2013年7月30日 星期二

Spinoff from Artvironment (環保藝術之餘絮)

Life to me is often a  game of unceasing surprises. So many times, when I least expect it, strange images will appear right before my eyes. They would strike me with the force of a kind of silent thunderclap and force me to take notice of them.

This is what I found when I stepped out from the murkiness of the Artvironment exhibition

2013年7月29日 星期一

Artvironment (生息) 2013

Really tired after almost an entire week of reading. So I took a little time off to look at a current exhibition. It's not the usual type of art exhibition where the artists are merely interested in selling their work or getting a bit of lime light. It's got a theme. The theme is our need to reflect a little on how we are treating this much abused earth whom we plunder and pollute at pleasure in our our short-sighted concern for economic 'growth". I like the its title: "breathe life, 2013."

The notice at the entrance of the exhibition

According to Susan Yeung, one of the exhibitors, life may be likened to a drop of water: it begins as a serene trickle from the snow covered  mountain; rushes down between steep cliffs, passes a bustling and noisy zone of dazzling prosperity, then merges with the limitless ocean. Like life, there's a mesmerizing prelude, a resounding climax amidst leisurely lows and it ends with a lingering finale. To her, the landscape of life is a mosaic of chaos, of encounters which somehow magically sublimates everything into those boundless seas and limitless skies, with its highs and lows and its rise and fall. Everything changes with time. To her, our true self can survive only if we begin by loving: loving people, loving nature, loving life. She says that only love can fill our hearts which have run dry and remove what divides man from man.She concludes: to learn to let go is to arrive at our heart's final resting place, that ultimate source of all happiness.

2013年7月27日 星期六

Saturday Fun (週末一笑)

Life in the last couple of days has been most difficult. You never know what you'll get when you are out in the streets. When you leave the house with an umbrella, it doesn't rain but when you don't, it rains cats and dogs. Weather has never ever been completely predictable, just like women's moods. There's little you can do, except to joke about it. So....

2013年7月25日 星期四

Xi Murong's "Listener" (席慕蓉的《旁聽生》)

Attended a very touching talk in one of the lecture halls of the Convention Centre last Sunday. In fact, more than one by one of my favourite poetesses, Xi Murong. First, there was a public recitation of three of her poems. That was followed by a talk on what made her write what she did. Although she was not supposed to be doing a recitation at the second talk, she couldn't help herself: towards the close of her talks, she recited again two of the three which she did at the earlier session.

Although I saw a picture of Xi Murong once on the internet. It was a completely different experience to see her in person. One sees her as she narrows her eyes, as she adjusts her hair, as she gestures with her fat fingers, as she unconsciously touches her scarf, as she laughs or smiles her embarrassment when she recounts how she was taunted by his brother and husband about her complete ignorance of the principles of physics, as she lifts her head in reverie of the pastures, the hills, the rivers, the grassland, the trees, the skies of Mongolia, as she recalls her stares of utter amazement at the inscription on the back of what she originally thought was a 9th century Han stele in Mongolia, carved in her native language, when she saw it for the first time. As she recites the last few lines of the poem I recently translated "The Border Farewell Song", one could hear the trembling in her voice,  choked with irrepressible emotions. At that moment, I could no longer withhold my own tears. It was so moving. What drew those reluctant tears from my tear glands, which seemed suddenly to have taken on a life of their own, completely evading my control, was her honest unabashed and undisguised love of her motherland, which before her first visit, remained, as she said, only her father's "homeland". In one of her earlier poems, the "listener" or "auditor", she recounted how she felt about her native country.

2013年7月23日 星期二

Distractions at HK Park (香港公園散散心)

Many things have happened recently to cloud my mind and pester it with feelings which I thought I could deal with philosophically. To stop myself thinking, I went to a place which I know will never fail to bring me a measure of sensory delights and serenity: Hong Kong Park.

