong locals to what they have become. In face of the 21st century, the increasing emergence of a global community hopefully shall allow Hong Kong's 'becoming' and 'being'119 sufficient room to grow and explore; without the international outlet, the city's divergence with mainland China would only suffocate and subjugate the future of the Hong Kong identity. As uncertain as the future may be, one thing, however is for sure: the development of the Hong Kong identity still has a long way to go, and despite the city's persistent anxiety over change and transition, Hong Kong ought to take advantage of her role in the international scene and focus herself on the global platform which shall ensure her continuous progress and maturation, now and in the years to come.

Catherine S. Chan completed her M.Phil. degree in the Department of History, Hong Kong Baptist University and is currently Senior Research Assistant. Her research interests include US-German relations, Chinese diaspora and Hong Kong cultural history. Her publication appears in the Journal of Intercultural Communication Studies and she can be reached at


* Special thanks to the reviewers and editors of the WHC for their help and useful suggestions, without which this could not have been possible, particularly in enlightening me to the global perspectives of analyzing icons and identity. Thanks are also due to Dr. Bettina Dietz for sharing with me her iconic impressions of New York.

1 It can also be said that identities, although not fixed nor final and absolutely returnable tend to say a lot about how we see ourselves at different points in time, and Hong Kong's case, as unique as is its once-colonized culture, is complicated by the crossroads of historical benchmarks.

2 Antonio Gramsci, 'Notes for an Introduction and Approach to the Study of Philosophy and the History of Culture' in David Forgacs, ed., A Gramsci Reader (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1988), 326.

3 Quoting Karl Marx: 'Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past,' in Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte: With Explanatory Notes (New York: International Publishers, 2008), 15.

4 Stuart Hall, 'Cultural Identity and Diaspora' in Johanthan Rutherford, Identity: Community, Culture, Difference (London: Lawrence & Wishard, 1990), 222.

5 The Filipinos carried a certain amount of affection towards the Americans as the colonizers assisted in the provision of public services; that the customary greeting from Filipino youths to Americans was 'Hi Joe, what's your name?' also suggested a friendlier relationship between the two as compared to the previous colony. Thus, the effects of colonialism, especially of the Americans on the Philippines are still evident in different aspects of Filipino life. In religion, the predominance of Roman Catholicism is a legacy of the 333-year rule of the Spanish. In education, English is used as the main medium of teaching and it is believed that 'self-Americanization' was taught, quoting: 'American colonization was unique in the sense that it espoused the contradictory values of colonial authoritarianism and democracy.' After the Philippines gained independence, arguments that pointed to the Western identification of Filipinos for the strengthening of American rule during the colonial period began to intensify. For the long-lasting impacts of American colonialism on the Philippines, see C.E. Torres, The Americanization of Manila, 1898-1921 (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2010), 186. For accounts of the 'intended' Americanization of the Philippines, see F.H. Golay, The Philippines: Public Policy and National Economic Development (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1961), 409; N. Mulder, 'Philippine Textbooks and the National Self-image,' Philippine Studies 38 (1990): 91.

6 The Indian identity is perceived as a celebration of diversity as India is an integration of differing caste, class, religion, region and even language. Amartya Sen argues that the plurality of India is so strong that many Indians do not view themselves as Indians. For reference, see Amartya Sen, The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005).

7 The earliest emergence of a conscious Filipino identity was associated with anti-colonial emotions and later, desires for independence. For instance, it is believed that the denial of Filipino Catholic priests and growing anger against the abuse of Spanish churches led to a rise in nationalistic feelings amongst Filipinos during the late 19th century, particularly in Filipino intellectuals like Jose Rizal. Subsequently, the rebellion of 1896 resulted from the Spanish execution of three Filipino priests in 1872 for advocating the secularization of parishes and the execution of Jose Rizal in 1896. After independence, the Philippines saw a collective move to de-Americanize especially due to the inequalities imposed by the Bell Trade Act of 1946, which ensured that the Philippines could not impose taxes on exports to the U.S. and absolute quotas could be established on seven important Philippine commodity exports. At worse, the Philippines were to extend parity rights to U.S. nationals in resource exploitation activities. For the cultural development of Filipino identity, see Nick Joaquin, Culture and History: Occasional Notes on the Process of Philippine Becoming (Manila: Solar Publishing, 1988); Fernando N. Zialcita, Authentic though not Exotic: Essays on Filipino Identity (Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2005).

8 In 1828 when Raja Ram Mohan Roy founded the 'Brahmo Samaj' organization, a sense of identity was seemingly absent as no unified commonality amongst the Indians was called for. The first boost to Indian identity came in 1857 with the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny. Significantly, this revolution was organized against the British colonists. In 1885, the first Indian National Congress was established through the assistance of the British; the colonizers attempted to manipulate India through the creation of pro-British Indians. In the 20th century, the Jallianwala Bagh massacre where 800 Indians were shot dead by British soldiers continued in uniting the Indians together- Gandhi gained popularity and Bengali authors like Rabindranath Tagore began gaining recognition amongst Indians for their nationalistic works. These examples demonstrate that although they were of different religious backgrounds and language, the Indians got together for a unified identity in face of the British rulers. For an account of post-colonial India, see Ramachandra Guha, India after Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy by Ramachandra Guha (New York: Harper Perennial, 2008). To know more about the construction of the Indian identity post-independence, see Sudipta Kaviraj, The Imaginary Institution of India: Politics and Ideas (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010).

