What's Guo Du?


What’s Guo Du?

Guo Du means transition, an interlude, in Chinese. 

It was a nom de guerre when I started this bilingual blog to share my novel Man’s Last Song. It is now a platform for my metamorphosing ideas, fleeting fantasies, evolving opinions, and captured images. 

Writing in two languages as fundamentally different as English and Chinese is fascinating. It forces me to approach an idea from contrasting cultural angles, giving it further depth and dimensions. In Chinese, I write in its simplified modern form for reasons I expounded in the post: "Hong Kong's Voluntary Obsolescence".

It is cultural perspective and equivalence —  not translation — that link my linguistic versions. To tell the same story, I sometimes need to modify dialogues, adjust setting, even change the characters, in order to provide cultural context, invite empathy, or simply be better understood. 

I love to write, but not for the sake of stringing beautiful sentences together. The purpose of writing should be to communicate thoughts and impressions. But opinions and perspectives may change with time and experience. Except for those encased in blind faith, today’s conviction could mature into irrelevance tomorrow. Isn’t youthful confidence a promising source of future embarrassment if one continues to observe, learn and change?

Everything's a Guo Du. What better way to trace the transitions in life than writing down the way they appear to me at the time?  

James Tam
Revised October 2012


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Science has not loosened its divine grip. Instead we are supposed to believe in science. It has become the new religion. Your belief in science is expected to give you the world view which can carry you over the troubled waters. Believing in science leaves you as empty inside as believing in materialism.
Instead we should be encouraged to develop an inner, spiritual, individual relationship with Life. Once established it will never let you down, because it is the road you as individual human being is supposed to walk. It is not necessarily a relationship with a God, but it might be, if it is your God, not anybody else’s.

Spirituality can very well coexixt with modernity as far as it is individuated spirituality, not spirituality of your family, your clan, your nation, your outer world. People with an individuated, private and personal living relationship with their own innermost Life are most fantastic partners in all projects of the modern world.

Guo Du 过渡 said...

I fully agree. Many of us have made science the new superstition. Developing an inner relationship with life makes life so much more enjoyable, but the process is REALLY difficult. I suppose that's why most of us opt for the convenient way out, and get stuck with some off-the-shelve enlightenment.

That said, science is still a better foundation than ancient "Holy Books" to contemplate the magic of life, and start looking inward.

Anonymous said...

Holy books are very good guides to an inner relationship with the Life itself, if they are read and taken as what they actually are, stories about thst how the eternal in me is seeking and finding relationship with the non eternal of me. They are essentially not stories about any certain person but about all of us.

Modern physics is telling the same story, only slightly more difficult to understand as such. If you compare decriptions of top scientists on atom physics with some of the most mystical scriptures of the world literature, the similance is striking.

Guo Du 过渡 said...

Yes, can't agree more, and is exactly what I attempt to highlight in some of the discussions in Man's Last Song (Qigong Rapsody, About God, for e.g.) I'm however skeptical about Holy Books that must be capitalised, and are taken literally as words spoken by a God that is also capitalised.

In my opinion, authors of "spiritual books" that do not involve a humanised absolute deity have more intellectual freedom to pass on their insights and wisdoms forthright, without embellishment to suit God's absolute preferences. I think these books, holy or not, are as a result more inspiring to the readers, with much wider possibilities.