2011年9月29日 星期四

No2good (不二良)

One of the artists whose work I sampled in the "Dream" exhibition at Huashan Creative Park shortly before I left Taipei was "No.2 Good" written "No2good" (不二良), whose real name is Chan Pak Leung (陳柏良). According to information obtained from various internet sources, he is one of a new generation of designers and illustrators born in the late 1970s and an Art graduate of  National Changhua University of Education( 國立彰化師範大學) and the Institute of Design of the Taiwan National Normal University (國立台灣師範大學設計研究所) and had been actively involved with the Taiwanese pop group called May Day (五月天) and the design and production of various music videos and the co-designer, with Ashin( 阿信) aka Chen Hsin-hung (陳信宏), pop singer, composer, songwriter, author, actor and lead vocalist of the rock band Mayday, of a teenage fashion line called "Stayreal" and its current in house designer. From a young age, he has been interested in cartoon drawing and his works had been exhibited at the 54th Biennale International Art Exhibition at Venice this year. According to him, what started him on the road to fulfilling his dream is the thought: If you were to be shot dead at the next moment, what is it that you regret most for not having done?

This is what I saw at the exhibition. The works from top left to right
to the bottom are respectively called: Defoliation Mouse (落葉小鼠),
Truck Mouse (卡車小鼠) Sportscar Mouse (跑車小鼠), Exam Over
(考畢萬歲), Salon Mouse (沙龍小鼠) French Fries Mouse (薯條小鼠)

and the big one in pink frame Rock Boy and in the background, you
find the half hidden words "Stayreal" which is the name of a song
of Ashin, with whom he has corroborated and co-operated on a number
of joint projects. It is obvious that he comes from a generation who grew
up with cartoon figures like Mickey Mouse, the Blue Genie or their various
local transformations, French fries and toy cars and shares with all
teenagers the exhilaration and joy the end of their school exam.
In all these figures, you see from the colors and the facial
expressions of the created characters that they are filled with a
child-like joy. This is what I like about him.

Why does the boy have a pair of earphones over him? He doesn't wish to hear the constant
quarrels in his family. He can tune them off by turning the volume knob of the earphone of
his MP 3 to the maximum to drown out such annoying noises. 

In this photograph, you see a series of his favourite "mouses" characters which he calls,
probably in line with the Chinese accented pronounciation of the english word "mouse",
"mousy". From left to right, we have the Hell Mousy, the Bee Mousy, the Sponge Mousy,
the Superman Mousy, the Ding Dong Mousy, the Genie Mousy and the Pink Mousy.

Superman Mousy

The Ding Dong Mousy

Mario Mousy

The Pink Mousy

The Camouflaged Colored Mousy

The Genie Mousy

The Batman Mousy

Why is it that the character wears enormous glasses and has a bandage over one
of his ears? That's because according to No2Good, from a young age, he had been
forced to study, study, study, study every day of his life and as a result, he had to
wear spectacles. And the bangage? Well, when he didnt' remember the stuff that he
was supposed to have memorized, his ears would be pulled. As a result of this
extremely common type of parental discipline amongst Chinese parents, one of his
ears had been damaged and needed to be covered over by a bandage! Of course,
he is there only describing an experience with which many of the less fortunate
Chinese students would have found some less then pleasnant resonance.

2011年9月28日 星期三

A Leisurely Central

Central is special to me. Been there tens of years. Yet I can never have enough of it. Always changes: buildings, window displays and people. But I never really had time to stop, to slow down and to actually look, until I took up photography. I took a leisurely photographic walk again in Central last week. Here's what I found.

Reflections and reality, side by side. How different! I like the steps at three levels each bigger
than the previous as we move down and the contrast between the two horizontal panels and
the reflection of reflection on the surface of the left window..

The tops and sides of different buildings "look" as if they were connected!

The outlines of the buildings seem all curved!

5 buildings in the same photo: four real and 4 images of buildings!

People appear to have become thinner and elongated like those figures by Giacometti. 

Buildings too take on strange shapes. You even find a bull on a window!

And reality and its images have become so mixed that it has become difficult to tell which is which.
They seem to blend into surprising patterns: pure forms. Glistening, silent, indifferent.

Unusual regular patterns are everywhere!

One of the sculptures of Juming!

Another one of Juming's Tai Chi sculptures.

When will the bull return? The bull is silent! Just a curious expression on his face!

Before the bull returns, a hovercraft carrying quicker dreams of another strike in the next town.
How many return with unbroken dreams?

Look, another one taking off! When will people ever wake up? They run day and night!

Here, at last, another boat doing something rather more realistic. But it's much smaller!

It's getting late. But the activities in Central show no sign of slowing down. The streets are still
full of cars and people.

Night comes. Lights from the nearby hotel and commercial buildings showering everything with
a layer of artificial gold.

It's 7.15 p.m. Most office workers have already left to prepare dinner, tend to their kids or have
already had their second or third drink in nearby pubs, exchanging jokes or telling tales of their
exploits or drowning their sorrows to the sound of glasses on the table tops. Those who are not
can afford to relax their paces a little now.

Windows seem to have taken on weird new colors and forms, quite different from those earlier
in the day.

Here're some other windows, in green, blue and red, not yellow!

Everywhere you go, you find huge electronic bill boards, even on the surface of windows.

They never seem to stop flashing and to change colors, to capture your attention, so eager were
they to transfer as much of your hard earned cash from your bank account into theirs,  if you'd
allow your momentary impulse to overwhelm your sense into buying things you don't really need,
waiting "patiently" for your vanity, your lust and your greed to continue the work they have started.

