"Review: Indelible City: Dispossession and Defiance in Hong Kong
Lim (Text Publishing)
is more than a book: it is a haunting testimonial to the
intertwined vitality, tragedy and hope of Hong Kong.
Louisa Lim weaves together three powerful narratives to tell this city’s story.
It’s a macro-level history of Hong Kong and its relationship with its two
colonial masters: the United Kingdom and China. A micro-level history of a
not-so-mentally-stable street calligrapher, the King of Kowloon, whose art and
bearing embody the dispossession and defiance that frame the macro-level
history. And Lim shares her own personal narrative of growing up in Hong Kong
and witnessing the transformation of the city in recent decades.
It should really come as no surprise that Hong Kong’s “return to the
motherland” since 1997 has been an unmitigated disaster. Hong Kong is after all
a culturally diverse, socially complex, rule-of-law-conscious, and politically
engaged community: all traits for which China’s post-1989 leaders have had
What should in fact shock us is that this community, as deserving as any of a
say in its own fate, has nevertheless been perpetually denied it. Lim’s history
narrates how this could happen."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics