Friday, 8 March 2019

長期韜光 只會養“悔”




不少老朋友認為中國這幾年太高調,招致狼群發難。「國家有作為固然好,但自己高興便算,何必自詡厲害,惹惱匈奴呢?」 這觀點雖然可以理解,我卻有不同看法,姑且嘗試分析。

這些友人大都是年屆退休的「穩定人士」。上了年紀的中國人,一般比綿羊更溫馴,萬事寧可退讓,以和為貴。這本來是美德,可惜現實從來不會姑息委曲求和的人。我們險些被滅族只不過近世紀的事,應該記憶猶新。更重要的是,我們並非為變而變。為了國家安全,民族復興,我們必須訂立長遠目標,設計發展藍圖,組織戰略步驟,培育接班人才。這一切都會影響到國家的外觀形象和應有姿態。

Friday, 1 February 2019

Trudeau the Second


Photo from REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Most Canadians don’t realise that their country enjoys an exceptionally positive international image. Comparing with other members of the Anglophone Five Eyes clique which once regarded itself representative of western civilisation, Canada is generally trusted and liked by the rest of the world. Though a core member of the “Western bloc”, Canada at least tries — or tried — to be relatively fair and independent minded most of the time.

Canada’s reputation is not by accident. It’s the result of a reasonably consistent tradition crafted by a generation of liberal and sensible (liberal and sensible weren’t contradictory terms back then) politicians, iconised by the charismatic Trudeau the First who befriended Castro while the CIA was making dozens of assassination attempts on the “defiant” revolutionary. By bravely refusing to join Bush II’s “coalition of willing” to plunder and destroy Iraq, Jean Cretien quietly continued liberalism with Canadian characteristics. Statesmen like them helped Canada to straddle a delicate divide for decades, while maintaining a respectable degree of sovereignty. That’s no small feat considering who its neighbour is.

Building trust and respect takes decades. Destroying them takes no time. Trudeau II is working hard at that.

杜魯多二世








Photo from REUTERS/Chris Wattie

加拿大的國際聲譽一向不錯。在一度自以為是西方文明代表的英語幫「五眼聯盟」中,世人較多信任和喜歡加拿大,覺得這冰天雪地的「西方」成員國相對難得地公平看事和獨立思考。

加拿大的聲譽並非偶然,也不是一朝一夕的成果,而是上一代「自由卻不胡鬧」的政治家努力耕耘的結果。當年風采不凡的杜魯多一世與古巴的卡斯特羅為友,不顧中情局多次嘗試暗殺卡斯特羅的努力,令美國極為不滿。自由黨獨立特行的傳統延續到克雷蒂安(Jean Cretien)。他當總理時頂受了巨大壓力,拒絕參加布什二世組織的「伊拉克搶掠團」,維持了加拿大頗高的自治風格,很不容易。

爭取國際社會的信任和尊重需要很長時間的表現。而破壞公信只需旦夕。

Friday, 25 January 2019

讀南懷瑾“新舊教育的變與惑”有感



挨打挨足了百多年的中國,最終竟然死裡逃生,帶著嚴重內傷走上了復興之路,步履越來越穩定有勁。這近乎奇跡的復活,除了有賴革命注入了激情和活力,也很大程度上多得延續了幾千年的文化根源。隨著國力復蘇,國人逐漸回復自信,開始積聚能量,一旦時機成熟,自然會在不同領域發揮作用。在這歷史性的文化復興過程中,南懷瑾老師以個人力量默默耕耘,努力「為往聖繼絕學,為萬世開太平」,作出了不少實質貢獻。

雖然南老師說自己沒有弟子,但實至粉來,今天南粉滿天下,在互聯網大環境的配合下,實際上桃李滿門。我是南老師無數忠實讀者之一,最近讀了劉雨虹老師重新編訂的 「新舊教育的變與惑」,感受良多。南老師對國際環境的預言,在幾十年後的今天看來,大部分都已實現。如此料事如神,莫非真有神通?

Monday, 14 January 2019

Deaf, Dumb, Blind, and Irrelevant




Being too dull to recognise and connect with reality is forgivable, even pitiable. But self-imposed blindness is more difficult to understand.

In Hong Kong, a dwindling bunch of armchair activists, not necessarily classical dummies according to credentials, appear mulishly blind to facts and reality. Doggedly they chant “freedom and democracy”, imagine totalitarian regimes in the wrong places, and fantasise themselves revolutionaries without a cause. If not so tiresome, they could be rather amusing.