Across the daily narrowing stretch of sea between the two sides, the lights were on too. I really
do not understand why. They've got a real need to? Or just afraid to be forgotten? If so, why the
inordinate fear? What's wrong with disappearing for a while from others' eyes? Aren't you still
there whether others see them or not?

It's raining. Everything is turned into a blur.

The further they are, the more they become blurred. 

The rain doesn't seem able to stop the building, building, building. Sure, the economy's got to
grow! But the decisions were taken long ago. We have all become slaves of "numbers"!

Even during the night, people were still going to the site office, perhaps to assess the
progress of the day, perhaps to check on the work sheet of the day laborers, perhaps to
plan on who to call to work for the next day?

Across the pedestrian walkway, you can see people relaxing over a cup of coffee or fruit juice
or waiting for their friends.

On the other side of the pedestrian walkway, you again find all the lights were on, even at the
post office!

The rain is getting heavier. Better move inside. I don't want my camera to get all wet from
the drops of water flying through the air from the occasional gusts of wet wind.

And admire the colors and the intricate patterns formed by circles, squares, rectangles and
lines inside a nearby building.

And wander off to look at some flowers!  Certainly more pleasant.

2011年9月26日 星期一

Dream Come True!

Happy was my Sunday. A dream came true. For years, I have been looking out from the verandah of my former Island east flat at another small island in the distance off the Lyemun Pass in the direction of Saikung. It looked as if it were a boulder in green rising up from the bottom of the sea. What was on it? Was it inhabited? What could one find there? Anything interesting?  No need to continue to speculate and wonder. Find out!  The island was Tung Lung Island. One could actually go there by some "street ferry" (街渡). The ferry left from Sai Wan Ho. I understand that one could also go there from by ferries from another company operating from Sam Ka Chuen in Kwun Tong. I took the 9.45 a.m. ferry from Sai Wan Ho. It was was drizzling. It didn't matter. The journey was pleasant but uneventful. I was glad however to be able to have another chance to look at my former flat and tried to identify it in the distance. It brought back many pleasant memories. That's where I had my daughters.

I had no idea what I would find on the island. As the ferry neared the island, I saw four or five "fish rafts". Beside them were anchored a few motor boats. They looked like working boats. In the distance, I could see a narrow path leading from the little stone pier up the green hillside and soon disappearing amongst the thick of some bushes. I walked up with the dozen other fellow passengers at a leisurely pace.

My ferry.

Some people preparing to go out to sea at the little beach next to the pier. Perhaps for fishing?

A little distance up, I found a garden at a bend of the path and some beautiful yellow flowers with
a bee!.

More flowers.

A close up of one of them with ants harvesting its honey!

The flowers were from a creeper!

This would be what the flowers may eventually end up being!

On the other side of the path were some papaya trees. But not all plants are grown for food.

Some beautiful flowers for the sheer delight of being looked at!

The flowers in full bloom.

Some ripening berries?

Others still budding?

Other flowers along the path emerging after the morning drizzle.

New shoots just coming out.

Morning glories everywhere!

And these small flowers whose name I don't know.

Some other tiny yellow flowers in full bloom too!

Other fresh green leaves coming out after the rain.

After half an hour or so, I came upon a beach. The waves were coming in from the ocean.

A wave about to crash upon the reef.


Receding after the crash.

Another wave crashing.

A wave breaking before it reached the reef.

Another crashing wave.

Receding again.

Another wave crashing? Will they ever cease? I could watch forever!

Another two waves quickly following each other.

Another wave crashing upon the beach below a camp site..

A small wave crashing a little distance further out from the beach.

The moment of the crash! You can see the clouds of sprays. I could only gape in fascination.

A wave crashing upon different parts of the reef at the same time! It was magnificent.

A sea of foams in white!

A close up of the waves crashing upon the bottom of a cliff close by

Waves crashing upon the cliff further out!

On the island, we see not only the beauty and violence of Nature, we see traces of human violence too!
This is a house documenting the rebuilding of a battery upon the island built in the mid-17th century by
the Tsing government. This place was then called "Hall of the Buddha's Mark" (佛印堂).

The external wall of the battery. The original shape of the battery cannot now be traced. All we got
are the lower portions of broken down walls marking where the former houses were. The style of
this battery looks remarkably like the one I found at Fun Lau, on Lantao Island which I visited a
little earlier.

Looking out from the window inside the house of its history, all one could see are grasses.

Even the iron bars of the house look rusty.

Does it belong properly only amongst the cobwebs of history?

It was a dark episode.

Outside of the little hut, the ground was filled with fallen leaves. One.



Four and hundreds more. Beneath them all, you find signs of vigorous new life.

Is that window in the memorial house a window of history which is daily repeated in the windows
of the history of Nature?

There are cobwebs not only in Chinese history. There are cobwebs out on the ground too! They
are strong enough to hold up water, the mother of all life! Whatever the truth may be, one
cannot stay all day on the island. Time for a meal back in town.

The mechanism to make the mooring at the pier stable?

The light and flag at the pier.

Barnacles everywhere. Nature never ceases to seize the slightest chance to colonize our contraptions.

Some abandoned sacks and hooks at the pier, rusting and beginning to rot..

But these are not the concern of three young men I found fishing at the pier. One of the young
men I asked said he came there often and recommended that I take some instant noodles at the
second but not the first store from the pier! But too late to walk back now. The boat would
be coming in five minutes time. It was very satisfying. A two decade mystery had finally been solved!