Centre of Urban History, Culture and Media

Story of the Month - June 2020

每月故事 - 二零二零年六 

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 譚少薇教授加入中大人類學系30載,認為學科提供的訓練十分寶貴,值得所有學生修讀。(圖:SoCUBE)

Prof Maria Tam has joined CUHK’s Department of Anthropology for three decades. She believes the training offered by the programme is precious and worthwhile for students of all disciplines. (Photo: SoCUBE)

「多元文化行動計劃」總監譚少薇教授最近接受中大社創的訪問,分享自己學習人類學的歷程,並如何受研究啟發創立知識轉移計劃「多元文化行動」。想了解她從ㄧ個香港學生到海上學府的學習,又怎樣從研究中國的現代化、轉而關注本地少數族裔的權利以下訪問

「香港人很喜歡去旅行,但其實世界就在香港,為何我們不去認識本地的多元文化?」人類學家大概都是專業的「講故佬」,正如《芭樂人類學》書中所言,跟他們聊天總是「妙趣橫生、別樹一格」,自言不怕死、愛到處闖蕩的譚少薇教授正是表表者。這場訪談,毫無悶場地進行了將近三小時,除了談及七年前開展的「多元文化行動計劃」,也分享她30多年前在蛇口做女工的「田野」歲月。

「渴望了解中國翻天覆地的轉變」

譚少薇(Maria)是香港中文大學未來城市研究所都市歷史、文化與傳媒研究中心副主任,及人類學兼任副教授,研究專長是族群關係和流動人口背後的社會文化意義。在香港土生土長的Maria之所以當上人類學者,可以說得上是「時代」的撮合。

「1978年文革結束之後,中國展開『改革開放』政策,並推行『四個現代化』(工業、農業、國防、科技),我對現代化好感興趣。」從她「肉緊」的語調,或會令人錯以為「現代化」是甚麼巨星。

在那個「認中關社」(認識中國, 關心社會)的年代,Maria剛進入香港大學修讀社會學,師兄師姐都是熱血愛國青年,十分關注一河之隔的大陸社會發展。她坦言當時深受他們的世界觀感染,「渴望了解中國為何會有這個翻天覆地的轉變。」不過在她正式踏入中國研究之前,她首先到世界闖蕩一番,在海上航行了三個月,將地球轉了一圈。

大學二年級,不時留意學校報告欄的Maria,發現一個由「船王」董浩雲成立的獎學金,從中大及港大各甄選一名學生,資助兩人參加一個名為“Semester at Sea”的課程。她把握機會申請並成功獲選,九月飛往美國三藩市登上「宇宙學府」號,與來自世界各地的青年人一邊遊歷一邊上課。

海上三個月的頓悟

「我們是真上堂的,課程由美國科羅拉多大學(University of Colorado)提供, 我選修了在香港沒機會上的課,如藝術史和女性研究;我們會在不同港口上岸進行深度遊,譬如去到埃及,藝術史的教授帶我們遊當地古廟。去了十多個地方,大開眼界,也經歷不少文化衝擊。」雖然已是40年前的經歷,Maria回想起來,仍不掩興奮。

「最大的文化衝擊是印尼皮影戲。它跟中國的完全不同,真是令人O晒嘴。我現在戴上口罩,所以你見不到我O緊嘴咋(笑)。它的藝術表達形式好厲害,有豐富深度的歷史,完全難以想像。我之前以為印尼是一個好落後的地方。」她說,這次「衝擊」讓她自此明白到,每個地方都有自己的發展、歷史源流,不應輕視,「我們要做的,就是認識和學習它。」

12月結束海上學府旅程回到香港之後,未正式開學,她便積極參與義工活動。「前不久正值油麻地艇戶爭取上樓,我做了一些支援,並開始思考為何水上人會來到香港?人在流動的時候會幹些甚麼?他們有甚麼動機,因應甚麼情況做甚麼抉擇?我對人口流動產生了興趣。」一個青年人類學「粉絲」就在這樣的背景下誕生。

