Archive 1999

The Social Fabric of Macau Its Changing and Enduring Features
Jean Berlie & Antonio Robarts
9 December 1999
Thursday at 6:30 pm
Activity Room 1, Ground Floor, the Hong Kong Museum of History

Given its 440 year headstart, can Macau's unique cultural diversity persist in the face of Chinese cultural integration and China-driven economic development? Dr Berlie and Mr Robarts will address this question in their respective discussions of Macau's present Chinese and Macanese communities.

Over the past three years, Dr Berlie has undertaken several surveys in Macau which have attempted to chart the present directions of social change. Armed with this data, he and Mr Robarts will discuss Macau's Chinese and Macanese populations, their changing composition, their language preferences, the importance to them of religion, traditional festivals and customs, their family values, and the sort of educational choices they are making.

Coming a little more than a week before East Asia's oldest and last colony returns to Chinese sovereignty, this discussion of Macau is most timely.

Dr Jean Berlie is a Visiting Researcher affiliated with the Centre of Asian Studies at the University of Hong Kong and the Cultural Institute of Macau. He has edited a book just published by Oxford University Press entitled Macau 2000. Another recent publication, sponsored in part by the Centre National des Lettres in France and published by Tredaniel Publishers in Paris, is entitled Sinisation.

Mr Antonio Robarts is a Macanese who was born in Macau. He is an official in the Macau Municipal Government and an advisor to the Macau Museum.

Should One China Have One Language?
Mary S. Erbaugh
Dept. of Chinese, Translation, and Linguistics, City University of Hong Kong
24 November 1999
Wednesday at 6:30 pm
Activity Room 1, Ground Floor, the Hong Kong Museum of History

Many assume that bilingualism causes conflict. But, in fact, tolerance for bilingualism defuses deeper social divisions, which language only symbolizes. A tacit Chinese respect for multilingualism facilitates national integration. By not forcing people to renounce a mother tongue in favor of Mandarin, southern Chinese have been more willing to learn Mandarin as a convenient shared language. Hong Kong's Basic Law cleverly does not specify which Chinese dialect is the official language, along with English. It leaves room for Cantonese by the deliberately vague words [written] Chinese (zhongwen).

Chinese characters have been standardized for the last 2,000 years. And modern written Chinese is basically written Mandarin. But the spoken languages of China vary much more than Europe. Cantonese, and the other 5 main Chinese dialects are at least as different from Mandarin as English is from German. And Korean, Uygur, and 54 other official minority languages are often as distant from Chinese as English is from Turkish.

Mandarin often spreads less in the classroom than as a byproduct of survival needs. During the revolution Hakka Chinese, such as Deng Xiaoping and Chen Yi, were crucial multilingual interpreters in the linguistically fragmented South. After 1949 they strongly supported Mandarin multilingualism. During the Cultural Revolution, the political discussion groups which shaped work and living assignments inadvertently tutored even illiterate peasants in Mandarin, as they memorized and discussed Mao's Little Red Book. And in the l990s, migrant workers criss-cross China, surviving by learning both Mandarin, and the local dialect.

Mary S. Erbaugh is Associate Professor in the Department of Chinese, Translation, and Linguistics at the City University of Hong Kong. After eight years of field work and teaching in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, she has published widely on the social and cultural politics of the Chinese language, as well as children's learning of Chinese. Publications include "The Chinese revolution as Hakka enterprise" in the China Quarterly (1992) and "Southern Chinese dialects as a medium for political reconciliation" in Language and Society (1995).

Guided Tour of the Hong Kong Museum of History Exhibition
The Rise of Modern China, A Century of Self Determination

Paul Harrison
Society Officer and Museum Curator
30 October 1999
Saturday at 3:00~4:00 pm
1st Floor, the Hong Kong Museum of History

Over the last 100 years, few countries in the world have undergone transformation on China's scale. As we enter a new century, it is timely to look back and ponder how China moved from monarchy to a republic and finally to a communist government. With numerous photographs never before shown in Hong Kong and significant historical objects provided by the National Museum of Modern Chinese History in Beijing, this exhibition vividly reflects China's efforts at self-strengthening to gain prosperity and a strong position of influence in the world community.

Among the priceless artifacts you will see, there is the original "21 Demands" manuscript with Yuan Shikai's handwritten comments, Mao Zedong's original speech marking the proclamation of the Peoples Republic of China in 1949, and placards written by ordinary citizens protesting against the "Gang of Four" in 1976. The exhibition is suitable for all who are interested in Modern and Contemporary Chinese history, students and adults alike.

