Archive 2008
     
             
     

THE HONG KONG ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY AND THE HONG KONG MUSEUM OF HISTORY

Kyaw Yin Hlaing

Myanmar
What's Happened? Why? What Comes Next?

3 December 2008 Wednesday 6: 30pm
City University of Hong Kong
Yellow Zone Mini-Lecture Theatre Y4302

When Burma gained independence in 1948, opposition parties were allowed to exist and elections were held regularly. The coup staged by the Revolutionary Council led by the military on March 2, 1962 brought an end to this brief period of electoral democracy and a long period of military rule began. Since 1988, the pro-democracy movement led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has been fighting for democracy in the country. Although more than two decades has passed, the political future of the country remains precarious. This talk will explain why the political deadlock in Burma has lasted for such a long time, and will forecast what might happen in the country in the coming years.

Dr. Kyaw Yin Hlaing is Assistant Professor of Asian and International Studies at the City University of Hong Kong. His current research is on the political economy of rice in Burma and democracy, social movements and dictatorship in Burma.


THE HONG KONG ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY AND THE HONG KONG MUSEUM OF HISTORY

Patrick Hase

Hong Kong in the age of Imperialism: The Six-Day War of 1899

30 October 2008 Thursday 7: 00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History

When the British took the New Territories over in April 1899 the villagers of the Yuen Long area decided to oppose the takeover by force. They besieged the small British force on Flagstaff Hill, Tai Po (April 15th) until shelled by a Royal Naval gun-ship. On April 17th and 18th, full-scale battles near today's Kadoorie Farm and at Sheung Tsuen led to about 500 deaths on the insurgent side. Dr Hase will discuss the fighting, what it has to say on the British attitudes to the villagers, the casualties, and what is known of the make-up of the insurgent force and its arms. He will also discuss the differing attitudes to the insurgency of the Governor (Sir Henry Blake) and the Colonial Secretary (James Stewart Lockhart), and why the insurgency was so soon forgotten.

In conjunction with this talk, Dr. Hase will also be leading a tour on Saturday Nov. 1 for HKAS members, going to the hill in Tai Po where the first actions took place, where there is also a government administrative centre, built in 1903, a charming old building in a nice green setting. We then go to Tai Po Tau, where the main cannon site is located, and another cannon site near the village of Lin Au. We will then pass the last main battle site in the Lam Tseun Valley, and visit a monastery where there is a mass burial mound, containing the remains of 200 villagers, killed in the fighting, for whom the nuns still pray. The tour will be done with 2 minibuses containing 40 people in total.

Dr Patrick Hase has been in Hong Kong since 1972, and has been researching village history and life-styles for over 30 years, especially in the fields of village folk-song, land-law, and the salt trade. He is the immediate past president of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch.


THE HONG KONG ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY AND THE HONG KONG MUSEUM OF HISTORY

Saroja Dorairajoo

You Are What You Cook:
Tom Yam Restaurants and Identity Negotiations among Thai-Malay Muslims in Malaysia Past and Present

16 October 2008 Thursday 7: 00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History

The speaker explores the working lives of the young Malay men and women of southern Thailand who travel to Malaysia to work in the halal Thai restaurants known generically as tom yam restaurants. She shows how these young men and women straddle between ethnicity and national identity in order to carve out a double identity for themselves in Malaysia. How Thai-Malays use this double identity to help make a living in Malaysia is what the speaker seeks to explain.

Saroja Dorairajoo is Assistant Professor in Anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She was Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the National University of Singapore from 2000-2007.


THE HONG KONG ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY AND THE HONG KONG MUSEUM OF HISTORY

Julie Moffat

Ten years of the Trials andTribulations of Expatriate English Teachers:
A Comparison between Hong Kong and Brunei

18 September 2008 Thursday 7: 00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History

What is it like being an expatriate English teacher? It's not the same as being a local English teacher. It's certainly not the same as being an ESL teacher in one's own country. What are the issues which face expatriate English teachers and how do successful teachers deal with them? What lessons do the teachers learn from these experiences? Is being a NET in Hong Kong different from teaching English elsewhere? The speaker will address these issues along with others that NETs need to face in different teaching environments in Hong Kong, Brunei and Botswana.

Julie Moffat had her first expatriate English teaching experience in Botswana in the mid 1980s, and has spent nine of the last ten years teaching English in Asia. She was a NET in Hong Kong from January 1999 to August 2003, and returned to the NET Scheme in January 2007. She is currently undertaking research on the expatriate English teaching experience for a PhD through the University of Tasmania.


