Sunday, 18 August 2019

HK Deserves the Riots, and Separation of Powers

Hong Kong’s riots remind me of my late father’s somewhat unorthodox adage: “If a son beats his father, the father deserves it.”

Under normal circumstances, a father-beating son is either brought up seriously wrong, or the father is being unthinkably atrocious. None of my father’s seven children ever assaulted him, not even verbally. He was trying to make us think about the cause and consequence of things.

These days, the young of Hong Kong is beating up their old man — the society which has brought them up. Does the “father” deserve it? I’d say yes. That’s why in this Reflect on Hong Kong series, my discussions are more focused on the last generation’s role in Monster Parents, The More Chaotic the Better, and “Angry Youths and MADs”.

I am not trying to justify the fatuous brutality and suicidal destructions of the young thugs. But unless we understand why they are the way they are, and face up to it, the problem will never go away.

Monday, 5 August 2019

Angry Youths and Cheering MADs

The Hong Kong riots should be viewed differently at the national and local levels. At the national level, I’m sure there’s a strategic plan which takes into consideration geopolitical factors beyond my prattling scope. The bottomline is a hundred percent secured; there’s no suspense.

At local level, I have previously explained why Hong Kong should be left to boil in chaos a little longer (link, in Chinese only) for the time being. Meanwhile, as we sit back to witness homegrown barbarism in horror, why not take a look at who they are, and what has made them.

More people now understand that Hong Kong’s problems come fundamentally from three failed areas — Education, Judiciary, and the Mass Media. Recovering these “occupied territories” will take resolve and patience. Hong Kong Government has no problem with patience, but is not very good at making up its mind.

The problems with education, however, are urgent. Unless they are fixed, there’ll be a continuous supply of angry mobsters.

反思香港 - 憤青與廢中坑


其次是香港如何自己收拾殘局,開始長期的艱苦復原。這方面要做的事情很多,方向亦很模糊。暫時唯有讓它亂下去的原因,以前討論過了(鏈接 「越亂越好」)。大家都在等看大結局的同時,何不花點時間,看看這些暴徒是什麼人,來自哪裡,好待風暴過後處置。

漸漸多人開始明白,香港的基本問題來自「教育,傳媒,司法」 三大領域的失陷。收復這些失地要下決心,給耐性。對港府來說,耐性是長期老習慣,決心是大膽新嘗試。不過光復教育「淪陷區」急不容緩,否則 「憤青」源源不絕;這點要瞭解,才有希望杜絕。


有關香港的暴亂,我在吃瓜群組中多次提出 「越亂越好」,並非賭氣之言,而是覺得這亂局不能避免,而壞中求變的方法之一,是讓它亂。

「一國兩制」 是上世紀八零年代鄧小平設計的概念。由始至今,轉眼三十多年。這期間國家發展驚人,很多方面甚至是歷史創舉。大家習慣了奇跡不絕,很容易忘記了八零年代的中國是什麼的樣子。當時剛改革開放,家裡有電話的人也不多;中央無論經驗與信心,都不足以接管香港。鄧小平的 「一國兩制,五十年不變」,現在事後聰明,當然有不足之處,卻不失為天才之策,精彩完成了歷史任務。在執行方面,除了缺乏經驗,過往幾十年國家要辦的一等大事也實在太多太多,疏忽了替香港「去殖民化」這件嚴重的 「二等大事」。

回頭看,完全放手讓港人高度自治也過於理想。香港政務官是英殖時期的本地執行人,老闆說什麼,全力以赴。老闆不開腔,自己關門看報學英文。回歸後,英國老闆走了,北京又不補上,政務官猶如找不到皇上的太監,不知急什麼好?唯有婆聲乸氣地亂搞。美英勢力比較清楚香港,見狀乘虛而入,經 「司法,教育,傳媒」 三大渠道把香港重新殖民。這回沒有了管治顧慮,目標單純明確,一心分化操縱,手段比英治時期更陰險極端。

Monday, 15 July 2019

Dissecting Monster Parents

The anti-China self-hate-racists in Hong Kong have reached a new level of absurdity and violence, ransacking police stations and the parliament (LEGCO). Pundits have offered many explanations for their pathological behaviour. The vague consensus seems to be that Hong Kong has failed miserably in three sectors: the media, judiciary, and education. I pointed out exactly these subverted areas in my satirical Cultural Revolution Posters seven years ago. If these losing “war zones” were obvious to me then as a casual observer, one would think the government must have had noticed as well. It’s puzzling why it has done nothing, and continues to do nothing except offering apologies to everyone. Perhaps in an institutional form, the government is also a “monster parent”?

Monsters breed monsters, naturally. Hong Kong’s monster parents — be them individuals or institutions — cannot deny responsibility for having raised a generation of junior demons.


在香港滋生了一群 「自我種族歧視」 怪物,長期盲目反中,胡亂搞事,最近更荒誕暴力,到處欺凌搗亂,連警察總部和立法會也肆意破壞。專家們就此作出了不少分析,輿論慢慢指向了香港的三大淪陷區:教育,傳媒,司法。其實我多年前已經用 「文革大字報」 的諷刺格式提出警告。奇怪的是,連我這站在群眾後排啃瓜的人也看到的問題,政府卻懵然不知,年復一年毫無作為。可能政府本身也是頭「怪獸家長」吧。


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。


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.


Photo from REUTERS/Chris Wattie


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。


Friday, 25 January 2019



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.



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


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!



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?」





Saturday, 15 September 2018



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。


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!

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






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.


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


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.



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。


Thursday, 21 December 2017


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:


~~~ 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。



我把鐘鼓齊鳴的視頻上載了 YouTube:

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.


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?


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.


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.