Sunday, 17 May 2015

小說 “笙歌” 第五章 之(5)“上帝這回事(下篇)”

 
上帝這回事(下)

佛和道究竟與西方宗教有何基本分別呢?
少年時的馬依力,希望受洗入天主教,將來加入神職
爸爸並未反對,但條件是他得先考取駕駛執照!



接上篇。。。

說的也不無道理,老馬不停的輕輕點頭。但道佛和基督教還有一個重大的基本分別。
你說。
道家和佛教都沒有一個絕對的神祗,所以能夠開放人類有限的胸襟去接受無窮的奧秘。相反地,一個絕對的神沒有去路,是個死角,所以容易產生宗教狂熱。除了這點,我很贊同你的看法。
尊信心想,這個自以為是的馬依力,居然贊同自己的看法?滿足之余,他不想拖辯下去,索性把焦點轉移到老馬頭上來:你是科學人材,從來不信鬼神,對嗎?
剛好相反。我自小怕上帝怕得要死。呢,就是你以前怕的那位。” 
__________________

中國人對上帝這回事,一般都採取務實態度。馬依力的父母並不例外。一個神,算你法力無邊,對中國人來說也意義不大。神必須懂得保佑信眾,才會受到敬仰供奉,否則倒不如敬而遠之,省回香燭祭品,對不對?不過就算最值得酬謝的靈神,那三生禮品也是可望而不可食的。善男信女鞠躬叩頭完畢,自會把肥雞燒肉通通吃下肚裡。吃不完的打包回家或就地餵狗,然後安心等候奇跡出現。

Friday, 17 April 2015

Fake Eggs of China



Remember them fake eggs from China? I do. The crisis was indirectly responsible for the blindness and cerebral seizure of many innocent Hongkongers. For a number of years, it even promised to bankrupt me. How could I forget? 

It must have been five to six years ago. I was lunching with a table of Hong Kong friends in the mainland. Someone brought up the subject of fake eggs when supposedly real ones, suspiciously scrambled beyond recognition, were being served. To my surprise, nearly everyone had something to add to the story. Fake eggs were evidently more common than I had thought. 
“Has anyone seen one?” I enquired, tortured by curiosity. 
“Oh yes, many have!” one said, sure as eggs were not eggs, though she had not seen one personally.
“My auntie has! There’re dozens on YouTube! Everyone trusts my auntie.”
“My second cousin’s wife’s father-in-law swallowed one, soft boiled, and died three months later.”
“Your second cousin’s father?” Dumbfounded, I closed my eyes and drew exfoliating breaths of filtered indoor air to safeguard my own version of reality. I had learnt that trick from a guru on YouTube, long before it existed.
Visions started coming to me, in rainbow coloured slides, like Powerpoint. 

中國的假蛋風雲



還記得大陸的假雞蛋嗎?我當年曾經目睹不少親友因為假蛋而失明或思想癱瘓。而自己也為了假雞蛋而飽受隨時破產的威脅,畢生難忘。

大概是五六年前的事了。當時和一班香港友人在深圳吃飯。正當服務員端上一道原貌全非,真假難辨的芙蓉蛋之際,有人提出了大陸遍地假蛋的問題。一時間,席上議論紛紛,似乎每個人對假蛋都有某程度的個人經歷。
我越聽越心寒,忍不住問道:有人見過假蛋嗎?
有!當然有!很多人都見過!
我四姑婆就見過!在 YouTube 上都是教人做假蛋的視頻!你沒看過?
我五表嫂的家公去年食了半生熟假蛋,三個月後死了!害人不淺哦!
你表哥的老爸吃了假蛋身亡?說罷,我感到一陣昏眩。身邊的人和桌上的芙蓉蛋都開始游移,變得虛幻。難道剛才吃了芙蓉假蛋?我連忙汽運丹田,舌頂上顎,閉目吐納,暫時顧不得社交儀容。

