Leah, Cheung Ah Li did both her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in our department and is about to graduate as an M.Phil in anthropology. She shares some experiences of her five-year relationship with anthropology.
|Internship at the Ethnological Museum in Vienna, 2009|
One of the first anthropological readings that I encountered was Miner’s “Body Ritual among the Nacirema”, which is still one of my favorite anthropological reads. The article describes the cultural characteristics of a “tribe” called Nacirema. Members of the “tribe” worship a hero called Notgnihsaw. They own a sacred shrine in the place where they live and they have to visit the “holy mouth man” every year who “tortures” the tribal members. Readers may find the tribe exotic, mysterious and aggressive when they first read the article. However, the Nacirema is actually a description of American culture from an outsider’s point of view. That is what anthropology is about: the study of our everyday life from another angle.
|Yale University New Asia College exchange programme, 2010|
|Undergraduate Anthropological Fieldtrip to Xinjiang, 2007|
What are your interests? Are you afraid of not being able to balance your hobby with your studies after entering the university? No worries! You will be able to combine your interests with studies when you study anthropology. Past anthropology students’ final year projects have displayed a wide variety of topics of students’ own choices. For example, a student was interested in soccer and investigated the culture of soccer fans; a student loved eating chocolate was able to research the trend of chocolate consumption in Hong Kong. I would like to highlight my own research on the Cantonese Opera music community in Guangzhou. I have always wanted to become a musician. However, after I got to know about anthropology, I became amazed about learning more about other cultures. My study on Cantonese Opera enabled me to enjoy both music playing and the pleasure of exploring other cultures. During my summer fieldwork, I was playing music and performing in Guangzhou with Cantonese Opera ensembles almost everyday. I experienced rehearsals and performances that I thought would have never been possible. From knowing nothing about Cantonese Opera, to being able to perform on the stage, I have experienced a life-changing moment in my life.
|Guangzhou Wenhua Park, Cantonese Opera performance during fieldwork for M.Phil thesis, 2011|
CHEUNG, Ah Li