9 I used icons to decipher identity due to the interesting similarities between the two: for one, their existence 'appears' an accomplished fact, yet their consistency lasts for only a limited period of time. Icons are constructed, altered and in the future continues to be re-made; identities on the other hand, is knowingly a 'production' that will never reach completion, particularly considering how people and events enter the big picture at different corners in time. Second, both icons and identities are made, not born. The creation of icons is an expression of sentiments resulting from an outburst of collective hunger, mental, material or both, leading to a two-way relationship as icons are made to feed social needs and in turn, they end up re-constructing influenced minds through time. Identities, similarly, are constructed with accordance to a surge of various elements- politics, pop culture, nature, society, economy and more than that, it should be noted that of all elements that make identity, none can remain consistent and permanent throughout time.

10 It may be useful to quickly point out that the word eikon is Greek for an 'image' in the likeness of 'a prototype or mode.'

11 For further discussion of icons and Hong Kong identity, see Ricardo K.S. Mak and Catherine S. Chan, 'Icons, Culture and Collective Identity of Postwar Hong Kong,' International Communication Studies (forthcoming).

12 Matthew Turner, 'Hong Kong Sixties/Nineties: Dissolving the People,' in Matthew Turner and Irene Ngan, ed., Hong Kong Sixties: Designing Identity (Hong Kong: Hong Kong Arts Centre, 1995), 22-23.

13 Wei-ming Tu, 'Cultural China: The Periphery as the Center' in Wei-ming Tu, ed., The Living Tree: The Changing Meaning of Being Chinese Today (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994), 15.

14 Quoting Ien Ang: '…a departure from the mode of demarcating Chineseness through an absolutist oppositioning of authentic and inauthentic, pure and impure, real and fake;' it has been argued that a question of who bore authenticity in Chineseness arose after the handover. For the first time, the Hong Kong people interrogated their identity (local Chineseness with a tint of colonial experience) in contrast with that of the mainland Chinese (traditional nationalistic Chinese). See Ien Ang, 'Can One Say No to Chineseness? Pushing the Limits of the Diasporic Paradigm,' in Rey Chow, ed., Modern Chinese Literary and Cultural Studies in the Age of Theory: Reimagining a Field (Durham: Duke University Press, 2000), 283.  

15 Paul Rabinow, 'Space, Knowledge and Power: Interview of Michel Foucault,' Christian Hubert, trans., Skyline 20, no. 7 (1982), 20.

16 Frantz Fanon, 'On National Culture' in The Wretched of the Earth (New York: Grove Press, 1963), 176.

17 Kwai-Cheung Lo, Chinese Face/Off: The Transnational Popular Culture of Hong Kong (Hong Kong: University of Illinois Press, 2005), 2-18.

18 The figures are based on the theory of optimal distinctiveness which, by the postulate that social identity is derived from the opposing forces of two universal human motives- the need for inclusion and assimilation and the need for differentiation, believes that humans have the capacity for social identification with distinctive groups that satisfy both needs simultaneously. Marilynn B. Brewer, 'Multiplied Identites and Identity Transition: Implications for Hong Kong,' International Journal of Intercultural Relations 23, no. 2 (1999): 189, 193.

19 Ibid.

20 Modern icons usually start as artistic creation, quickly evolving to become a symbolic discourse which, after mass distribution, end up as open interpretation, carrying varying depths of values for every different receiver. 

21 Read refers to icons as a result of the human mind's will to abstractation, an artistic activity that pertains to the crystallization of feeling of forms that feeds man's struggle for mental existence. For details, see Herbert Read, Icon & Idea: The Function of Art in the Development of Human Consciousness (New York: Schocken Books, 1972). In addition, it had been recorded that Church Father Saint Basil the Great believed 'What the word transmits through the ear… painting silently shows through the image,' suggesting similar convictions in comprehending the feature of communication in icons. For this, see Léonide Ouspensky and Vladimir Lossky, In the Meaning of Icons (Crestwood, New York: Saint Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1982), 30.

22 For an extensive study on the apocalyptic image of Japanese pop culture, see William M. Tsutsui, 'Oh No, There Goes Tokyo: Recreational Apocalypse and the City in Postwar Japanese Popular Culture,' in Gyan Prakash, ed., Noir Urbanisms: Dystopic Images of the Modern City (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2010), 104-126.

23 According to Donald Richie: 'The Japanese, in moments of stress if not habitually, regard life as the period of complete insecurity that it is; and the truth of this observation is graphically illustrated in a land yearly ravaged by typhoons, a country where the very earth quakes daily.' See Donald Richie, ''Mono no Aware:' Hiroshima in Film,' in Robert Hughes, ed., Film: Book 2, Films of War and Peace (New York: Grove Press, 1962), 68.

24 William M. Tsutsui, Godzilla on My Mind: Fifty Years of the King of Monsters (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), 72-73.

25 Endacott described the Hong Kong population at this age as having remained 'thoroughly Chinese in outlook, divided into a number of clans or communities.' For reference, see G.B. Endacott, A History of Hong Kong (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1973), 323. Also, it should be noted that although Chinese communities in Hong Kong during this period were scattered mostly according to ethnic group, many have argued that a sense of Hong Kong identity begun as early as after the border with the People's Republic of China was closed. John Carroll believes that this conscious distinguishing of oneself from the mainland was further elevated by major historical events like the 1967 riots, or the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident. For reference, see John M. Carroll, Edge of Empires: Chinese Elites and British Colonials in Hong Kong (Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2005), 109.