Sunday, 22 March 2015

小說 “笙歌” 第四章 之(二)“出走”


第四章  之(二)
出走


宋笙陪老馬往淺水灣探老婆回來,看見爸爸心愛的玉麒麟獨坐飯桌中央,下面壓著字條。他一口氣看了幾遍,仍然不大相信內容:就這樣?” 
他把字條放回原處,然後開始收拾背包:五條胡蘿蔔,兩個生番茄,兩條老爹用雞油保存的法式炸雞腿,三個紅番薯,幾個面餅,一個露營用的小鍋,一大瓶水,還有一罐古董豆豉鯪魚。加件襯衫,短褲,打火機,大毛巾,筆,記事簿,還有本關於狼的書。野狗就是狼,也是人類在蠻荒都市中最有威脅的競爭對手。對它們多一點瞭解不會錯。
他的單車孤零零地停在門口。爸爸的不見了。他背上包,開步便跑,心裡沒有目的地。他只想跑,不停地跑,讓強健的雙腿作主,把自己帶到哪裡都好。他不打算去找老爸。經宋煥策劃的出走,肯定天衣無縫。要找也不知道從何開始。腦袋里一片空白。不理,先跑!
 __________________

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Being Defensive About China



I can’t help being unfashionably “defensive” when it comes to the daily barrage of China bashing tirades. Why? Because I see the smokes of a “propaganda invasion” everywhere. Perhaps it’s just my paranoia? So what if it is. They said China was paranoid in kicking out Google and Facebook, and continue to say so with a straight face even after Edward Snowden so, there you go. Plus paranoia would be an affordable price, given the abominable examples in the Middle-East, Africa, and Eastern Europe.

中國人的輿論抗戰




有人說我很偏袒中國,對凡事都醜化中國人的評論,看到便忍不住口要駁斥。

他們說的沒錯,因為我清楚見到國際上的宣傳炮彈亂飛,造成遍地白痴,甚至國破家亡。當然有人會說這不過是我神經過敏。就由他說吧。當初中國把谷歌和 Facebook(臉書)踢走,也被很多人罵神經過敏,思想落後。直到斯洛登大爆內幕後,部分人仍然死不肯改變看法。面對盲目偏見,唯有嬉笑怒罵,或一笑置之。再環顧全球,神經不過敏的後果由中東到非洲到東歐,比比皆是。看來一個國家的神經系統,還是寧敏莫鈍較為保險。

這場不常規的世界大侵略,可以說是兩個世紀來帝國侵略的變態延續。在這場反帝國侵略的抗爭中,中國是後來者,處被動狀態,而明眼的中外人士,一直都偏於保守沈默,甘守下風,很少積極反抗。

Monday, 16 February 2015

The Grievances Behind Occupy Central



Now that the Occupy Central dust has settled in the landfills, it’s time to take a step back to try to understand the nature of the discontent.

When everyone was preoccupied with Occupy Central, I noticed a general distinction between the yellow and blue sympathisers I knew. The blue ones were on average the more analytical type — techies and scientists etc. Yellow supporters tended to be more passionate than left-brained. They felt it in their heart that something needed addressing, but couldn’t quite put their finger on it. Some people could be highly intelligent, yet refuse to subordinate an emotional response to cerebral scrutiny as a matter of principle. They regard analysis less true than feeling. I feel the same way too in many things. But politics is a notable exception. Modern politics has been plagued by crafty  professionals whose job is to incite and manipulate mass emotions, and suppress rationality.

In ‘My Take on Occupy Central’ (http://guo-du.blogspot.hk/2014/09/my-take-on-occupy-central.html), I suggested that OC protesters did have legitimate grievances, but were derailed, even hijacked, by dubious politicos and Democracy quacks waving the vacuous banner of Freedom and Democracy in front of their eyes.

