Who Is Hong Kong? 3
From Bridge to Home
A third facet of the identity crisis is the transformation from bridge to home. Under British rule, Hong Kong was a portal of sorts for the theoretical flow of ideas as well as the physical transfer of goods (including artwork) and people between the East and the West. Previous painters and writers used their media to paint an image of the East, but the colonization of Hong Kong opened it up to the world in a way that allowed these artists to experience, rather than invent, the world of Hong Kong. Some, such as Edward Said, would argue that even these representations only serve to distort the truth or reality of the Orient (21), and that they only assisted the colonial power in “dominating, restructuring, and having authority over the Orient.” However, I believe that the manner in which artists, many of whom were raised in Hong Kong like author Martin Booth, provided a valuable insight into its story. They became Hong Kongers, and that is what we as readers, thinkers, and scholars must remind ourselves: Hong Kong is ever-changing, its identity constantly morphing and molding to fit the world around it, and as such these Western writers became a part of Hong Kong’s tradition. The transformation to a home began primarily in the 1960’s and 70’s, when a new generation of locally-born Hong Kongers, who had never lived in mainland China, began to see Hong Kong, not China, as their home, and they were proud of the achievements and unique history of their birthplace.
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