Alice Lai Hung Yu

alice lai hung yu


DPhil Student

Kellogg College

Thesis: Unpacking the divination ‘industry’ in Hong Kong

Research: My research interest is in divination practices in Hong Kong such as fengshui and fate-telling. Divination is part of Hong Kong’s tradition. It has been heavily commercialised in the past few decades and it is widely available in today’s city. My previous MPhil research compared the concept of distant fortune in colonial Hong Kong with its contemporary manifestation, which combines distant and immediate fortune. While I previously focused on people who practise divination in their everyday life, in my current research, I would also like to explore the perspective of those who do not practise divination at all in contemporary Hong Kong. And more importantly, who are these ‘non-practisers’. I am particularly interested to find out is there any relationship between one’s religion belief and his or her practice of divination. I identified in my previous research that, some common divination usages in today’s city are in areas such as property-hunting and childbirth. In this doctoral research, I would like to approach such particular ‘groups’ of people in the city, namely parents-to-be(s) and property hunters and see whether they will use divination to aid their decision making. 

Research interest: divination, (mis)fortune, temporality, use of object, ethics, life-history, anthropology of Hong Kong