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KEYNOTE ADDRESSES (2)

 Asian Theology in a Changing Asia:
 Towards an Asian Theological Agenda for the 21st Century

by Dr. Wong Wai Ching

 

Today, I want to approach this very important topic of an Asian Theological agenda by introducing to Asian Theology a new conversation partner: postcolonial theory. Due to the many common issues which the two bodies of literature share, I believe, a conversation between Asian Theology and postcolonial theory will shed light on where we would position Asian theology as regard to where we are now and to where we might want to go.

In the following, I shall first underline what I mean by postcolonial theory and in what ways I find the convergence of the two bodies.

I. ASIAN THEOLOGY AS A POSTCOLONIAL THEORY

Postcolonial theory has become an important tool of analysis especially for cultural critique in the formerly colonized world. Building on Edward Said’s seminal work in Orientalism[1] postcolonial theorists question the distinction between “pure” and “political” knowledge and work to destabilize the former. For most Third World intellectuals involved the discussion which comes to identify specifically with the term “postcolonial” begins with changes in power structures after the official end of colonialism as well as colonialism’s continuing effects. For them postcolonial theory is an umbrella term that has gradually come to cover different critical approaches which deconstruct European thought in a wide-range of areas including philosophy, history, literary studies, anthropology etc. In this perspective, postcolonial discourse involves literature and criticism not of a simple periodization but rather a methodological revisionism which enables a wholesale critique of Western structures of knowledge and power, particularly those of the post-Enlightenment period.[2] In sum, it does not only bear “witness to those unequal and uneven processes of representation by which the historical experience of the once-colonized Third World comes to be framed in the West,”[3] it also aims to dismantle the “West-as-centre.”[4]

There is a certain ambiguity involved when we pose the discussion of colonialism and postcoloniality in Asia The subject of colonialism has not been raised in Asia as openly as it has been in countries from Africa or the Caribbean and Latin America. For instance there are people who argue that not every country in Asia had experienced colonialism and hence the irrelevance of a postcolonial discourse; others argue that neo-colonialism, much more than postcoloniality, plays a major role in Asia’s sociopolitical and economic scene. Rey Chow, a Hong Kong native now teaching in the States, argues to the contrary. For her, the importance of postcolonial critics lies exactly in the fact that imperialism continues its ideological role in constituting our everyday culture and value as Asians today.[5]

It is in this understanding that contend that Asian Theology, since its inception, has also taken part in the postcolonial discourse. It has contributed to a body of critics by the once colonized peoples who seek to take their place, forcibly or otherwise, as historical subjects. Asian theology, carries with it a critical scrutiny of the colonial relationship, sets out in one way or another to resist colonial perspectives. It, too, aims at a change in power a symbolic overhaul and a reshaping of dominant meanings within and without the Christian world. Borrowing from Elleke Boehmer’s comment on postcolonial theory, Asian theology as a postcolonial discourse is deeply marked by experiences of cultural division under empire. It delineates the complexity of colonized experience and seeks to undercut thematically and formally the discourses which supported colonization -- the myths of power, the race classification, the imagery of subordination,[6] and in the case of Christianity, the one universal system of knowledge of the Divine.

From the beginning Asian theology has shouldered an anti-imperialistic task. It has been marked with a bitterness toward the Western heritage of Christian theology and a strong urge to find its own place and identity in the overall theological discourse. In one of his sarcastic, figurative analogies, C.S. Song compares Christian theologians who try to absorb everything passed on to them from the West to a “big-bellied man” troubled with indigestion.[7] He calls for an Asian way of “doing” Christian theology, in his address to the inauguration of the Program of Theologies and Cultures in Asia in 1987:

(It) is (about)... a theological movement ... to change the ways we (Asian Theologians) have been doing theology for many decades, to reclaim our own Asian-ness of our theological tasks, and to be able to carry on our theological responsibility with our fellow Asians.[8]

