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"Together Again": Theater in Postcolonial Hong Kong


As the midnight handover approached on 30 June 1997, the fashionable Central district on Hong Kong Island was abuzz with merriment and apprehension. A traditional meeting place for the young and trendy, the bars and bistros of Lan Kwai Fong heard talk of nothing else but the imminent return of Hong Kong to Chinese rule. In more demure quarters of the territory, restaurants and hotels catered for those who wanted company rather than cacophony at this most momentous point of Hong Kong’s twentieth-century history. Some offered Western buffets until midnight and Eastern cuisine thereafter. Union Jacks and Chinese flags mingled, but everyone knew that the mainland Chinese and British legations, mutually embittered, were holding separate transfer ceremonies at separate locations. The last colonial Governer, Chris Patten, bade a tearful farewell to Government House, his home of five years, and with his family boarded the royal yacht Britannia, moored in Victoria Harbour. At the stroke of midnight more than a century of British rule came to an end, and Hong Kong stood united with China once again. Soon, the television directors were focusing on truckloads of Chines troops crossing the boarder into what was now the Special Administrative Region (SAR) of Hong Kong. The soldiers stood bolt upright to attention in the back of their vehicles. The rain poured down on them, but their faces remained expressionless, unflinching.

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.