26 Ma Weijie馬傑偉: 'Dianshi 'Liyi' Yu Xianggang Wenhua 電視「禮儀」與香港文化,' RTHK Media Digest, [] (accessed 26 October 2012).

27 Also East Asian Tigers, or Four Asian Dragons, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore were noted for their exceptionally high growth rates and rapid industrialization between the early 1960s and 1990s. Features of the Dragons' economic model included: first, an export-driven model of economic development that discouraged domestic consumption through the imposition of high tariffs; second, a focus on education to improve future productivity; third, the use of cheap labor, particularly owing to post-war poverty. As a result, the four regions exported to rich industrialized nations, sustained double-digit growth rates for decades, achieved trade surpluses and carried undervalued currencies, a high level of U.S. bond holdings and high saving rates. To date, the economic success stories remain as a role model for many developing countries.

28 Lu Shoucai盧受采 and Lu Dongqing盧冬靑, Xianggang Jingji Shi香港經濟史 (A History of Hong Kong Economy; Hong Kong: Joint Publishing Hong Kong, 2002), 202.

29 Ibid., 229.

30 It should be noted that in face of the growing influx of refugees from China, 'kaifong associations' (街坊會) and 'kaifong welfare associations' (街坊福利會) had emerged as early as 1949 through the help of the Secretariat for Chinese Affairs in the colonial Government. As the word 'kaifong' in Cantonese suggests, neighborhoods were represented as an entity by respective associations, and welfare was sought for in free education or low cost health care and later legal support. After 1958, the British government attempted to use kaifong associations in communicating with the local people but the 1967 riots urged the Government to take another step in bridging itself with the community, resulting in the establishment of the City District Offices in 1969. Gradually, the kaifong associations declined in prominence. Other British contributions to the promotion of 'community' and 'belonging' include the establishment of a Cantonese-medium broadcasting, primary school education and the 'Festival of Hong Kong.'

31 Endacott, A History, 323.

32 Nai-wang Kwok, Hong Kong Braves 1997 (Hong Kong: Hong Kong Christian Institute, 1994), 24.

33 The sojourner mentality indeed began to wane with the closing of the border in 1949 but without the affirmation of a better life in Hong Kong as compared to mainland China, the mentality did not completely cease existence until the riots. The 1967 riots was inspired by the Cultural Revolution in the People's Republic of China, starting locally as a labor dispute and escalating into large scale demonstrations against British colonial rule.  During the incident, pro-Communist leftists in Hong Kong initiated massive strikes and demonstrations in Hong Kong's Central District and outside the Government House, erupting into violence on the 22nd of May. The climax of the 1967 riots took place on the 8th of July in Sha Tau Kok where hundreds of armed militia from the PRC fired at the Hong Kong Police; subsequently, real bombs were planted throughout the city by the leftist, killing two children and urging the British to defuse as many as 8,000 home-made bombs. Plunged in a state of emergency, local police raided leftist buildings and it would be until December 1967 when Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai ordered the leftists to stop all actions that the riots finally came to an end. In the event, 51 people were killed, 5 of whom were police officers, more than 800 people sustained injuries and 5000 were arrested of which 1,936 were convicted.

34 Importantly, the 1967 riots pushed the British government to introduce a series of reforms that would further strengthen local sentiments of belonging: the introduction of nine-year compulsory education, shorter working hours (law amendments were made to reduce the maximum working hours for women and young people to 57 hours a week; this number would be further reduced to 48 by 1971) and a public housing project. As Jack Cater, Chief Secretary under Sir McLehose from 1978 to 1981 and leader of the peace and security restoration team during the 1967 riots admitted in an interview dated 1999, the Government would not have carried out the crucial reforms in the late sixties and 1970s were it not for the riot. For more, see Gary Ka-wai Cheung, Hong Kong's Watershed: The 1967 Riots (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2009), 5.

35 By the late 1960s, Hong Kong people were seemingly more expressive of their anger towards society, challenging old assumptions about the government, particularly in terms of corruption problems.

36 Erwin Atwood, Good-bye, Gweilo: Public Opinion and the 1997 Problem in Hong Kong (New Jersey: Hampton Press, 1996), 106.

37 For this, Matthew Turner can be quoted: 'By the end of the sixties the idea of 'community' was no longer an irrelevance to the majority of the population. For alongside the official discourse, a local and largely unarticulated sense of identity had begun to emerge in Hong Kong.' Nelson Chow Wing-sun also observed the transition from a 'refugee society' to the embracing of a 'genuine home' amongst Hong Kong people, quoting: '…at the time of the 1967 riots, I felt Hong Kong people were generally lukewarm towards the government but they were disgusted with the acts of the leftists. Hong Kong people realized that they had to unite together in support for the government. From then on, Hong Kong people appeared to start treasuring this place. At least Hong Kong was their haven where they were sheltered from the disasters arising from the Cultural Revolution.' Please see, Ibid., 5-6.

38 Matthew Turner, '60s/90s,' in Pun, Narrating Hong Kong Culture, 28.

39 This event was organized by the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, lasting, as the name suggests, a week long.

40 'Show-window of democracy' is a phrase that suggests the artifice of 'window-dressing,' perceiving democracy as a tradable 'commodity' and the Hong Kong people as 'dummies' in the window as adapted from Sir Cho-yiu Kwan's message for the Festival.

41 It was known during that period that Mandarin movies had higher budgets and more lavish production and Cantonese films were perceived with a second-tier status. Notable names in Shaw Brothers and MP&GI, later Cathay, were famous for Mandarin flicks. Worth noting, however, is the Shaw Brother's pioneering of wuxia武俠films, a couple of which were produced in the 1960s: Temple of the Red Lotus江湖奇俠(1965), Come Drink with Me大醉俠(1966), Tiger Boy 虎俠殲仇(1966), The One-Armed Swordsman獨臂刀(1967) and Golden Swallow 金燕子(1968).