Over the years since the Second World War (before this in China and India), numerous theologians all over Asia have made important efforts in living up to this task. The theological movement of indigenization and contextualization came to a full bloom during the harsh years of nationalistic struggle in various Asian countries after the second World War, important pioneers such as M.M. Thomas, D.T. Niles, Aloysius Pieris, C.S. Song, Marianne Katoppo, and many others (including some of our friends here) have contributed to “exorcising” the “omen” of an imperialistic Christianity. For more than fifty years Asian theologians have called for a discontinuity with Western theology and denounced the usefulness of a theology that allied itself with colonial powers and their dominance.
As such, Asian theology shares with postcolonial theory one major site of resistance and contest: the politics between the East and the West. With the help of the critical debate on this issue of non-Western identity in postcolonial theory I shall take a critical look at the very foundation of Asian theology -- this polemics between the East and the West -- and by doing that, examine issues such as identity, power and resistance with respect to Asian theology’s possible future development.

II. THE CONSTRUCTION OF OPPOSING IDENTITIES IN THE POLEMICS BETWEEN EAST AND WEST

Let me first outline Edward Said’s analysis of the power dynamics involved in the polemics of East versus West in his seminal work in postcolonial theory, and its implicated issues in the construction of the identity of the East -- the Orient. Having critically examined “Orientalism” as a field of study in the West, Said explicates one by one colonialism’s hierarchies of subjects and knowledges -- the colonizer and the colonized, the civilized and the primitive the scientific and the superstitious, the developed and the underdeveloped, the West and the East. Among others, two following insights are most helpful for our reflection on Asian theology. They are: first, that the Orient (the East) was an invention of Europe (the West); and second, that “Orientalism” as a system of knowledge and practice has enforced in history an absolute demarcation of the East and the West, which eventually serves the interests of the West.

One of Said’s most important theses on Orientalism is that the Orient was a European invention. It was an invention for the making of “Europe,” i.e. a construction to provide for the latter the contrasting image, idea, personality and experience. In short, it was the “other” to the “European” self. As such Orientalism substantiates a series of characterization for both parties: the Oriental -- the irrational, depraved (fallen), and childlike, “different” to the European -- the rational, virtuous, mature, and “normal.” Building on such logic: the Westerners dominate; the Orientals must be dominated, which meant having their land occupied, their internal affairs rigidly controlled, their blood and treasure put at the disposal of one or another Western power.[9]

For Said, these dichotomies did their best to reduce complex differences and interactions to the binary logic of colonial power. The Orient is hence made up of opposites. On one end, it was overvalued for its pantheism, its spirituality, its stability, its longevity, its primitivity, and so forth; and on the other end, the Orient was as suddenly undervalued as lamentably underhumanized, antidemocratic, backward, barbaric, and so forth. The Orient in the Orientalists eyes is a self-containing and self-reinforcing closed system and has remained fixed in time and place for the West.[10] These generalities, Said argues, have been used historically and actually to press the importance of the distinction between different groups of people usually towards not especially admirable ends. After a series of research and analysis of categories like Oriental and Western, the distinction is polarized -- the Oriental becomes more Oriental, the Westerner more Western. For years now the human encounter between different cultures, traditions, and societies have been channeled into a West or an East compartment based on such hard-and-fast distinctions.[11]

Thus Said contends, the demarcation of Occident and Orient ‘enforces a relationship of power, of domination, of varying degrees of a complex hegemony. Through this hegemony, European culture gained in strength and identity by selling itself off against the Orient as a sort of surrogate and even underground self. It promoted the difference between the familiar (Europe, the West, “us”,) and the strange (the Orient, the East. “them”). Whereas Orientalism is produced as a style of thought based upon an ontological and epistemological distinction between the Orient and the Occident, the Orient is contained and represented by dominating frameworks.[12]

The critical analysis of the polemics of East and West as a power construction of identities is helpful for a self-understanding of Asian theology. As we are all aware of, Asia is a region of great diversities. Asia is in no way one unity if it is not constructed opposed to the West. As early as the nineteen-fifties, K.M. Panikkar, an Indian historian and philosopher of religions maintained that a ‘unifying” of Asia was hitherto unknown until the latter half of the twentieth century. Rather than a result of an internal initiative from among Asian countries to ‘unite” for progress, Asian-ness was created out of a “determination to resist the foreigner who was pressing his attack in all directions, political, social, economic and religious.” In other words, Panikkar argues that Asia was “produced” out of Asians’ reaction to the “unified” aggression of the Europeans.[13] In this sense, Asia as a regional identity is also an “imagined community” constructed to serve a particular political purpose in time.[14] Understood in this way Asian theology also becomes an alternative name for “non-Western” theology.

