The Currency of History in Hong Kong: Deconstructing Nostalgia through Soybean Milk

Catherine Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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In the 1980s, as the end of the millennium approached, the production of nostalgia exploded all around the world. For Hong Kong, nostalgia became a reminder of the golden age that had transformed the city into one of the “Four Asian Tigers” in the decades following the end of the Second World War. While yearning for the better days of the past, Hong Kong coincidentally experienced destabilisation. As the rest of the world, especially the “baby boomers,” mourned the end of a productive era, Hong Kong locals were disturbed by the affirmation of the handover to China in 1997. In the context of these events, a creative rush to nostalgia in cultural manufacturing swept across the city. In the hope of highlighting the uniqueness of nostalgic production in Hong Kong, this study analyses two sets of TV commercials produced by local beverage company Vitasoy. Through the deconstruction of selected historical events, Vitasoy successfully reinvented its brand and, in contrast to general criticism of the concept, generated a positive connotation for nostalgia on the path towards Hong Kong’s search for an identity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-175
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Current Chinese Affairs
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Hong Kong
  • nostalgia
  • Vitasoy

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