42 The pivotal economic shift away from regional exports to manufacturing for Western markets served simultaneously as a commercial and ideological transformation. Engineered by the Government-inspired Federation of Hong Kong Industries which was founded in 1960, the move allowed the local economy to achieve not only independence, but sufficient space for progression. For one, the autonomy achieved through the economic take-off spurred new-found confidence in being Hong Kongese. For another, the improved standards of living meant local lifestyles began to deviate greatly from those of Taiwan and mainland China.

43 Quoting 'This is not a new idea. Hong Kongites have been talking about it for years… The root of the problem in wanting to instill this Hong Kong identity sense into the citizenry is to determine who belongs and wants to belong to Hong Kong… [But] for the idea of a Hong Kong identity to grow and for its people to take pride in being identified with Hong Kong, living standards have to go up. Otherwise it's like trying to give culture to hungry and needy people- it simply just won't work,' from E. Pereira, 'Plain Talk,' Hong Kong Standard, 28 February 1965.

44 Turner, '60s/90s,' 31; Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso, 1983), 15.

45 Echoing aforementioned local anger over corruption, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) was established in 1974 by Governor MacLehose. Bearing the aim of eliminating corruption in the many departments of the Hong Kong Government, the ICAC executes its power through law enforcement and further advocates prevention and general knowledge on corruption through community education. In an overview of the 1960s, corruption was not uncommon as Civil Servants received low wages- firemen asked for money to turn off the water after putting out fires, police asked for money from hawkers and civil servants had to pay a sum for promotions. To date, the ICAC works to fight corruption and injustice in Hong Kong society.

46 Thomas W.P. Wong, 'Colonial Governance and the Hong Kong Story' in Pun, Narrating Hong Kong Culture, 243.

47 The Chinese as Official Language Campaign is one example of local participation in social issues.

48 The HKID is an official document issued by the Hong Kong Immigration which allows an infinite duration of residency for its carriers. Legal documentation under the British Government began in 1949 when registration of Hong Kong residents was initiated and executed in order to issue identity documents. Before that, people were allowed to move freely in and out of Hong Kong and mainland China. The registration was completed in 1951 and in 1960, a second generation of the HKID was introduced, this time bearing the holder's information, fingerprint, photograph, as well as an official stamp- the color differed according to gender where males had a blue card and females a red one. In the 1980s, it became compulsory to carry an identity card in public areas and police or immigration officers were entitled to frequent inspections in the street in order to prevent illegal immigrants from settling permanently. In 2003, the HKID came to be replaced by modern smart IDs.

49 Television soaps were based on Hong Kong's refugee past, the stock market, upward mobility and tycoons, all of which were closely related to local everyday life.

50 Janet Ng claims popular media as the engine of Hong Kong's global advance, symbolizing a pursuit of the global market and leading to Hong Kong's emergence as a center of popular culture in Asia that began with the rise of television in the 1970s. For reference, see Janet Ng, Paradigm City (New York: State University of New York Press, 2009), 141-145.

51 Fong Ng, The History of Hong Kong Television (Hong Kong: Subculture, 2003), 150.

52 There were only four broadcasting channels during the seventies: Rediffusion Television麗的電視有限公司 (later renamed Asia Television Limited or ATV;亞洲電視有限公司) and Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB; commonly無綫電視) were operated in Chinese; TVB Pearl and RTV English Channel (currently ATV World) were operated in the English medium.

53 Other young singers at that time sang exclusively in English or Mandarin, raising Sam Hui's appeal particularly to the working-class audience. For reference, see Hung Ng, 'A Critique of Sam Hui 批判許冠傑' in Jun-hung Ng and Chi-wai Cheung, ed., Reading Hong Kong Popular Cultures: 1970-2000 (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 2002), 200-205.

54 Banjin baliang半斤八兩, which literally translates to 'six of one, half a dozen of another' is a typical example of Hui's famous songs. The song depicts a typical picture in the life of Hong Kong's working class, putting the spotlight on the problems of long working hours and low wages. It is believed that the song reached success as it was acknowledged by a huge portion of Hong Kong's population in face of similar conditions.

55 It should also be mentioned that Below the Lion Rock 獅子山下 was the name for a famous TV series and a popular local song during the decade. The former was a collection of random stories depicting real-life circumstances of different social levels against a social background collectively acknowledged and experienced like the widely known Shek Kip Mei fire. The latter was a renowned song by Roman Tam 羅文which according to local DJ and musician Wong Chi-chung黃志淙echoed the transition of Hong Kong identity from that of a refugee mentality「寄居、逃難、過客的心態」to an acceptance of Hong Kong as home「以港為家」、「以港人為榮」. For this, see Huang Zhizong黃志淙, Liusheng流聲 (Hong Kong: HKSAR Home Affairs Bureau, 2007), 43.

56 Remarkable is the fact that the first haul of local-born Hong Kong people had reached adulthood by the end of the decade and considering their ties to mainland China are relatively weaker than the previous generation's, there is no denying that Hong Kong is perceived as their only home. For this, see Helen Siu, 'Cultural Identity and the Politics of Difference in South China,' Dœdalus (1993), 32-33.

57 According to Benedict Anderson, cultural identity is always imagined in collective illusion of a shared time- we will never meet more than a fraction of the individuals with whom we believe to share a common bond. In Hong Kong, the city has never claimed independence, national or political, like Singapore and Taiwan, thus imagination of society serves as the key to cultural independence.

