My presentation script

  • In looking at immigration trajectories, we can see when a Hong Kong identity might have been conceived.
  • Under British rule, Hong Kong was a port facilitating trade and the movement of Chinese diaspora between China and the West. According to Smart and Smart, there was no notion of Hong Konger as an identity – they were Cantonese, Hakka or Chiu Chau.
  • When the PRC was founded in 1949, there was a new wave of immigration into Hong Kong to escape communist rule. Along with Maoist isolation, the border was closed to stem Chinese immigration flows. These restrictions have been argued by Ku to be the foundation of Hong Kong’s identity as a quasi-city-state.
  • In the ’70s, the right of abode was introduced, giving legal status to Hong Kong PRs. The legislation created new distinctions between local and immigrant, Chinese and British, and gave salience to a Hong Kong identity.
  • A re-problematisation of illegal Chinese immigration and a state discourse of Chinese people disrupting Hong Kong’s progress further propagated this.
  • Looking at Hong Kong’s border control today, we can also see how its identity has changed and become increasingly complex.
  • Under Basic Law, though Hong Kong remains under the PRC, it maintains a high degree of autonomy. According to Smart and Smart, border control is required to maintain ‘one country, two systems’.
  • Officially, Hong Kong calls the border a ‘boundary’, which Breitung sees as a political choice to emphasise the shift of the ‘border regime’ from an international, external issue to an internal one.
  • Hong Kong’s identity is further complicated by globalisation, changing the meaning of the border and disrupting the order of state-based rights. According to Castells, it has become a ‘space of flows’, diluting the importance of the state and border. Individuals increasingly adopt multi-identities, relating to different nations.
  • However, borders are also reinforced. Breitung argues that the nation remains significant in the ‘sociopsychological’ borders that Hong Kongers construct by tying their identity to the state and distinguishing between themselves and the ‘other’.
  • Border control gave Hong Kong some agency to define itself, but social movements have given stead to individuals beyond state-based actors.
  • Civil movements typically occurred over demands for democratisation, but most importantly for Hong Kong’s identity to not be co-opted.
  • Lam argues that activism has challenged state narratives, letting civil society build its own identity. The youth is significant in the ‘democracy movement’, as they increasingly dissociate from the Chinese and identify purely as ‘Hong Kongers’.
  • The Umbrella Movement was catalysing in erecting borders that delineate Hong Kongers from the Chinese, and breaking down spatial borders by occupying the city. Lee argues that the streets were also liberated: protesters utilised the city non-destructively, for example, by setting up ‘mobile democracy classrooms’ or engaging in artistic expressions.
  • The use of Cantonese and colonial relics like flags and ‘Keep Calm’ slogans represented a resistance to China. Protesters used the Cantonese phrase ‘zhe da’ (遮打) instead of the Mandarin word ‘yu san’ (雨傘) for ‘umbrella’, giving the movement an alternative name: the ‘cover-hit’ movement, signifying defence against identity erosion and an attack on the Hong Kong government and China.
  • However, the efficacy of movements have yet to be proven and it can seem like no one is listening.

My final bibliography + Filmography

Cited Works

Abbas, Ackbar. Hong Kong: Culture and the Politics of Disappearance, University of Minnesota Press, 1997.

Bazin, André, et al. “An Auesthetic of reality: Neorealism (Cinematic Realism and the Italian School of the Liberation).” What Is Cinema?: Volume II, 1st ed., University of California Press, 2005, pp. 16–40,

Fan, Victor. “Introduction: What is Extraterritoriality?” manuscript, 2017.

Li Cheuk-to, “On Four Films by Ann Hui”, translated by Victor Fan, originally published as “綜論許鞍華的四部電影.” City Entertainment Biweekly, no. 95, 1983, pp. 34–35 (excerpt), no. 96, 1983, pp. 25–27, no. 98, 1983, 27–29.

Li Cheuk-to. “The Return of the Father: Hong Kong New Wave and Its Chinese Contexts in the 1980s.” New Chinese Cinemas: Forms, Identities, Politics, edited by Nick Browne, Paul Pickowicz, Vivian Sobchack, and Esther Yau, Cambridge University Press, 1994, pp. 160–79.

