2004: Issue 1
Guest Editorial by Angela Tsun On-kee
Welcome to this special issue of the International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work which focuses on stories from Hong Kong. We have a vibrant community of narrative practitioners here and it is a great pleasure to be able to share with you some of the stories of our work and our lives.
There are two key themes that are explored in the following pages. Firstly, the history of Hong Kong and how it shapes our identities as Chinese people living and working here. And secondly, how we are engaging with narrative ideas in our social work and counselling practice. We hope that both themes will be of interest to you.
Hong Kong history is complex. The effects of British colonisation on the people of Hong Kong have been significant. The valuing of all things English, including language and culture, over all things Chinese has understandably had long-term consequences. But we have also resisted in our own ways and have created a vibrant culture of which we are proud. Hong Kong is a most wonderful place to live.
Some aspects of our history are not so wonderful. Many Hong Kong citizens fled China at different times in recent history and in doing so left behind the people and the country that they loved. I recall my parents always wanting to locate and contact our relatives in mainland China since I was small. We felt sorrowful to discover that my paternal grandparents and maternal grandfather had died before we could reconnect. This is a common story.
The relationship between the people of Hong Kong and mainland China is complex. In the past century we have gone through stages of uncertainty, anxiety, distancing, scorn, and even disappointment toward China. But even in the most difficult of times there has been an alternative story. For instance, at the time of the Tiananmen Square massacre, many Hong Kong people were frightened and our view of the Chinese Government was at its lowest ebb. Simultaneously, however, our support for the student movement indicated that China is our home and our love for it. The huge donations each year that Hong Kong people make to assist in re-establishing family life in China after famines and floods is another indication.
We are proud to be Chinese people. We are also Hong Kong people and this gives us a unique perspective and unique opportunities. As China continues to develop politically and economically, and as we in Hong Kong continue to unravel the legacies of British colonisation, I am very hopeful as to what the future holds.
On another note, we are excited about the community of narrative practitioners that is growing here in Hong Kong. We are engaging with narrative therapy ideas and finding ways to practice these in our own context and in our own ways. Many of the papers in this collection describe this process by illustrating group work with young women dealing with mental health issues; consultations with people in relation to drug use and addiction; group work in relation to overcoming the effects of child-sexual abuse; and consultations with children and young people. Many of these papers were created from interviews conducted by Dulwich Centre Publications’ staff writer, and we hope they will be of interest to you. The second half of this journal features a practice-based paper by Michael White entitled ‘Working with people who are suffering the consequences of multiple trauma: a narrative perspective’. This is the written version of a presentation that Michael made in Ramallah, Palestine, in October 2003.
Finally, we also have some news to share … in July 2005 Hong Kong will be the venue for the 7th International Narrative Therapy and Community Work Conference! This will be co-hosted by the Social Work Department of the Baptist University of Hong Kong (where I work) and Dulwich Centre Publications. Plans are already well underway and we hope to see you there! I would like very much to invite you to visit us in Hong Kong for this conference so that you can see for yourself the diverse, vibrant Chinese culture that we live within and that we are constantly creating.
We are awaiting your arrival!
Angela Tsun On-kee, on behalf of Dulwich Centre Publications.
Showing 1–10 of 11 results
Flags and Multiple Identities: Being Chinese in Hong Kong— Ho Chi-kwan
Through an exploration of personal history and narrative, this piece conveys some of the complex themes that contribute to the construction of Chinese Hong Kong identity. Poignant imagery invites readers to consider the question: ‘What does it mean to be Chinese in Hong Kong?’
Reconstructing Life Journeys: Group Work with Young Women Who Experience Mental Illness— Little Lit Siu-wai
This article describes creative work with a group of young women who have been suffering from mental illness for several years. The work conveyed here builds upon the metaphor of a journey of life (see McPhie & Chaffey 1998) and adapts this to a Hong Kong context.
Hong Kong – The Place That Shapes My Identity— Little Lit Siu-wai
Through an exploration of family history this piece invites the reader to consider the complexities of identity faced by the people of Hong Kong.
Overcoming Craving: The Use of Narrative Practices in Breaking Drug Habits— Har Man-kwong
This paper describes the use of narrative practices in working with young people who wish to revise their relationship with substance use. It describes the use of the metaphor of the migration of identity and externalising conversations, and explores issues related to Hong Kong culture.
Responding to Child Abuse: Confucianism, Colonisation, Post-structuralism— Angela Tsun On-kee
Post-modern and post-structuralist ideas encourage us to ask questions such as: What is reality? What is objectivity? Who decides the objective criteria? Whose perspectives are informing what we believe to be the truth? How are our identities constructed? This piece describes how these questions have informed the author’s therapy and social work practice with a particular emphasis on understanding and responding to child abuse in Hong Kong.
The Roads of Hong Kong – Where Are You Taking Me?— Ting Wai-fong
Through the imagery of roads and the metaphor of a journey, this piece invites the reader to consider the complexities of Hong Kong history and how they shape identity.
Lily— Ho Chi-kwan
This paper describes conversations with Lily, a twelve year-old girl, about the ways in which she is living with diabetes. It particularly explores Lily’s skills in navigating who to tell about her diabetes and how to ensure that they are trustworthy.
Young People and the Creation of Culture— Victor Wong Cheong-wing
As practitioners, considerations of culture are vital to understanding how people’s identities are constructed and shaped, and how meanings are given to certain actions. What is more, how we conceptualise culture has very real implications for policy and for practice. This short piece describes the importance of recognising the active part that young people in Hong Kong are making to the creation of culture.