Recognition, Reinhabitation, and Recreation: Engaging Nature in Hong Kong Literature

Enoch Yee Lok Tam

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


In a fast changing place like Hong Kong whose landscape is always under large-scale urban development and infrastructure projects, the notion of nature would always be a site for literary interrogation. The booming days of social construction and economic transformation, that is, the 1970s, was the time when people in Hong Kong showed their identification with the city while at the same time were alienated from nature. Since then, Hong Kong writers have tried to engage nature in their literary imagination of the relationship between humans and landscape. I put forward in this chapter the three modes of engaging nature in Hong Kong literature, that is, recognition, reinhabitation, and recreation. By recognition I mean to recognise what nature is—to acquire new knowledge about nature; by reinhabitation I mean a person adjusting their relationship towards nature based on the new knowledge they acquire during their engagement with nature; by recreation I point to the spaces in which people can recreate and re-create themselves, to have enjoyment in nature while reorienting their relationship with society. The discussion focuses on Hong Kong writers like Wu Xubin, Xi Xim, and Dung Kai-cheung to see how they, in the face of large-scale urbanisation of their hometowns, develop a new understanding of their relationship with nature and reshape their awareness of the interdependency between humans and nature.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChinese Shock of the Anthropocene
Subtitle of host publicationImage, Music and Text in the Age of Climate Change
EditorsKwai-Cheung Lo, Jessica Yeung
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9789811366857
ISBN (Print)9789811366840, 9789811366871
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2019


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