Sunday, November 18, 2012

Publication: Walking through Sheung Wan

Are you wondering what to do in Hong Kong other than shopping and having dim sum? What about  an anthropological adventure?

In the past year, the Department of Anthropology at CUHK has worked on the “Walking through Sheung Wan Series” project, with the support from the Knowledge Transfer project entitled “Learning from Neighbourhood Tourism in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong” and HK Discover. Led by Professor Sidney C.H. Cheung, the team did one-year ethnographic field research in the community. Based on the findings, we established a user-friendly website, which walks visitors through the Nam Pak Hong area with a history of more than one century, flashing back the trade-development relationships of dried seafood, traditional Chinese medicines and groceries like salted fish over the past century. Through this project, we explore, from an anthropological angle, the possibility of knowledge transfer from local communities to visitors, and a mutual interaction between community and tourism. With  the holistic approach of anthropology, we hope to bring an in-depth understanding of a local neighbourhood undergoing modernization and globalization.

We also published what we have learned from the community as a book called Sheung Wan. Put it into your backpack and take an anthropological adventure! We are looking forward to your experience and feedback.

Why Sheung Wan? (Excerpt from the book Sheung Wan)


Sheung Wan is the one neighbourhood that made Hong Kong a successful and important trading hub over the last century, in which the traditional features of trading are still visible today. Since the mid-19th century, via the overseas Chinese network in Thailand, Nam Pak Hong was established to facilitate the import of various dried products into Hong Kong for trading with other Chinese societies throughout Asia. When Hong Kong was still a fishing village, Sheung Wan was already made a very active trade centre by its geographical location, and the traditional business practices there has somehow preserved and remained this way since.… This creates an exotic and unique impression for anyone who visits there for the first time. Again these traders handle dried food commodities from all over the world, e.g. Abalones from Japan, sea cucumbers from Indonesia, salted fish from Bangladesh, herbal medicines from mainland China, local shrimp pastes, aged tangerine peels, fish maws, ginseng, birds’ nests, etc. Those traders have stories to share as part of the oral history of the community. As these food items are part of the Chinese cuisine, we consider this a unique experience for inbound tourists and foreign visitors interested in the culture and history of Hong Kong.

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