Centre of Urban History,Culture and Media

Story of the Month - August 2017

Story of the Month - August 2017 

每月故事 - 二零一七年八月

The mainstream society often assumes that sex workers are forced into their job. Sex workers are expected to quit prostitution as soon as possible, and few bothered to understand their personal dreams and goals.

主流社會往往認為性工作者被迫從事性行業,並期望她們應盡快「從良」,卻鮮有人願意了解性工作者的個人夢想和目標。

 

Centre member Prof. Raees Baig conducted a research on the economic condition of sex workers to understand why they work in the sex industry. Prof. Baig found that many sex workers have their own life goals, such as saving up enough for their family and to buy a flat, just like many Hongkongers. In collaboration with the JJJ Association, a self-help NGO formed by sex workers, they assessed the effectiveness of financial literacy training for sex workers. Through courses like this, sex workers were able to organize themselves and seek help from one another when there is a problem.

中心成員碧樺依教授曾研究性工作者的經濟狀況,以了解為什麼他們在性行業工作。碧樺依教授發現,許多性工作者和許多香港人一樣,都有自己的生活目標,比如存錢為家人和買樓。碧樺依教授與性工作者組成的非政府組織「姐姐仔會」合作,為一個為性工作者而設的理財課程進行評估。通過這樣的課程,性工作者便能在問題發生時組織起來,互相幫助。

 

Prejudice from police is a major problem that sex workers face, Prof. Baig said. Because of negative stereotypes against sex workers, the police often treat their cases with low priority. The legal restriction that permits only one sex worker per flat also makes crimes like robbery and murder less visible. Prof. Baig argues that more training to the police is needed to encourage sex workers to seek help from law enforcement in case of crime.

碧樺依教授說,警察的偏見是性工作者面臨的一個主要問題。由於對性工作者的負面定型,警方傾向不太重視她們的案件。「一樓一鳳」的法規也使搶劫和謀殺等罪案更難被發現。碧樺依教授認為,警方需要接受更多培訓,以鼓勵性工作者在罪案發生時尋求協助。

 

Raees Baig 

 

Caption: Financial literacy training for sex workers. Photo by JJJ Association.

圖:為性工作者而設的理財課程。 圖片由姐姐仔會提供。

 

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Story of the Month - April 2017

Story of the Month - April 2017 

每月故事 - 二零一七年四月

"How satisfied are you with your life as a whole these days?"
「你最近對自己的生活感到滿意嗎?」


"Would you say that most people can be trusted or that you need to be very careful in dealing with people?"
「你覺得是否能信任其他大多數人,還是必須對他們提高警惕?」


The questions above came from the World Values Survey, a large scale international survey to gather data on changing human values and beliefs and their impact on social and political life. Political scientists Prof. Shu-yun Ma and Prof. Edmund Cheng are conducting the Hong Kong portion of this global survey project with the aim to gather data on changing human values and beliefs and their impact on social and political life. After the Occupy Movement in 2014, Hong Kong society remains deeply divided along political lines. The level of mistrust toward political institutions was heightened. Through this large scale survey that samples at least 2,500 households in Hong Kong, the study aims to find out where people's grievances are coming from, and how social trust can be repaired and maintained for better governance.
上述問題取自世界價值觀調查,此項大型國際調查希望蒐集資料,以便探討人類價值觀及其對社會政治生活的影響。政治科學家馬樹人教授和鄭煒教授正在進行此項全球調查計劃的香港地區研究,以探討人類價值觀及其對社會政治生活的影響。在2014年佔領中環運動後,香港社會仍然在政治上被撕裂開來,人們對政治機構更加不信任。此項調查通過蒐集至少2,500個香港家庭的數據,希望找到民怨的源頭,以及如何彌補和維護社會信任,以改善政府治理。


Since most of the survey questions are standardized across the world and kept consistent over time, it allows researchers to make comparison across countries as well as to track how values have changed over time. Prof. Ma and Prof. Cheng's research shows how quantitative data can be used to better understand our society.
由於調查問卷中的多數問題在全球地區已標準化,並且一直保持一致性,研究者得以比較不同國家的研究發現,以及追踪價值觀隨時間如何變化。馬教授和鄭教授的研究顯示如何使用量化數據來更好地了解我們的社會。

