Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Mixed-Race Couples in Hong Kong

On Wednesday November 30th, at a talk organized by the Hong Kong Anthropological Society, well-known local heritage expert Dan Waters will tackle an interesting cultural phenomenon of long-standing - the cross-cultural relationship - particularly those between Westerners and Chinese. It will be at 7pm in the Lecture Theatre of the Hong Kong Museum of History.

This is a subject near and dear to my heart, being the child of a German mother and a Shanghainese father. I think Mr. Waters may have interviewed the parents of some of my friends, which may make it even more interesting for me. But the broad appeal of the talk is clear in the following succinct description:
One Couple, Two Cultures: 81 Western-Chinese Couples Talk about Love and Marriage

An Anthropological Talk (in English) by Dr. Dan Waters

Wednesday, 30 November 2005 at 7:00 PM

To be held at The Hong Kong Museum of History,

Lecture Theatre, Ground Floor, 100 Chatham Road South, Tsim Sha Tsui

All are welcome

(space is, however, limited to 140 seats)

This talk will focus on the research recounted in Dan Waters’ recently published book. Up until World War II, Western-Chinese intermarriage was not generally accepted in “polite” society, neither by Europeans nor by Chinese. Today, mixed marriages are common, as Dan Waters himself, with half-a-century of experience, can attest. This lecture will explore questions such as these: In mixed-race marriages, what sort of life styles do couples lead? What kinds of compatibility and communications problems take place? What cuisine do such couples prefer, and how do they bring up their Eurasian children? Can such couples overcome cultural obstacles to lead happy lives together, or is such a thing merely an impossible dream?


Dr Dan Waters is past president of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch, and the author of Faces of Hong Kong: An Old HandÂ’s Reflections, and the recently published One Couple, Two Cultures, upon which this talk is based.

Following the lecture, you are invited to a self-paying

dinner with the speaker.

Just as a postscript to this talk's description - when I was growing up, my parents and many other Eurasian couples were members of a society called the Mix-Ups Club, because as the above abstract alludes, such unions were not always freely approved of by parents. The funny thing was, my parents told me that new couples kept turning up, only to leave again shame-faced when they were told in no uncertain terms that it was NOT a wife-swapping organization!


waisikgwai said...

Hi Stefan & Dave,

Wish I were in HK right now to attend this lecture (won't be there until next May). It's a topic with which I have a lot of experience, interest, and opinions.

Anonymous said...


Can't say about others, but my wife and I have enjoyed every single day of our twenty years of married life.

If we could do it all over again (that is if we traveled back in time and were young and single), we wouldn't want to do it any other way!

As far as our (three) kids are concerned, they have the best of both worlds, and are always admired by everyone (locals, expats, etc.).

And as far as objection to our marriage or tough times, well, prior to our marriage I broke the nose of a guy who passed cheap remarks at my wife for selecting a gwailo (me).

Apart from that solitary incident, we have felt no hostility etc.

Anyway, would join such discussions, conferences, etc., if I could. Though cannot, as too busy these days.


Anonymous said...

that sounded really interesting! esp. for me who is mixed too (mummy from hk and daddy from sweden). too bad i live in sweden, otherwise i would have tried to make it to the event.

Take care!