Non-Centricity and Apathy: An Introduction to Hong Kong Literature

  • Kai Yung Karen Lee
Keywords: non-centricity, Hong Kong, Cantonese, internet novels

Abstract

Hong Kong literature, with particular historical and social factors, can be regarded as a non-centric literary form. While the majority of Hong Kong people speaks Cantonese as their mother tongue, they are required to write in Mandarin. Additionally, Hong Kong literature struggles to attract attention from an apathetic audience, to produce local writers, and to resonate with foreign readers. As serious literature continues to lose its purchase, more and more writers attempt to break out from this predicament and inject new blood into this fading industry. Efforts include circumventing traditional constraints and incorporating more colloquial Cantonese into various publications, as well as a mushrooming of internet novels. Unfortunately, Chinese education remains rigid and inflexible, hindering students’ ability to use writing as a creative outlet. Literature is also heavily commodified. In light of this, I suggest that reading be encouraged and literature be de-commodified. Hong Kong literature, with its distinctive features and strengths, have the potential to thrive. All it needs is sufficient support from the government, the private sector and the general public.

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Published
2020-12-31