Rocchio, Vincent. “Revisiting Psychoanalysis and the Cinema.” Cinema of Anxiety: a Psychoanalysis of Italian Neorealism, University of Texas Press, 1999, pp. 9-29.

Yau Ka-fai. “Looking Back at Ann Hui’s Cinema of the Political.” Modern Chinese Literature and Culture, vol. 19, no. 2, 2007, pp. 117-150.


投奔怒海 / Boat People. Directed by Ann Hui, Blue Bird Film Company, 1982.

再见中国 / China Behind. Directed by Tang Shu-shuen, 1974.

重庆森林 / Chungking Express. Directed by Wong Kar-wai, Jet Tone Production, 1994.

父子情 / Father and Son. Directed by Allen Fong, Phoenix Film Company, 1981.

十年 / Ten Years. Directed by Ng Ka-leung, Jevons Au, Chow Kwun-Wai, Fei-Pang Wong, Kwok Zune, Ten Years Studio, 2015.

Tianshu’s Blog Post

Narrative plots underpinning mentalities around the US-Mexico borders

This blog post contains reviews of Pablo Vila’s Crossing Borders, Reinforcing Borders: Social Categories, Metaphors and Narrative Identities On The U.S. – Mexico Frontier (2000), Border Identifications: Narratives Of Religion, Gender, And Class On The U.S. – Mexico Border (2005) as well as Douglas S. Massey’s ‘Understanding America’s Immigration “Crisis”’ (2007).

What interests me in Pablo Vila’s research is that he approaches the immigration problem of the US through empirical studies of plots narrated by people living in the El Paso–Juárez Borderplex – a binational metropolitan area on the border between the US and Mexico. By interviewing various interviewees belonging to different categories of class, gender, age, nationality, ethnicity, time of migration and religion, Vila gleans the ‘cultural shaped cognitive and linguistic processes’ from the storytelling of his interviewee as well as their reactions towards certain themed images. (Vila 2000, p.4)

Vila’s empirical studies (2000) reveals that there are different plots have guided the construction of narrative identities for different people living around the US-Mexico border. On the Mexican side of the border, for instance, the American influence on the Ciudad Juárez (the Mexican side of the Borderplex) is viewed negatively by Mexican nationals from the interior out of the concern that they will be Americanized – which indicates the loss of political autonomy, cultural integrity and economic independence. However, to people living in El Paso (Juárez’s American counterpart), the presence of Mexico around the corner is a constant reminder of the poverty and corruption many people identify with that country. Therefore, to many Mexican Americans, the origin of their identity is not a positive one upon which they could build up a valued social identity, but a liability because of the proximity of Mexico. Thus, Mexican Americans construct their identities by portraying not only Anglo Americans, but also Mexican nationals as the ‘others’.

It is also worth noting that how border politics affect the categories people choose to construct their identities. On the Mexican side of the border, ‘border dweller’ is used extensively as to Mexican nationals (middle class in particular) the proximity to the United States can be used to ‘upgrade’ their Mexican social identity since it is claimed that living near a first world country with easy access to its job opportunities, lifestyle and consumer goods is advantageous. On the other hand, this label is not favoured by people on the American side. Although both Anglo and Mexican Americans separate themselves from Mexican nationals in order to construct a narrative identity as people living in the States. Among Americans an ethnic classification system is extensively used, not a regional one, to anchor their identity and further segment the communities of ‘Americans’, constructing a new set of ‘us’ and ‘others’.

The difference between American and Mexican nationals in choosing their classification systems to some extent reflects the structural conditions of population, unemployment and migration on the US-Mexico border, but it is more important to note that how these classifications have accumulated and fundamentally affect the mindset of generations of people, and eventually leading to the tendency which refuse to seek common ground, shared or compromise between different communities, but looking for differences and social hierarchy. Consequently, different hegemonic discourses emerged. ‘All poverty is Mexican / All wealth is American’ is probably the most prevailing hegemonic discourse. What is implied in this thematic plot is that ‘Mexicans equal poverty’ – thus they are to be blamed for any problem of poverty, to the extent that even Mexican Protestants and poor Anglos whom the plot is incapable to portray are constantly coerced into such narratives in everyday life, such as the distribution of public resources, the use of infrastructures. And Mexican immigrants correspondingly develop their own response, claiming that they are the ones who contribute to the country through hard working and taxpaying, but receive little welfare and low social status.

