Stateless Me

Representation of fluid Hong Kong identities based on the true story of an outsider
April 2016

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“Stateless Me” is an educational kit about identities on the move, based on a non-refoulement claimant Ying’s actual experience of living on the margins in Hong Kong. The title captures her illegitimate identity—“a status of no status”—and the object pronoun suggests her being so under subjection to legal and policy constraints. Ying’s unique migratory circumstances as an outsider evoke Sara Ahmed’s discussion of home, which can be conceived of as (1) the condition of having and heading towards a home-like destination, (2) a geographical location of origin, or (3) a skin through which the bodily lived experience of locality is embodied. This educational kit encourages the reader to complicate Ying’s home (or the impossibility thereof) likewise.

The objective of this book is to elucidate the complex issues surrounding migration, residence and identity changes in their totality, in the context of Hong Kong. It is narrated by Ying’s voice and focalised through her perspective, such that the reader will reflect on, evaluate and make decisions about contingent situations the same way as events and information unfold to Ying. Guiding questions and learning activities are designed to bring her marginality to vivid immediacy.

MOBILITY CLASS EXERCISE

From the nine key terms below, choose one as your conviction—the issue you are most interested in, intrigued by or concerned about. Write it on a card, and hold it up.

(A) Tourist / Migrant worker / Refugee
(B) Sense of belonging / Estrangement / Nostalgia
(C) Metropolis / Rural village / Stations or transit points

Group A: You are the mobile subject. Walk around the room freely and go to places with someone from group B. You can change B anytime. Discuss with B any connections between your two terms, as many as possible.

Group B: You are the sentiment. Someone from group A must accompany you as you walk. Discuss with A any connections between your two terms, as many as possible.

Group C: You are the memory of place. You do not need to move. Metropolis and Rural village stay at two ends of the room. Stations scatter in the middle. Listen to and remember conversations at ear shot.

After fifteen minutes, gather as a class and discuss what home feels like.

 

REFINE THE EXERCISE (NEW!)

Come up with more key words for mobile subjects, sentiments and places from your discussion.