Monday, 26 September 2016
Monday, 12 September 2016
If I were to run for Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, I’ll win by a landslide margin, and gain unanimous support from the reflexively antagonistic legislators. Politicos from the left, right, centre, however confused or deranged, will rally behind me because nearly all registered voters will. Upon taking office, my one and only campaign promise will sail through Legco in the first month, after snipping a few red-tapes just for show, and seeking legal advice as a matter of formality. My plan is so simple even Legco members with sub-secondary education (and there are quite a few of them now) can understand immediately, and eagerly embrace. Finally, I will secure the blessing of Beijing. Don’t believe me? Read on for the beautifully simple details.
Wednesday, 31 August 2016
American foreign adventures provide prodigiously fertile ground for anyone in a critical mood. But whenever I feel the urge to condemn America (again), I try to make sure its based on facts and reasons. Does that make me “anti-American”? If the alternative is voluntary blindness and submission to the biggest threat the world faces, then so be it.
I prefer to mind my own business. I’ve also long resigned to the fact that human follies are inevitable. No government is perfect. We are not perfect. That’s life. A nation’s problems are for their people to deal with. That’s why I rarely shoot my mouth off criticising other countries, including US subsidiaries, except responding to direct attacks. But I see it as necessary, even morally obligatory, to be vigilant and critical of the USA.
First of all, the US Empire openly and furtively interferes with everyone else’s business through propaganda, subversion, and bombing. It also likes to tell us how to behave, while doing the opposite. Everyone therefore has the right to point fingers at it, since reciprocating in deed is not an option. Censuring the US is more than just reprisal though, it’s also self-defence. If relentless pressures built up from within and without America, the Empire may change one day? It’s a slim hope, I know, but better than surrender or panic frozen inaction, while the prospect of a globally obliterating World War III looms pointlessly.
The list of American enormities seems endless. I’ll randomly mention a tiny fraction of well documented and undisputed cases for illustration. America’s frightful domestic human rights violations are not our problems as long as they are kept within the much awaited wall Donald Trump promises to build.
Does America threaten the rest of the world? Let’s look at the data.
Sunday, 28 August 2016
Sunday, 21 August 2016
|Lin Dan (left) and Lee Zhong Wei|
I normally only watch sports on TV when there’s no escape. But the Olympic badminton final last night was a great match, and unexpectedly emotional for a game involving two guys taking turns whacking a bunch of feathers. Both China's Chen Long and Denmark's Axelsen broke down sobbing (hey, not just tears in the eye!) after defeating retiring icons Lee Zhong Wei and Lin Dan respectively to snatch gold and bronze. It was a moment.
家裡沒有電視，也一向不留意體壇的我，昨天偶然在酒樓看了奧運羽毛球決賽。太精彩了！諶龍和丹麥的 Axelsen 分別擊敗雄霸羽毛球壇十多年的李宗偉和林丹後，都激動得伏在地上哭不成聲。以為看兩個大男人追著一撮羽毛拍打，誰知幾乎看出眼淚。
Friday, 29 July 2016
Sunday, 17 July 2016
I'm still wondering if the two figures I saw at the magnificent Phapeng Falls are real or not
我到今天還懷疑 Phapeng 瀑布石頭上的人，是真是假
我到今天還懷疑 Phapeng 瀑布石頭上的人，是真是假
We entered Laos by bus at Boten（磨丁）. The immigration officer asked politely for RMB20 “service fees” to fill my entry form. It wasn’t necessary but I paid anyways. Most of my travel mates were at another line, and not asked to pay anything. Jobbery — if it isn’t too serious an accusation for a minor transgression — like everything else in life, should be viewed with a sense of proportion. Poor folks wanting to make a few bucks is understandable human nature. Monstrous greed from rich people, in the name of “economic freedom”, is grotesque and pathological. To simple-mindedly measure them with the same yardstick would be unfair, unintelligent, and possibly hypocritical. Anyways, we visited villages and temples, markets and waterfalls, from Boten to Luan Prabang to Pakse. The natural scenery was stunning.