Hong Kong’s actively inconsequential “rebels” don’t seem to realise that the world has moved on well beyond their political infatuations. A global awakening is happening beyond their closed lids. The hackneyed pretexts of freedom, democracy and human rights have lost potency to all but the densest. Even genuine liberal democracies are becoming painfully aware of the failings of populism and short-term governance, and are soul-searching for solutions. But in spite of their relative proximity to the real world, revolutionaries with Hong Kong characteristics seem hopelessly addicted to the Democracy Empire’s dated spell. Short of a conspiracy theory suggesting material motivations, or a medical diagnosis of persecutory delusion, their frothing zeal can only be compared to religious fanaticism.

失聰失明的無釐頭革命家




天生愚蠢,缺乏認知能力,無法分辨是非的人,不知不覺與現實脫了節的話,其實值得同情。但自願性失聰失明的人,又應該如何對待呢?

在香港這怪地方,有一撮日漸變得無關重要的業餘「民主革命家」。單看學歷之類,他們不全是傳統傻瓜,但行為上堅決與現實脫臼,令人費解。他們的「革命」綱領比較簡單,不外乎幾句老口號:「自由萬歲!民主萬歲!」 口號喊多了會上身,部分「民革家」 漸漸相信了自己是正義與真理的化身,整天橫衝直撞氣沖沖,找暴政搞抗爭做英雄,卻往往找錯地方。假如這撮人不是那麼討厭,其實不失娛樂價值。

更吊詭的是,當「民革家」滿嘴白沫呼民主之際,世界卻背著他們的方向演變。「民主自由,人權道義」 等搞事和侵略藉口,大致已被世人看穿,市場面臨崩潰。就算少數真心民主,篤信自由的國家,也開始領略到民粹主義的禍害,正在反思,謀求破解治理死結。但香港「民革家」們可能太集中精神擾國擾民,沒有留意世情,仍然緊抱幾句20世紀口號搏出位。假如陰謀論屬實,他們真的是外夷豢養之物,受命搞事,又或者精神有病,這行徑倒好解釋。否則便只有與宗教狂熱作比較了。

Friday, 9 November 2018

Immortal Master Kong


不死的孔子






可能由於性格關係吧,中華文化三大支柱儒釋道之中,我對老莊一讀鐘情。這裡有個小插曲:我首次認識道家,竟然是在加拿大偶然讀了Alan Watts 的老番版本 The Way of Tao。當時不知道先父原來是香港道德會善慶洞的會長。他從不對我們說道,真有道家個性!

漸入老年後,覺得佛學的生命觀和科學性更高更妙,卻自問只有資格靜靜旁聽,心裡拜服,不敢自認「學佛」,更莫論修証了。


至於儒家,我一向懷有負面偏見。假如年輕時身處五四運動或文革的歷史洪流,我肯定也會高呼「打倒孔家店」!這不怪誰,中國給煙商海盜踢屁股踢了整個世紀,什麼方法都試過,什麼道理都說盡,還不是一塌糊塗,翻身無期?夠啦!幾千年的老化石,難以改造,無法消化,是中華民族的毒瘤,前進的絆腳石!不打倒怎成?


Sunday, 7 October 2018

Trump's China Card



Trump’s gone nuts again, accusing China of meddling with the internal affairs of the USA. Pence — the guy who secretly aspires to become president next year — gave a speech at the Hudson Institute last week, basically declaring a cold war on China, unprovoked. 

Few sane persons could seriously believe that. But many Americans do. Being free spirits by self-declaration, they’re not very serious about serious matters such as international relations. Plus many have been secretly missing that little cunning sneaky yellowish Fu Manchu, and are happy to see him resurrected by the imagination of their national leaders. Not having to pretend civil feels like freedom to some.

It’s a waste of time putting forth common sense arguments such as “hey, the USA has been openly interfering, actively subverting actually, other countries’ elections and political process on a daily basis!” or “hey, if the American system is so pitifully vulnerable, why is it being sold by brute force to everyone else on planet earth?” or “Uh, can I see some evidence, please?” 

No! America is America. It’s exceptional: exceptionally violent, exceptionally arrogant, exceptionally bullying, exceptional in everything, with few exceptions.

So, is this declaration of cold-war against China just another senseless move by Trump the Great-again? 

Not really. Trump is not as stupid as he looks.