「要多看notice board」

當時仍是港大社會學系生的Maria又去看「機會處處」的報告欄,「所以我現在不時跟同學生講,要多留意notice board。」這次她發掘到一個前往美國讀書的扶輪社國際交流獎學金,為期一年。她再次「中獎」,順利前往印第安納賓夕法尼亞大學(Indiana University of Pennsylvania)修讀人類學。

一年後,連帶之前修畢的學分,已足夠她取得這所美國大學頒出的人類學學位。「所以嚴格來說,我沒有在港大畢業。」對於青年時期的Maria,不尋常才是尋常。畢業後一直希望到中大人類學系唸研究生班(當時只有中大有人類學),惟未等到開班,最後她再申請「東西方中心」(East-West Center)獎學金,前往美國夏威夷大學馬諾阿分校(University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa)攻讀人類學碩士和博士。

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Maria當年跟來自不同國家的「東西方中心」獎學金得主一起籌辦國際嘉年華,作為對檀香山社區的答謝。圖中她參與由夏威夷原住民編排、述說夏威夷群島歷史的Hula舞蹈。(圖:Maria提供)

Maria took part in an international carnival organised by East-West Center grantees, which was a token of gratitude to the Honolulu community’s hospitality. She joined a Hula dance choreographed by a native Hawaiian, an embodiment of the history of the Hawaiian islands. (Photo: Prof Maria Tam)

 成為奧巴馬母親的師妹

「(美國前總統)奧巴馬的媽媽都是夏威夷大學畢業的人類學家呢。」記者提起這個近期的小發現。「對呀,她(Ann Dunham)是我師姊,她專研印尼農村發展。(因此奧巴馬童年也曾經小住印尼數年)」Maria表示,在夏威夷和美國本土均分別生活過,充分感受當地即使一國之內,都存在巨大文化差異。

「美國有50個州,有高度自治。每個州幾乎都可以自成一國。我好慶幸自己在夏威夷讀書。當地是真正的多元,有好多好玩的文化。夏威夷亞裔人口超過三成,日本人以前來做種植園工人;華人也在甘蔗園和稻田工作,孫中山也曾在當地讀書,後來到當地為革命籌款。還有那裡是軍港,有好多士兵,不少是黑人,因為窮於是去當兵。」或許是「職業病」,每提起一個族群,Maria總不期然為其追源溯始。

夏威夷在她口中是真正的文化大熔爐,相反,她指曾經居住的美國中西部,人們的世界觀相當狹窄,「居留一年(1981)期間,我唯一在電視見過的國際新聞是(英國)查理斯王子和戴安娜王妃結婚的消息。」

航海遊學三個月,讓她體會窮國也有深厚精緻藝術;留美多年,讓她知道即使富裕如美國,視野不出國界的大有人在。「在夏威夷留學,收穫是多方面的。知識之外,是學習感恩、保持好奇心、欣賞多元,以及保有一顆關注公平、社會正義的心。」

她在夏威夷終於開始了最初令她着迷的中國現代化研究。

「她們想逃離農村,想要自由」

人類學看重田野調查,即要親身在研究地點生活及體驗一段時間,成為「三同(同食同住同勞動)」。1980年代,對於「四個現代化」念念不忘的Maria,選擇了中國第一個經濟特區試點──深圳蛇口工業區,作為研究對象。她在一所電子工廠做了一年女工,目擊在國家大政策下,個人如何受壓抑。

她憶起那個百廢待興、大興土木的80年代中國,「那時過了羅湖橋(只是一條木板橋)之後,滿頭大汗,周圍的人帶着大包小包,正回鄉接濟。我記得還要坐45分鐘小巴才到蛇口。當時「巴士」還是新稱呼,是模仿香港的叫法。車外經過的全部都是地盤。」

在塵土飛揚的環境中,她在一所高端電子工廠「掛單」,日幹12小時。Maria表示,身處同一流水線的百分之百都是年輕女性。她們許多一心逃離農村,尋求「自由和自主生活」。結果呢?

