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Personal profile

Research interests

I am interested in the social and urban history of port cities and diasporas in Asia, especially where the British Empire and the Chinese diaspora met. Colonial Hong Kong is of particular importance in my research. Born and raised in Hong Kong, I am fascinated by the cosmopolitan 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 the history of housing in the colonial city. 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. Building upon this, my PhD thesis, “Sanitary Improvement, Property Speculation and Chinese Tenement Houses in Colonial Hong Kong, c. 1894-1941,” will examine how sanitary regulation and property speculation transformed tenement housing, a typical and ordinary housing form in the city, and how Chinese residents redrew class and ethnic boundaries while coping with the changes.


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