Guest Editorial by Angela Tsun On-kee

Dear Reader,

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!

Warm regards,

Angela Tsun On-kee, on behalf of Dulwich Centre Publications.