「她們每日的工作就在顯微鏡前,將一條電線穿過只有三分一指甲大小的電路板,繞四圈半,動作不可以慢,一慢就會『堆機』。雖然有工會,不過是in-house的,主要是每年派福利,以及檢查女工有沒有月經,因為驚你大肚。」她表示,是次田野研究經驗讓她深刻體會到,「向錢看的制度如何影響人」

「現代化是有代價的,At what cost?受最大剝削的往往是女性。」自此之後,性別與社會流動成為Maria學術生涯的重點議題,包括1990年代的港男北上「包二奶」現象、性別與醫生、律師等專業事業發展的關係。

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Maria近年積極推動本地跨文化教育。(圖:多元文化行動計劃Facebook專頁)

Maria is devoted to advocating intercultural education in recent years. (Photo: Multiculturalism in Action Facebook page)

目光轉移在地文化

回港後Maria加入中大,研究「版圖」雖逐漸擴至印度、尼泊爾、孟加拉等南亞國家,聚焦的卻是當下的香港。「我對香港社會的人口流動產生興趣,不斷去睇『四圍走』的人,他們有甚麼動機, 如何用自身能力改變環境……」研究過97移民潮之後,她將目光放在香港的少數族裔。

「香港是一個移民社會,印度人在19世紀、1842年已經跟隨英國人來香港,有士兵、警察,但都有一批做貿易的人。尼泊爾人就遲少少出現在香港,1948年英國人僱傭這批出名好打得、不怕死的尼泊爾人當兵(俗稱啹喀兵),專派他們守邊界及當時的越南難民營。」三言兩語,Maria勾畫了一頁香港百年史。

她指當初正經做研究,但眼見這班在香港住了幾代的族群仍然受到不公對待,社會仍存在偏見,她希望可以扭轉港人這種「仍然停留在19世紀的思維」。她認為單是寫論文,不足以改變現實,相信必須從日常生活開始,推動大家認識其他族群的文化,成為互相充權與改變的夥伴。

在2013年開始,Maria透過中大知識轉移項目基金(KPF),成立了多元文化行動計劃(MIA),冀從好玩的文化入手,鼓勵港人「暢遊香港」。至目前為止,她仍然是KPF計劃下,獲資助最多項目的學者。

「香港人熱愛旅行,想認識世界,但世界就在這裡,為何不利用這個機會?」這句從人類學者吐出的對白,儼如是疫情下,香港旅遊發展局催谷本地遊的口號。

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Maria鼓勵港人參與本地不同民族節慶,跟不同文化背景的人交朋友,助拓展視野。(圖:多元文化行動計劃Facebook專頁)

 Maria encourages Hongkongers to join in local ethnic festivals, make friends with people of different cultural backgrounds, and expand their horizons. (Photo: Multiculturalism in Action Facebook page)

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跟譚少薇教授(左二)一同推動香港跨文化教育的還有鄧偉文博士(左一)、碧樺依助理教授(右二)和人類學畢業生李穎彤(右一)(圖:SoCUBE)

 From left: Dr Wyman Tang, Prof Maria Tam, Prof Raees Begum Baig, and anthropology graduate Connie Lee, make up the MIA team in promoting interculturalism. (Photo: SoCUBE)

推廣足下好「風光」

MIA除了培訓華裔和南亞裔年輕人一起成為文化導師、舉辦文化活動,多年來還出版過三本書。「第一本書(《我們在慶祝甚麼?香港的多元文化節慶》)介紹18個不同族裔的節日,讀者可以跟着本書在香港去過節。」她特別難忘有一年跟尼泊爾人到金山郊野公園過新年。另外兩本書則是介紹食譜和手工藝,既學手藝,也聽背後活生生人的故事。

「這個尼泊爾女生好特別!」她送上一本《ICONIC 媽媽廚房:跨文化香港滋味》,揭到介紹尼泊爾哈爾瓦酥糖(Halwa)食譜那一頁,作者名叫「月亮官員」(ICONIC Mums計劃成員)。「這名稱是她身份證上的真實中文名,很有意思的。」

Maria解釋,女生的尼泊爾名字是Chandrakala Adhikary,當初入境處職員問其姓氏Adhikary是甚麼意思,當知道是代表「官員」(Official),於是照譯(意譯)不誤。「而Chandrakala是月亮,是當地常見的女生名字。」