Let me guess his strategy, which is becoming obvious. Yes, what I’m about to say is entirely guess work without evidence. Everyone’s doing that. All journalists do that in their daily news. Presidents of rich and powerful democracies depend on fantasy for evidence. Why can’t I? Plus my speculation track record is not too bad so far. 

Trump’s declaration of war against China mainly serves three purposes. 

川普對中國宣戰的背後



川普發病,大家已經見怪不怪。最近無緣無故對華挑釁升級,派副總統在華盛頓的 Hudson Institute 對華宣讀冷戰書,又誣蔑中國干擾中期選舉雲雲。

副總統 「噴屎」 這番胡言亂語,稍微有腦筋有常識的人聽了都可能噴飯。但一般的美國人崇尚的是自由,不是什麼常識思考等過時東西,不少人心底里也挺懷念小時候電視那個黃面灰牙,下流賤格,皮笑肉不笑,滿肚子奸計的中國佬 Fu Manchu,見到他在總統口中復活,心內暖暖的有分久違的優越感和親切感。

反駁川普政權的論點多的很,如 「美國無時無刻不在明的暗的干擾全世界的選舉和政治運作哦!只准州官放火?」 「美國制度原來如此脆弱,不堪一擊,那麼為何要不惜動武把這糟制度強於他人呢?」 又或 「嗯,來點證據如何?」

但據理力爭對凡事例外的美國人來說太複雜,都是浪費唇舌。

那麼川普對華攻擊越演越烈,是否招牌神經失常呢?非也。他這一著我看很有章法,一點不笨。

容許我猜度一下川普總統的陰謀吧。猜度當然沒有什麼真憑實據和分析圖表,但全世界的自由傳媒都憑空捏造事實,大總統和國會議員亦復如是,為何我不可以互猜亂說呢?何況我以往的胡猜甚為準確,記錄不錯,應該繼續用功。

那便放膽猜吧。我認為川普對華攻擊,起碼有三個目標:

Saturday, 15 September 2018

简体字的文化承传


本来与文化无缘的人,炒股票房地产发了财,想弄点品味上身,其实可以理解,亦并非坏事。只要不强逼我听他描述在法国欣赏意大利歌剧的完整过程,我一定不会嘲讽,甚至会赞赏鼓励。

不过在香港这文化沙滩的历史阴影里,滋生了不少独特怪病。患者喜欢逢人便说自己和孩子的中文很差哦,嘻嘻!这种殖民地心理病,在其它地方难得一见,在香港却很普遍。这类人宣布自己 “Chinese lousy” 并非谦逊,而是对自己英国化进程的一种肯定,甚至炫耀。曾几何时,中文很差的确在某些人眼中是地位象征。

更奇怪的是,这批自认 Chinese lousy lousy Chinese,绝大部分英文也很 lousy,可惜未够程度自知。回归后,他们进一步强调自己不会普通话,简体字也不会看,嘻嘻!一百多个简体字也学不会的人,就算不是严重智障,也肯定有学习缺憾,本来值得同情。但他们对自身缺点十分自豪,令我不知如何反应最恰当。

可能很多人都看过以下一张在香港颇为流行,毫无常识却自以为刻薄风趣的贴子:

中華文化悠遠5000年,保存最完整的不是在大陸,而是在台灣,很多文化的斷層,在文字簡化上卻有具體的表徵: 
漢字簡化後~  親卻不見, 愛而無心, 產卻不生, 厰內空空, 麵內無麥, 運卻無車, 導而無道, 兒卻無首, 飛卻單翼, 有雲無雨, 開関無門, 鄉裡無郎。  
可巧而又巧的是: 簡體字未簡化的有.... 魔仍是魔, 鬼還是鬼, 偷還是偷, 騙還是騙, 貪還是貪, 毒還是毒, 黑還是黑, 賭還是賭, 賊仍是賊! 真是妙不可言呀!好的字通通簡化了,不好的字全部都保留... 發現漢字簡化的這位仁兄,真是造詣高深!
哎,在网上市集,造诣高低谁定义,是个有趣问题。台湾语体文可以保存五千年的中华文化,也算语出惊人。

以上贴子最近又在朋友群组出现,引起 [甲骨文明道易傳] 的作者陈锦平医生作出评语与解释。我看后才知道原来很多简体字除了方便简单,有助减少文盲外,更不乏文化传承。得到陈博士的允许,在这里节录分享如下。【大括号内是我的胡乱插嘴,并非陈医生的原文】:

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Trump's Clash with Civilisation




Clash of Civilisation is an oxymoron. Truly civilised tribes clash over vital resources and existential issues, not values or beliefs. So what makes a society civilised? Clever technologies are not a defining condition. In uncivilised hands, they only make the world more dangerous and confused. 

