Thursday, September 29, 2016

[HKAS seminar] Make it look Nice, Make it Trustworthy: Ecological Farmers in Farmers Markets in Shanghai

Title: Make it look Nice, Make it Trustworthy: Ecological Farmers in Farmers Markets in Shanghai
Speaker: Leo Pang (PhD candidate, Department of Anthropology, SOAS (The School of Oriental and African Studies), University of London)
Date and time: 5 Oct 2016, 7:00 p.m.
Venue: Lecture Hall, Ground Floor, Hong Kong Museum of History, 100 Chatham Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

In the face of nation-wide social distrust due to widespread concern about food safety in China, Mr. Pang sheds light on the relationship between the ecological farmers (“eco farmers”) and customers at farmers markets in Shanghai in an era where an abundance of food choices is available to consumers. While ecological food has yet to catch on owing to the high price of ecological produce compared to that of conventional produce and lack of certification, the eco farmers’ efforts to grow safe and healthy produce have been welcomed by the educated urban middleclass. Pang outlines the strategies that eco farmers use to gain the trust of and appeal to these educated, affluent consumers who are willing to pay the higher prices for the produce at farmers’ markets, and how these strategies may conflict with the farmers’ individual ethos.

Leo Pang is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at SOAS (The School of Oriental and African Studies), University of London. This talk is based on his PhD thesis research.

Following the talk, you are invited to a self-paying dinner with the speaker.

For more information, please contact Stan Dyer on 9746 9537 or,,, @HKASTalks.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

[Upcoming Seminar] The Role of Beauty Contests in the Filipino Community in Israel

Title: The Role of Beauty Contests in the Filipino Community in Israel
Speaker: Deby BABIS (University of Haifa)
Date and time: 1:00 – 2:30 pm, 30 Sept 2016
Venue: Room 11, Humanities Building New Asia College, CUHK


Beauty contests are a popular phenomenon among the Filipino community in Israel, which is mostly comprised of migrant workers employed as live-in caregivers for the elderly. The beauty contests take place at the weekends, when Filipinos have their day off. In this talk I will describe the different types of beauty contests, accompanying my presentation with photographs from my fieldwork. The analysis will focus on the meanings of these events at the individual, communal and transnational levels.

Deby Babis is a sociologist and anthropologist specializing in voluntary organizations and ethnic communities. Her research covers both immigrant and indigenous groups in different countries, such as Argentina, Israel, Bolivia, Canada and the Philippines. Since 2013 she is primarily studying Filipino migrants in Israel and Canada. By means of traditional and digital ethnographies, she explores different aspects of these communities, such as their voluntary organizations, their activities in Facebook and the emergence of mixed families. Deby is a fellow researcher at the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 


(A light lunch will be served at 12:30 pm. First come first served.)

Monday, September 26, 2016

[Cultural Heritage Talk Series 2016] Imagining Angkor: Politics, Myths, and Archaeology (想像吳哥:政治、神話與考古)

Cultural Heritage Talk Series 2016

Imagining Angkor: Politics, Myths, and Archaeology


Prof. Miriam Stark (Professor of Anthropology, University of Hawai'i at Manoa)

*Conducted in English*

Date: 14/10/2016 (Fri)
Time: 4:00-6:00pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre (L1), Institute of Chinese Studies, CUHK

Abstract: Angkor's first great king, Jayavarman II, established Cambodia' Angkorian state on the banks of the Tonle Sap in 802 CE and built his first capital, Mahendraparvata, on the slope of the nearby Kulen mountains. What followed were six centuries of political competition, warfare, and imperial rule by Angkor's kings. Like rulers of other ancient states, Khmer kings built vast stone monuments to honor their predecessors and gods that still stand today. A century of scholarly research on the Khmer empire's achievements has shed light on the scale and nature of premodern Southeast Asia's most influential polity; it has also shaped political agenda in unanticipated ways. This lecture visits such accounts and myths and explores how archaeological research offers another strategy for imagining Angkor: its rise, its splendor, and its collapse and regeneration over two millennia.

