Our Stories @ ENG: Jessica Siu-yin Yeung

Our Stories @ ENG: A series in which teaching staff and students share their memories of the ENG Department to coincide with the 60th Anniversary of the department. [Read all entries.]  [Revisit the “Pride of Place” series.] [Revisit the “Pet Sounds” series.] [Revisit the “Headspace” series.] [Revisit the “Ongoing” series.] [Revisit the “Interrogative” series.]

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Prof MacKenzie and Dr (now Prof) Christie attending the performance of Measure for Measure with Karen Giselle Li (now Foster) playing Mistress Overdone (if I remember correctly) with (from the right) Rebecca, Elaine, Fiona, me, Winnie and her friend at Kwai Tsing Theatre in 2009

Thank You Very Much!
by Jessica Siu-yin Yeung

I entered the English Department in 2007 as a BA student taking the concentration of Stylistics and Comparative Literature. In Year 1 (2007-8), I took Mrs Julia Wan’s “Introduction to Literature” and “Narrative Art”, a survey of English literary study and an introductory course to the study of fiction. For the latter, three exchange students and I worked on Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse for a class presentation as the book had not been chosen by other classmates. That was the starting point for me in becoming a Woolfian and choosing to study her works for my honours project (2009-10) and my MPhil studies (2011-15) at BU with Professor Terry Yip. More importantly, it paved the way for my interest in modernism in its various forms in non-western cultures and other art forms, such as its incarnations in Asian cinema, Taiwanese literature, Hong Kong literature and Arabic literature. I will be forever grateful to Mrs Wan and Prof Yip for their dramatic, humorous, and patient teaching, setting rigorous standards to motivate me to improve myself.

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From the left: Sherry, Fiona, Queenie, Kristen, Suki, me, Muriel, Crystal, Vincent, Benedict, Chloe, Beatrice, Eva, Sabrina, Eugene, and Emily (Christmas party at Muriel’s home) in 2010
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From the left: Michael, me, and Maria at City Hall watching Tang Shu-wing’s Titus Andronicus 2.0 in City Hall in 2015
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From the left: Carol, me, Frank, Frances, Michelle, Muriel, Olivia, and Fiona having bridal shower in 2014

My BA studies would be incomplete without Muriel Lam, Frances Fan, Benedict Tsang, Kristen Wong, and Maria Lo. We shared many happy times in and outside the classroom. We revelled in the aura of our teachers and our studies. For example, Prof Clayton G. MacKenzie taught two courses between 2008 and 2010, “Shakespeare and His Contemporaries” and “Archetypal Criticism.” Muriel and I always laughed so hard in his classes. Muriel, Frances, Kristen and I also had so many good times presenting brilliant and hilarious presentations at Dr Ki’s “Literature and Film” classes and in Prof Yip’s “Women and Modern Drama” classes. I would like to thank Prof MacKenzie for his memorable and humorous explanations of the medieval iconographies (medieval allegories) in his Shakespeare classes; Dr Ki for her clear explanation of various filming techniques in her various film courses; and Prof Yip for arousing my interest not only in women’s writing but also in literary works about sexual minorities.

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From the left: Christine S. Bellen (now Bellen-Ang), Mark Wallbanks, Michael Cheuk, me, Sidney Chan, and Marija Todorova celebrating Sidney’s passing the candidature exam in 2012
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Not in the photo: Ivan Delazari, Natalie Delazari, Eric Kong (PhD student from the Music Department of HKBU), and Holden Liang in 2015

My MPhil studies were intellectually rewarding. But without the friendships of Ivan Delazari, Mark Wallbanks, Jing Li, Sidney Chan, Holden Liang, Christine S. Bellen (now Bellen-Ang), Marija Todorova, and Michael Cheuk, I would not have made it. From Prof Yip, I have learnt more than literary studies. She invited me to be a representative of the MPhil programme for the University Audit or Quality Assurance Exercise in 2014-15. I attended seminars, a mock audit and the actual audit with students from other departments. It was an interesting and fruitful learning experience seeing how the entire exercise was carried out and completed. I also enjoyed working with student representatives from other departments. As usual, Prof Yip’s administrative capacity was extraordinary. I am immensely grateful for her kind and wise advice and for the numerous learning opportunities that she offered me.

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From the left: Michael Cheuk, Prof Jeremy Tambling, and me at SOAS University of London in 2017

The English department also offered me the chance to go to London for the first time in 2014. Prof Christie and Prof Yip kindly helped me process the application for grants and guided me on the proper way to present a paper at Birkbeck, University of London. That was a conference on “The Modernist Long Novel.” It was at that conference that I met a former teacher at BU English, who would become one of my mentors for my doctoral studies, Prof Jeremy Tambling. Were it not for that conference, sponsored by the English Department and the Graduate School of HKBU, I would not have met Prof Tambling. And my doctoral thesis would be very different because Prof Tambling’s works have inspired me on my choice of doctoral research topic alongside the teaching of Prof MacKenzie, Prof Yip, and Dr Ki.

Last but not least, can I also thank Prof Lian-Hee Wee, Dr Jason S. Polley, Dr Vinton Poon, and Dr Tammy Ho? I found it such a fun experience to contribute an essay on my favourite Hong Kong filmmaker, Ann Hui to Cultural Conflict in Hong Kong in 2017-18. I am also very thankful to Tammy as she kindly helped me access the archive materials at the British Library Special Collections when I conducted a project on Woolf’s magazines, and later in 2017 when I interviewed her for my whimsical project on digital archives and online literary magazines.

On this note, I look forward to seeing you all in the Homecoming in autumn. Have a nice summer and see you soon!

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jessicaJessica Siu-yin Yeung was an MPhil student in the Department of English (Class of 2015). [Click here to read all entries by Jessica.]

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