Nathanael Tsun Sum Lai

Nathanael Tsun Sum Lai

  • Scholar
  • Canada
  • 2021 PhD History
  • Hughes Hall

It is my hope—also conviction—that historical research can provide insights into how we make sense of our world today. To study History is also to appreciate the weight of truth. Most importantly, I hope my research can be part of a collective effort which helps people from my home, Hong Kong, weather stormy times and imagine their manifold futures. My undergraduate dissertation at HKU explores the city’s turbulent 1950s, not least the way upheavals at the time were written and remembered. As I began my MPhil at Cambridge, I decided to build upon such research to explore similar convulsions in Hong Kong and Singapore in the 1950s. My dissertation fleshes out their connected histories and examines the way Hong Kong and Singapore figured side by side from and beyond the British perspective. I am interested in how the movement of people, objects, and ideas drew the two colonies together. My PhD research will adopt a larger time frame to probe how people in both colonies came to terms with moments of radical change. It also hopes to further explore how ideological currents—from nationalism to the language of human rights, multiculturalism to the cause of democracy—cut across boundaries and pervaded Hong Kong, Singapore, and beyond.

Previous Education

University of Cambridge MPhil in World History 2021
University of Hong Kong History & English Studies 2020