Friday, 17 December 2010

Heaven (Part 1 of 2)

Heaven is available in printed form in the "Hong Kong Stories - As We See It" anthology:




Heaven (part 1 of 2)

After Gabriel fades out of sight, I let out a heavily muffled mental murmur: “So long you prissy feathery prig . . .” The juvenile remark, so unlike me, feels great.

So, this is my Day Number One of Eternal Life . . .  
I can still smell the sanitised odour of the urine bag that hung from my deathbed, and feel the warmth of soiled diaper creeping inside the prickly hospital blanket. The squeaky weeping of Elena, and the droning prayers of our son Rev. Kelvin Lee (II) still ring in my ears. And I can’t stop the phantom pulses of the monitors I was plugged into, like a car being checked at the garage. I have no idea what these things were, but had long realised they were futile. 

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Short Story: Heaven (Part 2 of 2)


I tried not to let my frustrations show. After a brief pause, I changed  the subject once more: “What about Jesus?”
“What about Him?”
“I’ve been His devout follower all my life. Can I meet Him?” I could hear my pious and reverent voice hardening but was hopeful that the situation might improve if I could meet Christ in person.
Gabriel sat down somberly in an invisible armchair, and signalled me to do the same. I lowered myself cautiously into a sitting position. I couldn’t feel any supporting furniture, or the strain of hunkering down. I finally let go completely, and came to rest in a sitting position. There are some neat things in Heaven after all.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

天堂 (上集)




我等到加百利完全消失在茫茫煙霞中之後,才鼓起勇氣,在心底里的最深一角喃喃的牢騷了幾句:「再見啦天庭公公。人不象人,鴿不象鴿, 陰陽怪氣,小心給飛機撞散哦 。。。」 如此幼稚不敬的想法,一點也不像我的所為。不過這無聊的深心一咒,卻很實在地舒緩了我胸中的慪氣,令整個靈魂貼服了少許。

哎,這不過是我得享永生的第一

我估計自己死了大概二十個小時左右吧。

鼻子里還依稀有陣多年來長伴床邊的尿袋的氣味;做夢也想不到竟然會有懷念那股臊臭味的一天。醫院裡的尿味跟外面的不同,好像脫過氮,混雜了病房特有的消毒味道,有種不自然的回味,特別令人作悶。兩者相比,我是比較情願公廁尿那種濃烈實在,直截了當,尿就是尿的臭。

我的雙腿正在騰雲駕霧。但虛無縹緲的褲襠里,仍然隱約感覺到一塊濕透了的尿布,散髮著縷縷熱氣,在粗毛毯下挪動,摸索出路。老婆略帶誇張的啜泣和阿仔喃喃喃喃的禱告,亦猶在耳邊。更難忘的,是多年來與我息息雙連,日以繼夜地催促著我心跳的各種先進設備。沒有了它們的電子脈搏,我感覺到渾身也不踏實。

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

天堂 (下集)

(上回鏈接: 「天堂」上集

聽到後我十分沮喪;茫茫魂海,叫我到哪裡去找我的親人呢?但我仍然勉強保持沈著,心想只要見到耶穌,便有解救。於是問道:「哪麼敢問天使長,我怎樣才可以見到我主耶穌基督呢?」

「你想見他乾嘛?」

「我生前是基督精兵,現在想見見他,不合理嗎?」 在短短的幾個小時內,我本來虔誠溫厚的專業傳道聲線,已經變得有點僵硬,隱隱地拖著絕望和沮喪的尾音;連我自己也聽得出來。

加百利原地坐下,身後好像有張無形沙發把他接個正著。

他揮手示意我也坐下來。我小心翼翼地蹲下去,雖然感覺不到屁股下面有什麼傢具支撐,但放膽把全身放鬆之後,竟然很自然地凌空架著,挺舒服。哈!終於發現天堂也有些過癮的地方啦!

Friday, 3 December 2010

Wikileaks' Crimes


Julian Assange of Wikileaks, and Bradley Manning, an American soldier who’s been accused of a leaky conscience and is currently in prison in Virginia, are being ruthlessly persecuted by a Coalition of the Desperately Willing more impressive than the one that invaded Iraq. Assange is also being accused of rape. Many governments seem to be giving unprecedented attention to the felony of rape. I can’t recall another suspect being pursued with such spectacular ferocity and sweating foreheads. Can you? 
Whether Assange had indeed raped another human being is not for me to speculate. Most people have given their verdict one way or the other anyway. However, he has indeed forcibly screwed a very self-righteous system, damaging its verbose facade on all sorts of inviolable principles: Human rights, government integrity, political openness, accountability, and freedom of information and expression. He has flashed light at a dark corner, exposing hypocrisy without consent. I can understand why those unveiled feel assaulted naked - feeling on the receiving end of a molestation for a change. Furthermore, if the charge against him is fabricated, like many cynical people conjecture, then Mr. Assange should in addition be guilty of having indirectly defiled the pretence of the rule of law and respect for justice. Unforgivable, really, therefore: Crucify him! Crucify him! 
I have never met a rapist; but if I were a movie director casting for one, Julian Assange has very little chance. I might pick him for an assassin, a hacker, or math professor with a turbulent home life, but rapist . . . ? Ah, I might pick him for a Nobel laureate though. Why not? In comparison with Al Gore, uh, Dalai Lama, uh,  Obama and, uh, uh, Liu Xiao Bo . . . I’d find it much easier to compose Mr. Assange’s nomination. Before downloading a Peace Prize application, however, we need to make sure he stays alive. On that, all we can do is pray and plead: “We ask the United States to respect the freedom of information and other miscellaneous nobel principles that they hold sacred, and stop using their national might to persecute a single individual (weighing, what, 170 lbs.?) for putting some of these principles into action. Finally, Mr. Assange and Manning have the prayer of the international community, mumble jumble. God bless. Mumble jumble.”

维基泄密的罪行


维基泄密的创办人 阿桑奇 和一名23岁美军 曼宁(在狱中)正被以美国为首的联军追捕,参加围剿的国家比抢占伊拉克的盟国要多。听说阿桑奇还犯了强奸案,所以要出动八国联军和国际刑警缉捕。也不知什么时候开始,盟军对强奸罪的打击决心,提升到这么高的层面,要最高领导人来亲自掌舵处理。
阿桑奇有没有强奸另一个人类,我没有兴趣猜测。反正明眼人有明眼人各自的偏见。但维基泄密未得同意,奸污了一套自我赞口不绝的价值观,倒是事实。一个捍卫人权,绝对开放,讲求诚信,推崇资讯自由,表达自由的贞洁国度,被他在世人面前公然调戏了,也是有目共睹的。维基泄密虽然没有做到 “一灯灭了千年暗”,但未得同意,往人家不可侵犯的的黑暗角落打手电筒,把别人多年来辛苦经营的假面具揭掉,让真相赤裸裸地暴露,也等同强奸,理应问斩。假如阿桑奇强奸人类的罪名是生安白造出来的话,哪他更罪加一等:因为间接导致了美国亵渎了神性的法治精神,实属罪无可恕。
我从没有机会见过强奸犯。不过假如我要拍电影,想物色演员扮强奸犯的话,老实说,阿桑奇中选的机会不大。找他扮个冷面杀手,或有点神经质的大学教授,还有几分像样 。 。 。嗯,捧他当个诺贝尔和平奖得主又如何?他的提名表格,肯定比戈尔,达赖,奥巴马,刘晓波的都好作,容易填,对不对?但要他有机会拿和平奖,得首先保证他的生命安全。这点我们都没甚法子,唯有祈求美国,不要以泱泱大国,欺负一个看来不够八十公斤重的个体户。用他们的惯用口吻来说,便是:“国际社会要求美国当局尊重人权,言论自由,表达自由,立即停止对捍卫以上原则的人仕进行逼害。”

Monday, 29 November 2010

小说 “笙歌” 第贰章 之(四) “照鬼超声波”


第二章之四
照鬼超聲波
“竹毛冷?”玲娜出奇地問:“竹子也可以造毛冷的嗎?”

“可以,怕有幾十年歷史了。” 口氣中沒有絲毫不耐煩或者覺得媽媽無知。

媽媽不加思索地又補上一句:“就是顏色比較單調。”

夏麗心想:“我的媽呀,你三分種前才說這毛線很漂亮!” 但口裏還是慢條斯理地解釋著: “我故意挑中性顏色,男女合穿,彈性較大。”

除了准媽媽夏麗之外,差不多全世界都知道即將面世的寶貝是個男孩,但沒有人夠膽向她透露。玲娜很瞭解和尊重女兒的心意。與自己的孩子初次見面,是人生最珍貴的一刻,不應該把這分驚喜刻意破壞。然而那珍貴的一刻,亦是最令人擔心的一刻。小男孫會活著出來嗎。。。?


夏麗不許任何人在她面前猜度孩子的性別。醫生們看兩眼超聲幻影便當了自己是神仙,能知過去未來,其實不過白日見鬼。超聲波那東西本來就是照鬼鏡。她懷孕三個多月的時候,帶著緊張好奇的心情和宋煥第一次去照超聲波。誰知螢光屏上出現的小胚胎令她失望,震驚,傷心,甚至毛骨悚然。

一團灰中帶粉紅的肉瘤,浮沈在屏幕玻璃後面,毫無生氣,像隻泡在河面的爛蘿蔔,又像剝了皮的死老鼠。模糊的頭部,大得不合比例。手腳看上去幼小無力。其中一隻手以太空漫步的姿態擺了幾下,懶洋洋地向大家揮了一揮。

甚麼新生命!這鬼東西很老,老得很!

未打 “照鬼鏡” 之前,夏麗本來覺得腹中這塊肉無論肉體靈魂都是自己一部分。但浮現眼前的卻是個不慌不忙,在她體內吐吶養神的老幽靈,一隻準備借她的身體搞投胎的野鬼!她看了兩眼便無法看下去。淚水一下子忍不住湧出來。未經過專業訓練,她和宋煥當然看不出死老鼠是男是女。

“夏麗,好消息:看來一切良好。是不是很想知道小寶寶是仔仔還是女女呢? ” 黃醫生用專業口吻,得意地賣了個關子。 

“你不用說!我不想聽!” 夏麗重重的一句,把黃醫生的興致硬邦邦地截斷。黃大夫還未反應過來,她便接著發命令:“叫其它人也不要自作聰明,在我面前猜三度四。是男是女,生了出來自有分曉。到時用不著專家幫忙,我自己懂得鑒定。”

黃醫生給夏麗突如其來的連環悶棍打了幾下,默不作聲,像個鬧脾氣的小孩子。他望著表情尷尬的宋煥,示意著:“老兄,老婆是你的?那麼凶,你來應付吧。”

宋煥本來對這最新一代的三維空間超聲波掃描技術很有興趣,想借機跟黃醫生交流一下。現在事態有變,只有把好奇暫且擱置,把老婆的心情平復了再說:“你放心。這點我來保證。”

夏麗聽了老公的保證,才平靜下來。

她一閉上眼睛,腦海頓時充滿了剛才的鬼影。它胸有成竹地向她招手,似乎在取笑外面的人。

老子要來要去,變男變女,你管得了嗎?

夏麗覺得自己只不過是個靈魂回收站,負責把這老幽魂的過去洗擦乾淨,重新組裝,翻新,包裝成一個新生命。。
__________________

除了天氣預報,夏麗對一般的預測都興趣不大。

不論是星座運程,占卜算命,或者是統計推斷,聲波掃描,不管你當它是科學還是迷信,預測通常只會帶來無謂的不安和焦慮。凡事都有它的時候。時辰未到,只宜安心等待,盲猜瞎算沒好處。這人生態度本來頗有東方哲理,她老公卻偏偏沒有這種修養,甚麼都想預知,想計畫,反而要她這個鬼婆來平衡。

其實人就算偶憑僥倖或小聰明準確預測了未來,最終也不能改變事實。全球暖化就是個好例子。數據多的是,但搞政治拿主意的望著數據,不明所以,胡扯瞎鬧,利用來作秀或談判籌碼,結果甚麼實事也做不出來。最後除了氣候之外,其它通通不變,所有研究推測變成白費,簡直多餘。

夏麗希望那多餘的掃描,沒有影響在她體內成長的小寶貝。她肚裏的生命,跟黃醫生那長短波加混雜聲描出來的翻新遊魂是兩碼事。甚麼解像度,像元單位等一大串似是而非的名詞,用來形容宇宙間最神聖,最不可思議的一件事,何止荒謬,簡直放屁!

她打算叫她 Sonja —— 宋妮。夏麗不用甚麼鬼掃描也知道她是個女孩。可惜人們都情願相信機械,也不信媽媽的第六感。小宋妮在她肚子裏又暖又安全,翻身抓腳吃手指過日辰。不急,慢慢來,一切順應天時。時辰一到,自然相見,半秒不差。

見面的時辰既然未到,母女暫且分秒不離,合二為一。中國人說的什麼天地為一,萬物為一,心神合一,都是紙上談兵。有甚麼比媽媽和腹中骨肉的結合更實在,更自然,更徹底呢?雖然這二合一的重量都由她一個人負擔,實在有些吃力。

那麼重,會不會是個男的呢?

但夏麗心裏只有個小女孩,像個娃娃,令她想起自己的童年。自從懷孕後,夏麗對玲娜分外諒解,覺得媽媽的喜怒哀樂,希望和擔憂,突然間都較以往合理。夏麗一向很疼愛媽媽,只不過希望玲娜有些地方能夠改變一下。至於具體方面,怎麼講呢。。。算啦算啦,不講啦。

想到這裏,夏麗感到一陣溫馨直湧心頭。她抬頭看著玲娜,想起來繞過那巨大咖啡桌,吊著肚子把母親擁抱。剛好這時玲娜揉著肚皮,站起來準備去廁所:“唷,肚子感覺有些古怪。不會是吃錯了甚麼東西吧。。。”

哎喲!我剛才咒你拉肚子,只不過是無心牢騷,想不到那麼靈驗!真對不起哦媽媽!

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2010年11月 29 日 於过渡网发表
2017年11月修訂版

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Man’s Last Song Chapter 2-2: BREAD DELIVERY & 2-3 isä’s ASHES


Man’s Last Song Chapter 2-3:  isä’s ASHES

Alone in a frenziedly beeping airport, embroiled in foreign noises that droned without meaning, not even a rhythm, Laina felt dizzy. 
Why am I doing this? she asked herself, travelling so far away from her cosy apartment, the comfort of familiarity, from Heikki, to be stuck in the sticky time-zone of this clamorous terminal. 
All for Sari, she thinks. 
Her daughter was trapped by love at the end of the planet, in a dot of a place without dark rye bread. She had never been anywhere that didn’t have some form of ruisleipä. She couldn’t imagine. Help; her girl evidently needed help although she had no idea what on. And if Sari knew of her secretly helpful intentions . . . Alas.

Her baby girl was turning twenty-five in a few months, stolen by time, intoxicated with love, she was afraid. Afraid of what? Wasn’t that what she once searched? Why then was she worried? And Sari was twenty-five. 

Already twenty-five! 
Only twenty-five. 

So parlous: Still young, but threatened by age; still hopeful, but desperately tired. One day, it feels the exciting beginning of a new chapter. Next day, it feels the hasty ending of an unfinished book. What a critical turning point. So brutal. Better be there for her one and only daughter, her dearest person in this world, just in case.  
When Laina turned twenty-five, life was yet to begin. Quarter of a century had slipped by. Not much had happened. What was that something big she had been preparing for, while the body and spirit quietly started to wilt? A young and zestful girl woke up one morning to discover the shadow of an old woman in the mirror. Hidden; but she saw it. The realisation was abrupt, nearly shocking, and cruel. At twenty-five, she was only young in the eyes of those who didn’t matter. When exactly does middle-age start? The little girl lost grip of her dream.
Dream? What dream? 
She couldn’t say. Did she have one? Most certainly yes. It was here a moment ago,  yet . . . With each passing day, she became less sure that she’d ever had one. Her dreams had vanished like the soap bubbles her mother blew at her when she was little. So many, each with a rainbow on its skin. But she had never caught one. Blip. They never existed. She giggled.
What good is a young woman without dreams? Her surefooted steps to become somebody, achieve something or, perhaps, something else, never existed. Intoxicating love never existed. In their place loomed an uncompromising urgency. Hanging emptily. 