Similarly, Gyan Prakash, an Indian-American postcolonial critic, finds in nationalists an essentialized nation created out of colonial polarities. While these polarities help to form a unity and constitute a national essence opposed to that of colonizers, they are maintained at the cost of keeping the East/West division intact. Suffice it to say that Asia as an entity is constructed to serve particular purposes in time, but if Asian theology takes this constructed opposing identity as otherwise it would risk joining Orientalism in fixing the Orient in time and place and thus continue to legitimate the dominance of the Western discourse. Further, as Prakash warns us, the cost of producing this unity is the suppression of social, regional and ethnic differences: the unity is forged in the space of difference and conflicts.[15]

Following what Prakash suggests for postcolonial discourse, Asian theology must find ways to shake the whole legacy of colonialism, to shake loose from the domination of categories and ideas it produced -- colonizer and colonized, white, black, and brown: civilized and uncivilized: modern and archaic, cultural identity; tribe and nation. Only in this way can we shake colonialism loose from the stillness of the past and throw open for realignment the conflictural, discrepant, and even violent processes that formed the precipitous basis of colonial power.[16]

My contention of the possible danger of a fixed self-identification of being Asian in our “doing” theology is now in want of a more concrete example. I shall therefore, in the following, highlight such a problem in the way Asian women are positioned in the development of a feminist theology in Asia.

III. WOMEN IN AN ASIAN POSTCOLONIAL THEOLOGY

With reference to the above polemics of East versus West. Asian theology claims its distinctiveness in “doing” theology with Asia’s great religio-cultural traditions and rich cultural resources such as folklores, people’s stories, songs, and festivals, etc. This emphasis on the “Asian-ness” of doing theology in Asia is echoed by what postcolonial discussion calls a “fictional” return (of the colonized) to one’s indigenous history and culture. However, while Asian theologians try to reconcile the “foreign-ness” of Christianity with our awakened national consciousness and strive to define theology of the post-colonial Asia in a profoundly different way we have to a degree fixed Asian women in an anti-imperialistic framework which essentialized women in Asian theological discourse.

According to Chandra Talpade Mohanty the result of a strict demarcation of East (regional/national) and West (colonial) is the production of unity and difference based on the notion of a singular monolithic subject of the “Third World woman” in contrast to First World feminists. In the discursive exchange between feminists of the East and the West, Third World women are represented as a uniform group of victims: they are victims of male violence, victims of the colonial process, victims of their traditional familial system, victims of the economic development process, and finally, victims of their cultural religious code.[17] On a deeper level, such a static conception of Third World women is posited in contrast to a privileged, self-representation of Western women as educated, modern, having control over their own bodies and sexualities, and enjoying the freedom to make their own decisions.[18] The implicit norm or referent is built on a white, Western (read progressive/modern)/non-Western (read backward/traditional) hierarchy that freezes Third World women in time, space, and history.[19] More paradoxical, Julie Stephens, an Indian anthropologist, argues that heroic women in the feminist discourse on Third World women is a reverse of the same coin, the production of a “Third World” subjecthood according to the norm of a white Western and thus progressive and modern woman. Whereas Third World women are often portrayed as through and through victims in their societies the most “qualified” liberated women are often the non-elite rural or working class women who are consistently described as “vigorous,” “toiling,” “labouring,” “struggling” or “fighting.”[20]

Unfortunately, this norm of either an all-round victimized woman of the so-called Third World or a non-elite rural or working heroine fighting and struggling for a national cause that is set more or less in reference to Western modern woman is rather welcome by Asian theologians including some of us, women theologians of Asia.

