Volume 8, Issue 1, Spring 2016
Winnie L. M. Yee
Fashion, Affect, and Poetry in a Global City
Everyday life is a central theme of Hong Kong poetry. Many Hong Kong poets use the quotidian as a starting point for the exploration of history and alternative imaginings. This mundane focus, unlike the colonial dreamscape of Hong Kong as an economic miracle, allows writers to reflect upon Hong Kong as a post-colonial and global space. The Hong Kong writer Natalia Chan examines the complex nature of everyday life within the space of the global and post-colonial city. Chan’s poems deal with the essence of everydayness and use commodities to conjure up the vivacity of the urbanscape of Hong Kong. Unlike the political and economic discourse that is usually used to define Hong Kong, Chan’s work portrays Hong Kong as a city that offers the possibility of daily re-creation against the background of history. In this article, we will examine Chan’s use of the circulation of commodities in the global world and explore the way fashion becomes a point where high and popular culture, private and public domains, and local and global interests clash, negotiate, and fertilize each other. Chan’s works do not conform to the economic and prosperity discourse that has repressed Hong Kong; rather, she guides her readers to re-experience the everydayness of routines, to celebrate alternate ways of understanding the urbanscape, and to open themselves to the potentialities of art and the everyday.