I was greeted by this pig's ear and was fascinated by its velvet like petals

2013年7月21日 星期日

Recollections of Art Basel 2013 .4 Sculptures (2013 巴塞爾藝展回顧:雕塑篇.4)


Giving and Spent, 2012 by Gabriel Kuri, cool blue before being lit, red, brown and black after extinction, all taller before "giving"

2013年7月20日 星期六

Saturday Fun (週末笑一笑)

Artists are essential to any civilized society: they provide us with works which add to the quality of our life, color, fun, novelty and sometimes may even provoke us into reflecting on the way we look at our world. Good artists often work alone because they must create, not just imitate others and they can create only from their own unique internal resources, with little or no guide except their sensitivity and instincts. Perhaps for that reason, they may appear a bit "odd" to the non-artists. What are the signs that you're an artist? Try to find out. Plenty of clues though. Here are some. If you are an artist, add your own.

2013年7月19日 星期五

Recollections of Art Basel 2013 .3 Sculptures (2013 巴塞爾藝展回顧:雕塑篇.3)


Fernando Botero, like Fellini, has a fondness of people who are "plump". Maybe he loves the roundness and smoothness of their form. Here's one of his bronzes, Ballerina 2011.

2013年7月18日 星期四

Recollections of Art Basel 2013 .2 Sculptures (2013 巴塞爾藝展回顧:雕塑篇.2)


This looks like a "real" camel but one "frozen" in time. Though without a harness on its back, it bends its forelegs on a mat and has a long needle stuck across its nose. Is that an image of the ordinary folks in China or those in Mongolia: cowered by power or by religion or by political ideology or by life itself, masochistically displaying to the indifferent gaze of "the public", the needle by which its horrible "life" is artificially re-stitched together?

2013年7月17日 星期三

Recollections of Art Basel 2013 .1 Sculptures (2013 巴塞爾藝展回顧:1. 雕塑篇)

Since learning about the existence of Art HK, it has become an annual ritual. But this year, Art HK has been taken over by Art Basel. But whatever changes there may be, for me, I like it for the same simple reason:  it's an excellent opportunity of sampling what artists from different parts of the world, especially those closer to Hong Kong are doing and feeling and through their self expression and their sometimes bizarre perspectives, I may often come to  some very different views of this wonderful plastic world of ours, views which in a sense, may be considered no less "real" than those held by the average man in the street but certainly much more interesting..

Why is one eye of this man wide open and the other closed? Why is he gnashing his teeth? Why does he got eyebrows on one of his eyes but not both? One eye passive, submissive, the other alert and angry? Doesn't he recall the face of Teng Xiao Ping? if so, what is he blind to: corruption, social inequalities, political repression, lack of freedom of speech and other freedoms supposed to be common aims of all civilized nations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights December 1948. Part of his face looks "realistic" and part of it like that of the traditional "theatre mask" in Beiing opera. His expression is ambiguous. Is he smiling or grimacing? Or is it like what Lyotard says in the "Differend", the two sides of his "face" are not communicating with each other because they simply cannot: they operate by different sets of rules: one black, the other white, one internal, one external, one political, the other humanistic, one ideal, the other practical, one in the past, the other in the present? Is he being awakened from his eternal slumber because he is not happy with what he sees is happening now? Who knows?

2013年7月14日 星期日

Images of Central (中環掠影)

Central is the commercial and financial hub of Hong Kong. It used to be more human with its quaint old colonial style Post Office, Fire Station, Star Ferry, Governor's House,St. John's Cathedral and Botanical Garden etc and old trams rumbling along metal rails with its "ding, ding" as it warns passers-by of its approach or as it turns corners. Not much of them are left now.

What we got now are the products of linear thinking: rational, logical, straightforward, inflexible, mechanical and dull. Even the sun must adapt to its geometrical forms

2013年7月13日 星期六

Saturday Fun (週末笑一笑)

When one starts working, one recalls, always with nostalgia what fun one had as a student, especially after secondary school, when the kind of restraints and rigid discipline one was subjected to during that most terrible former stage of one's life were greatly relaxed or cut to a minimum and one truly experienced for the first time what it means to be free. But even then, there is still something which one really hates from the innermost part of one's gut. That something goes by the name of the "term exam". But there are at least 50 ways one can have fun with that one too.