For instance in a passage where C.S. Song describes the culture of Asia as a culture of suffering within a culture of domination, he invokes a story of the suffering of a daughter-in-law in the traditional Chinese family system. He retells the “Story of the Sharp-tongued Li Ts’ui-lien” of the late thirteenth century China, where Li refused to submit to the unreasonable demands and complaints of her in-laws. Rejected by her in-laws as well as her parents Ts’ui-lien resorted to be a nun in the end. Here Song commends his “liberated” heroine.

Is there not plenty of feminist theology in this Chinese folk drama? We do not have to turn to the West for it. Here in Asia feminist theology has deep roots in the culture of suffering. We must explore that culture in lives narrated in stories, dramas, songs, and poems. We then will discover that feminine theology has been a living theology in Asia for thousands of years.[21]

Among the many early Asian theologians Song is one of the most devoted in his championing of the cause of Asian women. Apart from his major contention against an imperialistic missionary, theology of the West he invokes, throughout his various works, the suffering of women under Asian patriarchal traditions and cultures: the suffering of a poor Vietnamese widow, a newly-wed Indian woman, the poverty-stricken mother who produces no milk for her child, a Korean mother of a political prisoner, the wailing Lady Meng and the socially rejected daughter-in-law Ts’ui-lien above.[22] Moreover, Song also includes, among his theological pieces, reflections on the meanings of birth pangs and the female face of God in the woman’s womb.[23] But all in all, as his retelling of the Ts’ui-lien’s story shows, women in Asia are presented as either victims who suffered severely from inhuman systems of oppression, or heroines who fought courageously to “liberate” themselves and challenged the hierarchical structures of Asian societies. Most important for him, these victimized and then liberated poor women stand for thousands of years of living theology in Asia.

Similar antithetical themes of women’s suffering -- metonymized in the poor woman and women’s courage -- metonymized as the heroine are found everywhere and in almost every feminist piece of theological writings in Asia, and a similar tie between women victim/heroine and the indigenous history and culture of Asia are used throughout.[24] Kumari Jayawardena, a Sri Lankan political scientist, argues that the nationalist impulse in many Asian political movements asserts national identities on the basis of their own past histories as a form of resistance to Western influence When the nationalists went back to their cultural or religious roots and reinterpreted them to foster a national identity which served as the basis for national aspirations, they made women the embodiment of this national identity. It was claimed that the women of the “East” were more’ spiritual: that they were heirs to the wisdom of centuries; that although they might be educated and take part in political struggles they were still the custodians and transmitters of national culture. Ultimately, the net effect of all these tendencies was to keep “‘omen within the boundaries prescribed by the male reformers and leaders. Hence, we have everywhere the nationalistic “new women” who fought and sacrificed for the cause of their countries and yet at the same time asked to uphold the entire religio-cultural code of their traditions.[25]

Like nationalists’ dependency on a “restored” tradition for their recovery of national identities, Kang Nam Soon, one of our Korean hosts here has argued that the emphasis of some Korean theologians’ -- including feminists’ -- on an incorporation of traditional Korean religions and cultures in their theology might serve the interests of the West more than Korean churches themselves. She contends that the recent employment of traditional resources in Korean theology bears a strong tendency of romanticization and idealization which lead to a general negligence of the sexism hidden in these resources. In fact, when they return to some traditional resources, in some cases they play the role of sustaining an existing patriarchal value system.[26] Consequently, despite rigorous efforts in a theological reinterpretation of Korean national “realities” women’s issues have hardly been taken seriously enough. Whereas the most important issue on the ecumenical agenda of Korea remains the unification of the two Koreas, women’s struggles to improve their status in the family or society is pushed aside as if they were some luxuries which only Western society could afford.[27]

The fact that very progressive theologians such as Song and other feminist theologians all adopt the same antithetical representation of women of both/either victims and/or heroines in their writings reflect a concern which underlines all Asian theology, namely, the identity of the Asian opposed to the Western. Like Asian theology in general, theology of and/or about women in Asia locates itself in the postcolonial context against their former colonial powers. Like Asian theology in general, it is placed in the broad framework of a reconstitution of an identity of Asia. That means, Asian feminist theologians, too, identify themselves strongly as Asians, as distinct from Western feminists.

For instance, Virginia Fabella, a Filipina theologian, highlights the importance of Asian women’s two “disparate” but “interacting” contexts: their Asian-ness and their womanness.[28] Well aware of the subordination of women within Asian societies themselves, she begins with a challenge to the insufficiency of an assertion of only Asian-ness for women doing theology in Asia. Rather, she argues that womanness is the more pressing reality to consider. But in explaining this womanness of Asian women Fabella returns to emphasize that

womanness” is not meant a mere conglomerate of biological or psychological factors but an awareness of what it means to be a woman in the Asian context today. ...Suffering, multiple oppression growing awareness and struggle for full humanity’ -- this is all part of being a woman in Asia today.[29]

In other words, with regard to the “disparateness” (Asian-ness) and the “interactiveness” (womanness) of the two contexts in her argument in doing women’s theology in Asia, the latter is overtaken by the former.

There are just too many cases in which the women’s movement has been contained and restricted by the “larger” cause of nationalism or patriotism when the identity of a people was prioritized over the identity of women.[30] In Partha Chatterjiee’s words, the story of nationalist emancipation is necessarily a story of betrayal,

it could confer freedom only by imposing at the same time a whole set of new controls, it could define a cultural identity for the nation only by excluding many from its fold: and it could grant the dignity of citizenship to some only because the others always needed to be represented and could not be allowed to speak for themselves.[31]

In this sense Stuart Hall argues that on the one hand, cultural identity as defined “in terms or one shared culture, a sort of collective “one true self” played an important role in the anti-colonial struggles of this century and continues to be a “very powerful and creative force in emergent forms of representation amongst hitherto marginalized peoples”: it is, on the other hand, not to be “fixed” but instead “subject to the continuous “play” of history, culture and power. From this perspective, identities are not “grounded in a mere recovery” of the past but rather “the names we give to the different ways we are positioned by, and position ourselves within, the narratives of the past.”[32]

IV. FUTURE DIRECTION: A STRATEGY OF HYBRIDITY

If it is accepted that the identity of Asian-ness in Asian theology is itself something to be contested and therefore open to negotiation at different times, in relation to different questions among different communities, what then do we mean by doing theology in an Asian way? On what basis might we continue to confront the colonial cultures and ideology which continue to constitute our daily thought and practices in different countries of Asia? I propose that we might consider a strategy of hybridity as resistance.

Let me first introduce here a figurative description of such a strategy of resistance by means of a fiction written by a Hong Kong woman writer, Xi Xi. In her story of Yuzhou qicui buwei (A Supplement to the Interesting Stories of the Universe). Xi Xi writes about a most humorous hybrid creation of the city called Lese chong, the Garbage Bug. Such a creature is indeed created out of the city’s campaign to “Keep Hong Kong Clean” in the seventies. In the story, this Garbage Bug is recalled as a creature mixed with both the features of a dragon and a dinosaur[33] which carries an identification number of “5354.” This number has the same pronunciation in Cantonese as the colloquial saying of “neither three nor four,” meaning a hybrid. As a dragon, which used to symbolize Chineseness by its great qualities such as honor courage and perseverance, the Garbage Bug was greatly disappointing. “None among my ancestors has been debased to this point”‘ complained the dragon. Yet as a dinosaur, which is used in the story as a metaphor for the aggressive world powers the Garbage Bug gladly humbles itself to in order to forsake the power of aggression. The most interesting turn of the story occurs when this supposed-to-be abominable creature becomes the darling of the city, fascinating both adults and children. This outcome contradicts the original intent of its creation and greatly embarrasses its creator who finally decides to destroy the Garbage Bug. Nevertheless, although the creature has “neither a brain nor a heart,” it is a modern creation of synthetic fiber which cannot be completely disposed: “Synthetic rubber has overflowed the city, it has become a problem,” but “it is also something that will remain there till the end of the earth no matter how hard one tries to destroy it,” Thus even “after many many years when one unearths the materials from underground of the City of Rich Soil (a pseudonym for Hong Kong), one must be astonished to find such an embarrassed page in the history of the dragon.”