The tour guide will be Society officer and Museum curator Paul Harrison who assisted in setting up and labeling the exhibits of this exhibition marking the 50th anniversary of founding of the People's Republic of China.

Foot-Binding as a System of Instruction between Mothers and Daughters
Fred Blake
Dept. of Anthropology, University of Hawaii
27 October 1999
Wednesday at 6:30 pm
Activity Room 1, Ground Floor, the Hong Kong Museum of History

This lecture will describe and discuss the role of foot-binding in Neo-Confucian China. The emphasis will be shifted away from conventional sexual interpretations to the instructional function played by foot-binding in the relationship between mothers and daughters. Foot-binding was an institution shared by mothers and daughters. Until recently both foot-binding and mother-daughter relationships have been neglected in China studies.

Fred Blake is a professor of Anthropology at the University of Hawaii. Currently he is a Visiting Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He specializes in the study of China and Chinese in the USA. His research interests include ethnic and gender identity, the use of humor in society, and the study of memorial and mortuary cultures. At present his research is focusing on the meaning of "paper money" in its ritual, ideological and aesthetic contexts. Of interest to a Hong Kong audience is the publication of Ethnic Groups and Social Change in a Chinese Market Town (1981: University of Hawaii Press) which includes field research carried out in Sai Kung during the 1970s.

Why Science Evolved in Europe but Not China
Graeme Lana

Dept. of Applied Social Studies, City University of Hong Kong
30 September 1999
Thursday at 6:30 pm
Activity Room 1, Ground Floor, the Hong Kong Museum of History

A thousand years ago, China possessed more advanced technologies and more splendid cities than Europe. Within a few hundred years, however, Europe had pulled well ahead of China in many technologies and had begun to develop the institutions and a growing body of knowledge and theories which we call "Modern Science." China did not come close to such development. Why was this? Many people believe that the answer can be found in Chinese culture or more precisely in the differences between Chinese and European culture. Dr. Lang argues that it is not culture which was responsible for China's failure to produce Modern Science. He plans to offer an alternative explanation in this talk.

Dr. Graeme Lang is an Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Social Studies at City University of Hong Kong. His early work dealt with the sociology of religion including Chinese folk religion. Currently his research concerns the study of displaced Hong Kong workers from the manufacturing sector, the "Second Wife" phenomenon in China (together with Dr. Josephine Smart), the development of stricter State forestry regulations in China (particularly following the 1998 floods), and the above talk topic, i.e., hisotrical factors affecting the evolution of Modern Science.

When Good Gifts Go Bad: Guanxi and Exchange in the PRC
Alan Smart
Dept. of Anthropology, U. of Calgary
6 May 1999
Thursday at 6:30 pm
Activity Room 1, Ground Floor, the Hong Kong Museum of History

Prof. Smart has been doing research on why illegal practices persist in China and elsewhere despite their illegality. In this talk, he will examine why bribery continues in China despite repeated political campaigns against it. He argues that bribery takes a number of different forms, some related to the blurred nature of the boundary between gifts and bribes, some related to the inability of central authorities to control subordinates's activity, and some related to the advantages for the central authoritiesof allowing some forms of bribery. This talk will offer some revealing glimpses into the nature and varieties of bribery in China today, and will also offer a larger discussion as to the meanings of bribery in cross-cutural perspective.

Alan Smart (Ph.D. 1986, U of toronto) is an associate professor and Head of the Department of Anthropology, University of Calgary. He has been conducting field research in Hong Kong and China since 1982, on topics ranging from squatter areas to foreign investment to bribery. He is the author of Making Room: Squatter Clearance in Hong Kong (Hong Kong: Centre of Asian Studies) and articles in journals such as Cultural Anthropology and Critique of Anthropology, and in a variety of edited volumes.

Indians in Hong Kong: The Situation Today
Sandeep Kumar
Consul, Consulate General of India, Hong Kong
20 April 1999
Tuesday at 6:30 pm
Activity Room 1, Ground Floor, the Hong Kong Museum of History

This talk will explore the historical background of the Indian community in Hong Kong; the nationality issue of Indians in Hong Kong today; the different Indian Associations in Hong Kong and their interactions; and the perceptions that local Chinese have of Indians, and that Indians have of local Chinese. It will also explore the cultural identities of identities of Indians in Hong Kong, and the contributions that Indians have made to Hong Kong society at large in the past and at present.