佔中背後的怨氣來源

佔中幕後的種種原因很多人已經分析過了。目的為搞事而搞事的政棍無賴,市民大眾自有判決,暫時無需多講。但很多支持或同情者,其實都沒有不良意圖。究竟他們的怨氣由甚麼形成呢?我想趁佔中暫時塵埃落定,垃圾已被妥善堆填之際,嘗試剖析一下。

佔中期間,朋友們有黃有藍,界線鮮明。大概來說,撐藍的多數是搞科技做生意的人,比較面對現實和著重分析。撐黃的很多都是藝術家,音樂師,和瑜伽老師之類。他們的腦筋不一定是次貨,但性格使然,喜歡跟隨心性,不太注重分析。他們同情佔中,主要是覺得社會有很多不是之處,只是說不出個所以然。

我在早前的一篇博文佔中如何收科http://guo-du.blogspot.hk/2014/09/blog-post_29.html 裏也說過,被利用佔中的人,很多都有股值得同情和關注的怨氣,可惜被民主政棍和其他勢力舞動自由民主的漂亮標籤分了心蒙了眼,看不見怨忿的根源,其实是日益嚴重的財富差距和越來越呆滯的階級流動。

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Beautiful North (4) Santa and Locusts Part (1) - Lapland



This X’mas, we were part of a locust cloud in Santa’s homeland, warmly welcomed by the cool Finns. Before getting into all that, first a few words and photos on Lapland. 

Santa’s home at Rovaniemi was an elfish shopping mall, kinda cute but not enough to raise my goosebumps. Lining up for half an hour with my ten-year-old to take a picture with Father Christmas used up a lot of paternal love, but Santa surprised me. He was a gracious old man, appearing more regal than drunk, and perplexingly committed to being photographed all day with dumb tourists. He greeted us enthusiastically in Chinese: “Ho ho ho! Ni Hao Ma?” His felt slippers were ginormous, approximately three times my size — 130?

Rovaniemi was worth a one-day visit. An hour and a half northward by bus was Levi, where everything, except the food, had a magical air. 

美麗北國(4)-芬蘭聖誕與蝗蟲(第一部分):Lapland


聖誕期間,我和家人在芬蘭北部 Lapland 做了蝗蟲,在冰冷的北極圈內受到當地人熱情招待,頗有感受。在分享蝗蟲經驗前,先來看看芬蘭著名的聖誕村是個甚麼模樣。

聖誕老人在小鎮 Rovaniemi 的家,是個小精靈購物村。跟他老人家拍照留念,除了要付款,還得排隊半小時以上!哎,為了十歲的女兒,我最後也排上了。想不到聖誕老人挺有氣派,不象是街上隨便抓來應節的臨時演員。他對整天跟遊客拍照的單調工作,似乎十分投入。臉上掛著招牌鬍子,腳下穿了巨大絨鞋的聖誕老人,坐在木椅上,用不錯的中文跟我們打招呼:呵呵呵!你們好嗎?
Levi 的下午/黃昏景色

Beautiful North (4) Santa and Locusts Part (2) - Locusts



While I was in Levi, a South China Morning Post article reported that Chinese tourists in Lapland have increased dramatically in the past few years. The writer somehow linked the surge to growth of Christianity in China, which was “expected to become the largest Christian country within 15 years,” according to some Professor Yang (a Chinese name! He must know!) of Purdue University, Indiana. “As more and more people become Christians, Christmas celebrations will become even more widespread.” Prof Yang evidently didn’t know that in Finland, as in many parts of Europe, Christmas had been a major pagan festival long before Jesus slipped out of his virgin mother. To the largely secular Finns, Joulu, their most important annual festival, has more to do with winter than Christ. Well, it was an SCMP article.

One thing in it was actually true though: There were plenty of Chinese tourists. Since the average Finn couldn’t tell a real Chinese from a Hong Kong counterfeit, I was part of a locust cloud — a term used by some Hongkongers to caricature mainland visitors.