This highly imaginary literature of Xi Xi have in fact engaged fully in the materiality of the culture of the city and effectively demonstrates the multiplicity and contradictions embedded in the identity of being Hong Kong. Xi Xi’s clever plot of metonymizing the embarrassingly hybrid yet unique reality of Hong Kong in the urban synthetic Garbage Bug, a hybrid creature of East and West, is, in a way, a resistance to the grand, national narrative of one “Chincseness.” Situated between two dominant powers and cultures -- the colonial British and the communist Chinese, the city as captured by the Garbage Bug is a typical product of a mixture of modern urban culture and traditional Chinese values in the Hong Kong way of life. It consists in its identity of an ambiguity of “both/and” -- as well as “neither/nor” in regard to an “authenticity” of either British or Chinese. Yet the identity of Hong Kong is not about self-pitying nor self-devaluing: nor is it about its political correctness, i.e. anti-imperialism (against Britain) or anti-chauvinism (against China). On the contrary, it is about a people who turn their fate into a new beginning of creation in its given limitations. Over the years, Hong Kong has extended its extraordinary uniqueness and vitality by its creative negotiation and appropriation of the contradictions of East and West, tradition and modern: it has explored and developed its own space of survival by building itself into a city of opportunities. Hence, for the people of Hong Kong, the coloniality of Hong Kong is not only about the historical violence committed by the powerful of the world against the powerless: it is also a basic material condition -- for many the only condition of value -- in which to live, think, and seek changes regardless of a grand national identity.[34]

According to Homi Bhabha, an Indian-American postcolonial critic, “hybridity” is originally a term designated by the colonists to describe the culture of the colonized which mimics the colonial. But the presence of a discriminatory hybrid in effect renders the recognition of the colonial authority problematic. For in such presence is an ambivalent “turn” of the discriminated subject into the terrifying object of paranoid classification, allowing other “denied” knowledges to enter upon the dominant discourse and estrange the basis of its authority -- its rules of recognition. Through the repetition of discriminatory identity, hybridity reevaluates and subverts the assumption of colonial identity. It intervenes in the exercise of authority not merely to indicate the “impossibility” of its identity but to represent the unpredictability of its presence, it is in this sense that hybridity is a strategic reversal of the process of domination through disavowal.[35]

In sum, I am suggesting a new site of politics for “doing” theology in Asia. Rather than a strict demarcation of Asian and Western sources of doing theology in Asia, or a heavy investment in defining and hence confining one “collective” Asian identity as the victim-hero/heroine opposed to the West, we might build on the rich and creative resources as produced in the reality of “hybridization” among Asian societies. These resources might include indigenous cultural resources as well as religious syncretism as long as it is not positioned as something Asian in opposition to the West. The difference between the previous use of indigenous resources and the present acknowledgment of our hybridity as resistance in our “doing” theology is that we do not expect a “pure” indigenous tradition to which one might return; and that we resist being fixed in a certain “Asian-ness” that serves as an “other” to the West. Rather, we might exercise our greatest freedom to explore all possible resources available in our present communities in thinking and practicing our understanding of the Divine, whether they are national regional or global. For we must somehow reconcile the fact that Asian-ness is something which lives in us as much as something in which we are living daily; it is a fictional reconstruction of our identity as much as a collective transformatory vision in which we all participate to build.

_______________________

Notes:

  1. Cf. Edward Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage Books. 1978).

  2. Padmini Mongia, “Introduction,” in idem., ed., Contemporary Postcolonial Theory: A Reader (London: Arnold, 1996), 2.

  3. Homi K. Bhabha, “‘Caliban Speaks to Prospero’: Cultural Identity and the Crisis of Representation,” in Phil Mariani, ed., Critical Fiction (Seattle: Bay Press, 1991), 63.

  4. Cf. Cornel West, “The New Cultural Politics of Difference,” in Russell Ferguson et. al., eds., Out There: Marginalization and Contemporary Cultures (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1990), 19-36.