58 R. Hughes, Borrowed Place, Borrowed Time: Hong Kong and Its Many Faces (London: André Deutsch Limited, 1968).

59 The Treaty of Nanking was signed on August 29 1842 as a result of China's defeat in the First Opium War. Under the terms, Hong Kong was ceded to Britain; in 1860, Kowloon was further ceded to the colony and in 1898, the New Territories was leased for a period of 99 years. 

60 In 1984, the Joint Declaration was signed between Deng Xiaoping and Margaret Thatcher, proclaiming an agreement between the UK and the PRC that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) would be regarded under the 'one country, two systems' principle and that Hong Kong's previous capitalist system would remain unchanged for a period of 50 years until 2047.

61 Also known as '6/4,' which is numerical for June 4th, the Tiananmen Square massacre (June Fourth Incident) was a student demonstration-turned-massacre that killed a speculated 4,000 to 6,000 civilians (the real casualty remains unknown). In the event, residents and students gathered to call for government reforms, freedom of press and freedom of speech. Although the protests, which lasted seven weeks, were peaceful, a student-led hunger strike pushed the PRC government to brutal suppression of the protesters. To date, the incident remains a taboo in mainland China.

62 It should be noted that Governor Wilson failed to secure British passport rights for the population but he was able to commit to vast capital works that included a new airport, an enormous increase of tertiary education, and extensive redevelopment and beautification of urban areas like the Rose Garden, all in order to bolster shattered confidence amongst the Hong Kong locals.

63 Such political consciousness continues to be represented in today's Hong Kong, especially observable in highly sensitive issues like the mass demonstrations that emerged against Beijing's proposition of Article 23 (a security legislation that would curb freedom of speech through prohibiting 'any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People's Government;' as of 2012, the proposal has been shelved indefinitely) and National Education (the PRC's attempt to make compulsory what critics and protesters believe to be lessons of 'brainwash;' Hong Kong's Chief Executive CY Leung scrapped the plan after pressures from student hunger strikes and successive peaceful protests) in Hong Kong. In addition, the city's ongoing struggle for direct elections and democracy is another good example of the extension of such political consciousness that found confirmation and strengthening in the late eighties.

64 Cultural imports from the United States was also evident in the eighties, particularly with the popular franchising of the American Toys 'R' Us and their successive emergence in Hong Kong malls..

65 For example, Kondō Masahiko 近藤真彥 was widely popular in Hong Kong during the eighties.

66 The original was Kōji Kikkawa's (吉川晃司) モニカ.

67 This lifestyle worked in distinguishing Hong Kong people from the mainland Chinese as local fondness and pursuit of sophisticated trends automatically meant that life in Hong Kong was far more ample and posh than that of mainland China. It has been argued that the Hong Kong 'lifestyle' replaced the city's lack of political representation.

68 Rey Chow, 'Larry Feign, Ethnographer of a 'Lifestyle': Political Cartoons from Hong Kong,' boundary 2 24, no. 2 (1997), 35.

69 Lo, Chinese Face/Off, 39.

70 Turner, '60s/90s,' 39.

71 Ng's complaint can be easily spotted in the content of local newspapers like Apple Daily, whose innovative supplement pages and tabloid-centered reporting promotes an idea of local lifestyle, invalidating its political stance and pushing everyday life further into the realm of global capitalism. For reference, see Chun-hung Ng, 'Social Indicators and the Hong Kong Way of Life,' in Siu-kai Lau, et al., ed., New Frontiers of Social Indicators Research in Chinese Societies (Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 1996), 123.

72 In 1992, Patten suggested additional political reform through the addition of nine functional constituencies, thus expanding voter base as compared to the previous situation. The changes were first implemented in the 1995 legislative election. Through Patten's concept, virtually every Hong Kong subject was able to take part in voting for the so-called indirectly elected members of the Legislative Council.

73 Turner, '60s/90s,' 42. In fact, half a million of Hong Kong's people have emigrated since the Tiananmen Square incident and in another source, Hong Kong academic Michael DeGolyer expressed: 'We have hard data that a minimum of 2.2 million people will leave or try to leave Hong Kong if something goes wrong' after the handover. For reference, see Anthony Spaeth, 'One Year and Counting,' Time International, July 1, 1996. The emigration craze was a remarkable phenomenon before the handover where in 1992 alone, 66,000 people, 53,000 in 1993 and 62,000 in 1994 fled the city and tycoons like the Shaw family left Hong Kong for fear of economic downturn after the handover.

74 According to John Carroll, the Tiananmen Square massacre and the impending handover forced many Chinese to think of themselves first as 'Hong Kongese' and second as Chinese. He further proposed that the co-existence of a Hong Kong identity and a Chinese identity is possible, taking Ho Kai, an active figure who was involved in both the Chinese and British communities, as a good example of how co-existence of 'nationalism' and 'identity' is actually possible. For more, see Carroll, Edge of Empires, 112-130.

75 For 1996 statistics, see Wai-kong Fung, 'Public Softens Stance on Handover but Rights Fears Remain,' South China Morning Post, February 17, 1996. For 1997 survey, see Edward A. Gargan, 'Will the Virtues of Tea Be Enough to Calm Hong Kong's Jitter?' International Herald Tribune, June 11, 1996.

76 In this finding, 35% of respondents referred to themselves as Hong Kong people; 32% Hong Kong-Chinese and 22% Chinese during February 1996. July 1996 saw a shift as 45% chose the Hong Kong identity, only 20% claimed to be Hong Kong-Chinese and those who rooted to be Chinese increased to 30%.

