If history is totally related to the past, there would be no so-called contemporary problem or historical problem. However, many different contexts remain that are still affecting our contemporary life.
We cannot ignore historical problems, somehow we have to deal with them unconsciously and inevitably. People from every generation have their own problems of history, as a “post-80s” man and a son of a stowaway, there is no doubt I identify myself as a Hong Konger. But for China, it is a kind of paradoxical identity for me to locate myself in. I think I should give my own views and stand on this issue, thus, I often think of my relations with China, even though it always confuses me.
Understanding how my father’s experience of sneaking into Hong Kong is helping me to have a better grasp of my identity. However, I can only conjecture based on his memories which are fragmented and indistinct, sometimes from his face, body, conversation and expression.
Inevitably, “past” is fading away, we cannot capture any moment of the past, but we can re-experience something based on it, that may be a proper methodology to let me reinvestigate the doubt about my identity. From the personal history of my father to the collective memories of those stowaways interviewed by Bingan Chan, a Shenzhen journalist, my research does not only complement his but also allow my concerns to get out of a personal level. I believe that part of forgotten history is affecting every stowaway and their descendants, and even the whole of Hong Kong. It is about identity, but more importantly, it determines what Hong Kong is, the core values that we often mention.
It is an art project that is neither biographical nor documentary in nature. Perhaps it is presenting my father at that moment; finally, it may also be linked to the origin of Hong Kong people or even to other things beyond what I had imagined.
Photographs & Text: Siu Wai Hang | Website: http://www.siuwaihang.net
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