Yuen Long, New Territories, Hong Kong is a part of the ecologically vital, heavily populated, and hyper-urbanizing Pearl River delta region. As in many parts of the world, the people there, and the environment in which they live, are caught up in a mix of rapid development projects, cumulative environmental disasters, fraught population movements, and diverse forms of social-ecological dis-placement. Drawing from a number of years of ethnographic research in the region, this talk will trace some of the uneven impacts this entails through a discussion of how young people in Yuen Long are experiencing, navigating, and surviving these changing conditions, and how in turn they are responding. While these responses include nativism and democracy activism, as widely reported in local and international media, they also include what I call ordinary-fantastic stories of present livability. Articulating diverse imaginations of community and mutualistic belonging, these stories are both situated within the specific muddle of realities in the New Territories and are entangled in broader questions of accelerating dis-placements and diminishing life ecologies. I conclude with a discussion of what these stories have to tell us about emergent livabilities for young people in Hong Kong, or the worldings of ordinary imaginings that are fantastic and unlikely urges towards flourishing life.
Speaker: Dr. Kevin Ming. Research Director, Project Share Hong Kong; Researcher, Liberty Asia; Center Associate, Asian Studies, Research Associate, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh