Cricket, Classics, Colonialism! - (2012)
At the height of the British Empire, Test match cricket (five-day international contests) was seen by the British authorities as an ideal way to help ‘civilise’ the natives of the lands that they had recently colonised.
All aspects of the game of cricket were intended to promote ‘virtuous morals’, from the white flannels worn by cricketers, which symbolised Christian purity, to the very laws of cricket which represented fair play and mutual respect: the central tenets of Victorian English society. Yet in its early days, Test cricket also represented the very worst of colonialism: i.e. the desire to subjugate and ‘educate’.
It is notable that Test cricket has never been played in Hong Kong. Cricket, the game of the colonial rulers, never held any appeal for the local native population, unlike in other parts of the empire.
The series Cricket, Classics, Colonialism! seeks to examine the uneasy relationship between coloniser and colonised, refracted through the prism of that most English of sports – cricket.