|Beautiful sunrise at 4000 Islands 四千岛日出|
Thursday, 7 July 2016
|Digging for the truth 發掘真相|
跟著的幾百年，老撾人民過著樸實單純的生活。政治上則離不開分分合合，侵略抵御等陳年老調。在十九世末，殖民地霸權興起。當時亞洲科技落後，當然難逃一劫。由1893 到 1945年，老撾成了法國殖民地。二戰後，據說「二等民族」可以「自治」，老撾不懂霸主們說一套做一套的慣技，誤以為真，宣佈獨立，隨即被法國禁止。到1954年，殖民地時代疲態畢露，法國撤出印支。誰料一雞死一雞鳴，大美「民主」帝國隨即補上，在乳牙未出的老撾人民民主共和國支持親美力量，推翻聯合政府。「顏色革命」這玩意，當年名義上雖未上色，卻已經開始猖獗，到處蠱惑人心，破壞和平，禍害人間。
Tuesday, 5 July 2016
I know it’s downright silly to attempt summarising a country’s history in a hundred words; but let’s do anyways. It’s the internet age you see. Laos shares a rich diversity of ethnicity with neighbouring China, comprising dozens of ethnic groups. From the 6th to 13th century, the region was settled by mostly Chinese and Kmur. Hinayana Buddhism was introduced in the 14th Century, and quickly gained prominence through compassionate talks rather than bloody crusades. Mountain tribes are roughly demarcated by altitude into high, middle and low clusters, though low altitude mountain tribes are technically not so mountainous aren’t they? Here we go: nine centuries recapped in a hundred words.
用三兩百字去概論一個國家的歷史，是荒誕行為。但在互聯網活動，非要這樣。否則沒有朋友，沒有讀者，哪來順手 「贊」 呢？老撾的人口成分跟毗鄰的雲南相似，比較豐富，由幾十個部族組成。於六到十三世紀期間，游移到老撾定居的民族主要來自中國山區和高棉地帶。小乘佛教自十四世紀傳入，很快被接受，從沒有搞過十字軍式的屠殺來釋放靈魂。導遊說山地民族一般按聚居的高度分為低，中，高，三類。不過把在低地生活的人划成 「山地人」，似乎有些矛盾。反正九百年的一段日子，就這樣被我三言兩語歸納啦！
|The mountain villages are fog locked every morning 每天早上被浓雾困锁的山区寨村|
Tuesday, 7 June 2016
Whoever has heard of a border city in Xishuangbanna called Jing Hong? Just short of half a million inhabitants, it’s neither here nor there by Chinese standard. We arrived in the early evening. After dinner, we took a brief walking tour downtown to absorb its ambiance. As in nearly every Chinese town and city, a big group was doing dance exercise in the public square. Nearby, the riverside disco was warming up their oversized loudspeakers to a different tune. Next to it was a vibrant night market selling all things edible or wearable under heaven.
After loitering at the market for half and hour, we headed for our resort hotel. The driver’s navigator predicted the drive to take only five to ten minutes. Ten minutes from here? I couldn’t help being skeptical. I prepared for mental shutdown, getting ready for an early night with my earplugs firmly inserted. I suspected the “resort” to be one of those furnished with an all-night disco and twenty-four-hour massage service.
聽過西雙版納景洪市的人應該不太多吧。一個四十多萬人口的邊疆城市，不大不小，也不怎麼中型。到達景洪時，已近黃昏。在市中心晚飯後，到熱鬧的夜 市逛了一圈。湄公河畔的幽靜，似乎已被剛流行的迪斯科音樂所淹沒。逗留了大概一個小時，司機才用導航尋找「悠然台」去。據說這度假村離開市中心只有五到十 分鐘車程。我心想，一個跟景洪夜市相距十分鐘的「度假村」，能有多棒呢？莫非又是門庭如市，二十四小時 MTV 和按摩服務的所謂「現代化」休閒勝地？我暗自把期望降到最低，拿出耳塞，準備早睡早起身體好。過了幾分鐘，巴士停在半山一個小區中央。導航系統的機械聲音宣佈我們已經到達目的地。「就這裡？」 我忍不住問了句。沒有人回答我。可能大家的心裡當時也盤旋著同樣的問題。
A few minute later, we arrived at an unimpressive neighbourhood. “Here?” I asked. Nobody answered. I guess everyone had the same question in mind. A garden gate next to a local corner store had its name in Chinese and English — Yourantai. When the owner and his manager welcomed us inside, there was a synchronised wow! Unfortunately, I’m going to ruin this element of surprise for you with this post, if you ever visit Yourantai.