美麗北國(4)-芬蘭聖誕與蝗蟲(第2部分):蝗蟲論


Levi 度假期間,收到友人分享一篇香港南華早報的報導,說 Lapland 近年的中國旅客,有激增之勢。作者的論點奇特。他解釋中國人到Lapland旅遊,是因為國內基督教崛起。他引述美國Purdue 大學楊教授(有中文名的美國教授,當然是中國國情專家啦!)的見解,說越來越多中國人信奉基督教,所以聖誕節日漸風行。他還預測中國會在15年內成為全球最大的基督教國家。楊教授似乎不知道北歐人的 Joulu,在耶穌未從他的處女媽媽體內冒頭前的好幾個世紀,已經是個大節。對宗教觀念淡薄的北歐人來說,Joulu歷史悠久,懷有北方人面對嚴冬的傳統精神。耶穌降生這傳說,是後來的插曲。香港報章重創意,輕事實,所以也見怪不怪。但環顧四周,果然不少黃面孔同胞。一般的芬蘭人分不開正宗炎黃子孫和港產A貨,那我豈不是變了某些港人口中的蝗蟲

Monday, 8 December 2014

The Second Enlightenment - Debunking Democracy


Populist democracy controlled by money is a political cul-de-sac. More people (even Professor Francis Fukuyama) seem to be waking up to that fact.

However, just as otherwise enlightened individuals such as Galileo and Newton dare not deny the existence of God, modern-day democracy skeptics are hesitant to challenge its sanctity. Without God, one’s doomed. Without democracy, life’s unthinkable. That’s the mantra since childhood. Don’t ask why.

Capitalistic liberal democracy (let’s call it Democracy with a big dee) bears many resemblances to its religious predecessor. It’s also upheld by faith rather than reason, analysis, or benchmarked assessment — virtually a replacement of God in most of ex-Christendom. Consistent definition is not necessary. Politics in the USA, France, Italy, Greece, Japan, India, Switzerland, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya etc. differ in form, substance, and spirit. Even buddies like the US and UK have markedly different political structures. But as long as they hoist the Democracy banner, all is fine. Like God, Democracy’s good by tautology. Details are unimportant. 

二次啓蒙運動:破除民主迷信


越來越多人開始醒覺到肆意式西方民主,
搭個資本主義,對老百姓來說是末路一條。
連當初宣佈歷史終結的主教級民主學者福山教授,也改變了看法,對民主的現狀和前景表示擔憂。只有民主嘍囉們仍然懵然不知,繼續歇斯底里地高喊口號。奇怪的是,就算較為清楚民主弊病的人,也甚少直接指出西方民主是問題核心,好像民主是上帝,批評要懂分寸,適可而止。從前的科學天才如伽里略和牛頓者,也不敢漏半句懷疑上帝的話。不信上帝,天誅地滅。沒有民主,民不聊生。這是聖經,是真理,是咒語。要一心不二地念熟,不要多想多問。

西方話語下的民主世界,與宗教相似之處甚多。要知道,所謂西方社會,大體上是基督教世界的延續。歐洲經過近兩千年的神權統治,脫離了上帝只不過是很近期的事,社會里仍然潛伏著某程度的宗教迷信,並不出奇。

Sunday, 2 November 2014

How Beijing Can Reoccupy Hong Kong



To most people, it has been painfully obvious from the onset that the ostensible objectives of Occupy Central don’t stand any chance. After more than a month of chaos, it’s perhaps time for Beijing to make a move, and use the opportunity to start Hong Kong’s reunification, belatedly, 17 years after its official return. 

