Everyday Hybridity

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

Lecturing in Anthropology at CUHK


cuhk.academia.edu/PaulOConnorFollow me on Academia.edu


My Publications
What is Everyday Hybridity?

Posts on Hybridity
Posts on Hong Kong
Posts on Islam
Posts on Skateboarding



free counters
Free counters

powered by tumblr
seattle theme by parker ehret

  1. Hong Kong People - Please give a few minutes to do this survey

    If you live in, or have lived in HK…

    Please take a few minutes to do this survey, and reblog for friends, email, or Facebook.

    Ethnicity in Hong Kong Survey / 民族身份認同在香港

    English: http://cloud.itsc.cuhk.edu.hk/surveyasp/PagedSurvey.aspx?sid=3993

    中文: http://cloud.itsc.cuhk.edu.hk/surveyasp/PagedSurvey.aspx?sid=3993&lang=c

    Thanks to all who have joined in so far. I am getting some great and varied responses. Please help keep the project rolling.

    Stay tuned for more information.

  2. In just a few hours I have got some really interesting responses to my Hong Kong survey. Already I am seeing some patterns and some unique distinctions in the responses. Its great.
Please pass the survey on, and in time I shall be posting some follow ups about the results.
Thanks to everyone who has taken part so far, and please keep the ball rolling.
English: http://cloud.itsc.cuhk.edu.hk/surveyasp/PagedSurvey.aspx?sid=3993
中文: http://cloud.itsc.cuhk.edu.hk/surveyasp/PagedSurvey.aspx?sid=3993&lang=c

    In just a few hours I have got some really interesting responses to my Hong Kong survey. Already I am seeing some patterns and some unique distinctions in the responses. Its great.

    Please pass the survey on, and in time I shall be posting some follow ups about the results.

    Thanks to everyone who has taken part so far, and please keep the ball rolling.

    English: http://cloud.itsc.cuhk.edu.hk/surveyasp/PagedSurvey.aspx?sid=3993

    中文: http://cloud.itsc.cuhk.edu.hk/surveyasp/PagedSurvey.aspx?sid=3993&lang=c

  3. Ethnicity in Hong Kong - Project Survey - 民族身份認同在香港

    This is a short survey looking into ethnicity in Hong Kong. It is designed to get some basic, but key information from a very broad range of people. Anyone who lives in Hong Kong, or has lived in Hong Kong is eligible to complete the survey. It will take no more than 10 minutes and it will be a great help.

    It is bilingual and can be completed in either English or Chinese.

    All responses are appreciated. PLEASE ALSO FORWARD TO YOUR OTHER HK CONTACTS.

    Ethnicity in Hong Kong Survey / 民族身份認同在香港
  4. Imagined, Virtual, and Resisted Communities

    Benedict Anderson’s argument that Nations are purely imagined communities gestated by the rise of print capitalism, and sustained by the boundaries rendered by cartographers is a crucial one in understanding contemporary critical thought, politics, and identity. What we now face is a re-articulation of both the nation and the community.

    Technology is always so much more than gadgets and trinkets to amuse and aid our daily lives. New devices always have a social and cultural impact, and with some the weight is tremendous. As Anderson has shown, print capitalism, books and news in a dominant language, altered the way we thought of ourselves. So too did the telephone, and the television. They introduced new modes of communication, new media to inform, educate, commercialise, brainwash, pacify, and titilate.

    Social Media is now rewriting our ideas of community, of entertainment, news, and also, some argue, rewiring our brains. This summer Newsweek ran an alarmist story regarding the insanity induced by web-addiction, iPhones, and Facebook. Whilst some of this clearly has legitimate founding, it does also sound a little like people complaining of myopic bookworms, and square eyed TV viewers. All these mediums have their pitfalls. What I am interested in is how are they remaking our ideas about nation, about community, about everyday issues of gender, race, ethnicity, and religion? In the past few months I have been fascinated by the depth of discussion on issues of gender politics, cultural appropriation, international relations, all on social media. Of course there are also lots of kittens and Minecraft out there too.

    Today see the continuation of Hong Kong’s year of National angst. Students besiege the Tamar Government offices with a hunger strike calling an end to ‘proposed’ National Education. At the same time a small piece of hi-tech plastic has been released making commuters’ lives much easier. One single travel card for use between Hong Kong and Shenzen. Or in more simple terms one travel card to pay flawlessly for transportation in both Hong Kong and China. This is a huge asset to National integration. Whilst Hong Kong has always been geographically part of China, it’s maps have always left a void at the Northern New Territories. Roads, and railways (that have long existed and connected the two) can now be travelled between the two regions with ever greater ease and increasingly less red tape.

    So concurrent with the physical boundaries of Hong Kong becoming ever fainter, there is a rise in an ideological buttress between Hong Kong and China, a fear of change and loss. What is perhaps most worrying to Hong Kong people is the loss of their identity, and it seems whilst a threat is perceived, the Hong Kong identity (which has been very ambiguous and liminal for the bulk of the territory’s history) is starting to become much less faint. Hong Kong’s future is, and has always been China. But it remains to be seen in what form this will find stasis.

