English Writing as Neo-colonial Resistance: An Exchange of English Poetry in Hong Kong
AbstractAfter its handover in 1997, Hong Kong has arguably moved to a neo-colonial situation, where many of its native inhabitants are facing threats from China in their daily lives and material conditions. This has given rise to a movement of resistance against the hegemony of China. Most English writing in Hong Kong have yet to pick up this recent socio-political tension, but in 2012, an English poem written by a mainland Chinese student studying in Hong Kong came under fire for its superficial criticism of Hong Kong from a mainland Chinese persona. The poem drew angry responses from Hong Kong netizens, who then created parodies of the poem to mock China. In this article, I consider this poetic exchange one of the few instances where mainstream social sentiments in Hong Kong intersect with the much neglected English writing of the city. This poetic exchange – the original poem and the various imitations – delineates the social, cultural and political fault lines between China and Hong Kong. The literary value, I argue, lies not in the individual poems, but in how this action-reaction communication alerts us, via poetry and English writing, to be sensitive to the neo-colonial situation of Hong Kong.
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