2013年7月12日 星期五

席慕容之《出塞曲》Xi Murong's "Border Farewell Song"











想著黃河岸啊   陰山旁

英雄騎馬啊   騎馬歸故鄉

席慕容  一九七九年

Border Farewell Song

Please sing me a border farewell song

In those forgotten words of old

Please use a beautiful tremolo to softly softly call

The good rivers and hills in my heart

That sweet smell found only outside the Great Wall

Who says the melodies of border farewell songs are all too sad

If you don’t enjoy listening to them

That’s because they don’t hold your yearnings

But we always sing them over and over again

Thinking thousands of miles of grassland gleaming in gold

Thinking the shores of the Yellow River    beside the Dark Mountain

Heroes are riding    riding home

 Xi Murong  1979  tr. El Zorro

2013年7月11日 星期四

2013年7月10日 星期三

A Disappointing Cruise Terminal (令人失望的遊輪碼頭)

Whilst on one of my recent trips to Tung Lung Island, I discovered on my return boat trip from that relatively untouched island a structure which from a distance, looked a bit like like a loaf of bread, located in the former Kai Tak International Airport, one of my favourite spots for revision just before my final exam when I was still studying in a school in that area years ago. I used to do my pre-exam cramming there because it was quiet and spacious but most of all, because it had free air conditioning during the hot and humid summer season. "Could that be the new Cruise Terminal I had heard about?", I mused to myself. It didn't take long for the doubt to be dispelled. On the 13th June, 2013, it received its first passenger liner from Spain. The Government said that it hopes that the terminal will become a regional cruise hub with capacity for berthing 2 large 360-meter long ocean liners with capacity for handling some 5,500 passengers and about 1200 crew, fitted with with facilities for passenger waiting, immigration, quarantine, baggage claim, storage, offices, convention halls, hotels, restaurants, shops  and more than half a million square feet total gross floor area plus 240,000 square feet of landscaped deck garden atop etc.built on a 19-acre site and that hopefully by 2020, it will bring in an annual  revenue of up to HKD2.2 billion create some 11,000 new jobs..

The figures sounded impressive. So I decided to take a look on that important day and see our first arrivals.  Before going, I checked how I could go there. From the official information released by the Government, there should be a free shuttle between the MTR Kowloon Bay shopping mall and the new Cruise Terminal. Good! But when I asked around there, nobody seemed to have heard anything about it, including MTR staff and staffs at that shopping mall, nor the shuttle bus operators at the transport terminal on the ground floor of that shopping mall. After much fruitless asking around and walking around, I had to take a taxi. It never rained but  it poured.!  The taxi driver took a wrong route and we had to go all the way back from one of the entrances to the former airport right back to where we started at the shopping mall and take another route. What a way to start my "exciting adventure" !

it seems that when it officially opened in mid-June this year, a lot of work still remained undone on that terminal based a smaller scale design of a similar terminal in Amsterdam,

2013年7月8日 星期一

Grabbing Fate (抓緊命運)

The weather these days is rather unsteady. One moment, it's sunny. The next, cloudy. And the next, raining cats and dogs. And sometimes, sunny, cloudy and rainy all at the same time, just like women's moods. So whenever it stops raining, I seize my camera and out I go.

A nameless flower growing by the roadside.

2013年7月7日 星期日

The Planets (行星組曲)

The Cultural Centre was spinning with with astrological and astronomical bodies Saturday evening. First we had the sun, then a constellation and ended having a suite of planets.

Carl Nielsen (1865-1931) is the most renowned Danish composer which we seldom hear in the concert halls of Hong Kong. In a sense, its composition was entirely fortuitous. His sculptress wife got a grant to study Greek temples of the Acropolis in Athens and he conceived of the idea of writing the Overture to Helios, Op 17  (the handsome Greek sun god wearing a shining aureole who drove the sun's chariot across the sky each day to Oceanus circling the earth's seas and returning to the East at night)  in March 1903 because everyday he was there, he had to suffer its scorching heat. The piece began very slowly, the steady bass strings scarcely moving to symbolize the rhythm of the almost imperceptible motion of the sun rising above the horizon of the Aegean sea, then we see/hear the rays of the sun as they spread over the golden sea, displaying its radiating splendor, reaching its its zenith in the sky and then slowly and quietly sinking back below the horizon, the way it rose in the evening.

Here I come! (我來了!)

Lots of lotuses everywhere in fellow blogger's recent blogs. So I thought I'd also join in the fun.