How did I live in a vacuum for so long without the smallest alarm? She was mortified. It was about time. Yes.
__________________
She married Sari’s father the following year. 
They grew up in the same neighbourhood. He had been in love ever since she could walk, and himself only a few years older. Evidently an infatuation carried over from a previous life. With drained blue eyes, he watched her drift in and out of his life over the years like the tides, unstoppable both ways, eroding his fragile heart. 
He had been her storm shelter. On a nice day, she would set sail and disappear beyond the horizon, frolicking into the bright blue sky cheerfully without a compass or destination. When it turned dark and windy, she’d rush back whimpering. He’d be there - still there - staring at the horizon, waiting. It’s Ok. Here, take the towel, dry yourself; have some warm coffee. She knew she could count on that much in life.
He was a book-keeper with the local supermarket. Steady, loyal and honest. Sensitive to others, everything, especially her. Never opinionated when he opened his mouth on rare occasions. Put all his attributes on a piece of paper, and you have a perfectly nice guy. “Too nice,” she’d said to her girlfriends. She was a salesgirl at the music store, envisaging a career in some kind of art. “A good match,” their friends said, but never elaborated why.
His reticence deepened after they married. A year later, just after Sari was born, he came down with postnatal depression in her stead. His love and hurt could not escape through words. Only vodka could release them through tears. The blue in his eyes started to run, and became more pale. He drank more and cried louder. 

The first Saturday after Sari’s fifth birthday was a beautiful and crispy early autumn day. The weather wasn’t to blame. He spent the afternoon drinking at home, weeping on and off, and condemning himself for that. The kitchen was saturated with sad vibes and the fume of alcohol. After putting Sari to bed, Laina leaned over his shoulders and whispered: “Pathetic” before going to bed, putting her head between pillows. He woke her up early next morning with a severe fit of cough, and died in the hospital fifteen hours later. The doctor said it was a particularly spontaneous and fatal strain of pneumonia. 
Even back then, it was pneumonia.
Laina decided to scatter her husband’s pulverised remains at the lake where his parents’ cottage was. “That’s what he’d have wanted. I know. I was his wife,” she wrote in his Facebook memorial.
It was cold and sunny. The wind was up. She took Sari out to the middle of the lake in the paddle boat. Their faces were numbed by the slashing wind. The wooden box provided by the crematorium sat heavily on her lap, giving the feeling of stability and contentment. She emptied the ashes into the wind without ceremony. Most of the sand-like remnants of the man who loved her under any circumstances got blown away in a hurry. She thought it ironic that after a lifetime of waiting and dithering, his last days had been hasty in every respect. A few heavier particles, probably dental fillings, made silent and negligible splashes. 
On the drive up, she had visualised his final ripples waning softly in his beloved lake, gently nudging up to her. It was to be her poetic farewell to his unconditional love, unmitigated melancholy, and pathetic sadness. Instead, everything rushed off with the wind, and denied her the last opportunity to have one romantic moment in their deceased marriage posthumously. 
“Say good-bye to your father,” she turned to her daughter, almost commanding. 
Sari was sitting beside her, stiffened by the lifejacket, frozen. She knew what this was all about, yet didn’t quite know what this was all about. 
Moi moi isä,” she complied. 
Laina flung the empty box off. It spun like a rectangular frisbee, landed with a crash.
Äiti, can we go now? I’m cold.”   
Laina wept for the first time in her marriage. He had monopolised crying. Now that he’s gone - flung off - she can again cry.
The next morning, they went down to the beach before heading home. Sari spotted the box in a patch of bulrushes. It’d been washed ashore last night. Laina threw it back out as hard as she could, propelled by an unreasonable annoyance with Sari for having noticed the damn thing. 
The wind had died down earlier. A light mist hovered above the still lake. The box made a crispy splash, shattering the morning silence. Startled gulls appeared out of nowhere, screeching like demons rejoicing their escape from hell, causing a rare moment of excitement in the tranquil northern air. The box, as if stunned by the violent rejection, undulated dazedly where it landed.

“Let’s go!” She grabbed Sari’s hand and started flouncing back to the car. Sari, half pulled along, turned to take another look at the box. Concentric ripples, gleaming softly in the lazy autumn light, rushed belatedly towards an empty beach. 
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Posted 23 Nov 2010 on Guo Du Blog