她說,從姓氏可看出印度人和尼泊爾的種姓(Caste)制度裡的四個階級,跟結婚、工作密切相關,而且是世襲的。「官員」屬於第二高種姓;比第四層的還要低的是跌出種姓制度的「不能觸碰者」(Dalits / Untouchables),他們經常從事最髒的工作。書中30個作者,訴說30個故事。

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譚少薇教授合編的跨文化叢書,內有由30個女性譜寫的60個食譜和故事,展示了香港豐富的民族飲食文化,而fusion菜譜則看出文化融合的可能性。(圖:SoCUBE)

One of the intercultural books co-edited by Maria – a collection of 60 recipes and stories written by 30 women, illustrating Hong Kong’s rich ethnic food culture. The fusion recipes showcase the possibility of cultural integration. (Photo: SoCUBE)

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Maria亦在中大設立新亞跨文化學會(New Asia Intercultural Club),鼓勵學生成為世界公民。圖為學會舉辦的2019印度排燈節(Diwali)晚會。(圖:Maria提供)

Maria also set up the New Asia Intercultural Club at CUHK, encouraging students to become global citizens. The pic was shot at Diwali (the Hindu festival of lights) organised by the Club in 2019. (Photo: Prof Maria Tam)

「香港社會價值單一」

從事社會文化人類學研究數十載,談起以上種種「旅程」,Maria仍然十分雀躍,隔着口罩都感受到她骨子裡的探險精神。「是人類學訓練出來的,要解答社會文化問題,除了要找資料,還必須在地體驗、了解、面談,觀察,至少一年才可以取得(研究對象的)信任和全觀的資料。」

她寄語年輕人多到外面闖蕩。「美國年輕人慣常東西岸兩邊跑,但香港的不太願意走出去。這跟社會環境有關,香港社會價值、產業好單一,連父母都不想子女出去。不過我們人類學的學生不太一樣,畢業後好喜歡四圍去。一世人流流長,去一年兩年遊歷有何不可?」她直言,香港社會主流價值窒礙年輕人拓展視野和胸襟,「對社會一定不好。」

「要保持謙遜的心,明白世界好大。」是她給年輕人的忠告。

年輕時擁抱世界,在天主教學校成長的Maria表示,現在最享受的活動,反而是隨時步入聖堂,坐下安靜己心,在紛擾的世界獲得內心的寧靜,從而思考再出發。「小時候不太喜歡,但現在覺得聖堂是一個好舒服、歡迎你的地方,好有安全感。」

Prof. Siumi Maria Tam, Director, Multiculturalism in Action Project, was recently interviewed by SoCUBE of CUHK. In the interview she shared her path of learning anthropology and how she was inspired to found the knowledge-transfer project Multiculturalism in Action. Interested to see how Maria started as a student in Hong Kong to taking up the Semester at Sea Program, and how her research focus on China's modernization switched to the rights of local ethnic minorities? Please refer to the interview below:

“Hongkongers are travel maniacs, but the world is in Hong Kong, why wouldn’t we get acquainted with our diverse local cultures?” Anthropologists are master storytellers, as the book Guava Anthropology (《芭樂人類學》) puts it. Chatting with anthropologists is always a “thought-provoking and an out-of-the-ordinary” experience. Prof Maria Tam the fearless roamer fits neatly into the description. Our interview went on for almost three hours, tightly packed with exhilarating details of her long-running “Multiculturalism in Action Project”, as well as her fieldwork as a factory worker in Shekou three decades ago.

“I yearned to understand China’s earth-shaking transformations”

Maria is Associate Director of the Centre of Urban History, Culture and Media at CUHK’s Institute of Future Cities, as well as an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Department of Anthropology. Her expertise is in ethnic relations and the sociocultural significance of human movement. Safe to say that Maria, born and bred in Hong Kong, was matched up with the study of anthropology by her times.

“After the Cultural Revolution, the ‘reform and open policy’ began in 1978. I wanted so much to learn about the newly promulgated Four Modernisations Programme (industry, agriculture, defence, science and technology).” Hearing her fervent tone, you would have thought “modernisation” is a superstar of some sort.

In the era of “getting to know China and caring for society” (認中關社), Maria got into the University of Hong Kong (HKU) to study sociology. Her seniors were passionate patriots who kept close tabs on the social development on the mainland, and this made an important mark on her world view. “I grew keen on understanding the enormous transformations panning out in the country.” Before officially signing up for China studies, however, she sailed around the globe on a three-month voyage.

