家庭生活
Family Life

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    在內地親戚家中生活的記錄

    A documentation of my life in Mainland China’s relatives’ home

     

    FamilyLife_cover

    晚飯 | Dinner

    FamilyLife_one

    嬉戲 |Play

    FamilyLife_two

    再見 | Good bye

    Print

    堂侄女畫的肖像 | Portraits by nieces

     

    背景

    家父為東莞黃江客家人,七十年代來港定居。有如不少香港人一樣,東莞黃江是我們家在大陸的「鄉下」,是我們的「籍貫」;親戚都在那裏,是每年新年拜山都要到,但除此之外接觸甚少的地方。我的親戚與我同姓葉,但除此之外大相徑庭:他們居於鄉村,說我不太懂的客家話,在社會文化全然不同的內地生活。

     

    生活

    為着練習客家話,了解黃江長龍老圍村這個「鄉下」,以及幾乎是生人,但又無可取代的親戚,我居於數年未見的親戚家中,展開為期一月的「家庭生活」。這是我對家鄉、家庭歷史和自身身份的探索。

    在這一個月中,我成為這個相當陌生的家庭中的一份子,每日共同起居飲食作息。除了逼着要用半桶水都冇的客家話,親身感受在內地生活的種種,我更體驗到和香港全然不同的「家庭生活」 — 三代同堂,共處於一棟屋中,關係緊密,尊卑分明;而三代又因成長背景差別甚巨,客、粵、普程度、喜好各異,一家人三種語言齊出常見。此語言的混雜、斷層,卻是不少東莞客家,以至中國家庭的寫照。

    經過這次同處一室,我算是跟「鄉下」這個地方重新聯繫了。

     

    記錄/作品

    我以錄像、錄音為主、照片、文字為副,記錄這一個月的生活,當中不少均為一家人聚首的時刻:吃飯、看電視、以及在睡房中和小孩玩耍。這些片段均展現了家庭生活和當中的語言狀況。此外,我又收集堂侄的繪畫和予我的小禮物。

    我邀請每位家庭成員,以最少一種語言讀出一段自選話語,引伸至客、粵、普三種語言的關係,以至三代的關係。

    我希望將記錄化為以錄像為主的裝置,將家庭生活間中溫馨、大多沈悶的種種呈現,以至內地生活,以及自己和這個家鄉的既親卻疏的聯繫。

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    Background

    My father is a Hakka (‘Hakka Chinese’ or ‘Hakka Han’) from Huangjiang, Dongguan, China.  He came to Hong Kong in the 70s and has lived here since then.  Like many Hong Kongers, Huangjiang Dongguan is our ‘hometown’, our ‘native place’ in Mainland China.  Our relatives are there.  We are supposed to visit them every Chinese New Year and Ching Ming Festival, but otherwise we do not often get in touch.  My relatives and me share the same surname, but other than that we are maybe polarised: they live in a village, speak Hakka as mother tongue, and have lived in Mainland China where society and culture are largely different.

     

    Life

    To further advance my Hakka, understand my ‘native place’ and my strangers-like relatives, I went back to Dongguan to live with my relatives’ home for a month of ‘family life’.  I consider this an investigation into my hometown, my family history and identity.

    During the stay, I become a member of this unfamiliar family, living in it.  Other than inevitably speaking more (beginner’s) Hakka, experiencing ordinary life in Mainland China, I immersed in a totally different family life from Hong Kong: three generations in the same flat, closely tied and highly hierarchical.  In addition, due to the backgrounds of the three generations are drastically different, every member’s proficiency in and preference for Hakka, Cantonese and Mandarin are all different.  It is common for the family to switch between the three languages in everyday conversation.  This hybridity and disconnection of language becomes a norm for Hakka families in Dongguan and many other families across China.

    I feel like I am reconnected to my ‘native place’.

     

    Documentation / Work

    I use video and sound to document my family life, supplementing with photo and writing.  Many of these happen when the family gathers: meals, watching television, and playing with children in bedroom.  All these capture my family life here and the hybrid language environment. I have also collected drawings and objects (gifts) from my nephews.

    Every family member was invited to read a self-chosen dialogue in at least one language, so as to read the dynamics between the three languages and three generations.

    The materials shall be transposed into a video-based installation, displaying the sometimes warm, mostly mundane family life.  The work would review life in Mainland China and explore my delicate relation with my ‘native land’.

     

    FamilyLife_s

    三語練習 | Three-language exercise

     

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