77 David Ho commented in his column: 'If you see women in the streets wearing Chanel from head to toe, chances are they're from the mainland… They know the brands, but do not have real taste or style.' See Angelica Cheung, 'Cultural Conflict,' Asiaweek, June 28, 1996.

78 In general, Hong Kong people perceived themselves to be wealthy, cosmopolitan and capitalist as opposed to the mainland Chinese. The use of Cantonese and English colonial education, the latter of which was usually a justifying point to remove Hong Kong from mainland 'Chineseness,' were basic reasons put forth. For reference, see Mathews, 'Hèunggóngyàhn,' 65-66. To know more about freedom of consumption and the Hong Kong identity, see Gordon Mathews, 'Names and Identities in the Hong Kong Cultural Supermarket,' Dialectical Anthropology 21, nos. 3, 4, 399-419.

79 In contrast with the Communist government, Emily Lau, advocate of Hong Kong autonomy and democracy, was quoted saying 'China has no respect for freedom, especially freedom of the mind.' For reference, see Keith B. Richburg, 'Fearful Press in Hong Kong Toes China's Hard Line,' International Herald Tribune, March 30, 1995.

80 Remarkably, the establishment and cultivation of such concepts should be credited to the British colonists, who not only allowed but also encouraged the development of a local culture and way of thinking.

81 The quote can be found in J. Wong, 'Happy Medium Seen for Future,' Letter to the Editor, Eastern Express, April 4, 1996.

82 Basically, the movie satirizes mainland Chinese bureaucrats. In it, Dodo Cheng鄭裕玲plays a mainland policewoman who arrives in Hong Kong to assist in tracking down an extradited drug-dealer. Cheng attempts repeatedly to imitate the Hong Kong way of life and become an 'authentic' Hong Kong individual though unsuccessful; the movie ends with Cheng handing her Hong Kong counterpart a letter expressing that she is looking forward to more opportunities for cooperation after 1997.

83 In 2006, BBC film critic Jonathan Ross termed the 'nonsensical' genre as 'Silly Talk.' Generally, it is expressed either verbally or through slapstick. For instance, 'Sit down, have a sip of tea and a Chinese bun' (坐低飲啖茶,食個包) became a catchphrase in Hong Kong society after Chow used it in The Final Combat 蓋世豪俠. The 'Silly Talk' concept became a subculture in Hong Kong after the success of Stephen Chow's movies, e.g,: All for the Winner賭聖 and many believe that his films actually worked to alleviate social tension, particularly in face of the handover.

84 Hong Kong's British Dependent Territories Citizenship ceased existence after June 30 1997. From July 1 1987 to 1997, people rushed to register for a BNO and 3.4 million successfully gained such status. By 2007, Hong Kong recorded 800,000 valid BNO passports.

85 In January 2012, hundreds of Hong Kong locals protested outside Dolce & Gabbana complaining that the store discriminated against locals in favor of mainland people. Hong Kong has been experiencing an influx of shoppers from across the border in the last decade and concern over the city being swamped by mainland shoppers as they emptied supermarket racks particularly for dried milk and lately, Yakult, has been successively expressed through local anguish. In addition, Hong Kong people have taken to terming mainlanders as 'locusts,' of which resulted in a music video that showed the mainland people as chaotic, shouting in restaurants, hotels and stores. Another issue of conflict that has reached the Legislative Council meetings and the Chief Executive's awareness comes with the increasing number of mainland women crossing the border to take advantage of Hong Kong's superior medical system and the fact that babies born in the city have the right of abode in Hong Kong. In view of the city's attitude towards them, the mainland people have lashed back: early this year, a mainland professor called Hong Kong residents 'dogs of British imperialists,' 'bastards' and 'thieves,' further fuelling the conflict between the two.

86 The original quote is: 'To be 'at home' in America is a personal matter: Americans have homesteads and homefolks and hometowns, and each of these is an endlessly interesting topic of conversation. But they don't have much to say about a common communal home. Nor is there a common patrie, but rather many different ones- a multitude of fatherlands (and motherlands). For the children, even the grandchildren, of the immigrant generation, one's patrie, the 'native land of one's ancestors,' is somewhere else. For reference, see Michael Walzer, What It Means to Be An American: Essays on the American Experience (New York: Marsilo Publication Corp., 1992), 25.

87 This is especially related to the fact that America is sometimes perceived as a country of immigrants. Horace M. Kallen, Culture and Democracy in the United States (New York: Boni & Liveright, 1924), 51.

88 Walzer referred to how politicians engage in fierce competition to demonstrate patriotism as an explanation of the lack of patriotism in America. In addition, he believed that the natural loyalty recognized in families does not apply politically in the United States, quoting 'One can be an American patriot without believing in the mutual responsibilities of American citizens- indeed, for some Americans disbelief is a measure of one's patriotism.' For more, see Walzer, What It Means to Be An American, 24.

89 In 2010, immigrants made up one-third of U.S. population growth whilst half consisted of U.S.-born children of previous immigrants. Statistics show that as of June 2010, an average of 104,000 foreigners arrived in the United States each day, 3,100 carried immigrant visas, 99,200 were tourists, or business and student visitors. About 2,000 were unauthorized immigrants. For reference, see Philip Martin and Elizabeth Midgley, 'Population Bulletin Update: Immigration in America 2010,' Population Reference Bureau, [] (accessed 30 October 2012).

90 For a detailed analysis of political preference with accordance to state (2009), see Jeffrey M. Jones, 'State of the States: Political Party Affiliation, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Hawaii and District of Columbia are Most Democratic,' Gallup, [] (accessed 30 October 2012).