Bio of the Speaker: Miriam Stark is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. Her PhD at the University of Arizona (1993) was an ethnoarchaeological study of ceramic production and exchange among tribal Kalinga potters in the highland Philippines, and her subsequent Smithsonian post-doctoral fellowship used Kalinga ceramic data to test the analytical limits of compositional techniques. Dr. Stark has conducted field-based archaeological work in Cambodia since joining the University of Hawai'i at Manoa in 1995, when she launched the Lower Mekong Archaeological Project in collaboration with Cambodia's Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. She also joined the Greater Angkor Project as a Partner Investigator in 2010; this international collaboration (between the University of Sydney, EFEO, APSARA National Authority and the University of Hawai'i at Manoa) focuses on urban organization in Angkor. In 2014 she co-founded the Khmer Production and Exchange Project in partnership with APSARA National Authority, the University of New England (Australia) and Santa Clara University. She has edited or co-edited five books, authored/co-authored more than 70 journal articles and chapters, and serves on the Executive Board of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association.

Free admission. All interested are welcome.

Please register at:

Friday, September 23, 2016

[Multiculturalism in Action Project 2016-17] Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan Culture Workshop

On 20 August 2016, the MIA Workshop organized its sixth seminar. The topic was Bangladeshi food culture and gender issues. Ms. Sabina Sultana, a Bangladeshi nutritionist and medical interpreter, was the speaker.

Ms. Sultana told us that a typical Bangladeshi meal includes rice and fish. Although Bangladesh shares similar food culture with India and Pakistan, Bangladeshis in general cook with less spices and herbs. Unlike Northern India and Pakistan where people have naans, Bangladeshis prefer rice in their main meals. Besides, yogurt and tomatoes, which are commonly used in India and Pakistan, are not popular ingredients in Bangladeshi cuisines.

Ms. Sultana explaining Bangladeshi food culture
Ms. Sultana introduced to us that pitha, a cake-like snack, is common in Bangladesh as well as West Bengal in India. It is made from a batter of rice or wheat flour, and filled with sweet or savoury ingredients such as grated coconuts or gurh (condensed cane-sugar). It can be either steamed or fried. Ms. Sultana also told us that ilish is the national fish of Bangladesh, and it is popular in daily meals and festivals alike.  

Ilish (Photo source: Wikipedia)
Although there is no Bangladeshi grocery store in Hong Kong, Ms. Sultana said Bangladeshis get almost everything they need from other South Asian supplies stores and supermarkets. Those items that could not be found in Hong Kong, such as specific rice and vegetables, are brought by relatives or friends from Bangladesh occasionally. She mentioned that the eating habits of her family has been influenced by the Chinese cuisines since moving to Hong Kong nine years ago. For instance, they love to cook with vinegar now, which was very rare in the past.

During the short break, Workshop participants got a chance to taste some Bangladeshi food including a vegetable salad, dal puri (a fried puff bread with mung bean), piazu (a deep-fried snack made with lentils), chicken curry, ruhi (fish) curry, rice, and masala tea, all prepared by a home chef.

Piazu (red in colour) and dullpuri (yellow in colour)
In the second part of the seminar, Ms. Sultana explained to us the gender situation in Bangladesh. She said Bangladeshi women still suffer as an underprivileged group in terms of health services, education, and employment. For instance, there is a big gender earning gap in Bangladesh. According to Ms. Sultana, women only earns USD 0.12 per day, compare to USD 1 earned by man. In terms of politics, the Bangladeshi government is trying to engage more women in the political system such as reserving 50 seats for women in the Parliament. However, Ms. Sultana commented that the process for improving gender inequality is slow because of the lack of rule of law and corruptions in the government.

Lastly, Ms. Sultana pointed out that Islam teachings consider men and women equal and they will receive fair judgements from Allah. Besides, some may question why Muslim men are allowed to marry a maximum of four wives. Ms. Sultana explained that according to the Quran this is only allowed when the men can treat the wives justly and equally. And often people misunderstood and/or abused this teaching. She reminded us that we should consult the Iman or visit the mosques to learn the truth of Islam.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

[Publication] Wishing Well: Voices from Foreign Domestic Workers in Hong Kong and Beyond

The book Wishing Well: Voices from Foreign Domestic Workers in Hong Kong and Beyond, co-edited by Dr. Ju-chen Chen and Min Lee, is now available online.

Wishing Well is a collection of poems, essays and fiction written by migrant domestic workers. Published by HelperChoice, it is an open access book free for everyone to read.

Dr. Chen hopes that the book can help to convey the voices of foreign domestic workers to the mainstream society, so that non-domestic-worker readers can get to know more about the worlds of the domestic workers.