 

 

Edmund Cheng

 

Caption: A “cultural map” summarizing the result of World Values Survey (Wave 6) conducted during 2010-14. Source: worldvaluesruvey.org

這幅「文化地圖」總結出在2010-14年進行的第六波世界價值觀調查研究結果。資料來源:worldvaluesruvey.org

 

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Story of the Month - March 2017

Story of the Month - March 2017 

每月故事 - 二零一七年三月

China has undergone rapid urbanization and industrialization in the past 30 years. Women have often been seen as exploited factory workers or laid off workers who lost out in the market economy.

中國在過去30年正在經歷急速的都市化和工業化。女性多被視為被剝削的「工廠妹」或是下崗女工,是市場經濟中的失敗者。

 

Song Jing, a sociologist studying self-employed women in rural village in Zhejiang Province, told another side of the story. One of her interviewee Yu (pseudonym) started learning to do self-employed needlework since she was 14 and later entered a rural factory. After years of hard work, she became the factory's vice manager. She encouraged her daughter to start her own business, while her husband preferred to stay in an urban work unit and doubted about the prestige of rural industries and women's entrepreneurship. Many rural women prefer self-employment than wage-work because it is easier to balance their career and family duties, but some also find great potential of entrepreneurship. Such entrepreneurship could be derived from various forms of self-employment, as a side job, an individual career or a family venture.

研究浙江農村自僱女性的社會學家宋婧教授,卻道出了故事的另一面。她的被訪者余女士(假名)自14歲起學習「挑花」的手工藝活,後來更進入當地的村辦企業。經過多年努力,她成為了工廠的副廠長。她鼓勵女兒創業,開創自己的生意;她的丈夫卻情願留在一個城裡單位工作,對農村工業和女性的創業前景持懷疑態度。很多農村女性情願自僱多於打工,因為自僱令她們更容易平衡事業和家庭責任,但是也不乏在追求靈活就業模式中發現創業機會的女性。創業機會很多時候和自僱工作緊密相關,並且可以以副業,個人職業,或者家族生意的多種方式出現。

 

Prof. Song's research shows that women are not merely losing out in China's transition to the market economy. They are willing to take the risks, grab opportunities, and make a difference via various pathways including self-employment and entrepreneurship.

宋教授的研究顯示,女性並非完全是中國向市場經濟轉型過程中的失敗者。她們勇於面對風險,把握機會,以自僱和創業等多種形式改變未來。

 

 

Song Jing

 

Men are often observed in the more capital-intensive self-employment, such as transportation, while women tend to take the more labor-intensive work, such as running food stands. Photo by Song Jing.

男性多做資本密集的自僱工作,如運輸。女性則傾向選擇勞動密集工作,如在路邊賣食物。攝影:宋婧。

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Story of the Month - January 2017

Story of the Month - Janurary 2017 

每月故事 - 二零一七年一月

Do you know that Hong Kong has as many as 300,000 "returned overseas Chinese" rooted in Southeast Asia?

你知道香港有多達30萬東南亞「歸僑」嗎?

 

Centre Fellow Dr. Ong Kok-chung, himself a Chinese Malaysian, is interested in the life histories of "returned overseas Chinese". Born mostly in Indonesia or Malaysia, these overseas Chinese had moved to China in the 1950s and 60s to work or study. Some were inspired by the Communist revolution to "contribute to the motherland", while others were expelled by the local regimes due to their connection with communism. In China, however, they were not trusted by the Chinese government because of their "foreign connections" and suffered great hardship during the Cultural Revolution. When policies relaxed in the 1970s, they were allowed to leave China, but they were still blacklisted by their home country, so many of them settled in Hong Kong.