Friday, 19 November 2010

On Profanity

On Profanity


In the middle of a meeting with a lady bureau director in Guangzhou, China, in the mid 1980’s, I was shocked when she casually referred to someone we were chatting about as a dumbfuck. Back in those days, a Hong Kong person, particularly a woman, in her position would never swear or fart in public. I was therefore taken by surprise. I did my best to recover after swallowing a phantom blob of saliva, by muttering something like “no shit” to demonstrate solidarity, and to lessen my embarrassment (I was embarrassed by my embarrassment, since no one else present seemed embarrassed). The Revolution had made women as crass as men back then. Female profanity was more than swearing, it was a social statement, like Vivienne Leigh in Gone With The Wind I suppose. Perhaps I should say “it had been a social statement” because to my lady director, it had already become a habit, and ceased to carry any meaning or political gesture of gender equality.
It’s interesting to see how we take turn doing the same thing. While swearing by educated women has gone out of fashion in the mainland, more and more young people “in the outside world”, boys and girls, are swearing publicly, frequently, in high decibel these days. I wish they were also a statement of some kind, but they aren’t, not any more anyway. So, why do I think profanity is an issue one way or the other? 
First of all, let me declare: I swear, of course. In fact, I enjoy swearing at the right moment because I like descriptive words that convey emotions, can be delivered with passion, or an exclamation mark. Many a cuss word fall into that category. Furthermore, I don’t discriminate whether an oath has been uttered by a man or woman,  except for some Cantonese expletives that seem to be for men only because of physiological restrictions if you take it literally. 
So, the issue of profanity, to me, is quality. Like many things these days, swearing has lost it’s spark because of unthinking application. Something that should be colourful and emotional has, again, become banal in the 21st century. Take the subway train, go to a bar, look up Facebook, watch a Hollywood thriller, or, if you’re in a cool business, attend a business meeting: One small word, a single four-letter word, is threatening to dominate the English vocabulary. Surprised? Oh fuck! Excited? Oh fuck again! Angry? Fuck! Fuck fuck!! Envious? Ooh fuck . . . Sad? Ah . .  fuck. Frustrated? Fuck!!!  Impressed? Fuck me! Some Hollywood big star (I can’t think of an example, sorry) staring at a tsunami wave rushing towards him at 200km/h would mutter: Ooh fuck, ooh fuck, oh my Gawd! before turning and running to safety towards the camera, against all odds and gravity. 
Oh well, what’s wrong with one word fits all. Imagine, when you’re texting or chatting on line with a limited vocabulary, when you are, you know, you know, stuck for words, but compelled to say something, anything, then just type: “ooh . . . fuck . . .”, and click SEND. You could be meaning anything: Support, objection, approval, condemnation, admiration, concern, disgust, all at the same time, or none of the above. You can’t find a more powerful and versatile word in the history of language. No other word can give the impression of a strong and definite opinion without committing to any position. It’s a great way to be part of an online circle of 527 friends without having to think. Why bother the brain huh? It’s fucked anyway. 

讲讲粗口

讲讲粗口

在八十年代中期,我有一次到广州开会,与一位女局长闲谈之间,她神态自若地用常规广东粗话形容某某人“憨九九”。突然而来的一句,我差点把口里的茶喷了出来。在哪个年代的香港,讲粗口是男性特权;有教养的女性,绝对不会公然爆粗或放响屁。在大陆,革命破除了传统的男女之别;女的,当时已变得同男的一样不雅了。所以局长的一句 “憨九九”,其实充满了革命意义,为中国社会的历史性转变,打了个感叹号,与当年费雯丽 (港译:慧云李)在 “乱世佳人” 里哄动一时的轻轻一句,有异曲同工之妙。不同的是局长比起费雯丽年长的多,亦比她能干,果断,声大,和有严重哨牙而已。
随着世界退步,女人讲粗口,已经再没有什么革命含意,不值得大惊小怪。但世界轮流转,当今大陆的女强人,开始穿高跟,扮高雅,有屁死忍;而香港很多年轻男女,却越来越粗口,越爆越大声,在地铁,酒吧,网上,高声地屌,大字地屌,开怀地屌;虽然整句的英文说不出来,但拿着一个 F 单音字制造现代感,则绰绰有余。我也感觉到他们有点儿渴望得到周围的注意,认同他们豪,放,串,酷!
首先声明,我也讲粗口。在适当的场合和时候,在某种情况之下,粗话确实比文言文更加豪情,更能发挥,配合气氛。在工地工作不讲粗口,也可能给人当衣冠禽兽,受到鄙视。至于男人和女人讲粗口,在这个年代,对我来说已经分别不大。那么粗口这个课题,又有什么好啰嗦的呢?
问题不是粗口,而是粗话的水平,越来越低。粗话,本应多不少带点激情,冲动,粗胚和发泄的力量;在21世纪,也变得淡然无味。看看 Facebook,时下年轻人,惊喜时:哇 F; 愤怒时:F!FF!!气不顺:噢 F!刺激,妒忌,伤心,懊恼,喝彩,通通一个 F 字包办。看情况以后修读语文系,肯定越来越轻松。这个与好莱坞电影有些关系。看!海啸爆发,滔天巨浪冲入城内,男主角逃难之前,还得面对大浪 “噢F,噢F,我的天呀!” 一轮,才转身拔脚而逃,与大自然赛跑。电影中的男男女女,一般在紧急关头,若要发号施令,控制局面,第一,必定要够大声,第二,要不停的 F! F! F!,以示事态严重。
世界越来越繁复,普通人交友广阔,在 Facebook 随便有五六百个Friend;每天要应付的通讯极度频繁,能够 “以一字以概之”,也未尝不是好事。一句 “噢。。。F!”  让你积极参予了对话;不过语调虽然兴奋,但对你的立场,丝毫未有透露。因为不论赞成,反对,羡慕,感慨,捧场,喝倒彩,都可以用 “噢。。。F!”来代表。如果在外交场合可以爆粗,哪么 fuck 应该是有语言以来最有概括性,最不须要伤脑筋,和最受外交家欢迎的一个字。唯一牺牲了的,只是我们的想像力和表达能力而已;但那是小事。