   Queuing straight and calm on a hot day for ice cream is but a superficial indicator. When ten starving persons compete for three breads, those who insist on lining up nicely for their empty turn had long been eliminated by recurrent harsh reality in experienced old countries. Not long ago, no self-preserving Chinese would line up unless under supervision of a big stick. Now that there are eleven breads for ten well-fed folks, especially in the cities, orderly lines are the norm. It’s that simple.

Tolerance, if not necessarily respect, of differences is a fundamental attribute of civilised behaviour. 

   If you tell the typical Chinese that your god flies higher and faster than his ancestors and the Buddha working together, he’d be politely awed: “Wah! So impressive! Very good! Got to go now. Let’s have lunch sometime okay?” He won’t debate, and certainly won’t punch you for your amusing belief. He’d be even less inclined to comment on how your country elects leaders. It’s none of his business. Is it not? Before recent times, if you told him that Country A bombs Countries B, C, D, E, F… to make them vote for their leaders, he wouldn’t have believed you. 

Civilisation clash therefore seemed to me somewhat irrelevant to China, until recently. Trump’s trade war makes me think that differences in “cultural genes” could at least be partly responsible for the current conflict.

從貿易戰看 “不文明” 衝突






我一向認為「文明衝突」這概念有些自相矛盾。

自古以來,人類群體為了生活爭奪有限資源在所難免,但與文明無關。何謂文明?科技先進不一定代表文明;軍事技術先進的野蠻人只會令世界更危險,更多戰禍,生靈塗炭。至於乖乖排隊則是表面風度,在資源豐富的社會屬自然現象,並不稀奇,也不代表心裡「文明」。

在十個人爭三份菜的的苦日子,只有傻瓜才會在第四位慢慢排隊。這類傻瓜中國不多。現在十個人有十一份菜,在國內城市基本上看不到爭先恐後的鏡頭,就是這麼簡單。說開便說,究竟是誰令我們這曾經富甲天下的文明古國挖破臉皮插隊搶飯吃的呢?

算啦,不翻舊賬,言歸正傳。其實真正的文明人,是不會為了信仰不同而你死我活的。人家說他的上帝飛得比我們的祖先高快遠,而且無所不在,典型中國人都會客氣大贊:「哇厲害!佩服哦!有點事,改天喝茶!」,根本不會爭論,更莫說拔刀斬人了。至於別人喜歡以何種方式挑選領導,更切底與我們無關,理都懶理。為了逼使別國搞投票民主而出兵討伐的行徑,在文明人眼中簡直匪夷所思。

所以國際間「不文明」的衝突,我們至少表面不太關心。但川普對華發動「貿易戰」,令我意識到中美「矛盾」似乎與文化背景有某程度的關聯。

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Blue Moon Nirvana



A few days ago, on my way to evening meditation at Dong Shan (link to Shadows of Cave Mountain), I was captivated by the moon. It was a “blue moon”, a rare event in the Gregorian calendar, happening only once in a blue moon, golden in colour. 

It was also the 15th day of the second moon according to the Chinese lunar calendar — Buddha’s Nirvana Day, and the 31st of April 2018, Easter Saturday, the only Christian holiday which follows the lunar cycle. Jesus had just been hammered into his passionate version of Nirvana about two millennia ago, holding his breath until Monday. Coincidence never fails to intrigue.

藍月涅槃



三月三十一日是陰曆二月十五,當我緩步輕聲走往洞山禪堂途中(洞山禪影 鏈接),突然被天上的月光迷住了。天邊掛著金黃色的「藍月亮」。 原來藍月只不過是陽曆同一月內出現的第二個月圓,並非天文奇景,也不藍色。至於因何得名,則無從考究。由於不常發生,被視為罕見,所以有 once in a blue moon 之說。剛巧當晚為佛祖的涅槃日,也是基督教唯一的陰曆節日復活節。據說念耶穌大約兩千年前被劊子手釘進了臨時涅槃,閉氣三天後再重現江湖。

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Dissecting the Nouveau Riche


More than 120 million Chinese travel overseas annually. Occasionally, one or two unruly tourists would make headlines, triggering another round of nouveau riche caricature and soul searching. What exactly are the nouveau riche? My on-line dictionary defines the slightly pompous French term as “people who have recently acquired wealth, typically those perceived as ostentatious or lacking in good taste.” At least four subjective terms in this definition —  recent, wealth, ostentatious, and good taste — need further clarification.

