Xi Xi (meaning west, west) is arguably the greatest female writer from Hong Kong. The word “xi” in ancient Chinese pictograph depicts a girl clad in a dress standing on a grid. Her real name is Zhang Yan. She was born in Shanghai, where she attended primary school, in 1938. In 1950, she immigrated to Hong Kong with her parents. Her father worked at Kowloon Motor Bus as a ticket checker. Xi Xi attended the prestigious all-girl Heep Yun College and the Teacher’s College.
My City was her first novel set in Hong Kong. Shifting discursive and abundant details reveal that urban life has not been totally reified and fixed on any single perspective. That the urban scenes unfold through multiple discursive postures implies Hong Kong itself as a continuous scroll in which Xixi expresses her sentiments and hopes for the city.
Shops is an essay that illustrates the aging buildings, squatters, and old-fashioned traditional shops in Central and Western District, particularly in Sheung Wan and Sai Ying Pun, as well as other human behavioor in this hustling district. She expressed her tinge of nostalgia of her childhood, and of the disappearing old shops due to drastic infrastructural development.