  5. Rey Chow, Writing Diaspora: Tactics of Intervention in Contemporary Cultural Studies (Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1993), 7-8.

  6. Elleke Boehmer, Colonial & Postcolonial Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995),2-3.

  7. C.S. Song, Theology from the Womb of Asia (New York: Orbis Books, 1989), 3.

  8. Idem., “Freedom of Christian Theology for Asian Cultures -- Celebrating the Inauguration of the Programme for Theology and Cultures in Asia,” in Asia Journal of Theology 3:1 (1989): 87.

  9. Said, 1-3.

  10. Ibid., 109, 150.

  11. Ibid., 45-46.

  12. Ibid., 36-40.

  13. K.M. Panikkar, Asia and Western Dominance (London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1959), 237, 322.

  14. Cf. Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso, 1991).

  15. Gyan Prakash, “Introduction, “ idem., ed., After Colonialism: Imperial Histories and Postcolonial Displacements (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995), 9.

  16. Ibid., 5-6.

  17. Chandra Talpade Mohanty, “Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses,” in Mohanty et. al. eds., Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism (Bloomington: Indiana University press, 1991), 57.

  18. Ibid.

  19. Mohanty, “Introduction” Cartographies of Struggle: Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism,” in ibid., 6.

  20. Julie Stephens, “Feminist Fictions: A Critique of the Category ‘Non-Western Woman’ in Feminist Writings in India,” in Ranajit Guha and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, eds., Selected Subaltern Studies (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), 95.

  21. C.S. Song, Theology from the Womb of Asia, (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1986), 74.

  22. Stories of these poor women can be found in Song’s various works including: Third Eye Theology, (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1979), 124-128; Tell Us Our Names: Story Theology from an Asian Perspective, (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1984), 89-90: The Tears of Lady Meng: A Parable of People’s Political Theology, (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1982): and Theology from the Womb of Asia, 112-113, especially 110-119.

  23. Idem., Third Eye Theology, 124-140.

  24. Major collections of feminist theological pieces of Asia are found in the following anthologies: Virginia Fabella and Mercy Amba Oduyoye, eds., With Passion and Compassion: Third World Women Doing Theology, (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1988): Viginia Fabella and Sun Ai Lee Park, eds., We Dare to Dream: Doing Theology as Asian Women, (Hong Kong: Asian Women’s Resource Centre for Culture and Theology, 1989): and Ursula King, ed., Feminist Theology from the Third World: A Reader, (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1994). The most important journals for the collection of Asian women’s theological contribution are Asian Journal of Theology, Voices from the Third World and In God’s Image.

  25. Kumari Jayawardena, Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World (London: Zed Books Ltd., 1986), 257.

  26. Kang Nam Soon, “Creating ‘Dangerous Memory’: Challenges for Asian and Korean Feminist Theology,” The Ecumenical Review, vol. 47, no.1 (1995), 29.

  27. Ibid., 28.

  28. Virginia Fabella, “A Common Methodology for Diverse Christologies?” in Fabella and Mercy Amba Oduyoye, eds., With Passion and Compassion: Third World Women Doing Theology (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1990), 115.

  29. Ibid.

  30. Cf. Jayawardena, op. cit.

  31. Partha Chatterjee, The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), 154-155.

  32. Stuart Hall, “Cultural Identity and Diaspora.” in Mongia, 110-112.

  33. I believe the original creation meant to imitate a dinosaur. However, in the story, Xi Xi cleverly juxtaposes the Garbage Bug with the image of a dragon, which is quite appropriate given the cultural context of Hong Kong.

  34. Chow, “Things, Common/Places, Passages of the Port City: On Hong Kong and Hong Kong Author Leung Ping-kwan (Liang Bingjun). in Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, 5:3 (1993): 194, 197.

  35. Bhabha, “Signs Taken for Wonders: Questions of Ambivalence and Authority under a Tree Outside Delhi, May 1917,” in Critical Inquiry 12 (Autumn 1985), 154-156.

 

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