Friday, 26 January 2018

細看暴發戶


中國去年出口一億兩千多萬遊客。偶爾幾個在國外或飛機上撒野出洋相,便會被大做文章。國人也會積極搖頭,埋冤暴發戶風氣熾熱難當。究竟何謂「暴發戶」呢?根據我的字典,暴發戶是近期發了財的人,喜歡炫耀,品味低俗云云。英文通常借用有幾分造作的法語名詞 Nouveau Riche — 「新發財」 之謂也。不過細想之下,「近期」,「發財」,「炫耀」,「品味」 等概念都值得進一步探討。

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Imminent Liberation of Taiwan?


Predicting Brexit and Trump’s presidency had once brought my contrarian sanity into question. Fortunately, the ‘surprising’ outcomes showed that insanity is indeed a dominant force, and my unhealthy appreciation of lunacy has been useful in comprehending 21st century reality. However, some crazy visions are still based on rationality, at least for the time being. One of them is China’s reunification with Taiwan, which I think will happen much sooner than most people believe. The likelihood of concluding the currently suspended Chinese Civil War in the near future, say the coming year or two, is very high — higher than ever. Many of my learned friends roll their eyes at this prediction.

短期內解放台灣?

 


我在2016年寫博文 ‘撐’ 特朗普, 又預測英國脫歐,有些朋友擔心我神經錯亂。兩項選舉結果最終如我所料,其實不足以證明我看法的合理性,只不過反映了精神病患者已成大多數,具有民主優勢而已。思維正常的人唯有讓開一旁,自言自語牢騷世風日下。

趁大家對精神病人的社會地位猶豫之際,我想把解放台灣的分析加入病歷,立此存照。

Thursday, 21 December 2017

誤解英式辯論




英式辯論源於18世紀初的倫敦。這表面斯文的舌戰不單止是知識分子訓練口才的遊戲,也是一種心理改造工具,間接影響了整個所謂 「西方世界」 的政治和外交傳統,甚至商業推廣,科研,法制,和道德取向等。


Misunderstanding Debate




The English debate, popularised in London in early 18th century, is more than just a polite argument between quaint intellectuals. Its brain warping effects might have gently swayed Western perspectives in politics, diplomacy, marketing, academic research, the judiciary process, even moral values.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Shadows of Cave Mountain



D o n g ~ ~ ~  The temple bell strikes at four-thirty as usual. Deep resonance impregnates predawn quietness, giving it life rather than shattering it. From my room, I can’t hear the duty-monk chanting. But I had learnt the words from an evening attendance at the bell tower: With the first strike of the resonant bell, I chant the precious koan, shaking heaven above, piercing hell below….. Let all wars cease, armoured horses retire. May all souls expired in battles reborn in Pureland… As the mesmerising chant ends, the drum responds with the reverberating Wind-Rain-Thunder-Lightning routine, reversing the nighttime sequence.

First morning meditation starts at 4:50 while yogis warm up with sun salutations in the studio, long before the sun rises. I roll off my tatami to cancel the phone alarm before it goes off. Unlike the bell, it startles and shatters at this early hour even with volume set to just above mute. 

I’ll be going home this afternoon. Sixteen days have glided past like a bird’s flitting shadow. I let the melancholy of departure settle before getting up to dress, leaving it behind to meld with fragments of delusive dreams, turning into hazy memories.





I've uploaded a video of the Drum and Bell routine to YouTube: https://youtu.be/BmuYlp7lXA4