Water sprays on my way

2013年7月6日 星期六

Saturday Fun (週末笑一笑)

Teaching is one of the toughest jobs on earth. Often you're faced with unruly kids who'd do anything to avoid having to study and occasionally, you'd be asked questions which you simply don't know how to answer. But it has its peculiar joys too, often in ways you'd never have thought possible.


Describing his teacher to his father, Jimmy called her “mean but fair.”
“Just what do you mean by that?”, his father asked.
“She is mean, not just to me but to everybody”,  Jimmy replied.


Pupil (on phone): My son has a bad cold and won’t be able to come to school today.
School Secretary: Who is this?
Pupil: This is my father speaking!


Son: I can’t go to school today.
Father: Why not?
Son: I don’t feel well
Father: Where don’t you feel well?
Son: In school!


Teacher: You missed school yesterday didn’t you?
Pupil: Not very much!


“Johnny, where’s your homework?” Miss Martin said sternly to the little boy while holding out her hand.
“My dog ate it,” was his solemn response.
“Johnny, I’ve been a teacher for eighteen years. Do you really expect me to believe that?”
“It’s true, Miss Martin, I swear it is,” insisted Johnny. “I had to smear it with honey, but I finally got him to eat it.”


A teacher of the earth science class was lecturing on map reading.
After explaining about latitude, longitude, degrees and minutes the teacher asked, “Suppose I asked you to meet me for lunch at 23 degrees, 4 minutes north latitude and 45 degrees, 15 minutes east longitude…?”

After a confused silence, a voice volunteered, “I guess you’d be eating alone.”


The little boy wasn’t getting good marks in school. One day he made the teacher quite surprised.
He tapped her on the shoulder and said…. “I don’t want to scare you, but my daddy says if I don’t get better grades….. somebody is going to get a spanking…”


Teacher: How can you make so many mistakes in just one day?.
Pupil: I get up early!


“An abstract noun,” the teacher said, “is something you can think of, but you can’t touch it. Now, can any one give me an example of one?”
“Sure,” a teenage boy replied. “My father’s new car.”


Teacher: I told you to stand at the end of the line?
Pupil: I tried, but there was someone already there!


Teacher: Class, we will have only half a day of school this morning.
Class: Hooray
Teacher: We will have the other half this afternoon!


College student: “Hey, Dad! I’ve got some great news for you!”
Father: “What, son?”
College student: “Remember that $500 you promised me if I made the Dean’s list?”
Father: “I certainly do.”
College student: “Well, you get to keep it.”


Teacher: Why can’t you ever answer any of my questions?
Pupil: Well if I could there wouldn’t be much point in me being here!


Teacher: Why are you late?
Webster: Because of the sign.
Teacher: What sign?
Webster: The one that says, “School Ahead, Go Slow.”


Teacher: Cindy, why are you doing your maths sums on the floor?
Cindy: You told me to do it without using tables!


“If there are any idiots in the room, will they please stand up.” said the sarcastic teacher.
After a long silence, one freshman rose to his feet.”Now then mister, why do you consider yourself an idiot?” enquired the teacher with a sneer.
“Well, actually I don’t,” said the student, “but I hate to see you standing up there all by yourself.”


A little girl came home from school and said to her mother, “Mommy, today in school I was punished for something that I didn’t do.”
The mother exclaimed, “But that’s terrible! I’m going to have a talk with your teacher about this … by the way, what was it that you didn’t do?”
The little girl replied, “My homework.”


“Isn’t the principal a dummy!” said a boy to a girl.
“Well, do you know who I am?” asked the girl.
“No.” replied the boy.
“I’m the principal’s daughter.” said the girl.
“And do you know who I am?” asked the boy
“No,” she replied.
“Thank goodness!” said the boy with a sigh of relief.


Teacher: If I had 6 oranges in one hand and 7 apples in the other, what would I have?
Student: Big hands!


Teacher: I hope I didn’t see you looking at John’s exam?
Student: I hope you didn’t either.

Have a relaxing weekend.

