Everyday Hybridity

Dr Paul O'Connor
Anthropology/Sociology/Cultural Studies/
Hong Kong/Ethnicity/
Skateboarding/Everyday Life

Lecturing in Anthropology at CUHK

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cuhk.academia.edu/PaulOConnorFollow me on Academia.edu
@peejayohhsee
everydayhybridity@gmail.com

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  1. A great info graphic on Drone attacks in Paksitan from Zeeshan Usmani.

    A great info graphic on Drone attacks in Paksitan from Zeeshan Usmani.

     
     
  2. "If there are connections everywhere, why do we persist in turning dynamic, interconnected phenomena into static, disconnected things?"
    — 

    Eric Wolf - Europe and the People Without History. pg 4

    Revisiting this text for next week’s Globalization class. So many great and powerful points within the first few pages.

     
     
  3. Here is a good overview of recent political developments in Hong Kong. Lots going on with occupy central and the debate and decision on universal suffrage in 2017.

     
     
  4. The Avenue of Stars - Selfie - and Posing with Bruce.

    There are a collection of photos doing the rounds by Luisa Dörr and Navin Kala  that capture various people taking selfies on Hong Kong’s ‘Avenue of Stars’.

    The photos are great but I immediately thought of the paper a student turned in for me over a year ago when I taught Anthropology of the Body. She had camped out by the Bruce Lee statue on the ‘Avenue of Stars’ and observed and analysed the ways in which people would take photos at the iconic landmark.

    In her thought provoking research she  noted the propensity for people strike a Kung Fu pose, or to try and touch or climb on the statue itself. Seldom was there a sombre and uninspired pose. She noted in particular the change that people would encounter as they approached and then engaged with the statue. The passing of a camera to a friend, the spontaneous emulation of the legendary actor.

    The selfie is certainly a big feature of the ‘Avenue of Stars’, but the full body pose, captured by friends or passers by is notable feature of the Bruce Lee statue.

     
     
  5. Or the hidden curriculum…from Sonya Huber.

     
     
  6. Skateboarding in Hong Kong - Helmets and the LCSD
Yesterday Warren Stuart and I were on RTHK Radio 3 discussing Skateboard Culture in Hong Kong and the new rules at 4 public skateparks in the territory that make wearing helmets mandatory. You can listen to the interview here.
There has been a number of issues with these rules. In many cases they have been ignored or rejected by users who are circumventing the new policy in a variety of ways. There has also been a noted decline in the number of users in some skateparks in the territory. In one case the Lai Chi Kok skatepark that has been open for 13 years without the enforcement of any helmet rule has basically become empty.
The introduction of the rule raises a considerable number of issues.
A large amount of public money has been spent on construction of these skateparks. They have been built for the community and are free to use. At the same time they provide an alternative to the street which can be a dangerous and problematic place for skateboarders to use. The street is also an uncontrolled environment for younger teenagers. With the introduction of unpopular rules skateboarders are eschewing the skateparks for the streets
Safety issues. In many ways helmets are regarded as a much safer option for skateboarders, BMX, and rollerbladers. However, part of skateboard culture rejects rules such as these. Skateboarders for example may not wear a helmet when they are skating ledges and small transitions but will choose to wear a helmet when skate larger vert obstacles. The imposition of rules my non-skaters has always been met with suspicion by skateboarders. A key part of skate culture is that skateboarders try and manage and control it.
Park usage. There are 2 new skateparks that have big bowls that take up roughly a quarter of the total park size. However these have never been open to the public. Even with the introduction of the new helmet rule the large bowls remain closed unless an organisation books them for an event. Then only members of that organisation can officially use the booked bowl. One has to question how skateboarders in Hong Kong can ever acquire the skills to ride these bowls in such situations.
The previous policy of the parks that required users to sign in and provide a waver had no issues. This method also provided the LCSD with data on how many users accessed the park, their ages, and genders. In sum an excellent tool to see who the parks are servicing. Since the introduction of the helmet rule no further data on numbers of users is being collected and they therefore have no firm numbers about the effect of the new policy.
Many are in favour of a reversion to the previous arrangement. In this way helmet use was optional, but recommended and users could sign themselves in. It remains to be seen how things will develop from this point on.

    Skateboarding in Hong Kong - Helmets and the LCSD

    Yesterday Warren Stuart and I were on RTHK Radio 3 discussing Skateboard Culture in Hong Kong and the new rules at 4 public skateparks in the territory that make wearing helmets mandatory. You can listen to the interview here.