洞山禪影


~~~ 沈肅的禪鐘聲與本來的寂靜互相引接,引起了一靜一動的共鳴。和諧的交替,並未驚破黎明。從房間里,我聽不到敲鐘僧人的唱誦,但我幾晚前曾經上鐘樓聽唱,抄下了偈詞:「洪鐘初扣 寶偈高吟 上徹天堂 下通地府 。。。。。干戈永息 甲馬休征 陣敗傷亡 俱生淨土。。。」 寒山僧鐘唱誦畢,鼓樓會以震撼的「風雨雷電」鼓聲回應。

是時候起床了。第一課靜坐將於4:50開始。做瑜伽的會同時在瑜伽館的墊子上參拜尚未露面的太陽。我趕緊把榻榻米旁的電話鬧鐘取消。雖然音量已調到最低,但在洞山的清晨,它的炸響仍然十分駭人。


今天下午要回家了。每離開一處地方,難免幾分惆悵。我盤腿坐在榻榻米上,讓這份感覺沈澱片刻。十六天的時光,猶如飛鳥投在地面的掠影,瞬間已逝,只留下影子的印象,慢慢與新舊妄想混淆,化成不肯定的回憶。



我把鐘鼓齊鳴的視頻上載了 YouTube: https://youtu.be/BmuYlp7lXA4

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Don't Learn From History



Don’t learn from history — it’s full of lies. Some say that’s to be expected, as history is written by the victors. But why must victors lie? Do they not realise that falsifying history will certainly backfire?

Chinese obsession with history stems not only from academic interests or a peculiar fascination with dead people, but a firm belief in the benefits of experience. The post of Official Historian,  already established in the Xia Dynasty nearly four thousand years ago, continued in various forms until the end of Qing Dynasty in the beginning of the 20th century. Official Historians were officially extremely independent, therefore a high risk job. They followed the Emperors around, making notes which the Sons of Heaven were not allowed to read by ancestral decree and tradition (that changed after Tang Dynasty). A Historian’s record could impact the Emperor’s Posthumous Titles — marking His Majesty as a jerk or fool for posterity. Expectedly, some overzealous Historians got their heads removed. These murderous episodes were duly recorded by his successors.

Historians in ancient time were unimaginably stubborn. The renowned Sima Qian of Han Dynasty endured castration to finish The Records of the Grand Historian, an epic achievement still widely studied today, more than two millennia later. To minimise bias and decapitation, official history was usually compiled from archives and records long after a change of dynasty. By then, as China’s struggles were mostly internal, the boundary between victors and losers had been obscured by time. Recent history — itself an oxymoron — is unreliable anywhere, like autobiographies of politicians.

歷史的謊話



不少近代史其實大話連篇。以史為鑒這句話好像有點過時。西方人解釋說這是由於歷史是 「勝利者」 寫的,難免偏頗。為何勝利已經在握的人,反而作假呢?難道他們不知道假歷史對自己後代的不良影響嗎?

中國人看重歷史的程度,舉世無雙。史官這高難度的高危工作,遠在夏朝已經設立(太史令),一直以不同稱號保留至清末,足有四千年歷史。古代史官的權力很大,他們每天記錄皇帝的言行,而唐朝之前的皇帝按慣例是不許看史官的筆記本的。由於史官的記錄會影響皇上在青史上留個什麼名,天子自然有些緊張。間中脾氣失控,龍顏一怒之下將食古不化的史官腦袋搬家,偶爾也有發生。不過這類殺人案件一般都會被後來的史官記下來的。

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Graffiti 塗鴉



I don’t know anything about graffiti, but the good ones make me stop to admire, as if in a gallery. Some are amazing not only due to its artistic merits, but the fact that the artists don’t expect reward or recognition for their masterpieces. Even Banksy’s identity remains a mystery. A good piece of graffiti often makes me curious. What does the artist do for a living? Is this person gravity proof? Does he or she plan and practise on the living room wall first, before on-site execution? How many nights does it take to do something this size?

我對塗鴉沒有研究,但一幅好的塗鴉,往往會令我駐足欣賞,如同身在畫廊。好的塗鴉除了藝術價值,還有創作者的心態。哪麼辛苦完成的作品,沒有揚名求利的動機,也算一種清高吧。連舉世知名的 Banksy 的身份,到現在還是個謎。 有水準的塗鴉,會令我好奇。如此藝術高人,冒著地心吸力之險,月黑風高爬外牆噴漆為啥呢?哪麼大的壁畫,他之前有沒有在家裡大廳牆壁預習一次呢?一共要搞幾個晚上才完成呢?



Of course, a lot of street doodling is garbage. Simpleminded atrocities such as gang slogans, misspelled political messages or fatuous declaration of love may seem worthless. But they somehow accentuate the despair and social failure which have given birth to their brand of vandalism.

當然,佳作始終是少數。更多的是粗口錯白字,童黨標語,到此一游,或豬彪愛阿嬌之類的垃圾。但這些低檔次塗鴉,在破舊橫街和貧民窟,卻頗添氣氛,也是社會某方面失敗的見證


Saturday, 6 May 2017

Thinking Inside The Box