Sunday, 29 May 2016
|Dusk at Jing Mai Shan 景邁山暮色|
|Lakeside at Jing Mai Shan 景迈山的湖畔风光|
Monday, 23 May 2016
These days, when travelling, I often feel a precocious sense of nostalgia. The photos that I take could become mini time-capsules much sooner than expected. Come back in a year, and the scene may have changed beyond recognition due to hyper development, mindless conflicts, a colour revolution, and/or an invasion followed by wanton looting plus cultural devastation by a disproportional military power. The jolly marketeer in my viewfinder could become a refugee within months, for reasons beyond reasoning. Friends who have been to Syria like to reminisce how suddenly and thoroughly a beautiful and friendly country can be ruined.
Back in January this year (2016), I visited Xishuangbanna and Laos with a few travel-mates. Fortunately, these regions seem more likely to prosper rather than be ruined in the foreseeable future, though one should never underestimate the destructive power of Dark Forces.
Thursday, 28 April 2016
Duh... So? What has it got to do with True Democracy?
Believe it or not, I’m a traditionalist. I think revolutionaries should have a nominal understanding of what they fight for. I have therefore enclosed two articles (excerpts and links at the end) for the information of Hong Kong’s Democracy Revolutionaries. There are plenty more information about their Cause, but I know I shouldn’t overload.
The first article explains the super complicated phenomenon of “super delegates” or “unbound delegates” in the US. If you can’t fully understand the mechanism, don’t feel bad. Not even ordinary party members do. It’s designed to obfuscate. Suffice to say that each super delegate is equivalent to thousands of ordinary party members in terms of voting power — like a condensed expression of democracy I suppose.
The second article is a Harvard study which shows American election to be the most unfair among Western Democracies. Hong Kong Revolutionaries who understand English may find these information helpful in their current endeavours, and when the time comes for them to export “True Democracy” — a grand experiment they’re pushing in Hong Kong, between happy hours — to pay back supportive countries such as the United States or United Kingdom.
Since many Freedom Fighters a la Hong Kong are functional illiterates in English and modern Chinese, I’ve prepared a short summary in traditional script for their benefit.
Wednesday, 13 April 2016
I’ve never managed to give a talk according to script.
But this is a reasonably close approximation of my presentation at
the University of Hong Kong Main Library on 31 March 2016.
I discussed the problems of our world today (oh dear) and
how simulated hindsight had led me to writing Man’s Last Song
First I’d like to thank the HKU Library for the invitation and excellent organisation. When giving a talk on campus, one never knows who’s in the audience. There could be a specialist present on everything I pretend to know something about. It’s therefore safe to declare my ignorance from the onset.
I don’t read newspapers, and haven’t had a TV since 1982. These days, I rely mostly on books for attitude reinforcement, and the internet for a selective glimpse of current affairs, avoiding distortions and misdirections by the mainstream media as much as possible. That’s why I won’t protest when someone tells me I don’t know what’s going on. I know they’re right. Just that they often don’t know they also don’t know what’s going on.
According to my non-mainstream impression, the world has become dangerously disoriented for quite some time now. Nearly everyone, regardless of race, cultural background, nationality, religious affiliation, intelligence, degree of sanity and political persuasion seems to agree on one thing: There’s something wrong with the way things are headed. They just can’t agree on what, why, and how to rectify. Incumbent “universal values” seem to promote perpetual procrastination over major and pressing issues of enormous consequences, and endless debates over petty and abstract ones. Even without any knowledge in anthropology, I suspect that wasn’t how Homo sapiens climbed to the top of the food chain.
Anyways, it’s impossible to list all the problems. Just that some of them will eventually affect the planet, or, more precisely, the suitability of this planet for human habitation at current population level and rate of consumption.
Tuesday, 15 March 2016
Ah! Soho! Sounds so Chinese. But the name originated in London, probably as hunting grounds for Henry Number Eight and friends. Nobody’s sure. Gradually, the area was taken over by brothels and bars and restaurants, pleasure establishments favoured by privileged gentlemen after shooting foxes. Since the 1980s, prostitutes have been replaced by high margin shops and posh restaurants. Foxes had been long gone.