Link to the eBook:

Book cover (Source:

Monday, September 19, 2016

[Upcoming Seminar] 在禮物經濟的思考中:藝術、 人類學和基層社會運動 (三個人類學學生的分享)


講者: 李維怡、蕭朗宜和張詠儀 (影行者)
日期: 二零一六年九月廿三日(星期五) 
地點: 新亞書院人文館11室





Friday, September 9, 2016

Friday Seminars Schedule (Fall 2016)

The Friday seminars schedule of this semester has been announced! Don't forget to mark down the seminar dates on your calendar!

Seminars in this semester will take place at 1:00P.M.–2:30P.M. at Room 11, Humanities Building, CUHK. A light lunch will be served at 12:30pm.

We look forward to seeing you at the seminars!

Friday Seminars (Fall 2016)

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

[Multiculturalism in Action 2016-17] Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan Culture Workshop

On 13 August 2016, Mr. Syed Ekram Elahi, President of the Bangladesh Association of Hong Kong (BAHK), was invited to give a talk on the religions and social life of Bangladeshis in Hong Kong.

According to Mr. Syed, most Bangladeshis in Hong Kong are Muslims, with a few Hindu and Buddhist families. Various Islamic and Hindu festivals are observed by the Bangladeshi community in Hong Kong.

In the Eid al-Fitr (Festival of breaking of the fast), Bangladeshi Muslims will gather at mosques for morning prayer, and then visit each other’s homes. People will say “Eid Mubarak”, to greet each other, which means “To wish you a happy Eid”, and it is a custom to hug each other one to three times.

Bangladeshi community gathering at Kowloon Mosque for the Eid prayer
Photo source: Syed Ekram Elahi

Eid al-Adha (Festival of the Sacrifice) is another important festival observed by Bangladeshi Muslims in Hong Kong. Animals such as cows and goats are sacrificed and distributed to relatives and people in need. In Bangladesh, there are cattle markets in every village, while in Hong Kong, they usually buy cows and goats from the Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse.

Mr. Syed explaining Eid al-Adha

Durga Puja, a Hindu festival of Bengali origin, is jointly celebrated by Bangladeshi Hindus and the West Bengalis from India.  It is organized at Henry G. Leong Community Centre in Yau Ma Tei every year.

Durga Puja celebrated at Henry G. Leong Community Centre

In terms of social life, Mr. Syed told us that the family structure in Bangladesh has changed from joint family to nuclear family. Most people opt to live with their parents rather than to live individually. Although arranged marriage is still common in Bangladesh, the role of parents has changed from making decisions to giving advice. According to Mr. Syed, Bangladeshi men usually get married at the age of 28, while women get married at the age of 22 to 25. Gaye holud is a ceremony observed in the Bengali wedding. Henna and turmeric paste are applied to the bride and groom respectively as a form of blessing.

As told by Mr. Syed, it is hard to conclude the marriage pattern of the second generation in Hong Kong as most youth have not reached marriage age yet. However, he believed that most of them will organize wedding activities in Bangladesh because the family’s social networks are there. It is also expected that intercultural marriage will be more popular among Bangladeshi youth who grow up in Hong Kong. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

[Announcement] New Minor Program Offered—Minor in Archaeology

Apart from the Minor in Cultural Heritage Studies program, our department now has a new minor program that Anthropology majors can take! The Minor in Archaeology program, coordinated by the Department of Anthropology, provides students an option to develop an integrated focus on archaeology by bringing together various perspectives including anthropology, culture management, fine arts, geography and geology, and history. Students will learn about the preservation and management of archaeological sites and excavated objects, and relevant data such as in art and historical studies. 

While there is growing awareness about the significance of archaeological discoveries in Hong Kong and the rest of East Asia, systematic training is lacking locally. This minor programme is the first and only programme in Hong Kong that teaches students basic skills in archaeological excavation and research, as well as knowledge in the appreciation, curation, and exhibition of archaeological materials. The programme will connect students with Archaeology programmes in Mainland China and overseas, to expand their perspectives beyond Hong Kong.

In light of increasing admission figures to archaeological exhibitions, students will find themselves equipped for culture-related careers, especially in archaeological excavations, museums, education, and cultural tourism.

Detailed information can be found at