中央出手可以扭轉港局


經過個多月的佔中混亂,可能是中央和特區政府考慮收拾殘局,為香港的長遠前途作打算的時候了。我認為這是國家把香港納入一國軌跡的黃金時機。雖然遲了十七年,總比繼續失控好。

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Between Lives




I’m wedged against the corner by a flabby middle-aged woman and a scrawny old man. Her bare arm, damp and pallid, quivers gently, as if resonating. The old man stares hypnotically at the digital display. It jumps from 12 to 15, skipping the unlucky 13 and 14, as it did earlier to four. They both breathe with a shallow hiss, bizarrely synchronised.
Ding! Seventeenth Floor, an irksome robotic voice announces in English and Cantonese. The door opens.
“Excuse me,” I try to find the path of least resistance through them. They ignore me and push silently towards the opening instead. Looks like they are actually together, probably father and daughter, visiting her dying mother. The female geriatric ward is full of dying mothers. Come to think of it, 17th is actually 14th, after adjusting for the missing 4th, 13th and 14th floors. They can fool numerology but not structural reality, and the embedded curse.

生死之間



一名肥胖的中年女人,和一個身材瘦削,狀似枯樹的老年男人,把我逼在電梯一角。那女人肥大的手臂,表面一層黃油,好像和電梯共鳴,不住微微震蕩。那老人家則中了邪般盯著顯示板,看著它由 “12” 一下子跳越中外顧忌,直達15。兩人的呼吸都很淺弱急速,出奇同步地發響。
叮!十七樓!電梯用機械人扮溫柔的聲線,以英粵語宣佈位置;梯門隨即打開。
對不起!我急於在門關上前,找個空隙穿過。一肥一瘦的乘客卻沒有理會。原來他們也在這層登陸。我跟著他們的屁股擠了出去。看來是兩父女,來探望她垂死的媽媽吧。位於17樓的高齡女病房,到處都是垂死媽媽。其實17減去避過了的 41314 後,仍然是十四樓。偷號法騙得過人,騙不過現實的建築結構。

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

民主國際標準


佔中支持者,很多都忘記了佔中的聲明目標,是爭取符合國際標準的自由和民主。自由嘛,還好辦。香港是全球最自由的城市之一,這是大佬們說過的,沒有自吹自擂。既然現行的自由度較大,向著國際標準下調的空間也便較多,應該辦得到。

但這批未來的社會棟梁和導師們教我們特首要由公民提名,然後一人一票直選,否則就是假民主!假選舉!支持者都拍手叫好!

Int'l Standard in Freedom and Democracy


Occupy Central protesters demand freedom and Democracy (In case you haven’t noticed, I habitually capitalise Democracy due to it’s sacred status) according to “international standard”. I believe the freedom bit should be easily achievable. Hong Kong has been one of the freest cities in the world in many respects: economic, personal movement, expression etc. etc.; a downward adjustment to meet international standard shouldn’t be too challenging. 

The protestors and their mentors also tell us that candidates for the Chief Executive should be nominated by the public, and voted on directly without any form of screening whatsoever. Otherwise, it’d be a sham! Now, this could be more problematic according to “international standard”. 

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

The Umbrella Revolution and Authoritarianism with Chinese Characteristics


Hong Kong’s Umbrella Freedom Fighters can’t possibly be fighting for “freedom” in one of the most indulgent communities on earth; it’d be like fish keep asking for more salt in the ocean. If succeeded, it’d turn them into anchovies. 

A popular reason cited by supporters is that China’s an authoritarian state, therefore to be loathed unconditionally. Anyone who reads mainstream newspapers would know that much. If this fear is indeed the real cause, I’d like to take this opportunity to examine China’s authoritarianism by reviewing some known facts:

1. In 1949, when the Communist Party took over, average life expectancy in China was about thirty-five, illiteracy was 80%, and GDP was lower than Qing Dynasty’s. After a century of pillage and plunder by colonial powers, the country was struggling to recover from near-fatal wounds inflicted by opium, corruption, barbaric invasions and civil wars. Sixty-five years on, it’s the world’s second largest economy. In the past thirty years, the miraculous transformation (GDP growth, productivity, urbanisation of population etc.) of this continent-sized country is comparable to (relatively tiny) Britain’s evolution after the industrial revolution, which took about 200 years. Martin Jacques’ book contains a lot of hard data for comparison, in plain English http://www.martinjacques.com/books/when-china-rules-the-world/. However, economic development isn’t everything. It shouldn’t be.