蘇豪這個名字很有中國味道，出處卻在倫敦。據說蘇豪區原來是亨利八號和哥們的狩獵場。貴族獵狐完畢，都要輕鬆一下。於是妓院，酒吧和食肆慢慢蓬勃起來。自八十年代後，貨真價實的妓女雖然佔地不多，也難逃被貨真價不實的高級商鋪取代。不知為何，蘇豪這名字甚受歡迎。紐約抄了之後，香港又抄。美國人抄襲肯定有一番道理，說 Soho 代表 South of Houston 街。於是香港連這命名之術也照抄，話 Soho 代表 「荷里活道之南」 －South of Hollywood 才真。其實 Soho 位置在歌賦街以北，叫做 No Go （North of Gough Street）會較有創意。不過香港的強項是抄襲，和取笑大陸人抄襲，不是創新。
The name Soho attracts copycats for some reason. It’s been recycled in New York and Hong Kong at least. Soho, after due American justification, means South of Houston Street in NYC. Hong Kong feels the need to copy semanticity as well, and claims it stands for South of Hollywood Road. But Soho Hong Kong is also north of Gough Street. Why not call it NoGo instead? Too original I suppose. I personally prefer the vagueness of Soho London; truly seminal things tend to be shrouded by time, elusive to definition.
Thursday, 3 March 2016
The US election is a reality show which many outsiders follow as if their own. But non-Americans of the Brave New World should remember there’s no point agonising over the theatric competition. Entertainment is just entertainment. Don’t risk hypertension over it. Moreover, pardon my perennial repetition: Whoever wins makes no difference. That said, I still have an impertinent preference for Donald I over Clinton II, and I’m not even being sarcastic.
Many non-Americans irrationally cringe at the prospect of a President Trump. Well, I confess I wouldn’t want a friend like him. My contact list is full. But the arguments against him, from an outsider’s perspective, are mostly invalid or irrelevant.
Friday, 26 February 2016
Homo sapiens are but one recent life-form on a mediocre planet in a universe comprising hundreds of billions more impressive ones. Genetically, we overlap banana by about 50%. Nevertheless, probably through some short-term evolutionary mishaps, modern humans manage to disregard these humbling facts with baffling self-confidence. Our contemporaries have no qualms about dismissing “reality” if it transcends their five dull senses. That’s partly why meditation — a human discovery which has been tested for a few thousand years — are commonly viewed with suspicion, even derision, by present-day urbanites. Fortunately, many “amazing” claims of meditation have been verified by inquisitive remnants of our species. Google for researches on the subject by any reputable institution (try Harvard, for example), and you might be surprised by the amount of investigations done in the past few decades.
Naturally, most meditation guides and insights are from accomplished masters. However, the experience of a beginner may prove comforting, if not necessarily helpful, to someone who’s curious about the basics such as what to do during meditation and how to deal with mental noises. I don’t have the answers, of course, but do have conjectures based on a few months of daily practice. I hope they are worth sharing.
不少摩登 「智人」 都忘記了我們不過是宇宙數以千億星球其中一顆小恆星的表皮寄生新物種，身上的遺傳因子有一半與香蕉相同，客觀說絕不出色。但任何咱們遲鈍六根覺得難以掌握的現象，他們都會毫不猶疑地斷定不應該！不可能！心理作用云云。幸而科研人員的努力，某程度上打擊了21世紀智人的巨大自信。這在量子物理的領域最為明顯。鮮為人知的是，經過幾千年考驗，卻被現代人懷疑的 「靜坐」，這幾十年來亦被科研 「平反」。頂級的中西學府如哈佛之類，都做了大量工作。有興趣不妨花幾分鐘搜狐或Google一下。
大部分有關靜坐的論述和指導文章，都出自高人手筆。不過對一個有興趣卻未開始的人來說，另一個初學者的經驗和 「心得」 可能有更貼身的啓發作用。初學靜坐的人，有兩個最通常的問題。其一是：「打坐時做什麼？」 其二是：「念頭不斷，如何處置？」 這些問題看似簡單，其實很深。我雖然沒有答案，但短短十個月的靜坐經驗，給了我某些大家可能覺得有趣的妄想，便儘管寫出來分享一下吧。
Thursday, 4 February 2016
The following SCMP article doesn’t surprise me (http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/family-education/article/1300687/more-residents-leave-hong-kong-experts-worry-about-brain). I think a severe “brain drain” has been going on for some time, as evidenced by the high proportion of intellectual dross in the community.
