Volume 13, Issue 1, 2016
Marginocentric Hong Kong
Archaeology of Dung Kai-cheung’s Atlas
Playing an irreplaceable role for the whole speedy development in East Asia, Hong Kong is an example of a multicultural cosmopolitan urban centre in the Pacific Rim with strong ties with the Atlantic. However, with regards to mainland China, Hong Kong has always held a marginal position, carrying multiple marginal labels. In recent years, Hong Kong has been struggling to move beyond its Chinese/Western identities, simultaneously searching its own native insular self. This is shown in the way contemporary intellectuals approach Hong Kong’s memory. As an example, this paper looks at Dung Kai-cheung’s novel Atlas: The Archaeology of an Imaginary City. Although Rey Chow describes the Hong Kong situation as namely, “the struggle between the dominant and the subdominant within the native culture itself” (Chow, 1992:153), I would like to argue that Dung Kai-Cheung does not engage in the sort of radical anti-colonial, nationalist discourse that could be read through the lens of The Empire Writes Back. Rather, he seeks a new form of anti-colonial discourse which advances a reconciliatory cosmopolitan vision of multicultural coexistence in a marginocentric city.