The ‘All poverty is Mexican’ thematic plot and the corresponding response represents the vicious mechanism that although the border is not homogenized (different identities and cultures hybridized around the border), the hegemonic discourses and fragmented social classification result in fragmented border experience, leading to not a border crossing process but rather the reinforcement of borders. The most extreme claim is probably the one proposed by Carlos Monsiváis (Vila, 2007 p.5-6), stating that there is no such thing as ‘border identity’ but rather a loss of identity, ‘the dubious mixture of two national life-styles, the deification of technology and a craze for the new’ – to the extent that the border becomes ‘the garbage disposal of a country’.

Douglas S. Massey’s research (2007), on the other hand, is his quantitative analysis of the economic, political activities and population movement crossing the US-Mexico border, attempting to qualify America’s assertion of an immigration ‘crisis’. Massey points out that the immigration issue has been overly exaggerated in public discussions. According to him, as of 2006, ‘three-quarters of all Americans rated immigration as a “moderately big or very big national problem”; more than half (54%) said that the United States needed to be “protected against foreign influence”; and nearly half (48%) said that “newcomers from other countries threaten traditional American values and customs”. Although the true percentage of immigrants in the U.S. stands at around 12%, some 53% of Americans polled thought that it was 25% or greater’ (Massey 2007, p.309). On this account, the so called ‘immigration crisis’ is to some extent biased if not imagined and the current situation is to some degree a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The origin of the crisis claim is the US government’s failed attempt to facilitate cross border economic activities and at the same time avoiding labour movement. It dates back to the 1990s when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was initiated between under the administration of George H. W. Bush and ratified during the presidency of his successor Bill Clinton. The signing of NAFTA represents the integration process of North American Markets (the US, Canada and Mexico), and the natural consequence of it are the movements of capitals, commodities, services and labours across borders. The increasing labour force inevitably undermines the average wages and working conditions of the US workers. Therefore border enforcement seemed to be a necessary action to tackle this problem. Nevertheless, Massey points out the flaw of border enforcement – it is inefficient in controlling the inward undocumented immigration, but efficient in apprehending out-immigration (partly because it is unilaterally conducted on the US side of the border). As a result, the net immigration in the US was raised but their average conditions deteriorated due to the negative portrayal of Mexican immigrants during the border enforcement. Massey’s analysis provides another angle to evaluate the ‘immigration problem’ in the US and to comprehend the narrative plot proposed by Vila – the collateral damage of the clash between globally integrated market and domestic protectionist acts.

Works cited:

Massey, Douglas S., “Understanding America’s Immigration “Crisis””, Proceedings Of The American Philosophical Society, 151 (2007), 309-327

Vila, Pablo, Border Identifications: Narratives Of Religion, Gender, And Class On The U.S. – Mexico Border, 1st edn (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2005)

Vila, Pablo, Crossing Borders, Reinforcing Borders: Social Categories, Metaphors And Narrative Identities On The U.S. – Mexico Frontier, 1st edn (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000)

Some interesting visuals (2014 Umbrella Movement)

Umbrella Movement 1

Artwork during the Movement

Umbrella Movement 7

Peaceful protests: appropriating the city space in alternative ways (1) – group of young people singing

Umbrella Movement 2

Peaceful protests: appropriating the city space in alternative ways (2) – playing ping pong

Umbrella Movement 5

Violence mainly invoked only by the police

Umbrella Movement 6

Staged photo by Raymond Kam – reminiscent of Iwo Jima

Umbrella Movement 4

Protesters face off with the police

Umbrella Movement 3

Cardboard standee of PRC President Xi Jinping (umbrella digitally manipulated from blue to yellow)

Photos from:
Lee, E. (2015) ‘Space of disobedience: a visual document of the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong’. Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, 16(3), 367-379.

Some further analysis of Leung Ping Kwan’s ‘Images of Hong Kong’, from a historical perspective

…we are looking for a different angle,
that neither adds nor subtracts,
forever on the margin, forever in transition.
We write with pens of different colours,
but these things, too, easily become superficial.
Is this how history is constructed?
He is a good writer of spy stories with an Oriental flavour.
Entangled with what others have said
Why is it so hard to tell our own stories?

