Hong Kong poet-novelist Leung Ping-kwan wrote a series of poems regarding popular culture and fashion under the title of Clothink in 1998. Lewis Carroll’s story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland runs throughout the ten poems in the Clothink collection. For instance, the first poem is entitled “Alice Falling Down.” The sixth poem, entitled “Monster City,” is about Alice’s adventures in the city. The last poem, “The Birth of the New Aesthetics – A Variation on Alice,” is undoubtedly another poem about Alice. In an email to Wolfgang Kubin, Leung remarked that he wanted to depict some popular famous characters in Clothink, and Alice was one of them. While there are other characters delineated in the poetry series, to a certain extent they are no different from Alice. Her falling down the rabbit hole and arriving in a foreign place immediately challenges Alice, as well as our own understanding of everydayness—not to mention the extraordinariness of Wonderland itself. The poet considered Clothink as both a humorous experiment and as a way to express his disappointment with Hong Kong. Leung uses Alice as both the prototype for variations in his poetic series and as a way to help forge a relatively stable identity for [himself?]. In short, this series of poems evokes the theme of identity formation, which becomes increasingly prevalent in the context of modernity. Questions regarding the identity of those living in Hong Kong and their seemingly controversial tenets of fashion are articulated in this series of poems. The major issues discussed in this paper are those problems of identity and decolonization which are tightly interwoven into Clothink.
|Publication status||Published - Jun 2017|