This essay explores the queer literary modernism of Hong Kong and Singapore since the 1990s to make several interventions. While the two cities have been studied as exemplars of postcolonial state formation in which finance capitalism contributes to the rise of modernity, their queer modernism in the literary and cultural spheres has largely escaped comparative studies. To address this blind spot, I examine two literary texts of gay male urbanism, namely Bryan Yip’s 2003 Hong Kong queer novel, Suddenly Single and Johann S. Lee’s 1992 coming-of-age queer Singaporean novel, Peculiar Chris, as cases of “queer vernacularism.” Specifically, Yip and Lee’s queer vernacular modernism—especially their references to Hong Kong and Singaporean popular culture, urban space, and soundscapes of modernity—altogether exceeds the familiar boundary of queer transnationalism and actualizes other modes of minor transnational desire. This essay concludes with a brief analysis of Yonfan’s 1995 Hong Kong film Bugis Street, which visualizes the bygone past of Singapore’s 1950–1970s sexual utopia and transgender imaginary.
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© The Author(s) 2020.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cultural Studies
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)