I’d like to go back to the poem ‘Images of Hong Kong’, by Leung Ping Kwan. To my mind, this is a poem whose subject is history; the way history is written, and who gets to tell it.

The line, ‘Entangled with what others have said’ suggests the problematic nature of memory, and the fact that there is not one hand in the writing of the history of a place, but many. It also identifies a problem, which follows neatly after the Oriental comment, which is that even if a place’s history is written by foreigners, their version is, to some extent, absorbed by the population that it describes, until it is difficult to extract exterior observation from interior thought. Edward Said makes a similar point about Orientalism as a process in which the Orient accepts the image that the Occident creates of it, and to some extent begins to reproduce that image.

History writing – and particularly colonial history writing – is a process of response, reaction, and reframing – not so different to the identity-negotiation process of the Hong Kongers themselves, which in many ways is a response to and rejection of the colonised position. Indeed, both histories and identities have a complex relationship with place, events, narrative and belief, and we might even go so far as to say that we create identity from the history to which we have access (or that we are able, in turn, to create) – whilst at other times particular identities, just as histories written by foreigners, are imposed upon people. This is relevant in the case of the people of HK, who officially passed from one relational identity in 1997 (connected to the British, under colonisation) to another (connected to the Chinese, becoming a Special Administrative Region).

This poem actually calls to be unpacked in order, since the layers of meaning build upon one another and its lines interact subtly. The first line in this extract is repeated multiple times within the larger context of the poem (though it is first phrased in the first person singular, and later in the first person plural) and represents the most important message therein: a quest to tell one’s own story, and from a fresh and somehow whole, truthful perspective – an angle ‘that neither adds nor subtracts’. This is an impossible feat – the ‘pens of different colours’ are needed, because a history must necessarily be polyphonic: it must tell multiple stories from multiple angles.

Note the sandwiching of the line “He is a good writer of spy stories with an Oriental flavour” between the question concerning history’s construction and the line denoting the problematic nature of memory and competing histories. This positioning proposes a certain identity for the ‘good writer’ – not just a novelist but a historian – and by describing his work as fiction full of intrigue and Orientalist allure, Leung underscores the subjective nature of History, and how damaging and biased it may in fact be. When I read this line Frank Welsh, a historian of British colonial history, sprang to mind. In one section of his history of Hong Kong (published a few years before the handover, and revised after the fact) he literally writes the colonial past (as well as economic imperialism) out of the city’s architecture, as if to whitewash the actions of the British and to absolve them of any responsibility for events post-1997. Welsh provides one ‘Image(s) of Hong Kong’ therefore with which to compete.

Cross-border cities: Hong Kong and Macau

Came across this article while researching:
Hong Kong, Macau struggle with their identity as cross-border cities

Though this article mostly focuses on Macau’s urban planning, the research into the attributes of cross-border cities – and the implications these have on their identities – can be applied to Hong Kong as well due to them being ex-colonies and current Special Administrative Regions (SARs).

  • Physical, cultural and economic landscapes of cross-border cities in relation to their identities and “authenticity”
  • How do the ways in which border cities interact, cooperate and compete (e.g. Macau-Zhuhai; Hong Kong-Shenzhen) impact their identities?
    • Because of their geographical proximity, but political/economic boundaries, the Macanese and Hong Kongers foster a stronger sense of identity – “…this flow of goods and people brings the tension of identity. So when the Macanese are placed next to Zhuhai, they are very proud of being Macanese”
  • Predictions for the future?: “immigration control points will not exist in 20 or 30 years. So eventually, the Hong Kong-Shenzhen border will no longer exist”

This links to my research into the HK-China border post-Handover: even though Hong Kong remains under PRC sovereignty under the Basic Law/’one country, two systems’ principle, it retains a high degree of autonomy. According to Smart and Smart (2008) the border is controlled more like those between nation-states rather than internal boundaries within nations/states (see the Lo Wu checkpoint between HK and Shenzhen). It is referred to officially in HK as a ‘boundary’, which Breitung (2002) sees as a political move that recognises that the ‘border regime’ (openness of the border) has shifted from an international/external to internal issue. The two sides of the border clearly differ politically, economically and socially, but Hong Kong seems to be able to only separate itself through a notional, semantic change. Breitung (2002) also suggests that borders are a ‘sociopsychological construct’ – in creating and identifying different cultural and personal identities, Hong Kongers (and the Macanese) can form some semblance of identity by distinguishing between themselves and the ‘other’. The last part also raises questions that we as a group have also been looking at, namely, what happens in 2047?


My final bibliography

Breitung, Werner. “Transformation of a boundary regime: the Hong Kong and Mainland China case”. Environment and Planning A 34 (2002): 1749-1762.

Castells, Manuel. The Informational City: Information Technology, Economic Restructuring and the Urban-Regional Process (Oxford: Blackwell), 1989.

Edwards, Jette G. Hansen. “The politics of language and identity: attitudes towards Hong Kong English pre and post the Umbrella Movement”. Asian Englishes 18.2 (2016): 157-164.

Ku, Agnes S. “Immigration Policies, Discourses, and the Politics of Local Belonging in Hong Kong (1950-1980)”. Modern China 30.3 (2004): 326-360.

Lam, Wai-Man. “Depoliticization, Citizenship, and the Politics of Community in Hong Kong”. Citizenship Studies 9.3 (2005): 309-322.

Lee, Eunsoo. “Space of disobedience: a visual document of the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong”. Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 16.3 (2015): 367-379.

Leung, Ping-Kwan, ‘形象香港 Images of Hong Kong’ trans. Michelle Yeh (1990),

Lim, Tai Wei. “The Aesthetics of Hong Kong’s ‘Umbrella Revolution’ in the First Ten Days: A Historical Anatomy of the First Phase (27 Sep 2014 to 6 Oct 2014) of Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution”. East Asia 32 (2015): 83-98.

Ortmann, Stephan. “The Umbrella Movement and Hong Kong’s Protracted Democratization Process”. Asian Affairs 46.1 (2015): 32-50.

Quartz, “Here’s why the name of Hong Kong’s ‘Umbrella Movement’ is so subversive” (22nd October 2014),

Rühlig, Tim. “Hong Kong’s umbrella movement in search of self-determination”. Swedish Institute of International Affairs UI paper 3 (2015): 1-27.

Smart, Alan and Smart, Josephine. “Time-space Punctuation: Hong Kong’s Border Regime and Limits on Mobility”. Pacific Affairs 81(2) (2008): 175-193.

Taylor, Peter J. “Territorial absolutism and its evasions”. Geography Research Forum 16 (1996): 1-12.

The New York TImes, “Keeping Hong Kong Protest Art Alive Means Not Mothballing It” (18th May 2016),

TIME, “A Year After the Umbrella Revolution, Calls for More Autonomy, Even Independence, Grow in Hong Kong” (28th September 2015),

Remaining tasks:

Tomorrow’s meeting
1) dress rehearsal! Run through presentation, timed, twice (feedback after first run through and a second run through with this in mind)
2) brainstorm the questions listed below together
3) nail transitions
4) reflect further on interdisciplinarity*

After the meeting
4) homogenise presentation aesthetic
5) handouts with the poem to be typed/printed

Questions to consider after the drop-in on Friday:
– Why Hong Kong?
– Why did the project require all our disciplines?
– What do we understand interdisciplinary to mean?*
– What challenges did we encounter whilst undertaking the project and how have our expectations changed?
– How did our research develop?
– How did we work together as a team?*

*One of the important points to emphasise is that interdisciplinary is different to multidisciplinary – it implies work done between disciplines that is able to reach more creative and illuminating consequences by way of collaboration, rather than working separately in our disciplines and then sticking it all together.

Trump: The Media Spectacle and the Paranoid Spokesman

For my research this week, I looked at particular papers on the Paranoid Style in contemporary American politics and research on Trump’s media content, presence, and attention. I reflected on my research thusfar as well as the others’ research in connection to my own, and Trump as a ‘trigger’ for the historical socio-political research they have done. I also went through Trump’s Twitter feed for mentions of Mexican immigration and the border, though it seems that pre-2015 tweets are inaccessible through Twitter itself.

Encoding the Paranoid Style in American Politics: ‘Anti-Establishment’ Discourse and Power in Contemporary Spin’- Michael Serazio, Critical Studies in Media Communication 33:2

  • “anti-establishment”= ‘signifies act of co-optation: It appropriates an outsider image on behalf of insiders and inveighs against power concentrated in the Capitol while eliding any response to power that might be concentrated in capital.’
  • ‘revealing anxieties emerge about authority and governance at a time of institutional failure, democratic malaise, and increasing inequality.’
  • à through this, we can discover how “anti-establishment” appeal tries to position candidates against an ambiguous yet menacing power structure, encoding “rhetoric suggesting their independence from the political status quo…[which] may no accurately reflect a politician’s actual association with the political establishment” (Barr 2009, p. 33)
  • à “guerrilla-style” power- ‘rhetorically seeking to blend in with grassroots authenticity, while actually often working on behalf of elite institutional and economic interests (Seazio, 2013)’
  • channelling economic angst: they offered a means of stoking resentment without explicitly talking about the advantages afforded to the economic upper class—a mediated performance of cultural politics meant to channel that feeling of disenfranchisement.
  • Economic conditions are not the exclusive motivating factor behind anti-establishment appeals
  • Anxiety about increasingly non-white populations can be observed in Europe’s ethno-nationalist parties and signified in the United States by the first biracial president as well as Trump’s persistent immigration fear-mongering
  • — “nostalgia for an imagined time—the 1950s, maybe,”
  • typically evoked without acknowledging the post-war welfare state conditions that afforded shared middle-class prosperity (e.g. progressive taxation, robust union membership, etc.)
  • Right-wing anti-establishment discourse: framing the approach as an attack against “establishment” interests helps to mobilize the non-elite against their own financial interests (Frank, 2005).
  • ” In her reporting on the Tea Party, Zernike (2010a) ‘Critical Studies in Media Communication’ 191 identifies not just government as the brunt of that mistrust but “all of the establishments Americans once trusted unquestionably: doctors, banks, schools, the media” (p. 6).
  • Political communication of this sort attempts to convince citizens to think about power not in terms of taxes, wages, and wealth, but rather experience, lifestyle, and opacity of political process. That is a baleful conceptual substitution, because it suggests populist performance matters more than actual populist policies.


‘Donald Trump and the ‘Oxygen of Publicity’: Branding, Social Media, and Mass Media in the 2016 Presidential Primary Elections’- Sarah Oates and Wendy W Moe, 2016

  • Idea of ‘oxygen of publicity’= by Thatcher, used it to describe how terrorists could use the media to gain legitimacy
  • June 28: Trump suggested on CNN’s State of the Union show that Mexico should be forced to ‘build a wall’ along the US-Mexican border to keep out illegal immigrants
  • Became focal point for public discussion on anti-immigrant forces
  • Of all the tweets relating to issues (economy, healthcare, immigration, and Iran), Trump unsurprisingly had the largest volume of tweets relating to immigration. However, these tweets were never a major proportion of his tweets in general (peaking at 13 tweets on immigration out of a total of 59 tweets—or 22%– on July 3rd) and the number of immigration themed tweets faded over time
  • an overview of the tweets that related to the candidates does not show a high level of political engagement at work, particularly for Trump
  • people on Twitter (according to data suggestion) are ‘merely echoing and re-distributing snippets of news or opinion around campaign events’ vs having ‘grass-root networks of discussion that arise from social media’
  • à immigration in particular triggered a large volume of tweets related to Trump
  • Thus, the social media comments served to augment and extend the traditional media coverage of Trump’s views on immigration, views that were at odds with mainstream US media narratives about immigration’
  • engagement tended to follow candidate behaviour, strongly suggesting that social media would generally augment, rather than contest, candidate narratives
  • for example, if his extremist statements were going to spark an interest in response by other candidates, we would expect to see a surge in tweets about immigration that mentioned Clinton (such as her response or different approach to the issue) but we did not find this in the data. We can surmise that Trump enjoyed strong ownership of the immigration discourse as a sub-element of his political brand.


