Augustine Mok Chiu-yu’s intercultural asian people’s theatre: Imagining ‘the third way’ for Hong Kong

Jessica Yeung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Augustine Mok Chiu-yu is a pioneer of People’s Theatre in Hong Kong. His 1990s collaborations with dramatists from other Asian regions constitute a unique body of works that has introduced wider Asian perspectives on history and society to the Hong Kong stage, which go beyond the well-beaten paths of “East-West” comparison and Hong Kong-versus-China binarism. These intercultural works distinguish themselves by their unique method that draws on the shared history of pre-twentieth-century colonialism and neo-imperialism in the age of global capital. Offshore (1994), Big Wind (1994), and Yours Most Obediently (1997) stand out among Mok’s numerous Asian collaborations. Offshore explores the exploitation of workers in the global industrial chain. Big Wind focuses on Asian migrant workers in Hong Kong who are locked in dehumanizing relationships set within the framework of global capitalism. Yours Most Obediently facilitates a comparison between Hong Kong and India’s shared experiences of British colonialism and highlights the situation of the neglected, and often discriminated, South Asian communities in Hong Kong. Mok’s Asian People’s Theatre works critique global capitalism from specifically Asian perspectives and need to be understood within the context of Hong Kong’s sovereignty transition in 1997. The attempt to bring Hong Kong into the reflective framework of Asia-or to bring Asia into the reflective framework of Hong Kong-is driven by an urge to highlight Hong Kong’s situation as the result of nineteenth-century Western colonialism and its transformed perpetuation as neo-imperialism in the second half of the twentieth century. Instead of simply situating Hong Kong between Britain and China, Mok understands Hong Kong as participating in the wider struggle for social justice against both British colonisation and Chinese nationalism, Maoism and capitalism, in different eras. Mok’s unique perspective has facilitated an alternative imagination of Hong Kong beyond the binarism of Britain and China as competing homelands before 1997, and the more recent binarism of Chinese nationalism and Hong Kong localism. The chapter argues that this alternative imagination could provide “a third way” for Hong Kong after the 2014 Umbrella Movement.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAsian City Crossings
Subtitle of host publicationPathways of Performance through Hong Kong and Singapore
EditorsRossella Ferrari, Ashley Thorpe
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781003043157, 9781000381191
ISBN (Print)9780367488413, 9780367515591
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)


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