Monday, June 29, 2015

[HKAS Seminar] Is Death the End? Senses of Life After Death in Guangdong and Hong Kong

Title: Is Death the End? Senses of Life After Death in Guangdong and Hong Kong
Speaker: Kwong Miu Ying (Mphil student, Department of Anthropology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong)
Date and time: 2 July 2015, 7:00pm 
Venue: Lecture Hall, Ground Floor, 100 Chatham Road, Tsim Sha Tsui 


Death poses an ultimate threat to our lives and our sense of security in this world. Life after death has always been a point of concern among people in different parts of the world and various religions and local beliefs offer diverse depictions of what an afterlife is like. This talk explores how individuals in Guangdong and Hong Kong envision what will happen to them after they die. Guangdong, like many other parts of China went through the socialist era when religions and supernatural beliefs and practices were banned. While the atheist education in that period has produced numbers of non-believers in the afterlife and even atheists, many seem to be increasingly interested in this issue since the reform era. Graveyard and related businesses are now heavily invested in. Offerings for the deceased have grown in variety to include the most up-to-date models of cell phones. What do these trends tell us about changes in senses of afterlife among Chinese in recent decades? Compared to Guangdong, people in Hong Kong have enjoyed relative religious freedom, although the government favored Christianity among other religions under the colonial rule. Its historical trajectory gives rise to a different scene in terms of senses of life after death. Based on months of in-depth interviews, this talk addresses individuals’ deepest fears and how they tackle them with or without an imagination of an afterlife.

The lecture is conducted in English. All are welcome. (Space, however, is limited to 139 seats.)

For more information, please contact Stan Dyer on 9746 9537 or

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

[IOFC Activity] Fieldtrip to Wolong (臥龍), Sichuan (24–28 September, 2015)


Flyer of the event

The Institute of Future Cities (IOFC), in collaboration with Hong Kong Discovery, is organizing a fieldtrip to Wolong (臥龍) Sichuan. If you’re interested in post-disaster management, tourism and international development, this is a great opportunity for you to learn more about the recent changes in Wolong since the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

During this trip, participants will visit the Giant Panda Protection and Research Centre to learn more about environmental conservation and natural resources management. They will explore local farms, villages and temples to understand Wolong’s community, history and culture. More importantly, they will study and discuss more about the 5.12 Earthquake Rehabilitation Project and other development projects. Participants will also see museums, exhibitions, heritage sites and etc.

All students enrolled in the BA Anthropology or BA Cultural Management programmes are welcomed to apply, but preference will be given to senior students. Participants are required to write a post-fieldtrip report, which will be a great chance for them to exchange and learn from each other’s different disciplinary backgrounds and expertise.

Dates: 24th–28th September, 2015 (5-day trip)
Cost: The cost of airfare, local transportation, lodging and food are covered by Hong Kong Discovery. However, participants are required to pay for their own travel insurance package of approx. HK$110.
Eligibility: BA Anthropology or BA Cultural Management students. Priority
will be given to senior applicants.
Deadline: 10th July, 2015 (Fri)

To apply, please visit and fill in your personal details, degree name, year, etc. Successful applicants will be notified via email by July 17, 2015 (Fri). 

For enquiries, please email Ms. Leanne Fung at

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

[In the press] 專訪王芊霓--研究廣場舞的歷程與心得





黄茜。2015。跳跳廣場舞怎麼就丟人了? 載《南方都市報》,417日,版RB12
余馳疆。2015。為廣場舞大媽正名:她們是第一代孤獨母親。載《環球人物》,515日 。

Monday, June 15, 2015

The 8th Annual CUHK Anthropology Postgraduate Student Forum

The 8th Annual CUHK Anthropology Postgraduate Student Forum

“Transforming Asian Anthropology:Dialogues and Imaginations”

22-23 January, 2016
The Chinese University of Hong Kong

The Department of Anthropology, Chinese University of Hong Kong, invites graduate students in Asia and elsewhere to present their current research at our 8th Postgraduate Student Forum: “Transforming Asian Anthropology: Dialogues and Imaginations”. The Forum, to be held 22-23 January 2016 (Friday and Saturday) at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, will showcase the best of students’ contemporary research on Asia.
Hong Kong is a global city, a major node for trade, transportation, and the exchange of ideas. This Postgraduate Student Forum seeks to encourage the communication among young anthropologists and other social scientists all over the world, to help improve their research and to make the excellent research being conducted in Asia to be better known internationally.