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Currency War (II) - Refugees

The last Financial Analysis I read might have been in the 1980’s; so why am I writing about something I have neither interest nor knowledge on? Well, since there’s supposed to be a currency invasion out there, I should prepare myself for being a refugee just in case. Like all war victims throughout history, I want to find ways to better my chance of survival, and find out where the front line is so I can run the other way. All I’m doing now is to record my flight path for fellow refugees before everything has disappeared.
The market is booming out there. Oh yes, I’m not one bit surprised, but won’t even blame it on foresight this time. My engineering background told me it will happen: It’s mass balance. Like gravity, it’s unavoidable. A friend had put it in more user-friendly terms: There’re unlimited funds out there going after limited equity. So, what do you expect? What else could have happened? If you had the power to create garbage money out of dirty thin air, and realise that your days maybe numbered, what would you do? Duh, what about turning them into assets, equity, tangible resources before too late. What about buying up the products of others’ hard work for a sparkling holographic dollar?
Does that mean the price of equity would go up forever? Of course not!  We don’t live that long. But it may go up for a very long time, with lots of short sharp plunges in between to jerk the breakfast out of people with a weak stomach. Ha, the financial coyotes will promptly lick it clean so don’t you worry about the sanitation consequences. These turbulent drops are required to prop up the show - hey! people are cashing in, seeking refuge in the dollars again! See? -  in addition to allowing Wall Street to get the most out of fake money. To get more juice out of an orange, it should be pressed multiple rounds, not just once. To real misers, even fake money should perform efficiently you know.  
So, the market will drop like an airplane in turbulence, and similarly regain altitude in no time. That’s my fictional vision of what may happen. What it won’t do is burst like a bubble that it undoubtedly is, and stay burst. Because that would mean the coyotes finally dumping all the assets in the market, and holding on to a lot of cash that they could have just printed from the onset. What do you think they are? Stupid or something?
Now what can I do as a promising refugee? A few things. 
Number one: I won’t leave anything in USD or other phantom entities directly related to the USD. My friends know I have not done that for more than a decade anyway. I have been leaving my meagre cash reserves in Australian and New Zealand dollars, and RMB as soon as we were allowed to purchase in Hong Kong. RMB is obvious: Name me another currency that can only go up, with a government that is not controlled by Wall Street and a bunch of elected crooks. Australian and New Zealand dollars enjoy some isolation, and de facto linkage to commodities that are always needed.
Number two: I plan my cash flow. Since my lifestyle is pitifully humble, I try to plan my cash flow for three years, and put the rest in equities and things that I can touch and sniff. This is an annual exercise. In the meantime, if equities balloon away because of money collapsing, I won’t sell just in case they fly away, and I’m left holding a bunch of empty balloon strings. If they plunge, I won’t sell because I know they will come back up, and go higher, propelled by steaming greed, following the longer-term curve drawn with the holographic ink of the biggest market manipulators in the history of the animal kingdom. So, either way, I sit back and pick my nose.
Us war victims selling low is the one thing that the coyotes would love to see, and plan to happen. I’d just go Omm when all the bombing happens. Let them play shock and awe. I nap. I don’t believe it will stay down for longer than my cash flow period. If it does, a miracle has happened: I love miracles, so I’d dance and sing, rapturously praising the Lord. 
Number three: To help cash flow, I only invest in things that yield a reasonable dividend. When it comes to stocks, I only invest in major Chinese Government corporations. Not because I’m a patriot. China will not let artificially created market tremours bring the share prices of say the country’s banks and oil companies below par value, so that Coyotes can lap them up at a ridiculous discount. Fat chance. Scream! Call them “market manipulators” in the FT. See if I care. A more important factor is that State Corporations will not go bankrupt if you don’t live beyond the life expectancy allowed by the United Nation. That’s why the Royal Bank of Scotland, for example, are more stable in the free market these days. If all that fails to happen, if gravity has suddenly disappeared from earth, the worst case is to sit back and collect more than 10% dividend yield, the kind of return you’d be enjoying if you bought at the bottom of the financial tsunami.
Well, I’m kind of socialist, sometimes even vegetarian for a meal or two, so you shouldn’t share my delusions. Look at the opposite escape route: American companies are still trading at great prices. In comparison with say the Chinese Banks, they are run by reliable, honest, and transparent people who are law abiding, who understand corporate social responsibilities and care about sustainable development, democratic values, and human rights. They seem a better bet in each and every way. I would invest in them too if I were not suffering from chronic prejudice, clinical cynicism and incorrigible rationality.
See, the world is beautifully diverse, full of investment options. It’s all up to us, potential refugees of the Free Market, to find our own flight path. Good luck.
Guo Du  
7 November 2010

