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Screening CommunitiesNegotiating Narratives of Empire, Nation, and the Cold War in Hong Kong Cinema$
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Jing Jing Chang

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9789888455768

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888455768.001.0001

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The Nanyang Ethos and Engendering the Chinese Overseas Experience

The Nanyang Ethos and Engendering the Chinese Overseas Experience

Chapter:
(p.127) 5 The Nanyang Ethos and Engendering the Chinese Overseas Experience
Source:
Screening Communities
Author(s):

Jing Jing Chang

Publisher:
Hong Kong University Press
DOI:10.5790/hongkong/9789888455768.003.0006

Chapter 5 argues that Chinese overseas is a privileged narrative focus providing a vantage point from which to explore the importance of Southeast Asia or Nanyang as ethos and imaginary in 1950s and 1960s Hong Kong films. As a border-crossing process and imaginary, Nanyang not only contributed to the survival of Hong Kong’s film industry between the 1950s and 1960s, but it also fuelled the transformation and construction of the colony as a nodal site amid 1960s industrialization. In order to explore Nanyang’s role in Hong Kong’s narrative path toward industrial modernity, this chapter first examines the shifting colonial, statist and cinematic conceptions of Cold War citizenship, allegiance, nationality, and gendered labor. Second, this chapter discusses two politically-driven filmic projections of the Nanyang ethos, arguing that both films continue to conceal contentious ideological and bipolarized conceptions of Chinese national subjectivity. The chapter ends with an analysis on The Story between Hong Kong and Macau (Yishui ge tianya, dir. Cho Kei, 1966), which moves beyond a paternalistic studio-centered approach to reveal how narratives about the travelling Chinese woman and the Nanyang continue to negotiate with narratives of gendered work and gendered economy in the process of screening Hong Kong’s modern industrial community.

Keywords:   Nanyang, Southeast Asia, Overseas Chinese, Chinese diaspora, Citizenship, Transnational Mediasphere, Gendered labor

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