雨傘革命和中國特色的極權主義


香港的雨傘革命家們並非真的在追求民主自由。香港是世上少有的自由社會,程度近乎放縱。在這裡搞革命爭取自由,實在太玄,難以信服。當我問他們革命成功後,有了自由民主,打算如何改變社會時,答案都有些離題:中國是極權國家,定要反對! 哦,原來這才是真正原因。

習慣了西方 自由傳媒” 招牌菜的人,都知道中國是 極權國家,令人心寒。我希望多些瞭解,於是決定反潮流,實事求是探索一番:

1. 當新中國在1949年成立之際,中國的人均壽命不過35歲,文盲率高達80%GDP 比清朝時期還低。經過一個多世紀的鴉片荼毒,貪污腐敗,列強侵掠和內戰,中國當時處於垂死邊緣。做夢也想不到,65年後會翻身成為全球第二經濟大國。毛澤東的超英趕美,現在看來一點也不虛幻。過去30年的成績,相等小英帝國工業革命後200年的演變,是人類歷史上的奇跡。英國作家 Martin Jacques 蒐集了大量數據,作出客觀比較,可供參考: http://www.martinjacques.com/books/when-china-rules-the-world/. 但經濟發展雖然重要,社會發展還須以人為本。

Monday, 29 September 2014

My take on Occupy Central


It’s human nature to react emotionally rather than rationally whenever there’s some kind of mass disorder. The Occupy Central movement, misplaced in Admiralty, is of course no exception.

A friend has a valid point: Most if not all student movements have underlying reasons that we should not simply shrug off. So, what’s Occupy Central about, and what could be the extreme outcomes?

Underlying Frustrations

Hong Kong craves the reset button for a few reasons. Education (both at school AND home) is a key one. Having popularised the university degree in the 1990s, everyone feels entitled to a better job. Ironically, quantity has achieved the opposite. We now have many graduates aspiring to be managers, but stuck with making telephone sales calls. Today’s mainland China has many more poor kids. But they have dreams and hopes to soon become nouveau riches. Most of them are (relatively relatively) happy and self-driven. On the other hand, Hong Kong’s social permeability has dropped significantly. Poor kids feel stuck. Middle class ones growing up without having learnt to tie shoe laces feel their enormous sense of entitlement denied. They’re unhappy. 

佔中如何收科?


當很多人被佔中騎劫了情緒之際,我想嘗試分析佔中之目的為何?而最佳和最壞的後果會是甚麼。

背後原因

佔中運動背後的外來因素量暫且不提,一群市民洶湧上街必定也有其內在原因。我認為(學校和家庭)教育可能是其中一個。港英撤走前把大學教育普及化,人人有學位,皆大歡喜。誰知學士太多,變成了社會問題。戴了四方帽,高不成低不就,造成了一代人的納悶。五六十年代的香港,像今天的大陸,肚子不餓,但不過份富裕的人,做人特別起勁。但今天的香港,不愁衣食,以為拿著文憑可以做經理,結果要電話推銷,心理不平衡可以想像。

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Superstition in Science

「繁體版鏈接:科學迷信」

Two erudite correspondents have been engaged in a thought provoking e-mail debate over the merits of science. They both have taught science subjects at university level. One thinks science the most elegant approach to universal wisdom. The other regards it yet another grand human illusion.

I actually agree with both and, paradoxically, don’t think they have much disagreement in their passionately divergent viewpoints. Perhaps they’ve set aside a huge swathe of worldly commonality to expostulate over a philosophical posture? Academics and intellectuals love to do that you know.

