On June 31st, 1997, Hong Kong gained independence from Great Britain. Only for a day. When Britain and China agreed to the Sino-British Joint Declaration, the “one country, two systems” policy emerged, enabling an exceptional degree of autonomy for Hong Kong for fifty years after 1997. While only two decades have gone by, the Chinese government has slowly begun implementing its authority over Hong Kong—a series of controversial events erupted when a pro-Beijing candidate was elected as Hong Kong’s Chief Executive in 2017. Today, Beijing has plans to change Hong Kong’s education system from Cantonese to Mandarin, and with Cantonese being the international hub’s national language, this erasure is highly predicted to alter the entire foundation of Hong Kong’s rich and historically traditional culture.
baahn gwái baahn máah (扮鬼扮馬) aims to preserve, educate and show love to the Cantonese language in a book format. I present a series of articles and interviews regarding the political actions by Beijing and the repercussions that may lead. A collection of Cantonese idioms are also showcased to represent the authentic and dynamic voice of the populace. The objective of this exploration is to contrast the humbleness of colloquialisms with larger political forces. In addition, there is a section on the exploration of Cantonese identity through Cantonese Opera in which the text highlights the opera’s cultural importance and repression on the language. Through introducing this ongoing turmoil, the book aspires to bridge the gap from East to West.