THE HONG KONG ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY AND THE HONG KONG MUSEUM OF HISTORY

Rubie Watson

Challenging a Colonial Category:
Women's Inheritance Rights in Rural Hong Kong

11 July 2008 Friday 7: 00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History

This talk is part of a larger research project that traces the history of a series of debates about women's rights and cultural tradition in colonial Hong Kong. These debates involved, on the one hand, European and Chinese reformers who made claims to universal principles (Christian values, women's rights, human rights, or international law), and on the other hand, conservatives who argued for the priority of "tradition" (variously described as Chinese or regional or indigenous).

Rubie Watson is a social anthropologist who has conducted field research in rural Hong Kong since 1969. Her primary interests are the impact of economic and political change on family, kinship, and gender relations in Hong Kong and southeastern China. Currently, she is Curator (Peabody Museum) and Senior Lecturer (Anthropology) at Harvard University.


THE HONG KONG ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY AND THE HONG KONG MUSEUM OF HISTORY

Lydia Siu Kit Wah

Is it Black Currant or Plum?
Understanding the Meaning of Taste in Wine Consumption

19 June 2008 Thursday 7: 00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History

The government abolished the wine duty in Hong Kong in March in order to make Hong Kong an international wine hub. It was expected the local demand for fine wine would increase dramatically. However, while the lowered price of wine encourages people to try, many find it difficult to appreciate this drink. Wine is still a mysterious and incomprehensible beverage to many Hong Kong Chinese. In this talk, by looking at the development of the wine industry and the practices of wine tasting in Hong Kong, we look at wine consumption at a socio-cultural level, and explore how wine has become what it is in Hong Kong today.

Lydia Siu is an M. Phil. candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.


THE HONG KONG ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY AND THE HONG KONG MUSEUM OF HISTORY

Geoffrey A. Fowler and Juliet Ye

Home After the Earthquake

12 June 2008 Thursday 7: 00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History

Survivors of the May 12 earthquake that shook China's Sichuan province have a very complicated relationship with the idea of "home." In the big city of Chengdu, where people live in fear of aftershocks, thousands of families have taken to living outdoors in tents, even though their homes weren't damaged during the quake itself. In the countryside closer to the quake's epicenter, thousands are moving from refugee centers back to their decimated home towns to resettle. In both responses, extended Chinese families play a central role in both practical and emotional quake relief.

Geoffrey Fowler has been a correspondent for the Wall Street Journal in Hong Kong since 2002. Originally from South Carolina, Geoffrey studied social anthropology, earning a BA from Harvard in 2000 and MPhil from Cambridge in 2001. Juliet has been a reporting assistant for the Journal in Hong Kong since 2007. Originally from China's Hunan province, she studied English Literature at Nanjing University and earned a masters' degree in journalism from Hong Kong University in 2007. Both speakers reported from Sichuan for the Journal in May.


THE HONG KONG ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY AND THE HONG KONG MUSEUM OF HISTORY

Wen Hua

Cosmetic Surgery in Post-Mao China

29 May 2008 Thursday 7: 00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History

A few decades ago, within Chinese communist ideology, the quest for beauty was regarded as decadent Western bourgeois culture. But more and more Chinese women in recent years have been shopping for a youthful, beautiful and "Caucasian-like" appearance. Based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Beijing, China, Wen Hua explores in this talk how the alteration of female body features through cosmetic surgery reflects in microcosm the transition of China's social nature from communism to consumerism. She argues in this talk that cosmetic surgery must be understood within the broader historical and cultural-social context of China, and also that it must be seen both as the empowerment of Chinese women and also their ongoing subjugation to men, market, and state.

Wen Hua is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the ChineseUniversity of Hong Kong. Despite years of fieldwork on the topic, she has not undergone cosmetic surgery herself.


THE HONG KONG ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY AND THE HONG KONG MUSEUM OF HISTORY

Lin Kwan Ting, Maggie

Yoga in Hong Kong: The Body, Spirituality, and Social Status

15 May 2008 Thursday 7: 00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History

Yoga originated as a way of attaining spiritual enlightenment via the body in India. In Hong Kong today, yoga has taken on entirely different meanings, turning into a pursuit for the perfect body. An apparent contradiction seems to exist between yoga as a spiritual quest and yoga as a physical pursuit for health and beauty. In this talk, the speaker argues that this contradiction is more apparent than real- both styles of yoga are matters of consumption, marketing, and the pursuit of status and distinction. What, then, can yoga ultimately teach us about the body and spirituality, and money and social status, and all their interlinkages in Hong Kong?

Lin Kwan Ting, Maggie is an M.Phil. candidate at the Department of Anthropology at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. She is also an avid yoga practitioner.


THE HONG KONG ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY AND THE HONG KONG MUSEUM OF HISTORY

Cheuk Ka Kin

Sikhs in Hong Kong

17 Apr 2008 Thursday 7: 00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History

In this talk, based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Hong Kong and Punjab, India, Cheuk Ka-kin gives an overview of the Sikh community in Hong Kong. He first provides a brief history of Sikh migration and the settlement of Sikhs in Hong Kong. He then discusses the ritual life of the Sikhs inside the Sikh Temple at Wan Chai, and how this relates to their social life in Hong Kong. In the final section, he discusses the transnational connections and cultural identities amongst the Sikhs in the Hong Kong diaspora.