In her second year of undergraduate studies, Maria – who often paid attention to notice boards on campus – chanced upon an announcement on a scholarship set up by shipping tycoon Tung Hao Yun. One student each from CUHK and HKU would be sponsored to take the Semester at Sea programme. She seized the opportunity and won the scholarship, embarking the SS Universe at San Francisco that September with other young people from around the world to begin a unique learning experience.

Enlightenment at sea

 “We took proper lessons aboard the ship – the academic programme was offered by the University of Colorado. I chose topics that were not available back home, such as art history and women’s studies. We also got on land at over 10 ports for in-depth tours; in Egypt, for instance, the art history professor led us through ancient temples there. It was an eye-opening experience, to say the least. I went through much culture shock too.” Maria could not hide her excitement when recounting these details, despite it being an experience from 40 years ago.

“The Indonesian shadow puppetry performance stunned me the most. It’s totally different from its Chinese counterpart, and left my jaw dangling. You couldn’t see my open jaw now because I have a mask on (lol). The artistic expression and the depth of history in it was just out of my imagination. Before this, I had always had the stereotypical view that Indonesia was backwards.” This experience shocked her into realising that every society has its origins and historical development which mustn’t be taken lightly. “What we should do is to understand and learn about them.”

Maria came back from her voyage in December and found time on her hands before school started again, so she occupied herself with volunteer work. “Not long ago the Yau Ma Tei boat people were fighting for their rights to public housing and needed support, which got me thinking – why did the boat people come to Hong Kong? What do people do when they move? What motivates them, and based upon what circumstances do they make decisions? I find population movement intriguing.” And this was how a young “fan” of anthropology came into being.

“Note the notice board!”

The then sociology student paid the notice board another visit, where opportunities abound, “I often remind my students to heed the board.” This time, she discovered a scholarship offered by Rotary International for a one-year exchange in the US. Hitting the jackpot again, she made her way to the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and this time, to study anthropology.

Together with the credits she earned before, a year at Indiana already allowed her to receive a degree in anthropology. “So, technically I never graduated from HKU.” To this young woman, the abnormal is normal. While hoping to study for a graduate degree in anthropology at CUHK (which had the only anthropology department in Hong Kong), Maria found it could be a while before the programme could be established – so she applied for an East-West Center scholarship to pursue her master’s and doctorate degrees at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

Sharing an alma mater with Obama’s mum

“(Former US President) Obama’s mother was also an anthropology graduate from the University of Hawaiʻi,” I mentioned my little discovery. “Oh yeah, she (Ann Dunham) was my senior. She studied the development of rural Indonesia. (This is why Obama lived in the country for a few years as a child.)” Having lived in both Hawaii and continental US, Maria had a flavour of the enormous cultural difference – be it within the same country.

“The US is comprised of 50 states, each highly autonomous. I consider myself fortunate to have studied in Hawaii – a genuinely diverse scene with loads of fun cultures. Over 30% of its population is Asian; the Japanese came for jobs at plantations, the Chinese worked in sugarcane and paddy fields. Sun Yat Sen studied there, later making it a base to raise funds for the revolution. It’s also a military port; many of the soldiers are black, joining the army out of poverty.” It could be her “occupational disease” – Maria automatically traces the roots of each ethnic group she mentions.

Sounds like Hawaii is the crucible of cultures. In stark contrast, the mid-west, where she has also resided, the locals’ view of the world was very confined. “Throughout my stay (in 1981), the only international news I’ve seen on TV was Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding.”

Her three-month voyage allowed her to see that impoverished countries could give birth to exquisite art. And years in the US made her realise that even in prosperous countries the horizons of many would not stretch beyond their national boundary. “My experience in Hawaii helped me learn in many ways – be knowledgeable and grateful, stay curious, appreciate diversity, and cultivate a sense of fairness and social justice.”

Finally, in Hawaii, her research work on China’s modernisation was about to begin.