Presentations and Panels
We accept proposals for individual papers only this year. Papers of different topics are welcome, ethnographic work preferred. Papers will then be organized into panels. Each paper presentation will last 15 minutes; PowerPoint and multimedia equipment will be provided. The language of the forum will be English.

How to Apply
Application procedure and additional information can be found at
Deadline for abstract is 16 October 2015.

Forum Dates
22-23 January 2016 (Friday and Saturday)


Telephone: +852 3943 7670

Monday, June 8, 2015


本系的文學士畢業生陳子晴(Cora)20122013年度參與大學的交流計劃,到墨西哥修習一年。 在旅程中,Cora遇到不少「文化衝擊」,並努力嘗試克服及適應墨西哥與香港間的文化差異(詳情請閱讀上篇)。在暑假的時候,Cora以實習生身份在秘魯亞馬遜雨林的一個環保組織工作,得到不少有趣的體驗。



C小時候,我久不久就會回鄉探望祖父母。祖父母居住在內地一個郊外村落,因此勾引起我對大自然的興趣。我亦常常收看BBC(英國廣播公司)的大自然紀錄片,尤其喜愛David Attenborough製作及主持的節目。入大學的時候我本想選修環境科學或相關的科目,卻誤打誤撞進了人類學系。因此,看到在秘魯亞馬遜雨林工作的環保組織招募義工的時候,我既驚又──一方面我並沒有這方面的專業知識,另一方面那變得遙遠的童年夢想又好像觸手可及。在這個時候,我留意到此機構同時在招募專責行政工作的實習生。由於行政工作並不需要用上對環境生態的專業知識,但又能讓我到森林遊歷,完全是理想中的工作!因此,我便決定一試,申請了機構實習生的位置。


C工作內容是依據實習時間的長度、實習生的西班牙語水平及其積極性而定。我負責的工作包括整理機構海量的文獻資料庫、尋找與大學及義工機構合作的機會、及到機場迎接義工等。忘了一提,機構的辦公室同時是我實習期間居住的地方,因此整理「辦公室」亦是我的責任──清洗碗碟、執拾房間、清潔浴室等等。在辦公室實習了兩星期後,我終於有機會到機構的研究保育中(Amazon Research Conservation Centre,簡稱ARCC)工作一星期。我跟隨不同的隊伍及研究員進行研究,例如雀鳥隊、哺乳動物隊及一個研究蝴蝶的研究員。其中一些工作包括觀察及紀錄雀鳥記下附近環境的資料、追蹤一些指定類別的猴子等等。

C難忘的事情莫過於我跟爬行動物隊於夜間進行考察的時候看到一條蛇(英文學名:Black-headed calico snake)正在吞吃一隻老鼠。我們逗留了接近一小時去看這條蛇把老鼠完全吞下去!除了看到各種雨林獨有的動物之外,在叢林的生活亦出乎易料的自在──沒有網絡及訊號的生活讓我能夠閱讀及做更多自己喜歡的事。與一大班來自美國、英國、歐洲及當地的人相處對我來說亦是另一種文化交流的體驗;而跟機構的創辦人一家人一起居住就像跟寄養家庭一起生活。在這裡的日子實在太美好,促使我作出了另一個抉擇:取消到有秘魯文化首都之稱的庫斯科旅行,只為了在機構多留五天!


