Dung Kai-cheung is an award-winning Hong Kong fiction writer, playwright and essayist. He also teaches creative writing and literature at various universities in Hong Kong. Among his books published in Chinese are Androgyny: Evolution of a Nonexistent Species (1996), Atlas: The Archaeology of an Imaginary CityThe Double Body (1997), The Rose of the Name (1997), Visible Cities(1998), The Catalog (1999), A Brief History of the Silverfish (2002), Works and Creations(2005), Histories of Time (2007) and The Age of Learning (2010). Columbia University Press published Bonnie S. McDougall and Anders Hansson's English translation of his novel Atlas: The Archaeology of an Imaginary City in 2012. And in 2017 Penguin published Cantonese Love Stories (translated by McDougall and Hansson), a selection from a series of stories written just after the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997.

A collection of twenty-five narrative sketches, Cantonese Love Stories offers an intimate look into the cultural, commercial and romantic milieu of Hong Kong in the 1990s. Two lovers ruminate on the power of their photo booth stickers to keep them together. Peach-pocket Girl reads stolen love letters at a café. Pui Pui knows a Portuguese egg tart is authentic if she dreams of riding a boat-like egg tart. Each character inhabits a different corner of Hong Kong’s dreamscape; together they bring to life Dung Kai-cheung’s imaginative vision of the city.
-  Penguin

Our story this month is taken from this collection.  The title of 'A Bathing Ape' comes from the name of a Japanese clothing brand, and many of the stories' titles are commercial brands or fashions. In her introduction to the book, Virginia Anderson writes that the reader will 'soon discover that although Dung's characters often do derive pleasure from objects, their attitude is never merely that of a consumer, and the object never merely a commodity. Whether it is the object that transforms the human beings, making them behave in eccentric ways, or the humans who transform the object by giving it unexpected usage, this weird human-object relationship always comes down to shaping or breaking the love between humans'. (Cantonese Love Stories, 2017, p10).

You can read the story in the original Chinese here, and in English translation by Bonnie S. McDougall and Anders Hansson here.

Dung was also one of the featured authors at our second Book Review Network Residential Weekend, in March 2018, and you can read our book reviewers' thoughts on Cantonese Love Stories here.

And last month the LARB China Channel published the text of a speech Dung gave at the University of British Columbia, on inventing Hong Kong stories: