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A range of research projects aimed at drawing greater knowledge and interest in Hong Kong culture is being coordinated by the Centre of Asian Studies (CAS) at The University of Hong Kong.
The projects probe four social areas that have been important to Hong Kong’s development; the dynamism of its entrepreneurial culture, its constitutional history both before and after 1997, everyday popular culture, and the fluidity and pluralism of its transnational, cosmopolitan culture.
As well as building a body of knowledge on Hong Kong culture, research findings are being channelled into teaching material, and used as a basis to advise government on the formation of social policies. To help educators and students, 12 printed volumes are being produced; the first three on popular Hong Kong culture, religion in Hong Kong, and Hong Kong literature.

Cantonese opera stars Yuen Siu Fai (left) and Lee Yui Cho at a CAS seminar to arouse interest in Hong Kong culture

Seminars and workshops have been organised, multimedia material has been produced and a Cyber Express Culture website set up (see http://www.hku.hk/hkcsp/ccex.html). In probing Hong Kong’s entrepreneurial culture, researchers made comparisons with Shanghai and Taipei.
Principal Investigator and director of CAS, Prof Siu-lun Wong, said: “Among Chinese cities, Hong Kong is unique. What makes it different is its links to the overseas Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia, to America and Australia. Only Hong Kong played that role because Hong Kong is the hub for Chinese migration overseas. Shanghai has never had that connection.”
Another difference with Shanghai, said Prof Wong, is that Hong Kong had the benefit of more than 100 years of administration continuity giving institutions like the legal system time to develop and mature.
The “sudden and unexpected” large-scale movement of people between Hong Kong and mainland China in recent years is another area of research and is “probably one aspect of the one-country two-systems that has been overlooked,” said Prof Wong.
“The cultural interchange and influence is enormous. Of course there are many similarities in the people of Hong Kong and southern China as in family and education values but there are also many differences as in consumer and civic culture.”
The design and management of high-rise residential communities with low impacts of stress associated with high density living is an example of Hong Kong culture transported across the border, especially to Guangdong and Shanghai, he said. Hong Kong economic and popular culture has also clearly influenced China.
Prof Wong added: “The impressive part of Hong Kong culture is that it’s so fluid and lively and has always been open.”

Principal Investigator
Prof Siu-lun Wong : slwong@hkucc.hku.hk