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Floating Life Director: Clara Law Chinese Diaspora Amber, Claire, Eric, Isabel, Jessi, Sibyl What are the differences? 1) Diaspora(s) (diasporic- adj.) Settled for many generations with them their own history and cultural experience

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floating life director clara law

Floating LifeDirector: Clara Law

Chinese Diaspora

Amber, Claire, Eric,

Isabel, Jessi, Sibyl

what are the differences
What are the differences?
  • 1) Diaspora(s) (diasporic- adj.)
  • Settled for many generations
  • with them their own history and cultural experience
  • new (hybrid) group and individual subjectivities emerge
  • concept of multiple migratory processes and diasporizations.
  • 2) Immigrants: Under some circumstances people could correctly be described as
  • immigrants - if they are in-migrants from one place to another.
  • 3) Emigrants: they have just left a traditional home place to live elsewhere within the same state.
why do they root in other countries
Why do they root in other countries?

1)Never moved but boundary changes:


world politics


collapsing empires

2)Moved out :


private reasons

cultural reasons

sought safe haven

history of chinese diaspora in australia
History of Chinese Diaspora in Australia:
  • 19th century
  • given jobs
  • laborers and domestic servants
  • Latter part of the 1800s
  • gold rush
  • widespread famine and social unrest in China
life of these pioneers in australia
Life of these pioneers in Australia:
  • Extremely challenging
  • Victims of racism
  • Discrimination continued at an official level
  • Long-term decline in the Chinese community in Australia
population of chinese diasporas in australia
Population of Chinese Diasporas in Australia:
  • 2004, just over 11,000 Chinese settlers arrived in Australia
  • 10% of the total Australian population
  • Half a million Australians identify themselves as having Chinese ancestry.
problems faced by the newly arrived
Problems faced by the newly arrived:
  • Career
  • Schooling
  • Accommodation
  • Separation from family
  • Friends/support system
  • Time distribution
  • A language difference
more than a lifetime lease
More than a lifetime lease:
  • Hong Kong, which includes Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories
  • In l898, western imperialist powers scrambling to carve up Chinese territory, Britain again forced the Qing government to sign the "Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory"
  • This 99-year lease would expire on June 30, l997.
crisis after 199 7
Crisis after 1997

* Economic Downfall in August 1997.

Unemployment rate had increased to 6%.

80% of the families in Hong Kong are now much poorer than before the handover.

Conflicts between the public and the governments.

Government officials did not consult public opinion when they made decision on the new policies.

* Quality of the City

There is only stress on economic achievement in the society, and none of the plans touch on the spiritual life and quality of Hong Kong.

High divorce rate, family violence, young drug addicts, gambling.

the white australia policy cause of this legislation
The White Australia Policy: Cause of this legislation
  • “On the gold diggings there were a number of instances of violence against Chinese prospectors - where thousands of Chinese were run off the diggings by non-Chinese. The diggers argued the Chinese used too much precious water and were taking opportunities away from Europeans.”
  • aim : remove immigrants and labourers from austalia ,and prevent more from arriving.
the act was born
The Act was born :
  • Australia's 'White Australia' policy. The Governor-General signed the document two days before Christmas Day 1901
  • The Dictation Test was administered 805 times
  • 1902–03 with 46 people passing and 554 times
  • 1904–09 with only six people successful
  • 1909 no person passed the Dictation Test
  • People who failed were refused entry or deported.
  • The Act, frequently amended, remained in force until 1958.

Effects of Diaspora

Concept of Flexible Citizenship

  • Trying to keep own customs
  • Feng Shui
  • Eating Chinese food
  • Learning Chinese
  • Assimilation
  • Learning English
  • Forgetting Chinese
  • Socializing with Australians

Effects of Diaspora

Customs dwindle

-Food (oily)

-Burning incense

-Tomb sweeping day


-Longing to go back to HK

-Identity issue

Asian Image



-Facing racism

settings colors

Settings & Colors

*opening scene: bright, ppl emerge

H.K: brown, warm, dim light

Oz: white, vague

Germany: blue, winter hue

*final scene: Mui Mui’s house

(小女兒的家): dream world

transition different houses

Transition: different Houses

A house in HK, Oz, Germany, China, 家變, 無樹的屋, 小女兒的家

*echo the title

*background: Chinese painting


symbols of chinese root
Symbols of Chinese Root
  • Tea

--Long-jing tea

--A green house for growing tea trees

tomb sweeping day and the memorial tablet
Tomb sweeping Day and the memorial tablet

--Feeling guilty for not arranging a memorial tablet and visiting the ancestors’ graves

feng shui
Feng shui風水

--Yan’s belief in Feng shui


a lotus pond
A lotus pond
  • --A house in China
  • --A home in Australia
a house with trees a house without tree
A house with trees/ A house without tree

Bing’s house V.S. Pa and Ma’s house

bone picking
bone picking

--The connection between bone collecting and foetus burial

chinese new year songs chinese food
Chinese New Year songs, Chinese food

--Bing’s early years in Australia

life and death existence
Life and Death Existence

“其實我想表達的是,人存在的短暫,以及在無根的社會中如何生存.” --Clara Law

  • Existence:

A. Placement / Displacement

-- Refugee Image : 「走難」but not immigrants

-- Bone-Picking:

a. traditional (Chinese traditional elements in the film)

b. 「連骨也要搬」: eradication from homeland

c. proper placement of the bone:

death but not just death (祖蔭for next generation)

 image of life

B. Spiritual / Physical

-- Physical

a. 射精: material / hedonism

b. 陰莖: sensational organ (pleasure of life)

* However has nothing to do with offspring continuity

 brings a sense of eradication

-- Spiritual

a. 心痛: parents’ aging image (at heart not in brain)

 the two senses are connected through the death of

the baby, a result of 射精 (physical spiritual)

 pleasure comes from penis is “here” (brain) not

“there” (heart)

-- the brother’s interpretation: through the blonde

(spiritual  physical)

C. Life / Death

-- scene shifts from 射精 撿骨

* 射精: the extreme pleasure of life

* 骨: death

* 撿骨: next generation’s luck

(life death life the continue of life)

 next scene: the abortion and dead baby (death)

-- the aging of parents  the blonde

* aging parents: lifeless image (after the burial)

* the blonde: lively / sex

The Floating of Time

-- the three ideas are developed through the counting of “time”

 Time vs.. Pleasure

* Pressure comes from time:

the approaching of 1997

* Pleasure from the penis:

three minutes three seconds

female male immigrants identity
Female / Male Immigrants Identity
  • Female:

a. 冰:

- Fear toward the new land: Evilized outside world

 a sense of isolation

- Role of a frontier/dominator (westernized image)

 needs to go back to Chinese traditio

b. 燕:

- orphan image (no one can answers her question)

 the situation of Hong Kong

* Female: multiple identity

(house but not a home of her family: with their husband’s family

but not like male who will starts up a home of his own)

Different degrees in cultural mergence, but still Chinese origin is the center.

Dislocation Home

Mui Mui’s wish


Conclusion: SinocentrismHK: abandoned home where male linage is impossible to carry on Aus: A house is not homeNew house: with Chinese root (children around/ ancestor/ sons) branching &leafing out“開枝散葉” and union “團圓” The uncertain future: transformed unity