Memories of Colonial Macau and Hong Kong
ISBN : 978-962-209-208-2
156 pages, 5.5″ x 8.5″
Also available in Hardback HK$175.00
These rich and lucidly composed personal essays on the author’s early life journeys in Portuguese Macau and British Hong Kong offer vivid remembrances of colonial landscapes, architectures, and livelihoods of recent decades. Ng candidly depicts many humorous and painful episodes navigating family politics and her intercultural pilgrimages from adolescent romances to professional life.
“Ng is understandably nostalgic about the sentimental associations of her formative years; she is also wise—the way we tend to be in hindsight—about the uneven economic and intercultural realities that shaped even her fondest memories. Above all, she is a keen observer and an honest analyst of the many types of disconnects that dominate interracial experiences. Her admirable candour and ability to make fun of her former self render her insights into the past an immense pleasure to read. As these former European colonies engage collectively in the processes of constructing their own histories, memoirs of this kind serve a special function. Beyond the monuments and the official records—the statistics, numbers, and events documented in ‘history proper’—it is precisely accounts of this kind, with their attention to seeming trivia, that unveil the texture and nuance of lived experience. By bringing to Hong Kong and Macau the reflexive intelligence of a sophisticated world traveller, who is also ‘at home’ in the disciplines, biases, anxieties, and absurdities of a strict Chinese upbringing, Ng’s book is a gem of a memoir, one that demonstrates what these little postcolonial enclaves have to offer a global understanding of the history between Europe and its others.” —Rey Chow, Brown University
“The accounts of Chinese child-rearing practices and the author’s imagined relationship to Portugal, and of her travels there, are very moving, wonderfully detailed, and very thought-provoking. Maria Ng identifies through anecdote two very different colonizing processes, and evokes their impact on the lived experiences of colonized subjects.” —Mette Hjort, Lingnan University
“Maria Ng’s Pilgrimages is an exquisite riff on the genre of the postcolonial memoir, pulsating with vivid reflections on a childhood and youth in colonial Macau and Hong Kong. She takes the multilayered canvas of a life lived at the intersection of Chinese, Portuguese, and English to new heights of literary accomplishment.” —Nasrin Rahimieh, University of California, Irvine