LAI Ming Yan 黎明茵

Research Projects


  • Foreign Domestic Workers as Cultural Translators: Gender, Migration to Hong Kong, and Emancipation
  • LAI Ming Yan
    1 January 2008
    Research Grants Council (Earmarked Grants)

    This project explores how transnational migration is/is not emancipatory and empowering for women migrant workers by examining the ways in which Filipina and Indonesian domestic workers in Hong Kong translate their experiences in and of this host country. The study will focus on two aspects of their migration experiences that have been neglected in current literature, namely the opportunities of civic participation and activism afforded by Hong Kong’s liberal political culture and close contact with a culture of material consumption in a modern “shoppers’ paradise.” Through the critical lens of cultural translation, the study will explore the dynamic and transformative process whereby the migrant domestic workers interact with and turn into their own these “foreign” cultural practices, systems of social organization and signification, and how the process is/is not emancipatory and empowering for them. The project will thus not only shed new light on the controversial issue of migrant women’s perceived indulgence in material consumption and enhance our understanding of the complex relationship between gender, migration and emancipation, but also illuminate Hong Kong’s place in the cultural imagination and construction of modernity through migrant travel in the Asian region. (CU07451)


  • Foreign Domestic Workers' Public Articulation and Representation in Hong Kong
  • LAI Ming Yan
    1 December 2004
    CUHK Research Committee Funding (Direct Grants)

    This is a pilot project for a full scale research on the modes of public articulation and representation engaged by foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong. Featuring an unusually rich array of vibrant migrant worker groups and non-governmental organizations representing foreign domestic workers, Hong Kong affords a valuable base and rich resources for exploring this neglected subject. Through archival research, textual and discourse analysis, and in-depth interviews, my project will explore three modes of foreign domestic workers’ efforts at public articulation and representation: (1) political advocacy invoking human and workers’ rights discourse through trade unions and non-governmental organizations; (2) street theatre productions and performances; and (3) transnational publications. Besides providing an interdisciplinary perspective on the presence of foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong, the project will illuminate an important issue in literary and cultural studies, namely the possibility, condition, and limits of subaltern coming to voices in the dominant discursive environment (AL04597)


  • Out of Ma’am’s Kitchen: Public Articulation, Representation and Foreign Domestic Workers in Hong Kong
  • LAI Ming Yan
    1 January 2006
    Research Grants Council (Earmarked Grants)

    This project offers an interdisciplinary humanities perspective on foreign domestic workers. efforts at public articulation and representation in Hong Kong. It engages an important issue in literary and cultural studies, namely the possibility, condition, and limits of subaltern speaking in the dominant discursive environment. Through archival research, textual and discourse analysis, and in-depth interviews, the project explores and compares different modes of public articulation and representation adopted by foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong, including trade union organizing, political advocacy, public cultural performances, and transnational publications. (CU05700



Research Publications


  • "Haven under Erasure?: Hong Kong, Global Asia, and Human Rights.". Journal of Contemporary Asia vol.38 no.2, 2008.05. pp.300-318.
    (CUHK Library Call No: Available Online)



  • "In Your Face: Indonesian Domestic Workers' Activism at the World Trade Organization Ministerial in Hong Kong". Women’s Studies Quarterly vol.35 no.3 & 4, 2007. pp.123-127.
    (CUHK Library Call No: Available Online)


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