CHEUK Ka-kin is an M.Phil. student in The Department of Anthropology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is now writing a thesis on the transnational connections, local lives, and identities of the Sikhs in Hong Kong.


THE HONG KONG ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY AND THE HONG KONG MUSEUM OF HISTORY

Wang Yajun

Love, Lies, and Loss: Young women's experiences of abortion in China

13 Mar 2008 Thursday 7: 00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History

This study seeks to broaden and deepen our understanding of young women's abortion experiences in contemporary China. In many societies, abortion involves high controversy and serious moral implications.  In China, however, it is a much less socially/culturally condemned issue. Moreover, the implementation of family planning policy has made abortion a widely available and accessible service. This has benefited unmarried pregnant women when illegitimate birth remains a social taboo. How do unmarried women experience abortion in China? The clinical experience of abortion is not the emphasis of this study because the women didn't emphasize it in their reflections. Instead, their major concerns are their romantic relationship, their family, their health, and their future happiness as a woman. Abortion was something they did for all these reasons, and something some women do for the same reasons again and again.

The study starts from the premise that choices are always contextual, and the analytical challenge therefore lies in tracing out the social conditions that produce and enable specific modes of acting. Based on interviews and observations, this research considers the factors that shape and condition women's abortion experiences. I argue that women's loves, lies, and losses reveal the ways in which women experience gender and seek self-fulfillment in today's China.

Wang Yajun is an M Phil student in the Gender Studies Division, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.


THE HONG KONG ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY AND THE HONG KONG MUSEUM OF HISTORY

Ulf Hannerz

Among the Foreign Correspondents

5 Mar 2008 Wednesday 7: 00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History

Foreign correspondents in the news media -- print, radio and TV -- have a large part in shaping our understandings of the world. At the same time, they have something in common with anthropologists. Like many of the latter, they report across distances which may be not only spatial but cultural as well, and sometimes the cultural differences themselves make news. This talk describes a multi-site  field study of the work of foreign correspondents, in Jerusalem, Johannesburg, Tokyo, and, very briefly, in Hong Kong.

Professor Ulf Hannerz is perhaps the foremost anthropological interpreter of globalization in the world today. He is Professor of Social Anthropology at Stockholm University, and is the author of Cultural Complexity: Studies in the Social Organization of Meaning (1992), Transnational Connections: Culture, People, Places (1996), and Foreign News: Exploring the World of Foreign Correspondent (2004), among other books.


THE HONG KONG ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY AND THE HONG KONG MUSEUM OF HISTORY

David A. Palmer

Heaven and Hell at Huashan: Two Interpretations or More

21 Feb 2008 Thursday 7: 00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History

The peaks of Huashan, one of the five sacred mountains of traditional China and a major "grotto-heaven" of Taoism, have in recent years been inscribed into the spiritual travel circuits of Western "Taoist" practitioners. Based on ethnographic research on the encounters between these Westerners and the Chinese Quanzhen Taoist monks residing on Huashan, this presentation will consider how the two groups engage with, interpret, and appropriate what they experience as the power, " ling" or "energies" of the mountain and its caves. At one level, the talk will compare how mystical experiences are inscribed into different interpretive frameworks by the Chinese and Western participants. At another level, the presentation will consider the methodological difficulties posed by the researcher's participant-observation in an encounter between members of two cultural worlds, as they themselves engage with different realities.

David A. Palmer is a Research Fellow of the Ecole francaise d'Extreme-Orient and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the departments of Anthropology and Religious Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The author of Qigong Fever: Body, Science and Utopia in China (Columbia University Press, 2007), his current research projects focus on the transformations of Chinese religion in the modern world.


THE HONG KONG ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY AND THE HONG KONG MUSEUM OF HISTORY

Tammy Cheung

Speaking Up 2: Interviews with Primary students on the Mainland
A documentary film followed by a talk

17 Jan 2008 Thursday 7: 00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History

Last year, we followed the camera as it traced daily events inside an impoverished secondary school in rural Yunan in Tammy Cheung's documentary movie: Village Middle School. This year, the director takes us to a well-funded primary school in the richer eastern province of Jiangxu. The director again uses her Direct Cinema style, but this time shows us how 30 youngsters view different parts of their world through short, impromptu interview responses.

Tammy Cheung's works as a filmmaker include Invisible Women (1999), Secondary School (2002), Rice Distribution (2002), Moving (2003), War (2003), July (2004), Speaking Up (2005) and Village Middle School (2006). Her work has been presented in film festivals both internationally and at major cities in China.

 
       
   
       

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