Calling ourselves Homo Sapiens — literally wise man — has to be either missed irony, or hyperbolic self-flattery. Even dummies know that the average human is far from wise. Quite the contrary, whenever life is good, most of our species take petulant pride in not thinking. Behind dainty expressions of ostentatious innocence and unworldliness is an unmentionable awareness that being really stupid without consequence is a modern privilege, a rich-folk thing, a secretly adored social status. Sure, during our negligibly short existence, the odd thinking specimens might have had delivered us from collective troubles, or led us to more favourable grounds for survival. But mass ignorance has since been reinforced, making such rare fortuitous events ever less likely in the future.

創意與中庸



人類自稱「智人」,真的有點兒自誇,因為連傻瓜也知道,一般人的智慧很有限。而我們智慧不高,並非完全由於天分所限,很多人根本不喜歡也看不起思考。經濟環境許可的時候,無知是顯示家底的手段之一;一無所知,笨手笨腳,波鞋帶不會綁,荷包蛋不會煎,是富貴人家孩子的身分象徵,比穿名牌更體面。當然,在人類短短的歷史裡,曾經出現過異常聰明人士把我們集體帶出困境,或帶來思想突破。但這些真智人是極少數,毫不典型,當時也不一定得到大眾的認同。所以叫人類「好彩人」,可能比「智人」更貼切。但人類在地球史裡只不過是幾秒鐘前出現的物種而已,幸運能持續多久,有待觀察。

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The New Face of Old Guangzhou 廣州的舊城新貌



The Chan tablets behind the kirin are long gone at the Chan Academy 
陳氏家祠麒麟身後的牌位早已不見了

Like most tourists, I prefer historical sites or “exotic” destinations when travelling, wishing to see something “different”. Since I regarded Guangzhou familiar from frequent visits during the early 1990s, I had not thought of exploring it as a tourist. Thanks to a friend who organised a weekend trip recently, I was surprised by how much the old city has changed. It not only looked different as expected, but also felt very different. Much of the old was thankfully still there, calmly giving way to the new. In such a dramatic and abrupt social transformation, anxiety is expected. But from the places we visited and the people we talked to, I sensed mostly optimism and vibrancy rather than misgivings.


There's a wonderful French restaurant hiding on the 4th floor. No Elevator. 
四樓有家超正法式素食館

正如很多遊客一樣,我一般來說會挑選比較新鮮的旅遊目的地,希望增廣見聞。由於在90年代初經常會去廣州,所以自以為對這個兩千年古城有些認識,便沒有想過去羊城當遊客。幸好上星期有朋友安排廣州兩晚三日美食游,才有機會見證一別二十年的廣州在軟件硬件上的巨大改進。當然,一個古老城市有很多遺產,也有不少包袱,與從頭規劃建設的地方各有利弊,不能相比。但在種種條件限制下,廣州能夠大致和諧地繁榮過渡到21世紀,肯定是多方面努力和忍讓的成果。看似簡單,得來不易。

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

WW3 - A Horrifying New Year Vision



2016 was a black swan year to many. Fortunately, “realism” (interchangeably aka “cynicism” in our brave new world) helped me to anticipate Brexit (http://guo-du.blogspot.hk/2015/10/her-majesty-and-commies.html) and Trump (http://guo-du.blogspot.hk/2016/03/trump-for-president.html), thereby sparing me a couple of unpleasant surprises.

Amidst happy wishes, 2017 begins noisily with more frantic beating of the war drum by — well, who else? Though nothing new, the rhythm has become desperate and erratic. Facing its own “regime change” phantasmagorically claimed to have been orchestrated by Russia, the pitifully vulnerable Empire seems even more irascible and capricious than usual, no longer bothering to dress up its contempt for fairness and rationality.


There are plenty of talks about a military showdown between the US and China, as if it were a much awaited new war-game app. Some analysts sound like desperate salesmen from the military industrial complex (MIC). Others, emboldened by the pivotal positions which they would soon hold, sound outright deranged. Happy New Year!


Nearly all of these propositions envisage a military conflict with China through a predominantly Western lens. This bias is understandable, since most wars in the past century had been choreographed by Western powers, according to their military traditions and objectives. But in a conflict with China, it would be prudent to include a little “common sense” with Chinese characteristics, in order to make the horrifying picture more complete.

First of all, why would there be a war? And what for?