本中心成員王國璋博士是馬來西亞華人,對歸僑的歷史很感興趣。歸僑多生於印尼或馬來西亞,於二十世纪五、六十年代移居中國大陸學習和工作。當中有人被共產主義革命理念感召而「貢獻祖國」,有些則因與共產主義有牽連而被當地政府驅逐出境。在中國,這些歸僑卻因有「海外關係」而不受信任,在文革期間吃盡苦頭。七十年代政策開始放鬆,他們被允許離開中國,但卻被原居國列入黑名單而無法入境,最後多留在香港定居。

 

In Hong Kong, these returnees kept a low profile on their Southeast Asian origin, and were seen as new immigrants from mainland China by the locals. Many of them are elderly people, now in their seventies and eighties, who still identify themselves as culturally Chinese and use Mandarin as their most fluent language. This neglected group of migrants is part of what makes Hong Kong a diverse, international city.

在香港,這些歸僑對他們的東南亞背景保持低調,而本地人則以為他們是中國內地的「新移民」。這些老人現多已屆70或80歲高齡,文化上依然自認為中國人,講普通話最為流利。這群被忽略的移民,構成了香港這多元國際城市的一部分。

 

Kok chung ONG

 

Performance of the song "I Love You, China" in the 25th anniversary of the Hong Kong Surabaya Alumni Association, a reminiscence of the complex patriotism shared by many returned overseas Chinese. Photo by Kok-Chung ONG

泗水同學會廿五週年文藝匯演:一曲《我愛你中國》展現了不少歸僑心中複雜的愛國情懷。攝影:王國璋

 

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Story of the Month - October 2016

Story of the Month - October 2016 

每月故事 - 二零一六年十月

Currently, there are over 340,000 foreign domestic workers (FDWs) in Hong Kong. Most of them are women and from mainly the Philippines and Indonesia. Although many of them have lived and worked in Hong Kong for years, they are not eligible for Hong Kong citizenship due to Hong Kong’s immigration policies. 

目前,在香工作的外籍家務傭工總人數已經超過340,000人。當中絕大部分來自菲律賓或印尼的女性。很多外傭雖然已在香港生活和工作多年,受限於香港的移民法規,他們卻法落地生根,成為香港的永久居民。

 

 

Center member and anthropologist Dr. Ju-chen Chen has been researching on Filipino community in Hong Kong with a focus on pageants since 2011. She spent many Sundays with the organizers and contestants. “Domestic workers are actually very busy on Sundays – their only day off,” Dr. Chen said. “For beauty pageant participants, they have to create or order their costumes, arrange for make-up services, join photo-shooting sessions, and also continue to rehearse for the shows.” When Dr. Chen asked them why they spent so much time and money for these events, “I have talent and confidence. I want to show others that they can do it too,they answered. Through beauty contests, these FDWs create a community for themselves and show themselves as well as the society that they are valuable, not merely dispensable temporary labor force.

本中心成員人類學家陳如珍博士從2011年起研究菲律賓外傭群體。其中,她又特別關注菲傭群體所舉辦的選美活動在週日時,往往與比賽的組織者和選美佳麗們一起東奔西跑完成各項準備工作。陳博士說:「大家常說星期日是外傭的休息日。但是外傭們在星期天其實是非常忙碌的。對於選美比賽的參與者而言,她們要自行籌備服裝、安排髮型和化妝的服務參加定裝照的拍攝,還要一再的參與走台步的訓練和選美表演的預演。 」當被問及為什麼要花錢花時間參加這些活動時,她們的答案是:「我有才華和自信。我想要讓別人知道我們一樣,都是有才華又美麗的人」。通過選美比賽,這些菲律賓外傭建立起自己的社群,同時努力讓自己和所處的社會明白她們的價值。希望主流社會不要再視她們為可有可無的短期勞工。

 

 

Dr. Chen’s research shows that FDWs, just like everyone else, have multiple identities, such as mothers, event organizers or beauty queens. We should see them as workers with personal life and not “just maids.”

陳博士的研究顯示出外傭與所有人一樣,有著多重身份。她們是母親、活動組織者,也是選美皇后我們應該視他們為有著各自不同個人生活的工人,而不只是幫傭。

 

 

Juchen Chen

Winners of Miss Pinoyshot Princess 2014. Photo by Ju-chen Chen

2014年比諾依攝小姐選美皇后. 攝影: 陳如珍.

