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Title: Sellings the ancestors' land: A Hong Kong lineage adapts
Authors: Ching Chan, S. 
Issue Date: 2001
Citation: Ching Chan, S. (2001). Sellings the ancestors' land: A Hong Kong lineage adapts. Modern China 27 (2) : 262-284. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Studies have shown how and why lineages worked to build, exploit, and defend their holdings. Here, though, I look at what happens when a lineage's land holdings dramatically shrink. This analysis draws on fourteen months of field work with the Peng (Cantonese: Pang) lineage in Fenling wei (Fanling wai, Fenling village) of the New Territories in 1991 and 1993. Twice yearly return visits were made to the lineage in 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, and 1999. The Peng lineage, one of the five biggest lineages in Hong Kong, is based in the northern part of the New Territories. There are three principal hamlets (northern, central, and southern) in Fenling village with a combined population of around 3,000 people. Half of the residents are members of the Peng lineage, while the rest are tenants who have recently moved into the village. I employed the participant-observation approach during my fieldwork and talked to a wide range of people of differing classes, backgrounds, and gender. I have also examined archival records of Peng land ownership.3 Urbanization has led to the disappearance of the previously dominant feature of the lineage-corporate landholdings. In this article, I analyze how land sales and emigration have greatly raised villagers' standard of living. I argue that the sale of lineage landholdings not only has transformed the dominant feature of the lineage, but also has intensified its globalization. Through globalization, hybridized and diversified cultures can now be observed in the village. Many new houses were built in "Spanish style," with reddish-brown tiles on the roof and painted white walls and with ancestral tablets in the middle of the sitting room and dining hall. Air conditioners have been installed in the village houses and Filipino maids employed. Cars, including some with luxury nameplates, are now widely used by the villagers. Leisurely activities are popular, with the "chic" game of golf becoming a common hobby among villagers. A group of about twenty villagers play golf regularly at the nearby Fenling Golf Club.
Source Title: Modern China
ISSN: 00977004
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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