    There has been a number of issues with these rules. In many cases they have been ignored or rejected by users who are circumventing the new policy in a variety of ways. There has also been a noted decline in the number of users in some skateparks in the territory. In one case the Lai Chi Kok skatepark that has been open for 13 years without the enforcement of any helmet rule has basically become empty.

    The introduction of the rule raises a considerable number of issues.

    • A large amount of public money has been spent on construction of these skateparks. They have been built for the community and are free to use. At the same time they provide an alternative to the street which can be a dangerous and problematic place for skateboarders to use. The street is also an uncontrolled environment for younger teenagers. With the introduction of unpopular rules skateboarders are eschewing the skateparks for the streets
    • Safety issues. In many ways helmets are regarded as a much safer option for skateboarders, BMX, and rollerbladers. However, part of skateboard culture rejects rules such as these. Skateboarders for example may not wear a helmet when they are skating ledges and small transitions but will choose to wear a helmet when skate larger vert obstacles. The imposition of rules my non-skaters has always been met with suspicion by skateboarders. A key part of skate culture is that skateboarders try and manage and control it.
    • Park usage. There are 2 new skateparks that have big bowls that take up roughly a quarter of the total park size. However these have never been open to the public. Even with the introduction of the new helmet rule the large bowls remain closed unless an organisation books them for an event. Then only members of that organisation can officially use the booked bowl. One has to question how skateboarders in Hong Kong can ever acquire the skills to ride these bowls in such situations.
    • The previous policy of the parks that required users to sign in and provide a waver had no issues. This method also provided the LCSD with data on how many users accessed the park, their ages, and genders. In sum an excellent tool to see who the parks are servicing. Since the introduction of the helmet rule no further data on numbers of users is being collected and they therefore have no firm numbers about the effect of the new policy.

    Many are in favour of a reversion to the previous arrangement. In this way helmet use was optional, but recommended and users could sign themselves in. It remains to be seen how things will develop from this point on.

     
     
  7. There is a great deal on Ferguson at the moment. This is well worth reading.  My 10 year old and 7 year old sons have been asking me questions about this. Trying to explain US race politics and multidimensional exclusion to them is a worthy challenge. 

     
     
  8. Multiracial Korea
A posting this week on Korea Bang spoke of the rise of multicultural families in South Korea. One of the key aspects of this post was the alarm of such developments voiced by netizens. There is also a good piece on this via dissertation reviews which provides further context.
Last semester one of my students also wrote an engaging research paper on this topic.
What is particularly interesting about Korea is that, alike Japan, and to a lesser extent China, these are some of a handful of countries that have preserved a fiction of a singular ethnic group entirely congruent with the national identity of the country. Dru Gladney’s book Dislocating China does a superb job at challenging this idea within China and Jan Nederveen Pieterse also has a great book called Ethnicities and Global Multiculture that challenges the idea that anyplace was ever monocultural. A good compliment to these works in an anthropological perspective is Eric Woolf’s Europe and the People without History.
These discussion on ethnicity relate back to the idea of rhythm, places and times fluctuate between eras of standardisation and diversification. Korea is now in the spotlight.

    Multiracial Korea

    A posting this week on Korea Bang spoke of the rise of multicultural families in South Korea. One of the key aspects of this post was the alarm of such developments voiced by netizens. There is also a good piece on this via dissertation reviews which provides further context.

    Last semester one of my students also wrote an engaging research paper on this topic.

    What is particularly interesting about Korea is that, alike Japan, and to a lesser extent China, these are some of a handful of countries that have preserved a fiction of a singular ethnic group entirely congruent with the national identity of the country. Dru Gladney’s book Dislocating China does a superb job at challenging this idea within China and Jan Nederveen Pieterse also has a great book called Ethnicities and Global Multiculture that challenges the idea that anyplace was ever monocultural. A good compliment to these works in an anthropological perspective is Eric Woolf’s Europe and the People without History.

    These discussion on ethnicity relate back to the idea of rhythm, places and times fluctuate between eras of standardisation and diversification. Korea is now in the spotlight.

     
     
  9. A look at skateboarding in Hong Kong courtesy of Hoyeung Lam and the filming of Alex Rodriguez. This evocative video provides a glimpse of skate culture in Hong Kong and the thoughts and passions of a skateboarder and their environment. 

    They did a great job.

     
     
  10. Congratulations to Professor Gordon Mathews who has won the 7th Hong Kong Book Prize for his book “Ghetto at the Center of the World” on Chungking Mansions.