Being Eurasian: Memories Across Racial Divides

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Biography, Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs on 2010-12-20 22:17Z by Steven

Being Eurasian: Memories Across Racial Divides

University of Washington Press
296 pages
6″ x 9″
Paperback (9789622096714)
Hardcover (9789622096707)

Vicky Lee
Hong Kong Baptist University

What was it like being a Eurasian in colonial Hong Kong? How is the notion of Eurasianness remembered in some Hong Kong memoirs? Being Eurasian is a description and analysis of the lives of three famous Hong Kong Eurasian memoirists, Joyce Symons, Irene Cheng and Jean Gittins, and explores their very different ways of constructing and looking at their own ethnic identity.

‘Eurasian’ is a term that could have many different connotations, during different periods in colonial Hong Kong, and in different spaces within the European and Chinese communities. Eurasianness could mean privilege, but also marginality, adulteration and even betrayal. Eurasians from different socio-economic sectors had very different perceptions of their own ethnicity, which did not always agree with their externally prescribed identity. Being Eurasian explores the ethnic choices faced by Hong Kong Eurasians of the pre-war generation, as they dealt with the very fluidity of their ethnic identity.

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