Beyond Cantonese: Articulation, Narrative and Memory in Contemporary Sinophone Hong Kong, Singaporean and Malaysian Literature

  • Author / Creator
    Ngan, Li Ling
  • This thesis examines Cantonese in Sinophone literature, and the time- and place- specific memories of Cantonese speaking communities in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia after the year 2000. Focusing on the literary works by Wong Bik-wan (1961-), Yeng Pway Ngon (1947-) and Li Zishu (1971-), this research demonstrates how these three writers use Cantonese as a conduit to evoke specific memories in order to reflect their current identity. Cantonese narratives generate uniquely Sinophone critique in and of their respective places. This thesis begins by examining Cantonese literature through the methodological frameworks of Sinophone studies and memory studies. Chapter One focuses on Hong Kong writer Wong Bik-wan’s work Children of Darkness and analyzes how vulgar Cantonese connects with involuntary autobiographical memory and the relocation of the lost self. Chapter Two looks at Opera Costume by Singaporean writer Yeng Pway Ngon and how losing connection with one’s mother tongue can lose one’s connection with their familial memories. Chapter Three analyzes Malaysian writer Li Zishu’s short story Snapshots of Chow Fu and how quotidian Cantonese simultaneously engenders crisis of memory and the rejection of the duty to remember. These works demonstrate how Cantonese, memory, and identity, are transnationally linked in space and time. This thesis concludes with thinking about the future direction of Cantonese cultural production.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2019
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
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