Personal profile

Research interests

I am interested in the social and urban history of port cities and migration in East and Southeast Asia, especially where the British Empire and the Chinese migrants met. Colonial Hong Kong is of particular importance in my research. Born and raised in Hong Kong, I am fascinated by the cosmopolitan and mobile characters of the global city. To understand how Hong Kong and other Asian port cities came into being, I seek to trace the ways people of different socio-cultural backgrounds intermingled and coped with political and economic changes in the port city world to generate new lifestyles and identities.


My current research focuses on lower-class migrants’ experiences in colonial ports. In my Chinese University of Hong Kong MPhil thesis, ‘Town Planning of New Kowloon and Colonial Governance in Hong Kong, 1898-1941’, I explored how colonial officials and local businessmen in early twentieth century Hong Kong pragmatically appropriated notions of sanitary improvement and town planning to expand their interests in property development in the city. Shifting focus to ordinary lives, my PhD thesis, tentatively titled as ‘Seeking Home in the Colonial Port: Migration and Settlement of Chinese Workers in Hong Kong, c. 1900-1941’, will examine daily experiences of Chinese migrant labourers in dwelling and working in, and moving to and from Hong Kong before the Second World War. 


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