Return migration is not a sufficient description of the hyper-
mobility of transnational citizens living, presently, in Hong Kong, and for
whom the two sides of the Pacific are part of a single life-world, a blended
social field. There are theoretical issues at stake here, such as the
creation of a social space that transcends national borders, the meaning
of citizenship in a fluid bi-national residential history, and, as Albert
Cheng expresses so courageously, the portability of political (and other)
values across space. These issues merge readily with policy questions
specific to different national territories, when, for example, the
jurisdiction collecting career stage taxes, is not the same jurisdiction that
dispenses retirement stage benefits. A larger calculus is required here
that systematises costs and benefits more fully than has been possible to
date (for example by Wang and Lo 2000).
Meanwhile at different stages in the life cycle the migrant
capitalises upon one or other site in this trans-Pacific life-world, passing
from one station to another, but always with the prospect of return. As
one focus group respondent reminded us, that process can go on even
I had no choice but to come back [to Hong Kong] to make a living.
But I still wish to live there after retirement, because I like the
lifestyle there. But I prefer dying in Hong Kong, not there.