  • Both Trump and immigration dominated in the coverage coded in the three national newspapers from July 1 through Sep 24, 2015
  • coding found that 208 of the 475 articles (43.8%) in our sample were focused on Trump, while only 90 (18.9%) were focused on Clinton
  • Immigration was mentioned in 264 out of 475 stories or almost 56% of the stories analysed.
  • It would seem that a mention of Trump almost always elicited a mention of his views on immigration.
  • – Trump’s stand on immigration bleeds into random stories about him (e.g. golf tournaments being cancelled, network dropping beauty pageant) and his controversy
  • Thus, Trump’s comments on immigration not only dominated the traditional coverage of a Presidential primary in the three newspapers; it is also made its way into other sectors of the news.
  • à anti-immigration became a key element of the Trump brand
  • In their rush to cover Trump’s extreme rhetoric, the traditional media gave visibility and, arguably, credence to these remarks


‘The Paranoid Style in American Politics’, in The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Other Essays- Hofstadter (2008)

Elements of the paranoid style:
– A way of seeing the world and expressing oneself. (4)
– Overheated, oversuspicious, overaggressive, grandiose, apocalyptic.
– Against whole nation.
– Unselfish, Patriotic, Righteousness and moral indignation
– “The central image is that of a vast and sinister conspiracy, a gigantic and yet subtle machinery of influence set in motion to undermine and destroy a way of life.”( 29)
– “The distinguishing thing about the paranoid style is not that its exponents see conspiracies or plots here and there in history, but that they regard a “vast” or “gigantic” conspiracy as the motive force in historical events. History is a conspiracy…” (29)
– “He constantly lives at a turning point” (30)
– Exponent is “militant” … “He does not see social conflict as something to be mediated and compromised, in the manner of a working politician.” Not interested in compromise because it is a fight between good and evil. (31)
– Enemy all powerful (31): “cruel, sensual, luxury-loving” (32).
– History seen as the “consequences of someone’s will” (32).
– Imitation of the enemy (in terms of apparatus of scholarship). (32)
– Recurring trope = figure of renegade who leaves the group to expose it. (34)
– Use of facts to argue point. (35)
– Begins with kernel of truth. (36)
– Hyper-coherent. (36)
– Not wholly rational but rationalistic. (36)
– “the curious leap of imagination that is always made at some critical point in the recital of events.” (37)
– An international phenomenon.

More Notable Quotes and/or Tweets:
MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ July 24 2015:

  • T: “I don’t think the 11 million — which is a number you have been hearing for many many years, I’ve been hearing that number for five years — I don’t think that is an accurate number anymore, I am now hearing it’s 30 million, it could be 34 million, which is a much bigger problem.”
  • Joe Scarborough: “Who are you hearing that from?”
  • T: “I am hearing it from other people, and I have seen it written in various newspapers. The truth is the government has no idea how many illegals are here.”

CNN’s Larry King Live, April 28, 2010

  • KING: So you’re in favor of profiling?
  • TRUMP: I’m in favor of — if people are coming in illegally, I am favoring you have to have laws. Nobody knows what the law is. People are streaming across the border. Sometimes, it’s drug dealers. What’s happening there, the drug dealers are coming in and that’s a big deal. They’re coming in and they’re killing.

@realDonaldTrump, Jan 27: ‘Mexico has taken advantage of the U.S. for long enough. Massive trade deficits & little help on the very weak border must change, NOW!’

@realDonaldTrump, Jan 20: ‘We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth- and we will bring back our dreams!’

@realDonald Trump, 30 Aug 2016: ‘From day one I said that I was going to build a great wall on the SOUTHERN BORDER, and much more. Stop illegal immigration. Watch Wednesday!’

@realDonaldTrump, 27 Aug 2016: ‘Heroin overdoses are taking over our children and others in the MIDWEST. Coming in from our southern border. We need strong border & WALL!’