Historically, HK’s talent outflow was predominantly westward. Now it’s north and west. Both Taiwan and HK suffer a silent leakage of useful people. Silent because the more serious the depletion, the less we hear about it. The mainstream media don’t like the story, and the alternative voices are gone. Two million Taiwanese live in mainland China. Serious enough? Hush hush.
Sunday, 29 November 2015
|illustration claire tam : clairetam.com|
————————————————————————————————Read English Version: Gollum's Demon
| illustration claire tam : www.clairetam.com|
Gollum will soon be discharged.
Thirteen years had passed slowly. Some days had felt like eternity.
Life is hard, but starting a new life is much harder.
The sun will be up soon. Will Demon survive?
The pounding on the door sends him sitting bolt upright.
“Open! Police check!”
He can’t move or think. All his blood seems to have drained. He’s cold, so cold that he can’t shiver. His stomach is churning, but too weak to throw up.
Three more knocks, ominously gentler.
An indistinct discussion outside, followed by the confused sound of keys clinking…
She stares up at him.
Through a chink in the black paper taped over the windows of the hourly motel, a dim shaft of light lands on her waxy oval face. A thick strand of greasy hair, damp with his sweat, is caught between burgundy lips. Plump yet dry and faintly wrinkled, they look like pig livers after a long day at the butcher’s counter.
Her dark round eyes, vacuous and wide like a Japanese voodoo doll’s, reveal a dazed trepidation.
Mud si ah? Chan Sang? What’s the matter Mr. Chan? Her abstract voice unfreezes him. He raises his hands as if to show nothing’s hidden in his palms.
Shhh. Guai guai. Be good. Be very quiet. Shhh.
He pulls the clammy blanket over her. She doesn’t protest. She never does.
The door swings wide open.
“Police!” A bright light shines on his face. Searing heat penetrates his frozen head, setting off a deafening ring inside.
Startled, he pees the bed. The urine keeps flowing, as if his bladder is infinite. The warmth feels comforting for an instant. The stomach lets go. He convulses violently, and vomits all over himself and the unmoving shape of her tiny body, curled up against him like a foetus.
Friday, 9 October 2015
The irony of history often becomes sharper with time. Given enough of it, the intricate matrix of cause and effect often produces results which were previously unimaginable. The significance of any event does remain “too early to tell” for a very long period.
In 1792, King George III (Why couldn’t they name them something other than Henry and George to avoid version numbers?) had recently lost the American colonies. It probably drove him nuts, and to pivot towards Africa and Asia. He sent Lord Macartney (who’s also George by the way) to open trade with China. “Get some kind of a free trade agreement, George,” said George. But Britain and China were going through drastically different phases in their life cycles. Britain was in the middle of a world shattering industrial revolution. After centuries of religious bondage, it had discovered a newfound sense of enlightenment, enjoying an unprecedented level of confidence and ambition. On the other hand, the ageing Emperor Qian Long was tired. Go tell your O King Georgie Number Three the Celestial Empire doesn’t need gadgets, he told George lethargically, then dozed off.
Friday, 11 September 2015
Xi and Obama should seriously discuss granting American citizenship to three hundred million Chinese. It would be a win-win-win solution to many problems.
The Chinese government, authoritarian and terrible according to Western corporate media and miscellaneous China-collapse Voodooists, has an approval rating approaching 80% from the Chinese people, according to reputable surveys such as PEW. Although an order of magnitude more popular than Democratic congresses hovering at single digit approval, it nonetheless means 300 million Chinese are unhappy with their government. That’s a big headache for the Communist Party (CCP). Furthermore, China being big, diverse, scattered and nervously on guard, CIA finds it difficult to fully develop this vast number of potential colour revolutionaries. A valuable human resource capable of causing great havoc is once again frustrated by CCP policies. It’s time that the international community, namely the USA, finds alternative means to get the most out of these disenfranchised Chinese.