闲谈货币战争(2)- 走难

我对金融投资的兴趣不大,又没有天分。印象中,上一次拿份投资分析文章之类如厕时拜读,应该是 80年代的事了。哪么货币战争关我屁事?我又凭什么在这个课题上吹牛?哎,外面打仗,老百姓得走难,不一定要军事专家才可以找路逃对不对?人一逃难,各奔前程,不知何日再相逢,所以现在把我的逃难路线告诉大家:信的,往东逃;不信的,往西跑;有道的,就在原地不动!
打什么仗?外面歌舞升平,股市又创新高。哪股市创新高又有何奇怪?应该是意料中事。这绝对不是什么马后炮投资眼光,是物理学,是物料平衡。以无限的资金,追逐有限的资产,资产有跌的可能吗?假如你有权印假银纸,又心知一屋子的 “鬼影变幻钱” 时日无多,你会怎样做?我就会拿着一箩箩现金,连你家里的旧痰盂也买回来,插花也好,盛零钱也好。
哪是否意味资产会永远的升值下去呢?哪肯定不会:因为我们不会永远的活下去。没有了人类,其它的动物应该没有同样的闲情。但在可见未来,资产会严重涨价好一段日子,而在这好一段日子里面,又会反反复复地暴跌,吓得心血弱的投机份子把去年吃多了,还没有消化的也吐个淋漓尽致。但你无须担心卫生问题,你一呕吐,人家成群成群的小狼狗便第一时间把一切舔个干净。
如果让资产直线狂升,不加插多轮暴跌,这台戏便演不下去。每次掉下来都是“证实” 钱还是有价值的 - 看!快看!美元回弹啦!要加息啦!快拿点垃圾回家避难吧!- 股市每插一轮水,华尔街便把垃圾钱的抢劫效益提高。虽然本钱是不费吹灰之力凭空创造的,但也得讲效率,否则算不上是个好的资本家。
所以呢,在我的幻觉里面,资产市场,尤其股市,会像飞机过气流一样,失惊无神跌一下,不把口闭上,心脏也会被抛出来。但你惊魂未定,飞机已经爬回原来高度,还要加上几十米。我为什么有这样的幻觉呢?因为如果股市掉下来之后,长时间不回过身来展翅高飞,哪小狼狗们便要把资产在高价抛售之后,抱着垃圾钱沾沾自喜,不出手再换资产。别忘记垃圾钱本来就是狼狗们变出来的,搞了一大圈,最后得到的是一大堆随时可以再印的假银纸?他们有哪么笨吗?
哪么以我这个货币战争的准难民来说,应该怎样部署避难呢?
第一,有关美元的东西,我一向不碰。美元的确会反弹。死尸也的确会放屁,但不过是体内腐烂过程所产生的气体,在肛门找到一点空隙,大吹大擂而已。我肯定不会跟上去嗅。十多年来,我那一点点的现钱,都是放在澳币纽币,自从可以换点人民币之后,一有闲钱也换上几块防身。理由是澳纽币跟资源有很大的挂钩,间接有“资源本位”。除了人民币之外,我想不出有另外一个货币明天只有升,没有跌的可能。还有人民币升跌也比较有序,没有华尔街和一群选出来做戏的政治天才在刻意搞鬼。
第二,我极之重视现金流。我的生活标准,朴素得令暴发户落下同情之泪;以它来作准的话,三年的现金流十分保守。现金流计划要每年调整一次。之后“多余”资金最好与资产挂钩。期间假如资产狂涨,通涨杀人,我会闭目养神,也不变卖;否则泡沫气球突然失控,飞到无限远,我便眼巴巴拿着条本来绑着气球的绳子站在哪发呆。
如果期间资产大泻又如何呢?一样闭目养神,不放不卖。放心,动物世界有史以来最贪婪的市场操纵集团肯定不会让市场长期处于低位的。我死守三年,肯定比他们长气。如果中了六合彩,价钱好,值得投资,趁低再买。小狼狗们一身的伎俩,拆穿了就不过把我们这些小难民愚弄,要我们价高时兴奋地买,价贱时恐慌地卖。我们如果能够克服自己的贪念和神经过敏,小狼狗也可以加点花椒八角炖了来吃。
第三,我一般只买股息较高的红筹国企股。这并非因为我爱国。小狼狗的伎俩,中国基本上已看通一二。想来个人造股灾,然后以低于实际面值扫货?发梦!金融海啸最恐怖的时候,便是用最后两毛钱放胆投资的时候。算是天有不测之风云,真的没有了天理,地心再没有吸力,哪个时候买的股票,动不动有10%以上派息率,可以舒舒服服等它十年二十年。
以上是我的逃难幻觉。正常人不应该理会。细想之下,向我逃难的反方向走,应该比较理智。你看投资美国多好:美国公司现在价钱还是十分便宜,管理有制度,讲效率。背后人才鼎盛,科技发达,透明度高,法治精神强,有民主价值观,讲完企业社会责任,又讲环保和人权。这样的国家和企业,绝对值得世人投资。如果我不是患有先天性偏见, 对说一套做一套的人抱有病态怀疑,和太过执著于理性,我也会把最后的两毛钱白白送给他们。
所以,转左是生路,转右是发财大机,在自由市场的战火里逃命,似乎十分过瘾。如果处境给我还要差,一毛钱也没有的无产阶级同志,可以坐在轮椅上看轰炸,也是一种娱乐。
希望大家尽情享受敌军的炮火,祝你好运!
过渡  7。11。2010

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Man’s Last Song Chapter 1-1: FOG





1.1 Fog


Dogs can be heard barking in the distance. Song Sung finds that relatively reassuring; some have started to howl, especially on a full-moon night, to theatrically declare their return to nature, reversing centuries of fussy breeding. It gives him the creeps nonetheless. Now that there are no more dog biscuits with nutrient labels, they’d eat anything, including people. Preferably people? 