  • While much of Trump’s discourse fits in with the anti-establishment paranoid style as described by Serazio, it seems he is largely exempted by his most loyal supporters from his display of wealth and luxury. This could likely be due to his previous celebrity status and image of American ‘success’
  • It would be interesting to compare Ada’s Mexican immigration statistics with Trump’s statements and claims
  • I am also going to briefly contrast Trump’s statements on the border and Mexican immigration with some past Presidents including Obama and George W Bush
  • I am also going to look into some fact-checking in terms of drug passage via the border, and terrorists coming in (there has been some reports of terrorist organisation-affiliated people entering or attempting to enter via the southern border but whether this is actually a cause for alarm seems to be dubious)
  • It would maybe also be worth mentioning the wider global situations that would affect support and the rise of this ‘peak’ of populist, anti-immigration sentiments i.e. the refugee crisis and increase of terrorist or terrorist-inspired attacks in the West
  • — BUT, it should definitely be pointed out that, while this general sentiment is most likely a factor, it is not directly related to the main concerns around the US-Mexico border


Presentation – New Ideas, Findings and Readings

As reported on our Facebook group already, I wanted to give a bit of context about the poem that I have selected for my analysis, written by Leung Ping-Kwan (one of the greatest HK writers also known as Yesi) before the handover in 1990. It mentions significant places in HK as if cultural identity to him also means identification with the urban and therefore physical borders. The poem also shows how HK identity has always been a hybrid that has both struggled and benefited from this partition (J.N. Erni “triangular articulation of Chinese nationalism, British colonialism and globalism”). Not gonna go into a detailed close reading here but the poem starts with “I am looking for a different angle to approach the issue of point of view.” which could relate to how culture is also a matter of subjectivity other than a universal experience. Then “endless images too much titillation from trends distracts you, too many trivial matters, different occasions, constantly changing identities.” and “We keep changing our position, we are looking for a different angle that neither adds nor subtracts, forever on the margin, forever in transition. We write with pens of different colours, but these things, too, easily become superficial. Is this how history is constructed?” It ends with: “Why is it so hard to tell our own stories? They plan to redecorate this room, We look up, searching –”, which could be a clear hint to the Handover- metaphor “redecorate this room” – as someone else is taking over and leading to alienation of communication and identity. I’m going to connect this to some Stuart Hall’s “Cultural Identity and Diaspora”. I am thinking that a way to pick up on this could be to highlight the transition before/after Handover and what has and hasn’t changed with the “re-nationalisation process” and from there everyone else could pick up and give a broader insight on the historical, political, cultural and so on.

  • John Nguyet Erni’s keywords for Handover à transition, decolonization, reinstatement, restoration, reversion, retrocession, reunification, “returnification”
  • I’ve found this article from the South China Morning Post on “Everything you need to know about Hong Kong’s return to Chinese sovereignty. Check it out!
  • Pictures of the Golden Bauhinia Square in Hong Kong, crucial to the HandoverHongkong-Golden-Bauhinia-SquareGoldenBauhiniaSquare




  • Hall, Stuart, “Cultural Identity And Diaspora”, in Identity: Community, Culture, Difference, 1st edn (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 2016)
    • Identity is not as transparent or unproblematic as we think – another way to think about it is identity as “production, which is never complete, always in process, and always constituted within, not outside, representation”. Identity and its representation are so closely bonded that it is hard to tell them apart at times and it is perhaps arguable as in Hall that they lie within each other.
    • Cultural identity can be seen as “one, shared culture, a sort of collective one true self, hiding inside the many other, more superficial or artificially imposed selves, which people with a shared history and ancestry hold in common.” This is the creation of oneness that gathers individuality into a universal and transcendental spirit shared by one same group of individuals.
    • On the other hand, Hall claims that cultural identity is not a fixed essence, lying unchanged far from history and culture. “Cultural identities are the points of identification, the unstable points of identification or suture, which are made, within the discourses of history and culture”. Cultural identity is in constant transformation and does not belong to any fixed time, as it belongs both to the past and the future. (Could link this to Chai’s analysis of the interaction between past and future, which in turn produce a liminal present).
    • “Identities are the names we give to different ways we are positioned by and position ourselves within, the narratives of the past”. Therefore in the case of Hong Kong, identity is shaped by the way in which Hong Kongers perceive themselves in terms of their “bipolar” historical, political, social background. “Such a conception of cultural identity played a critical role in all the post-colonial struggles which have so profoundly reshaped our world” What will happen once the SAR status of Hong Kong will expire in 2047 (as Chai also mentioned) in terms of cultural identity?