91 In language, for instance, people from the South tend to speak more slowly as an effect of their slower way of life. The North uses 'pop' or 'soda' in referring to soft drinks whereas the South uses the word 'Coke.' Another difference can be evidenced from musical genre, where the South is normally known for producing country music; bigger cities in the North represent jazz.

92 According to a Gallup poll conducted 2009, Catholics are most prevalent in the East and non-Christian Catholics are concentrated in the South of the United States. See Frank Newport, 'Religious Identity: States Differ Widely,' Gallup, [] (accessed 30 October 2012).

93 For an account of New York's industrial development, see William R. Taylor, 'The Launching of a Commercial Culture: New York City, 1860-1930,' in John Hull Mollenkopf, ed., Power, Culture and Place: Essays on New York City (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1988), 107-109.

94 James Barron, ed., The New York Times Book of New York: 549 Stories of the People, the Events and the Life of the City- Past and Present (New York: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc., 2009), 14.

95 Significantly, the Statue of Liberty greeted immigrants as they entered America by sea; also, New York is known as America's classic immigrant city; it served as the gateway for the eastern and southern Europeans that arrived in America. Large-scale immigration began in early 19th century where between 1815 and 1915, three quarters of the 33 million immigrants that arrived in the United States passed through the port of New York, leading to the establishment of two immigrant centers: Castle Garden and Ellis Island. The number of immigrants to New York continued to rise throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries that by 1910, foreign-born population reached two million. In 2000, 36% of New York's population comprised of immigrants.

96 Evidently, many of Wood Allen's productions were filmed in New York, the main characters being frequent portrayals of people who grew up in the city (Allen's character from Annie Hall (1977) was a New Yorker, in Manhattan (1979) where the title itself is suggestive of a New York-based theme, the lead character Isaac Davis is depicted as a man writing a book about his love for the city) and New York's landmarks are agreeably shot in beautiful scenes (in Annie Hall, the leading character Alvy's childhood home was located under the Thunderbolt roller coaster at Coney Island; Manhattan featured an impressive shot of the famous Manhattan bridge).

97 For instance, in Annie Hall, the mentality of New York being exceptionally better than others is perceived in how Allen portrayed Los Angeles people as bland and unctuous through a party scene; Alvy's ex-wives who were from L.A. were depicted as stereotypes of superficiality. In addition, the New York identity was represented in how Alvy criticized Los Angeles when he suggested that he leave Los Angeles not just for him, but also for New York, symbolically implying two different identities and lifestyles. Using Alvy Singer as a specific case, the character symbolizes the typical New York: gloomy, claustrophobic, socially cold and filled with nervous energy. For a detailed study of cultural references in Annie Hall, see Peter Cowie, Annie Hall (London: British Film Institute, 1996).

98 The'downtown' skyline is convincing proof of the city's historical benchmarks and New York's prominent position as a commercial and business center. For instance, in the early 1900s, the world's tallest office building was built at 47-stories high in Manhattan and the huge number of immigrants to the city led to the emergence of a building boom during the decade. This would continue in the next few decades where more commercial buildings like the Bank of Manhattan Trust Building (today's Trump Building), the City Bank-Farmers Trust Company Building and the 66-stories tall American International Buiding were built. Owing to her population growth and concentration of commercial activities, the first World's Fair was held in New York. Two decades after the Second World War, the World Trade Center towers were constructed in 1972 and 1973, confirming New York's position as a growing international finance center. On September 11, 2001, the Lower Manhattan skyline was damaged as terrorist attacks led to the collapse of two World Trade Center buildings; the other three were demolished due to serious damage. Thus, it is believed that the image symbolizes the different historical developments of New York through time: the quick emergence of skyscrapers is an affirmation of the city's role in global finance and tourism; the erection of tall buildings signified the influence of immigration and population growth and the still-transitioning skyline continues to record the progress of history at present and in the future.

99 Ibid., 14-15.

100 For the article, see Jen Doll, 'How to Be A New Yorker: Terribly Useful Rules for Life,' 23 November 2011, The Village Voice, [] (accessed 30 October 2012).

101 Similarly, Hong Kong is known for such culture; an article further termed the city as 'the world's capital of complaints,' regarding Hong Kong locals as spoilt due to the habit of having everything in convenience within the city. See Yalun Tu, 'Hong Kong Complaints,' 7 October 2010, The Asia City Network, [] (accessed 30 October 2012). Similar to Doll's observation, Hong Kong people stand up for the city (for example, protests against national education) and even for the integrity of the Chinese as a whole (for instance, demonstrations from Hong Kong activists over Japanese claims of Senkaku islands; annual vigil for the Tiananman massacre victims).

102 Hong Kong's wear-and-tear culture is easily observable in the continuous demolition of buildings as well as historical heritages. In recent years, protests and complaints have been strong concerning the demolition of local heritages. For example, the demolition of the Edinburgh Place Ferry Pier in Central ended in a public outburst of anger. Hong Kong locals held peaceful protests for days but the Pier was taken down as planned on the 11th of November 2006.

103 The original quoting goes 'I almost believe there is no New York; there is only a set of projections, and it can be anything you want. It has the worst people, it has the best; it's the worst, it's the best. It is the acceptance of the contradictions and illusions. In any relationship, you can alternately love and hate somebody every day. New York is so mutable and surprising. Even if you don't love it, it is always compelling, always interesting, and never boring.' For reference, see Jen Doll, 'Milton Glaser on New Yorkers: 'For Better or Worse You're Here, and Doomed to Be Here,' 23 November 2011, The Village Voice, [] (accessed 30 October 2012).

104 Doll further emphasized that New York is collectively imagined and re-envisioned: 'Being a New Yorker is something we're all in together. At the same time, we refuse to believe we are anything but unique and uniquely driven, despite eight million competitors fighting for a foothold of their own. The singularity amid a teeming community that's constantly swarming closer… is certainly part of what makes us New Yorkers. But there's more. There's always more. It's New York.' Placing this on the context of Hong Kong, the city has also taken to collective imagination in the formation of her identity, taking, for instance, Hong Kong locals' self-perception of being more sophisticated and civilized than their mainland counterparts.

105 For instance, Monika Maron's merging of historical facts and imaginative fiction referred to the Berlin identity and culture as a residue of the city's damage and destruction from her involvement in the Second World War and the unique experience of separation into East and West. See Monika Maron, 'Place of Birth: Berlin,' in Helen Constantine and Lyn Marven, Berlin Tales (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2000), 67-79.

106 The cultural flowering of Shanghai from 1930-1945 is observed in Leo Lee's publication where Shanghai's architecture, commercial culture, and modern lifestyle are covered to bring out the bigger picture of life and cosmopolitanism of Shanghai in early 20th century. For reference, see Leo Ou-fan Lee, Shanghai Modern: The Flowering of a New Urban Culture in China, 1930-1945 (Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1999). In addition, the implications of being 'Shanghainese' is sometimes regarded with concern to their spoken dialect.

107 For this, Mikako Iwatake has provided a discussion on the reconstruction of the Tokyo identity in face of the city's traditional past and her current position as a world city, implying the existence of an identity crisis and the need for a new identity to appropriately situate Tokyo's post-modern developments. See Mikako Iwatake, 'The Tokyo Renaissance: Constructing a Post-modern Identity in Contemporary Japan,' Ph.D. dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1993.

108 In Hong Kong, an increase in mainland women attempting to attain a Hong Kong Identity Card has evolved to legal problems in bogus marriages and local discrimination against pregnant mainland women delivering their babies in Hong Kong. Also, the amount of literature and study on how to be or how to pretend to be a New Yorker or Hong Konger is also not uncommon. See John Chen, 'How To Be a Hong Kong Local: 10 Tips on Faking It,' 3 April 2012,, [] (accessed 31 October 2012); 'How to Pretend You're a Real New Yorker,' Travel Blissful, [] (accessed 31 October 2012).

109 Elizabeth Sinn, ed., Culture and Society in Hong Kong (Hong Kong: The Centre of Asian Studies, the University of Hong Kong, 1995), iv.

110 Helen Siu, 'Remade in Hong Kong: Weaving into the Chinese Cultural Tapestry' in Tao Tao Liu and David Faure, ed., Unity and Diversity: Local Cultures and Identities (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1996).

111 For an account of Hong Kong's globalization since the 1990s, see Stephen W.K. Chiu and Tai-lok Lui, Global City, Dual City? Globalization and Social Polarization in Hong Kong Since the 1990s (Hong Kong: Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, 2004).

112 The Globalization Index 2010 was conducted by Ernst & Young and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). Hong Kong's final score totaled 7.48 with Ireland (7.34) and Singapore (6.78) lagging behind. For details, see 'Hong Kong Tops the Globalization Index: First Among 60 Economies in Openness to Trade, Capital Movements and Cutural Integration.' 24 January 2011, Ernst & Young, [] (accessed 31 October 2012).

113 Out of five categories, Hong Kong ranked first in three: openness to trade, capital movements and cultural integration. The other two are movement of labor and exchange of technology and ideas.

114 In 1998, economist Milton Friedman credited the financial miracle of Hong Kong as owing to its free market: '…the average per capita income in Hong Kong was 28 percent of that in Great Britain; by 1996, it had risen to 137 percent of that in Britain. In short, from 1960 to 1996, Hong Kong's per capita income rose from about one-quarter of Britain's to more than a third larger than Britain's. I believe that the only plausible explanation for the different rates of growth is socialism in Britain, free enterprise and free markets in Hong Kong. Has anybody got a better explanation?' For this, see Milton Friedman, 'The Hong Kong Experiment,' Hoover Digest no.3 (1998), Also, 2011 saw the 17th consecutive year that Hong Kong was named the world's freest economy by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal and remains to be the only candidate to have ever scored 90 points or above on the 100 point scale of the Index.

115 Chow Yun-fat appeared with Jodie Foster in Anna and the King and also starred in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the third installment of The Pirates of the Caribbean. In other examples, Jackie Chan is known for Hollywood productions like Who Am I? and Shanghai Noon. Ronny Yu directed The 51st State and Bride of Chucky; John Woo is best known for his work on box-office hits like Face/Off and Mission: Impossible 2.

116 Turner, '60s/90s,' 48.

117 Helen Siu, 'Hong Kong: Cultural Kaleidoscope on a World Landscape' in Pun, Narrating Hong Kong Culture.

118 Hall, 'Cultural Identity and Diaspora,' 10.

119 According to Stuart Hall, cultural identity consists of 'what we really are' and 'what we have become,' quoting 'Cultural identity… is a matter of 'becoming' as well as of 'being.' It belongs to the future as much as to the past, It is not something which already exists, transcending place, time, history and culture. Cultural identities come from somewhere, have histories. But, like everything which is historical, they undergo constant transformation. Far from being eternally fixed in some essentialised past, they are subject to the continuous 'play' of history, culture and power.' See Hall, 'Cultural Identity and Diaspora,' 225.


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