Yes, they must find humans tasty, even rotten ones. The feasting faces of the German shepherds remain vivid in his mind after all these years. He can still hear their ravenous sound; every slurp, snap, yank, squirt, and grunt. The stench had made the air viscous, keeping everything in suspension, trapping the flies in its space. Blood dripped in slow motion from slimy jaws, like molten plastic. 
He shudders.
Man’s best friend. Sure, when we manufactured dog food. Wolves. That’s right. Wolves. 
I’ll end up wolf breakfast.
He wonders how thoroughly wolves kill before muzzling in. They’re supposedly smart hunters, like humans, perhaps just as cruel. He sees himself pinioned by four big dogs. Canine teeth penetrate his flesh like ceramic nails, clamping the bones, pushing deeper into his guts. He writhes weakly, keeping his eyes closed, trying to relax, submitting. Entrails are being ripped out, but there’s no pain, just a feeling of becoming lighter, being reduced . . . 
To dog food.
Stop it!  He curses his actively silly imagination.
Why not turn back for a warm drink and more sleep then? No. Keep going. No backtracking. Call it pride, stupidity, whatever.
He clutches the walking staff tighter, and treads on.
Dense fog covers everything like a divine correction fluid, attempting to smother the creator’s faulty designs. Why bother anymore? Song Sung thinks. There’s hardly anyone left. 
He labours a deep breath; gummy air sinks inside damp lungs. The atmosphere seems anoxic. Can asphyxiation happen gradually, imperceptibly, like boiling frogs? Probably. 
The misty world started out enchanting this morning. He even thought it romantic, and gaily pronounced so. Then it turned insufferable without changing appearance, suddenly. Or is it me again? But at least it looked calm from the house. Suffocating, but calm. Out here, in the middle of the grey viscous air, he’s flustered by the roiling turbulence. He opens his eyes wider, as if that would help him see further; but depth has been lost, compressed right against his face.
It’s silent, eerily silent. How come? Where are the birds and their clamourous twittering? There should be hundreds of them about the big banyan. This time of the day? He’s not sure . . . 
Am I still alive? Do lost souls know they are dead?
Rhea’s right; it’s dumb to go downhill in this weather. Even dumber to take the footpath rather than the main road. “Dumb it is then,” he mutters grumpily. Pushing the whiteness in front, he walks trancelike towards the overgrown Old Peak Path.

__________________

What’s another day? Not to say a few hours to wait out the fog, Rhea had urged gently. What’s the hurry? Is everything OK? Yes, of course. Everything’s OK, he assured. Just can’t stand this fog; got to go where there’s air. 
Where there’s air . . . ? Right now? 
Yeah, right now, sorry. I can’t breathe. Fogs up here last forever you know.
Sure. Whatever you say. She returned to the dishes. 
She normally leaves the evening dishes for the next morning; cleaning up in candlelight is a pain. Scratching absentmindedly at a speck of food on the porcelain dish, she considered different approaches: A soft purring? Matter-of-fact announcement? A light-hearted “guess-what” surprise? One way or the other, it must come out, soon. He must be told, soon. Why not now? The secret that shouldn’t be has been growing inside, like indigestion: Burning, gurgling, refusing to go through, too chicken to come out. 
Just turn around and say it. Speak: That’s all it takes.
That’s right; that simple. But she said nothing, and stared at her hands instead. How pampered they once were. How silky and diaphanous their skin used to be. And how impermeable and slack they now looked. The tiny furrows and creases seemed a touch more prominent, a bit more assertive then . . . the last time she checked? Just a bit, hardly noticeable, but she checked often. Ageing doesn’t just happen does it? It creeps, steadily, stealthily, relentlessly, all over you, and stays. 
The knuckles . . . look at them. One molecule a time, they swell. One of these nights, while sleeping, unsuspecting, the last breaking molecule would be deposited; the final straw. She’ll wake up to the arthritic pain of red, swollen knuckles — a trademark of old ladies’. Time was undoing her. All quite subtle, but nothing escaped her unforgiving self-scrutiny. These hands, under a thin lace of suds, bluntly reminded she was forty-eight. So what, she thought with a burst of positive energy. I’m still the youngest woman around.
Fine, but old enough to know not to confuse men at the wrong moment. When is the right moment though? 
Not today. Not today anyway.
She could hardly believe the hesitation: Why do I need courage, as if guilty of some unforgivable wrongdoing? Oh well, be patient, time’s ticking — slowly for once, on my side for once. Before long, I’ll be able to sit back and let events take over.  In the meantime, I can afford to dither. Can I?
Too late now anyway. Song was antsy, eager to get out, pausing at the door for a recognisable farewell — any sign to demonstrate her wholehearted acceptance of his sudden swing of mood and anxious departure. Rhea swallowed her brooding thoughts, but refused to lessen his unease. Such a petulant man sometimes. She scratched at the dish again. It squeaked; the speck of food had long gone.

Fog had sneaked through every crack and joint of the lavish mansion, creating big wet patches everywhere. Water droplets slithered down the walls as if they were melting. Everything smelled of mildew. A dull silence throbbed in Song’s head, pouncing him from within. Silence is supposed to be relaxing, but . . . He had to go: Now.
“Sure you don’t want to come?”
“No. I’ve got lots to do here. You go.”
“Should I get a few buckets first?” He saw the pails sitting in the living room, ready for their daily trip to the stream.
“It’s OK. I’ll do that a bit later, when the fog has cleared.” 
Just a bit later, it’d clear. Not forever my love. Do you hear?

__________________


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         Posted 12 Oct 2010 on Guo Du Blog
         Revised 5 Feb 2011, 10 April 2011, June 2011