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Speaking Out: Days in the Lives of Three Hong Kong Cage Dwellers

Speaking Out: Days in the Lives of Three Hong Kong Cage Dwellers Spring 2000 course is the Hong Kong fantasy embodied in postcards and coffee-table books that fetishistically, even vulgarly, builds on the glittering prosperity of the city; this fantasy is invariably taken as the totem representing Hong Kong and contextualizing the meanings of this long-colonial urban site. As a consequence of these perceptions, the hardships of poverty have been, so to speak, petrified, distanced as a faraway historical period— archaeologically termed the Age of Poverty— and thus, in effect, removed from the presentday social memory of Hong Kong.3 In this way, poverty and the impoverished are suppressed by this glittering totem and are effectively removed from the social agenda. Yet however powerful, the establishment of Hong Kong has not been miraculous enough to make its bit of barren granite grow. From the very beginning the British colonial government used its monopoly land control to turn a handsome profit through the practice of “fair” public auctions. In the meantime, the speculations of capitalist profiteers siphoned off much of the most desirable property. The end result of this laissezfaire political-economic structure is that land in Hong Kong is a highly speculative commodity and among the most expensive real estate in the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png positions asia critique Duke University Press

Speaking Out: Days in the Lives of Three Hong Kong Cage Dwellers

positions asia critique , Volume 8 (1) – Mar 1, 2000

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2000 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1067-9847
eISSN
1527-8271
DOI
10.1215/10679847-8-1-235
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Spring 2000 course is the Hong Kong fantasy embodied in postcards and coffee-table books that fetishistically, even vulgarly, builds on the glittering prosperity of the city; this fantasy is invariably taken as the totem representing Hong Kong and contextualizing the meanings of this long-colonial urban site. As a consequence of these perceptions, the hardships of poverty have been, so to speak, petrified, distanced as a faraway historical period— archaeologically termed the Age of Poverty— and thus, in effect, removed from the presentday social memory of Hong Kong.3 In this way, poverty and the impoverished are suppressed by this glittering totem and are effectively removed from the social agenda. Yet however powerful, the establishment of Hong Kong has not been miraculous enough to make its bit of barren granite grow. From the very beginning the British colonial government used its monopoly land control to turn a handsome profit through the practice of “fair” public auctions. In the meantime, the speculations of capitalist profiteers siphoned off much of the most desirable property. The end result of this laissezfaire political-economic structure is that land in Hong Kong is a highly speculative commodity and among the most expensive real estate in the

Journal

positions asia critiqueDuke University Press

Published: Mar 1, 2000

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