2013年7月4日 星期四

Spanish Night (西班牙之夜)

 Spain is a very special country. It was a very conservative Catholic country. Yet for 800 years, it was under Islamic rule and Arabic musical motifs inevitably left  its marks. It was also a country where gypsies from Northern India, with their rhythms and jondo traditions found their final destination. It's that strange mix of cultural traditions from India, Arabia and Europe which makes it the birth place of that peculiar musical style which blends an inconsolable sorrow with a desperate joy that many have come to regard as the "soul" of Spanish music :Flamenco. Perhaps for that reason, it has inspired numerous composers to write music about this country with such a rich past. Last Saturday, I had the chance to sample some of the greatest exemplars of such music under a new conductor which I heard for the first time, a very talented, lively, pretty, energetic and masterful young lady from America called Joana  Carneiro who has been a guest conductor of Cincinnati Opera, Detroit, Gothernberg , New Zeland, Toronto symphonies and the LA Philharmonic etc.

The first piece of music that night was the Italian composer Giuseppi Verdi's (1813-1901) Overture of La Forza del Destinto,based on a play Don Alvaro o La fuerza del Destino by Angel de Saavedra, a piece he wrote for the city of St. Petersburg, a story above two young lovers Alvaro and Leonora in which Alvaro accidentally killed his lover's father on the eve of their elopement following which a blood feud began between the two families, rather like Romeo and Juliet. It was full of drama and unexpected twists and turns and swings of mood with threatening hammer blows signifying the force of destiny.

The next piece was one which any guitarist worth their salt must have played either in extracts or in entirety: Joan Rodrigo's (1901-1999) Concierto de Aranjuez, with its memorable trumpets, strings and strong, clear and bold yet restrained guitar fireworks which switches to soft, delicate passages amidst woodwind which seems to goad the and guide the guitar passages along. Rodrigo was blind from age 3 but  perhaps for that reason, he poured his heart and soul into music making. This piece was written when he returned from Germany to Spain after the Spanish Civil War at the end of 1939. It evokes memories of the bleak Spanish sun-drenched mountains, with its pines, its vines, its streams and its flowers, its white cottages in hillside and valleys. It smells of the freshly cut grass under the scorching Mediterranean sun. Our solo guitarist was Milos Karadalgic, a slim, elegant young man who looks quite Spanish with his long and thick eyebrows and stubs of cut moustache above his strong determined lips and a head of thick black hair. He's an excellent guitarist who fully captures the varying moods of the music, sensitive to the rest of the orchestra. As encore, he gave us one of the contrapuntal studies on the guitar which I had heard before but whose title I cannot now recall.

The second part of the concert began with another famous piece: Manuel de Falla's El Amor Brujo( Love the Magician) with various passages recalling Andalucian dance themes, especially those of Zarzuela. It's supposed to be an absurd story about attempts to exorcise an inconvenient ghost of the heroine (Candela)'s husband who would appear each time she makes love to one of her new lovers. In the end, Candela decides to ask her beautiful young friend to flirt with the ghost and surprisa! it works. And that was the famous piece at the end, The Danza del fuego, where Arabic influence played by the wind instrument can't be more evident.  The other passages in order are: Introduction and Scene, With the Gypsies at Evening, The Apparition, Dance of Terror, The Magic Circle, Scene, Pantomine. if you want  to look for Spanish musical motifs, you can't go far wrong with this one.

The last piece of "Spanish" music of the evening comes, with all places, Russia! It's written by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908). It's his Capriccio español Op. 34. The composer drunk up his impressions of Spain whilst serving as a naval officer with the Russian navy when they berthed at various Spanish sea ports. As inspector of Naval Bands, he had the chance to study various musical instruments and their use in various types of music. In this piece we hear many traditional Spanish folk and dance melodies which the composer picked up in his studies and his visits. Viva España! Country of Contradictions, Country of Magic, Sorrow and Love and above all, of the Sun.  And muchas gracias, Señorita Carneiro y HKPO!