C我工作的機構位於秘魯一個名叫馬爾多納多港(Puerto Maldonado)的城市。在實習期間的某一天,同事們忽然興致勃勃地討論一宗新聞:在亞馬遜雨林生活的一群部落族人忽然在河邊聚集並發出聲浪,似是要求在河對岸生活的村落居民給予食物;村民有見及此便把部分食物以小船送給他們;但第二天該部落族人又在河邊聚集,而且這次更多人,有些更拿著疑似弓箭的東西,結果把在河對岸的村民都嚇壞了。由於村落跟馬爾多納多港也有好一段距離,由城市運送食物到村內起碼需要一兩天時間,故村民擔心族人得不到食物的話會以弓箭傷害他們(之前曾發生族人射殺外來者的事件);而且若然把食物全都送出,他們自己也沒有足夠糧食渡日。最後當地政府及人道組織成員介入,疏散並安置村民。事件再次引起當地人討論原始部落(當地媒體稱之為uncontacted people)與周邊族群融合的問題。他們之所以被列為uncontacted(不主動接觸)主要是因為原始部落族人缺乏「現代人」所擁有的抗體,接觸的話會把疾病傳給他們,間接「滅族」。同事分析族人這次的行為很可能是源於森林生態被眾多不同團體破壞,使部落族人不能以一貫的方式(如打獵,採摘等)獲得食物,故主動「現身」要求食物。

當時的報導標題:Some 150 uncontacted indigenous people are seen in Tambopata








Monday, June 1, 2015

Coming of Age with “Internet Addiction”: Institutional Encounters and Subject Formation of Chinese Youngsters

Since 2005, “internet addiction” has been treated as a mental disorder in China. Treatment camps for internet addiction are widely established across China to save Chinese youths and their families. Yet, the media depicts the “dark” side of these unauthorized institutions, and discloses the series of physical tortures suffered by the youngsters being sent to these centres.

Rao Yichen presenting his research at the Hong Kong Museum of History

Rao Yichen, an MPhil student of our Department, had delivered an anthropological talk* on the topic “Coming of Age with “Internet Addiction”: Institutional Encounters and Subject Formation of Chinese Youngsters” at the Hong Kong Museum of History last Thursday. He conducted three-month ethnographic fieldwork in a treatment camp to find out whether or not the news were doing justice to these institutions, what kinds of treatments, effective or not, the youngsters had received, and how these camps had informed us about Chinese society.

Living room of the youngsters in the treatment camp

The camp he conducted fieldwork at employed different therapeutics and set up various unitsdrillmaster team, psychological group, clinical unit, nursing unit, leisure activity group and parents groupto treat the youngsters. Uniformity and discipline were emphasized in the camp, in which the youngsters had to follow a daily schedule, wear military uniform and receive training. Pleasure control had been viewed as the key, since these youngsters were believed to have problem in impulse control. Yichen highlighted the use of Morita therapy (森田療法) in the camp, which was a Japanese therapy designed for patients with obsessive–compulsive disorder. The therapy commonly took a month. At first, the youngster would be isolated in a single room with no one to talk to, and left to his or her own mind. He or she would be given a pen in the second week to write anything, which could be reflections or creative writings. In this treatment, the soul could either be the prison, or the other way round, the savior of the body.

The youngsters and their parents attending psychological lectures together

Yichen noted that the youngsters had invented their local currency—the piece of bread distributed after dinner—in the treatment camp which enabled them to exchange and reciprocate. The “bread system” informed social actions and helped the youngsters to establish relationships, hence contributing to the formation of a community in the camp.

The whole treatment required six months for completion. Length of the treatment period was importantthe youngsters might attach to the institution if they stayed there too long, or could still be at the stage of conversion if the duration of the treatment was too short.

Yichen concluded that the term “internet addiction” was only meaningful in the context. Different societies had their own ways in controlling the “abnormalities”. What shall not be overlooked was the discourse that subjected youngsters to “internet addiction” in the first place.

*The talk was jointly presented by The Hong Kong Anthropological Society and the Hong Kong Museum of History. The list of upcoming talks can be found at The talks are free of charge and open to the public.