“They wanted to leave the villages behind – they wanted freedom”

Anthropology emphasises fieldwork, meaning the researcher has to actually stay for a period of time at her site of research – eating, living, and working together with the locals. Having “the four modernisations” constantly in her mind, in the 1980s, Maria pinned down Shekou Industrial Zone, test site of Shenzhen, China’s first Special Economic Zone. Toiling for a year at an electronics factory, she witnessed the subjugation of individuals under grand national policies.

She recalled the China then – thousands of construction projects underway and building sites dotted the landscape, “I crossed the Lo Wu Bridge (a mere wooden bridge back then), sweat pouring down my forehead. Everyone was carrying bags of supplies for people in their hometowns. Then I had to take a 45-minute minibus ride to get to Shekou. Bashi itself was a new term, mimicking the Hong Kong terminology. The scenery outside the window the whole way was nothing but construction sites.”

Amidst the dusty environment, Maria found affiliation with a state-of-the art electronics factory where she plodded away for 12 hours a day. Her co-workers on the assembly line were entirely young women, determined to escape from their villages for “freedom and independent lives”. But was their dream realised?

“Every day they sat themselves in front of a microscope, threading a wire through a circuit board that’s only one-third the size of a fingernail, twist it for four rounds and a half, no delays – else the assembly line jams. There was a union…an in-house one though, the chief responsibilities of which were allocating benefits each year and checking if the girls were having their period, for fear that they would get pregnant.” Such field experience opened her eyes to “how a money-oriented system affects people”.

“Modernisation comes at a cost. At what cost? Too often women get the short end of the stick.” Since then Maria’s academic career has been steered by issues of gender and social mobility, including for instance the phenomenon of baau yih naaih (包二奶) – how Hong Kong men kept mainland mistresses in the 1990s, and the association between gender and career development in professions such as doctors and lawyers.

Coming home to local culture

Returning from the US, Maria joined CUHK, expanding her research areas to South Asian cultures including Indian, Nepali and Bangladeshi communities in Hong Kong. “Population movement in our society piqued my interest. I looked at those who ‘drift around’, their motives, how they change the environment with their own capabilities…” After delving into the 1997-related mass emigration, she diverted her gaze onto the city’s minority groups.

“Hong Kong is a migrant society. The Indians came with the British in 1842. They were soldiers, policemen, and traders. The Nepalis arrived later. In 1948, the Brits brought these fearsome warriors, the Gurkhas, to guard the borders and the Vietnamese refugee camps.” In a few sentences, Maria summarises a century in local history.

In the course of her research, she bore witness to the maltreatment and prejudices against these groups, despite having settled in Hong Kong for multiple generations. Such “mindset stuck in the 19th century”, she found, calls for rectifying. Seeing that writing academic papers falls short of the purpose, she set out to champion a better understanding of the cultures of different ethnic groups in daily life, through building partnership in mutual empowerment and change.

In as early as 2013, Maria inaugurated the Multiculturalism in Action Project (MIA) through CUHK’s Knowledge Transfer Project Fund (KPF), prompting Hongkongers to take a spin around fun local cultures. To date, she remains the practitioner being funded the most instances under the scheme.

“Hongkongers are crazy about travelling and long to know the world – when the world is already on our doorsteps, why not make the best of it?” This anthropologist’s comment could almost double as a call from the Tourism Board to explore our own backyard amid the epidemic.

Magnificent “scenery” a jump away

Aside from training Chinese and South Asian young people to be cultural trainers and organising cultural activities, MIA has also published three books over the years. “The first one What are We Celebrating: Multicultural Festivals in Hong Kong introduces 18 ethnic festivals, which serves as a readers’ guide to local festivities.” She has fond memories especially of spending the Nepali New Year with her Nepali friends in Kam Shan Country Park. The other two books are collections of ethnic recipes and crafts, so as readers sharpen their skills, they tune in to stories behind each living individual.

“This Nepali woman is special!” Maria offers us a copy of The ICONIC Mums Kitchen: Tastes of Intercultural Hong Kong, and flips open a recipe for halwa (a sweet dish). The author, a participant of MIA’s ICONIC Mums Programme, called herself jyut loeng gun jyun (literally “moon official”; 月亮官員). “This is the actual Chinese name on her identity card, interesting eh?”