Sandeep Kumar graduated in English Literature and LL.B. from the Delhi University, and thereafter earned an M.Phil Degree in Environment and Development from Cambridge University, UK. He joined the Indian diplomatic service in 1985, and has been posted in, among other places, Vietnam, Paris and Hong Kong. He studied Mandarin for a year in 1988 at Hong Kong University; this is his second posting in Hong Kong.

Film Festival
Christine Choy
Head, School of Creative Media
City University, Hong Kong
10 April 1999
Saturday at 1:00 pm
M7, Main Building, Loke Yew Hall
University of Hong Kong

Film-screening I: Best Hotel on Skid Row, 48mins., 1990.

 This s a guided tour of the Madison Hotel on the seamier side of downtown Los Angeles, where drifters, prostitutes, addicts and the plain down-and-out carve out a life for themselves while trying their best to maintain their dignity.

Film-screening II: Monkey King Looks West, 46mins., 1990.

In this film, the director tries to look behind the tales of the Chinese opera in the US, and shows us the lives of three Chinese opera artists who have emigrated to America. Although they must work at various jobs to survive, each continues to perform ad teach Chinese Opera.

Film-screening III: Osaka Story (Director: Toichi Nakata), 75 mins., 1994.

 This film portrays the return of the filmmaker to his home in Osaka. He documents his family within which elements of Korean and Japanese culture conflict and co-exist.

Film-screening IV: Always for Pleasure (Director: Les Blank), 58mins., 1978.

 This is an insider's intensive look at Mardi Gras and the musical traditions this celebration supports in the working class neighborhoods of New Orleans.

How Chinese Took to the Land:
On the Birth of Agriculture in China
Dr. Tracey Lie-dan Lu
17 March 1999
Wednesday at 6:30 pm
Activity Room 1, Ground Floor, the Hong Kong Museum of History

For hundreds of thousands of years, the prehistoric inhabitants of China hunted animals, and gathered fruits, nuts and seeds, as well as fish and other foodstuffs for their survival. However, approximately 8500 years ago, farming emerged as a way of life in China. Was agriculture a heroic developmental step, or was it simply a matter of bowing to the inevitable, given population pressure? Did the early farmers freely choose agriculture, or were they forced to choose? Agriculture lies at the foundation of Chinese civilization; but given its costs, why did it ever emerge? This talk, using detailed archeological evidence from the speaker's research in China, will explore the driving forces behind the birth of agriculture in China.

Dr. Tracey Lie-dan Lu earned a Ph.D. in Archeology from the Australian National University in 1998, and earned MA and BA from Beijing and Zhongshan Universities in 1987 and 1983 respectively. In recent years, the central focus of her research has been the origin of agriculture in China. She is currently a visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology, the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Christianity Fever in China
Professor May Cheng
Department of Theology
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
23 Febrary 1999
Tuesday at 6:30 pm
Activity Room 1, Ground Floor, the Hong Kong Museum of History

This talk, based on extensive ethnography among Chinese Christian organizations in the 1980s and 1990s, will focus on the expansion of Protestantism in China in the 1980s, and the Chinese state's response to and efforts to control this expansion. It will explore at length this question: To what extent does the expansion of Protestant groups and the greater freedom of religious activities in China in recent years suggest the movement of China towards a genuine civil society?

Prof. May Cheng is Assistant Professor in the Theology Division, Chung Chi College, the Chinese University of Hong Kong. For a number of years she has been doing research on and publishing about Christianity in contemporary China. Most recently, she has been investigating house church movements and religious legislation in China in the 1990s.

Industrialization, Migration, and the "Second Wife"
Syndrome in South China
Dr Josephine Smart
Department of Anthropology
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
21 January 1999
Thursday at 6:30 pm
Hong Kong Museum of History

China's economic opening over the past twenty years has brought unprecedented economic growth to many parts of China, but also a multitude of unanticipated and unwelcome social changes. This paper explores one such change--the tendency of many Hong Kong men to keep 'yilai,' mistresses and second wives across the border in China. Unlike many examinations of this topic, this paper explores the 'yilai' phenomenon in the larger social and economic context of cross-border investment, labor migration, gender and social mobility. It also explores polygyny--having multiple wives--as a form of conspicuous consumption.

Dr. Josephine Smart was born and raised in Hong Kong, and is now Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Calgary, Canada. She has been doing research on the Hong Kong-South China region since 1983, studying such topics as Hong Kong street hawkers, Hong Kong immigration to Canada, and Hong Kong investment in south China, about which she has written numerous articles and book chapters.


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