I began this paper attempting to explore—and if at all possible, decide—upon whether or not Hong Kong can be considered a post-colonial nation. To do so, I first detailed the various definitions of the term post-colonial, bifurcating its temporal and its socio-political characteristics. Next, I talked about the evolution of Hong Kong cinema and how its gradual changes in themes and consciousness would shape my tracing of the kaleidoscopic post-colonial hybridity of Hong Kong, and why Hong Kong cinema is my preferred means through which I attempt to define Hong Kong. Finally, I talked in depth about a number of Hong Kong films—from King Hu’s Come Drink With Me to Johnnie To’s Life Without Principle—and how they reflected the national awareness of the schizophrenic nature of Hong Kong’s post-colonial identity.
How, then, can we combine everything into a single vision? The answer is that, much like the Hong Kong postcolonial identity, we cannot. We can only pinpoint the different fragrances and flavors of Hong Kong’s schizophrenic consciousness, using the visual (cinema) as our guiding force. However, not being able to coherently and cohesively determine the essence of what makes modern day Hong Kong—why, what makes the Hong Kong that has always existed—does not by any means mean that we as scholars should not continue looking into what this lush landscape has to offer. There are many more movies produced by the tiny island (remember! Second largest exporter of films in the world!) that I have not explored. Indeed, these unexplored films may reveal supporting or even contradictory themes to the ones I discovered; in fact, it is entirely possible that further exploration of this topic may reveal to me that Hong Kong is not at all preoccupied with its post-coloniality (though I do not think that I would ever subscribe to such an idea).
Regardless, Hong Kong’s identity crisis speaks to a larger crisis of identity that has spread all over China, Taiwan, diasporic Chinese communities and foreign-born, ethnic Chinese—what does it mean to be Chinese? What is the term ‘Chineseness’ comprised of? Unfortunately, that, my fellow scholars, is a paper for another time.