 

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Story of the Month - September 2016

Story of the Month - September 2016 

每月故事 - 二零一六年九月

In 2015, there were nearly 11,000 asylum seekers in Hong Kong with outstanding claims. While Hong Kong does not resettle refugees locally, the city has the obligation to screen and process asylum and torture claims. Yet asylum seekers and refugees are prohibited from working, studying, and volunteering while their application is being processed - sometimes for longer than 10 years. Meanwhile they live on a meager support of $1,500 rental allowance, $1,200 food coupons, and minimal utilities support each month. This has created conditions of enforced destitution for asylum-seekers and refugees - even though they have many skills and talents to offer. Mainstream media tends to portray them as criminals, and academic studies often depict them as oppressed persons doing everything they can just to survive. One of the myths is that asylum-seekers are getting married with locals for the sole purpose of getting a Hong Kong Identity Card. Centre member and anthropologist Prof. Sealing Cheng's research about the intimate life of African asylum seekers and refugees in Hong Kong shows a different side of the story.

在2015年,香港有約11,000名尚待處理的尋求政治庇護申請。香港雖非難民接收國,卻有義務審查及處理難民和酷刑聲請。當申請仍在處理時,尋求政治庇護者和難民不可工作、讀書、或當義工,處理時間可長達10年以上。期間,他們每月可獲發微薄的租金津貼($1500),食物換領券($1200),和少量日用品。故此,政治庇護者和難民被逼過著赤貧的生活,即便他們擁有不少可作貢獻的才能。主流傳媒傾向把他們描述成罪犯,而學術研究則多視他們為僅求糊口的被壓逼者。傳聞指,尋求政治庇護者與本地人結婚,不過是為了獲取香港身份證。本中心成員兼人類學家鄭詩靈教授的研究,探討從非洲來港的尋求政治庇護者和難民的私密生活,從而道出了故事的另一面。

 

Prof. Cheng shared the experience of David (pseudonym), an asylum seeker from West Africa and a decent looking and trendily-dressed young man in his twenties. David was pursued by an older wealthy local woman, who treated him with expensive meals and even invited him to come to her house afterward. Most people may expect that an asylum seeker in his situation would be eager to develop a romantic relationship with any local woman to obtain Hong Kong residence. Yet David said he was "afraid" when he was with her, indicating his lack of interest in this woman who could offer him not just HKID but also material comforts. His true love, as Prof. Cheng later found out, was a younger woman, who had a more humble lifestyle.

鄭教授分享了一位從西非來港尋求政治庇護者的經歷。David(化名)是一位年約二十多歲的年青男子,外表英俊,打扮入時。他曾受到一位年紀較長又富有的本地女士的追求。那位女士請他到高級餐廳,及後更邀請他到她家中。多數人或會以為,尋求政治庇護者定會把握機會與本地女子發展關係,以獲得香港居留權。然而,David卻說,每次與她一起,都有種莫名的「恐懼」,可見他對這位能給他身份證和安逸生活的女士並無興趣。鄭教授後來才知道,他真正喜歡的對象,是一位較年青、生活較卑微的女子。

 

Through stories like David's, Prof. Cheng shows that asylum seekers, just like anyone of us, have love and desire. It is important for us to recognize the humanity of asylum-seekers and refugees, and formulate policies that facilitate the exercise of their basic human rights, as well as to address problems of discrimination against them because of their race and immigration status.

通過像David般的故事,鄭教授展示出尋求政治庇護者跟其他人一樣,是有情有欲的個體。重要的是,大眾應明白尋求政治庇護者和難民的人性,並制定保障他們基本人權的政策,以免他們因種族和移民身份受歧視。

 

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Story of the Month - August 2016

Story of the Month - August 2016 

每月故事 - 二零一六年八月

 

As migrants move away from home, they bring a part of their culture to their new home, such as the games they play. This is true for South Asians in Hong Kong too.