2013年7月1日 星期一


我不是一個特別喜歡政治的人,遊行就更可免則免。但政治這東西,有一特性,就是你不找它,它也遲早來找你。在它找你煩你到一臨界點時,不論你願意不願意,你也得面對它。我記得在念中學的時候,有一篇被逼學習的文章,其中有一句說話仍讓我歷歷在目,印象中好像是韓愈寫的,他說凡人皆會「不平則鳴」。97以來,香港似乎也沒有經過什麼好日子,貧富懸殊愈來愈嚴重,特首的品格和素質,沒有一位是令人稍為滿意的,心地好,則沒才幹;有點才幹的,又沒遠見,貪小便宜;自認有才幹的,又無誠信,且剛愎自用。問題的徵結是,我們的特首,不是由一人一票產生,而是中南海一鎚定音,所以沒有廣泛的認受性,民間一有什麼不滿,便立即將問題歸咎他,其實,很多社會問題非常複雜,社會資源的分配,數量,質量,先後緩急也多沒什麼「魔術的方程式」,因此應就有關問題的解決方法,作廣泛而「真正」的諮詢,集思廣益,好好的議定一個各方都可接受的方案,再交給我們多年來行之有效的各政府部門執行。但很可惜,回歸以來,由於北大人的維穩心態,不敢相信人民的共同智慧,遲遲的不敢及不願開放立法局的選舉權給與其生活及命運給政府決策最直接或間接受影響的人民,使現在非驢非馬的局部直選的立法局議員,只有胡言亂語的權利而不須負上或只須負上極少的「機會成本」責任。若香港市民有一人一票直選特首及直選立法局的權利,那政府就由獲得選票最多的一或兩黨聯合組織,到時立法局的議員,則須對他們的言論,負上更大言責,小的受其所屬的黨紀處分,大的害其黨在下次選舉時失票。就算直選選出來的政府特首不稱職,選民也無話可說,因執政的政黨是大多數人選出來的,選民自已都要負部分責任,誰叫你自已有眼無珠,選出一個無素質的政黨和政客當特首。到時肯定不會像現在那樣,因有言論自由而沒有真正的民主而使香港仍享有我們覺得可恥的「世界遊行數目最多的城市」的「世界第一」「美」譽。最令人痛心的是,中國共產黨現在的思維模式還停留是20世紀初俄羅斯由帝國極權初轉為由列寧所創的一黨專政的政治模式和體制,轉眼間我們已快到21世紀第二個十年,無論在經濟,社會,文化,思想,政治均和蘇共在1917執政初期及中共在1921年7月成立或在1949年10 月掌政時均有極大的轉變。轉變是宇宙的規律,是無可抗拒的,任何事物因主觀及/或客觀因素而僵化,結果是必然的,那必然的結果就是死亡。就算馬克斯,也認為無產階級的專政,不是一永恆的制度。鄧小平很有遠見,明白靈活變通的重要性,決定在香港必須實行「一國兩制」,但很可惜,執行他這有大智慧構思的政策執行者,並沒有好好了解在這構思後的更深層的思想和精神,就是馬克斯的唯物辯証法(Dilalectic Materialism),理論和實踐必須互為刺激,互為引導,互為更正。由於他有這識見,鄧小平在1978年大膽提出改革開放,他深深明白,有改革才有出路。沒有鄧小平,就沒有今天的中國。很可惜,今天的中國領導人,沒有鄧小平的識見,若有,亦沒有鄧小平的膽識,若有,則因一個「貪」字,埋沒理想,埋沒「良知」,貪財,貪權,或財權兩貪。故在香港的政改問題上,拖拖拉拉,以安定繁榮之藉口,維持所謂 「有效統治」。香港人不是全部都是冇腦的,請不要繼續侮辱我們的智慧,不停向我們說謊。由1983年中英聯合聲明,公開宣稱「港人治港」,在香港實行普選,由1983年算,足足30年了,由1997年算,也16年了,還要我們等多久,我等夠了,我受夠了,我忍夠了,所以我今天決定冒風雨,也要上街,也代我外語班的司法界同學上街,以表達我們的不滿,以我的攝影機,見証廣大市民對港府特首的不滿。不平則鳴,這是人的本性。這是我們的聲音,你們聽到嗎?你們願意聽到嗎?若然聽到,你會認真履行你的競選諾言給我們早應落實的直選嗎?難道真的要逼我們做一我們極不想做而又不能不做的更激烈的行動:佔中?











"Polo" 中文是 「普羅 」,與 "Proletariat" 「普羅 」的中文發音又幾似喎!












Hidden agenda 所指為何?







監控相機處處,你相信這沒誠信的政府說有關錄影的紀錄30 天後全數毀滅不留副本嗎?