Maria explains that the woman’s Nepalese name is Chandrakala Adhikary. When the officer at the Immigration Department asked what it should be in Chinese, she explained that her surname Adhikary meant official, and her given name Chandrakala means moon (a common female name in Nepal). And the officer translated it word for word.

Indian and Nepalese surnames give us a glimpse to the caste system in these societies, which comprises four divisions and determines marriage and work, and is inherited. “Official” belongs to the second-highest caste, whereas the bottommost group are the dalits – outliers of the system or the untouchables, who often take up the dirtiest jobs. 30 authors in total, telling 30 unique stories of their own.

“Values in our society are homogenous”

Reminiscing her many adventures throughout her years of engagement in sociocultural anthropology, Maria radiates a daredevil aura so strong that not even a mask could veil. “It’s my anthropology training. To examine sociocultural issues, besides background research, it is necessary to experience it first-hand, understand it in situ, and interview in person. It takes at least a year to win [research subjects’] trust and acquire comprehensive information.”

She urges the young to see more of the world. “Young people in America commonly travel between the East and West coasts, while those in Hong Kong are reluctant to leave their comfort zones. This has to do with the societal environment – Hong Kong’s social values and industries are overly homogeneous, and, parents are unwilling to let their children explore the world. Still, anthropology graduates are different; they love travelling around after graduation. Life is long enough to venture a year or two!” She puts it straight from the shoulder – that mainstream values are holding young people back from expanding their horizons and breadth of mind, “and that does the society no good.”

“Be humble; it’s a big world out there” is her heartfelt piece of advice to our young generation.

Embracing the world since her salad days, Maria, who grew up in a Catholic environment, has recently developed a liking for quiet moments in the church, away from the hustle and bustle she finds space to think and plan for the next step. “Didn’t like it when I was small, but now I find it a comfy place that welcomes you anytime. I find security there.”

 

 

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[按此瀏覽其他每月故事]

 

Event Recap

Multicultural in Action Project: Multicultural Carnival @ Shek Lei

“Multicultural Carnival @ Shek Lei” was held by Multiculturalism in Action Project in Shek Lei (1) Estate in Kwai Hing on 19th October. Please click here for event recap.

 

 

香丸製

本中心主張展鴻教919日舉了宋香丸製坊,邀了高澤太及其兒和唐塘先生抽空是次活,讓大家體製作香丸及了香道。 Please click here for event recap.

Multiculturalism in Action Project: First Multicultural Handicraft Workshop

The Multiculturalism in Action Project has conducted the first multicultural handicraft workshop last Saturday (3rd August). We are glad that 2 friends originally from Venezuela were our tutors. Please click here for event recap.

“#FaceMatters” screening and post screening discussion

Organized by the Centre of Urban History, Culture and Media, and co-organized by Gender Research Centre and Gender Studies Program, the screening of “#FaceMatters” and post screening discussion was held on 27 February 2019. Please click here for event recap.

Tasting food/Tasting Cultures: Intercultural Hong Kong on the Plate

On 1-4 April 2019, Multiculturalism in Action Project (MIA), The Chinese University of Hong Kong, co-organized with the Department of Asian and International Studies, City University of Hong Kong, an intercultural program “Tasting food/Tasting Cultures: Intercultural Hong Kong on the Plate”. Please click here for event recap.

Multicultural in Action Project: Book launch and ICONIC Mums Program Closing Ceremony

The Multiculturalism in Action Project headed by Centre Director Prof Siumi Maria Tam has sponsored a book launch at the Kowloon City Book Fair on Sunday, 17 December 2017. Please click here for event recap.

Moods and Emotions through Indian Kathak Dance

On 21 September 2017, there was an Indian classical dance program “Moods & Emotions through Indian Kathak Dance” organized at CUHK campus. Please click here for event recap.

周大明教授學術講座和工作坊

中山大學社會學與人類學學院、教育部長江學者特聘教授周大鳴教授於2017年3月來港訪問,舉辦學術講座和工作坊,與本地學者和學生交流。活動由香港中文大學人類學系主辦,都市歷史、文化與傳媒研究中心協辦。 按此瀏覽活動回顧.