當移民離開故鄉,他們往往會把部分原有文化帶進新社會,例如遊戲。香港的南亞裔社群亦不例外。

 

 

Centre member Dr. Wyman Tang's research project is about the globalization and localization of Kabaddi, a sport originated in South Asia. The game is played by two teams of seven, and it requires no equipment other than an open space. In the past two years, Dr. Tang partnered with the local Nepali community to promote this traditional sport in Hong Kong. "Many Hong Kong locals found the game fun and exciting", he said, "We adopted new rules to make the game more gender inclusive".

本中心成員鄧偉文博士研究卡巴迪的全球化和在地化。卡巴迪是一種源自南亞的運動,由兩隊各七人組成。玩卡巴迪毋須任何設備,只須一片空地。在過去兩年,鄧博士與本地尼泊爾社群合作,在香港推廣這傳統運動。鄧博士說:「很多本地香港人都覺得這遊戲好玩又刺激。我們把規則略改,令遊戲更能包容不同性別。」

 

 

The mainstream society often expects ethnic minorities to assimilate into mainstream culture, as if they are merely passive recipients. Yet Dr. Tang found that ethnic minorities are eager to share their own culture as well. Through sports like Kabaddi, he hopes to introduce real contact and mutual understanding between ethnic groups.

主流社會往往期望少數族裔融入主流文化,視他們如同被動的接收者。但鄧博士發現少數族裔也希望向大眾分享自己的文化。通過運動(如卡巴迪),鄧博士希望增進不同族裔之間的接觸和相互理解。

 

 

Wyman Tang 1

 

Kabaddi Players in a Secondary School in Dhangadhi, Nepal. Photo by Wyman Tang

在尼泊爾丹加地一所中學的卡巴迪運動員。攝影:鄧偉文

 

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Story of the Month - July 2016

Story of the Month - July 2016 

每月故事 - 二零一六年七月

About 700 years ago, a Chinese diplomat Zhou Daguan visited Angkor, a then-prosperous city in the Khmer Empire. His book The Customs of Cambodia portrays the everyday life of local people in this city with his firsthand experience.

約七百年前,元代使節周達觀到訪繁盛一時的吳哥城(今柬埔寨)。他所著的《真臘風土記》,利用親身經歷,描述出當地人民的日常生活。

 

 

Using clues from Zhou's book, our Centre member Sharon Wong Wai-yee digs into the stories behind the rise and fall of the ancient Angkor. As an archaeologist specialized in Southeast Asia and China, Sharon found "book knowledge" both informative and misleading. "Based on Zhou's description of the city's different architectural buildings and fabrics, archaeologists were able to identify the city's palace and temples that confirms the historical record." she said, "but Chinese records of that time are often tainted with a Sino-centric bias that undermines their reliability. Such bias, still lingers today."

本中心成員黃慧怡教授利用周達觀著作的線索,發掘出古吳哥城背後盛極而衰的故事。作為一位專於東南亞和中國的考古學研究者,黃教授指出古書上既有翔實資訊,也有誤導之處。黃教授說:「根據周達觀對吳哥城不同建築結構和材質的描述,考古學家可因此考證出符合歷史記載的宮殿和廟宇。然而,當時的中國古籍往往帶著以中為中心的偏見,削弱其可信性。同樣的偏見似乎今天仍然存在。」

 

 

Truth is the best weapon to dispel biases. Sharon's work pieces together fragments from the past and unearths new stories of the ancient Angkor people. Could the demise of this once-vibrant civilization give us insights in understanding today's cities?

事實是驅除偏見的最佳武器。黃教授的工作從歷史的碎片中拼湊出更多關於吳哥人民的故事。這座曾經充滿活力的古城衰落的故事,能給我們身處的現代城市帶來什麼啟示

 

 

The ancient capital city, Angkor, Cambodia (Photo by Sharon Wong)

 

The ancient capital city, Angkor, Cambodia (Photo by Sharon Wong)

柬埔寨吳哥古城(攝影:黃慧怡)

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Story of the Month - June 2016

Story of the Month - June 2016 

每月故事 - 二零一六年六月

How did temple processions, once regarded as superstitious by Hong Kong’s Chinese and British elites, become revived as a heritage and tourist attractions?