  5. Changes - 6 months and the HK Identity

    2012 has been a remarkable year in terms of the Hong Kong identity. There have been so many issues but none so prevalent as those that have manifested in prejudice.

    The hot topic of anti-Mainlander sentiment in Hong Kong has seldom been out of the news in the first half of this year. Whether it be growing animosity regarding the numbers of Mainlanders without residence in Hong Kong going to (in some cases extreme Lengths) to give birth, or the introduction of a scheme to allow Mainland tourists to drive across the boarder when they come on holiday. Even in today’s South China Morning Post the Hong Kong identity was dealt another blow when research by academics suggested that Putonghua had the potential to erase the Cantonese language from the territory in the next 50 years.

    There are some real issues behind all of these stories and they have been well represented in the news in one form or another. I am not concerned here with the major strengths and weaknesses of the different arguments. I am more deeply interested in how all this is coming to bear on the Hong Kong identity.

    This was pulled into sharp relief for me when an incident at an inter-school football match spawned a slew of racism and anti-Western sentiment. Focussed for the most part on an 11 year old boy. Again the vilification of certain parties was wildly generalised, but it revealed the deep barriers of difference within Hong Kong society. It showed to me in the most distinct way that the Hong Kong identity, for all its cosmopolitan associations, despite being a city of immigrants and potential migrants elsewhere, it does have a culture of deeply local ties. 

    But the catalyst for this post was really an article on the underlying tensions with new arrival Mainland migrants in Singapore, their wealth, and a recent and devastating car crash. Here is the article presented via the BadCanto blog. It talks about how many of the issues that Hong Kongers face, are also concerns for the citizens of Singapore.

    Big changes seldom change the important things. It is the changes that occur afterwards, the everyday nuances that end up being the most significant. Everyone recognised that 1997 would alter Hong Kong. But everyone was surprised at how long it took for the social issues to manifest in real resentment. The Dolce and Gabana clash earlier this year showed just how much has changed. Mainland Chinese now have a considerable amount of wealth, power, property, and commercial punch. The key trait of Hong Kongers, as high profile consumers, has been encroached upon by the new rich of China.

    The next 6 months promise to be as volatile as the ones we have just seen. But one thing to ponder is that whilst the Hong Kong identity hangs in the balance, our Singapore story reminds us that Mainland Chinese and the new global role of China has made huge impacts across internationally.

    Changes have come and the adaptations are clearly visible in places like USA, Europe, and throughout Africa (Stevie says it best). So whilst Hong Kong battles to adapt to these new circumstances, it can rest assured that it is not going through change alone.

  6. From OpenDemocracy

    "Nowadays a Muslim is never just a Muslim but also has some hyphenated identity. Obviously there are some prefixes that Muslims use such as Sunni, Shi’a, Barelvi, Deobandi, Salafi and Wahabi. However, there are a whole host of other categories such as radical, moderate, extremist, liberal, modern, fundamentalist, progressive and orthodox that are used while discussing individual Muslims. Some people, to be sure, also voluntarily append some of these prefixes when describing themselves."

  7. Hong Kong Identity, Racism, and Consumption

    It has been an interesting week for Hong Kong news with some local issues cropping up on CNN and the Washington Post. The lack of identification with the Chinese Motherland by Hong Kong people was one story, nicely contrasted by the rejection of local Hong Kong Chinese by a Tsim Sha Tsui Dolce & Gabana store.

    The issue of racism in Hong Kong is a fascinating topic. In my own research it has always interested me how religion, specifically Islam, is not discriminated against in Hong Kong yet the tone of your skin is. For years ethnic minorities in Hong Kong have strived to raise awareness of racism in Hong Kong. Then, as more Manilanders came to Hong Kong the issue of colour based racism seemed less key. Mainlanders were now the most vilified characters in the territory, not Pakistanis or Africans.

    What the latest uproar really distinguishes is the foundation for much of the racism in Hong Kong: wealth. Not so long ago I spoke to a Hong Kong Chinese convert to Islam and she succintly summed up racism in Hong Kong. She stated that…

    In Hong Kong many people share a shallow principle. They are not racist in the sense they do not like you because of your colour, but of what your colour signifies. They think that dark people come from poor countries.

    The considerable wealth of Hong Kong is once again a way to understand the culture of racism here. The discrimination is mostly about aligning oneself with wealth and success. The prejudice towards Mainlanders is often focussed on their uncouth behaviour. They are not regarded as cultured, well mannered, or wealthy as Hong Kongers.

    The tables have been turned by the Dolce & Gabana row. Now Hong Kong Chinese are being treated with their own schema of racism. The mainlanders are the big spenders now, the locals are the outcasts.

    One of the recurring arguments of the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman is that in our current times those who do not consume are in some way socially useless. Society has no place for those who do not consume, or for those who are flawed consumers. The model of Hong Kong racism is in some ways a caricature of this social truth of the global age.