Imagining the Future: Community Innovation and Social Resilience in Asia

The Centre of Urban History, Culture and Media, CUHK organized its first international conference entitled "Imagining the Future: Community Innovation and Social Resilience in Asia" on 23-25 February 2017. Please click here for event recap.

Our Mission

Mission Statement

To investigate how cultural diversity is beneficial to social resilience regarding the development and strategic planning of future cosmopolitan cities. We seek to enhance the concerns of whether and how ethnic minorities of different types are marginalized, stigmatized and even rejected; and to understand what and how public engagements help to bring people with various cultural and political interests together in the current socio-political environment.

Objectives

  • To investigate the causes of marginalization of specific groups, and how these groups could be made to feel more accepted;
  • To investigate the tension between the integration and diversity of society and how culture is inherent in a complex industrial society;
  • To identify the institutional and cultural reservoirs that foster social resilience and trust.

Research Keywords

Cultural Diversity; Social Resilience; Community Innovation

People

Director:
o CHEUNG Chin-hung Sidney 張展鴻

Associate Director:
o CHEN Ju-chen 陳如珍
o TAM Siu Mi Maria 譚少薇

Researchers:

1. Managing Urban Diversity Programme
o Raees Begum BAIG 碧樺依
Joseph BOSCO 林舟
o CHENG Sealing 鄭詩靈
o CHOW Pui-ha Carol 周佩霞
o Donna CHU 朱順慈
o GU Ming-yue Michelle 谷明月
o HUANG Weishan 黃維珊
o JIN Lei 金蕾
o LAU Ying Chui Janice 劉影翠
o SONG Jing 宋婧
o SUEN Yiu tung 孫耀東
o TAM Siu Mi Maria 譚少薇
o TONG Yuying 同鈺瑩
o Sara ZHONG 鍾華

2. Social Resilience and Cultural Policy Programme
o CHANG Ping-hung, Wallace 鄭炳鴻
o CHEUNG Katherine 張家蓮
o LAM Wengcheong 林永昌
o Leung Hok Bun Isaac 梁學彬
o TAM Wai Ping 譚偉平
o WONG Wai-yee Sharon 黃慧怡

Postdoctoral Fellow:
TANG Wai-man 鄧偉文

Doctoral Student:
Amy PHUA 潘玫燕

Research Assitant:
o Chan Hoi Yan 陳凱欣

 

Publications

Recent Activities

Languages as a Boundary Ma(r)ker: Dignity, Motherhood and Everyday Multiculturalism

非聲香港嘉年華 Africa in Hong Kong Carnival

New Book Sharing Session + ICONIC Mums Documentaries Screening & Sharing Session

The Causes and Consequences of LGBTQ Youth Homelessness: A Case Study of Atlanta, Georgia USA

Moods & Emotions through Indian Kathak Dance

鳳凰村的變遷:都市人類學工作坊 (講者:周大鳴教授)

學術講座-聚落與交通:道路網路與中國城鄉社會結構變遷 (講者:周大鳴教授)

International Conference on Imagining the Future: Community Innovation and Social Resilience in Asia

SEMINAR: Endangered Fathers?: Masculinity Crisis and Reflexivity in Times of Change by Prof. Mario Liong

South Asian Films Mini Series - The Necklace

South Asian Films Mini Series - A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness

WORKSHOP: Annual Gender Role Workshop 2016: Gender and Urban Space (co-organized with Gender Research Center)

SEMINAR: The Material Culture and Activism at Bukit Brown Cemetery, Singapore by Prof. Chee-Kien Lai

SEMINAR: Overseas Death, Burial Practices, and Ancestral Worship: An Interpretation for Cremation Practices among Diasporic Chinese in the Philippines by Prof. Gyo Miyahara

SEMINAR: Pluralities in the Margin: Community, Religion and Agriculture along Singapore's Abandoned Railway Lines by Prof Chee-Kien Lai

FIELDTRIP: Assessment Tour to Wolong, Sichuan (四川卧龍)

FIELDTRIP: The Nepali Community In Jordan And Yau Ma Tei

FIELDTRIP: Understanding Kodo And Kyogen From Two Japanese Masters

COMMUNITY TALK SERIES

Contact Us

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