曾被香港華人和英籍精英階層視為迷信的廟會巡遊,是如何搖身一變,成為文化遺產和旅遊景點

 

 

Centre member and anthropologist Joseph (“Joe”) Bosco has been studying urban religion in Hong Kong. Temple processions associated with Chinese popular religious festivals used to be celebrated only within a local neighborhood. They were regarded as “backward” by elites and were strictly constrained by the police. Yet after the Handover in 1997, some processions have been rebranded as a heritage that represent Hong Kong’s—or even Chinese—tradition, and are funded and promoted by government agencies as tourist attractions, while their religious meaning is being downplayed.

本中心成員林舟教授是一位研究香港城市宗教的人類學家。廟會巡遊曾經只盛行於當地華人流行的宗教節日,被精英視其為「落後」,且受到警方的嚴格管控。但是在1997年主權移交後,部分巡遊被重新打造成為文化遺產,成為代表香港或甚至中國的傳統,並獲得政府部門的資助及推廣為旅遊景點,其宗教含義卻被淡化。

 

 

Through studying the changing social meanings of temple processions, Joe’s research reveals how religion is shaped by politics. What people commonly refer to as “religion”, he argues, is part of the symbolism that we use daily, and should not simply be dismissed as superstitious.

林舟通過研究廟會巡遊的社會含義變化,揭露了政治如何塑造宗教。他認為人們通常所指的「宗教」是我們日常所用象徵的一部分,不應簡單地被貶視為迷信。 

 

 

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Temple procession in Shau Kei Wan celebrating the “Birthday of Tam Kung” in 2013. Photo by Joseph Bosco.

2013年的筲箕灣譚公誕廟會巡遊。攝影:林舟

 

 

Further readings:

2015 "Urban Processions: Colonial Decline and Revival as Heritage in Postcolonial Hong Kong." In Peter van der Veer, ed., Handbook of Religion and the Asian City: Aspiration and Urbanization in the Twenty-first Century, pp. 110-130. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

2015 "Chinese Popular Religion and Hong Kong Identity". Asian Anthropology 14(1): 8-20.

2016 "The Sacred in Urban Political Protests in Hong Kong". International Sociology doi:10.1177/0268580916645767

Story of the Month - May 2016

Story of the Month - May 2016 

每月故事 - 二零一六年五月

 

What does a place’s physical setup has to do with the sense of community?

一個社區的實體設置和人們的社區感有什麼關係?

 

This question of human-space relation is what Professor Wallace Chang, one of the Centre’s members, has been exploring in his works. Trained as an architect, his designs range from public bathrooms to university buildings. Openness and simplicity are two core themes in his designs.

本中心成員鄭炳鴻教授一直在探討這個關乎人與空間的問題。身為建築師,鄭教授的設計涵蓋廣泛的建築類型--從公廁到大學教學樓,都離不開「開放」和「簡樸」的核心主題。

 

“The high density apartment blocks in Hong Kong cannot cultivate the kind of neighborhood relations common in rural villages,” Wallace said. “Interaction in public space is the key”. He designed an award-winning teaching building in his home department—the School of Architecture at CUHK—where a spacious atrium provides a space in which students of different levels and teachers interact casually. The unadorned cement exterior reflects the philosophy that university education should be pure and modest, and it helps to keep the construction costs relatively low. Wallace said users of the building have responded positively to the design-- some commented that it feels spacious, distinctive, and yet friendly. 

鄭教授認為,在香港,高密度的住宅大廈無法培養出農村裏常見的鄰里關係,皆因缺乏便於人與人交流的公共空間。他其中一個獲獎設計,是他任教的中文大學建築學院教學樓。該樓有寬敞的中庭,以便不同年級的學生和老師都能隨意交流。簡樸的水泥外牆,展現著大學純樸的教育理念,也降低了建築成本。鄭教授說,教學樓的使用者對該樓設計反應正面,不少人都喜歡這寬敞、獨特又不失親切感的空間。

 

Interior of the "An Integrated Teaching Building" in CUHK designed by Wallace Chang. Photo by Wallace Chang.

鄭炳鴻教授設計的香港中文大學的綜合教學大樓內部。攝影:鄭炳鴻