There are ample examples how applied science and technology have improved the lives of many over the past century. Science could have been indisputably beneficial, had we not overused and misused it (once again!), rendering it destructive — self-destructive — to humans.

科學迷信



兩位筆友,最近經電郵激烈辯論科學迷信這議題。一位認為科學是探索宇宙最高智慧的優雅手段。另一位認為科學無非人類又一偉大幻覺,與最終現實拉不上關係。兩位都是僑居海外的教授級學者,都曾經在大學教理工科。我覺得他們兩位的論點精辟, 而且分歧不大,只不過抓住了一兩個原則上的分叉,爭論一番而已。老九們,不論香臭,都有這份嗜好!

科學技術本身,當然可以載舟,可以覆舟。“實用科技”於過往一兩個世紀,的確曾經造福不少。但不知收手,直至好事變壞,是人類慣性。我們現在面對科技發達帶來的負面後果,事實上十分嚴峻,而且越來越難收科。

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Beautiful North (3) - Finland Special Lights 美丽北国(3)-芬兰之光

Long time no see Finland. I saw light everywhere, gleaming, glinting, blazing, more dramatic than before, enchanting as usual. And thank you for the rainbow. . .

久违了的芬兰,无论树林,湖泊,天边,都透露着银影金辉,魔幻色彩。一道彩虹横贯长空,美丽得不真实,令人无法不相信神话。。。


Did I say "Let there be light"?  
是我说“要有光”的吗?

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Currency War for Idiots


Why is it a big deal for the 0.001% to maintain the Dollar’s reserve status and petrol prerogative? And why should we commoners even care? 

To answer the second question first, a currency war could end in physical ones, with missiles crisscrossing above head, and our children ruined in the battlefield without knowing why. Even if it doesn’t escalate into major military conflicts, having some idea about the rise and fall of currencies may help to reduce personal losses.

为何要打货币战争?



石油货币究竟有何大不了呢?为什么美元继续当国际货币对美国的主人来说是生死存亡的大事呢?为什么会有货币战争呢?而这些金融博弈,与我们普通老百姓又有啥关系呢?

先答最后一个问题:货币战争随时会变成具体战争,当然与老百姓有切身关系。就算最后没有出动飞弹大炮,对货币博弈有几分了解,不至于身在战场而懵然不知,亦可能减少个人在战乱中的损失。

打货币战的原因和常规战其实一样,主要都是抢掠或保卫天然和人力资源。

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Ulpotha — An Enchanting Retreat 斯里兰卡迷人的瑜伽静修村



Ulpotha has been named the “Best Yoga Retreat in Sri Lanka” for good reasons. It’s a truly unforgettable experience for anyone seeking a retreat from urban life, rather than a resort to indulge in alternative excesses and over-packaged pampering. I don’t have much to add to Ulpotha’s beautiful website (http://www.ulpotha.com). Magical Ulpotha leaves little room for exaggeration or false advertising.

However, I do think there are at least ten reasons why one shouldn’t go anywhere near Ulpotha. Before my analysis, first a few supplementary photos:

斯里兰卡的 Ulpotha 瑜伽静修村被称全国之冠,是名符其实。对真心希望暂时摆脱烦嚣,尝试返璞归真的都市人来说,是难得的乐土。Ulpotha 的网站(http://www.ulpotha.com)上的漂亮相片,丝毫没有夸张,我也就不重复了。

Ulpotha 的魅力虽然一点不假,我却认为由于种种原因,很多人应该敬而远之。在我分析 Ulpotha 的敝处之前,先看几张补充图片:

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

井底看六四

轉眼又到“六四”。這年頭的香港,光陰依然似箭,不過是電影裏的火箭:看上去很快,卻去不了地方,只在原地噴火,隆隆發聲。散場後坐著不走的話,電影還會重播,內容一模一樣。我在09年6月5號寫的一篇遊戲文章,現在重讀,竟然沒有過時。以下基本上是五年前的原文,略作修改,和補充了帝國老闆幾年來的最新動向而已:
 六四是個很值得慶祝的日子。試想二十年前沒有鄧小平的果斷,適當時候平息風波,今天的中國會是甚麼樣子?香港又會是甚麼樣子呢?很多國家都會慶祝重光日勝利日,原因是那歷史性的一天防止了大家淪為亡國奴。從這角度看,六四的性質與重光勝利日相似,應該列為法定假期。要遊行的可以早點開始,多燒兩條蠟燭,讓賣蠟燭的人多賺兩塊錢。   

Friday, 30 May 2014

Impressions from Iran (5) Final Episode: Iran! Iran! 伊朗印象(5)终结篇: 伊朗!伊朗!


Isfahan Square
伊斯法罕的广场 
Two weeks in Iran showed me the extent to which a country can be savagely demonised by the corporate free press. I was surprised by the contrast between what I saw, and what’s commonly portrayed in TV and newspapers. I hope my pictures have said at least a few words.

两个星期的南伊之游,让我领会到西方“自由传媒”的妖魔化力量,原来比想像中更巨大狠毒。像伊朗这类被围困孤立了的国家,一般人都没有亲身证明的机会。在受害人没有反驳能力的情况下,强大的国际喉舌更肆无忌惮,随意抹黑。

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Impressions from Iran (4) — Heroes 伊朗印象(4)- 英雄篇



Persia’s Achaemenid Empire once kinda stretched from Turkey in the west to Pakistan in the East. Its founder Cyrus the Great (circa 600 to 530 BCE), and legendary capital Persepolis (eventually razed by Alexander the Pyromaniac) may evoke a glorious past, but are no match for Hafez and Saadi in capturing the soul and passion of Iran. Few other people revere their poets like Iranians do. The mausoleum of Hafez is still packed with admirers after more than 600 years. They seek solace from his philosophical love poems, even use them as soothsayings to calm the mind and heart. Saadi Shirazi who lived a century before Hafez is similarly remembered. 

大约两千五百年前,波斯的阿契美尼德王朝疆域辽阔,西包土耳其,东含巴基斯坦。王朝的缔造者居鲁士大帝,和被希腊纵火狂阿历山大烧毁的著名古都 Persepolis,虽然标志着古波斯帝国的文明和强大,但对伊朗人来说,魅力还不及哈菲兹萨迪。看来没有一个民族比伊朗人更爱慕伟大的诗人。六百多年来,伊朗人到哈菲兹的陵园凭吊,冥想,找寻灵性,修补创伤,络绎不绝。他充满哲理的情诗,甚至被用来占卦。

The ruins of Persepolis, capital of the largest empire 2500 years ago
2500年前世上最强大繁荣的古都 Persepolis

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Impressions from Iran (3) — Mosques and Morgues 伊朗印象(3)- 上帝与波斯



Visitor Contemplating a 1500-year-old Fire behind glass
in Zoroastrian Temple in Yadz
在 Yadz 拜火庙的火盘,供人隔着玻璃观赏参拜。

盘内的火已经维持了1500年以上。



Religion and the Middle East are inseparable. Iran is no exception, though the average Iranians are not nearly as devout as they appear to outsiders. Started out as monotheistic Parsees (Zoroastrians) in the 6th Century, ancient Persians worshipped a God named Ahura Mazda (unrelated to the Japanese car) with an unremitting fire maintained by a keeper. A few centuries later, it was replaced by Islam, brought in by Arabic conquerors. It has since dominated the spiritual side of Iran, especially after the Islamic Revolution 35 years ago. Zoroastrian has survived as a minor religion, and some fire temples are still in use. 

宗教在中东有历史性的中心地位,伊朗当然不例外。不过对一般的伊朗人来说,宗教无疑是历史文化和生活的一部分,但信仰并不狂热。波斯人在六世纪创立了拜火教,教义极为简单合理,不外正念,正言,正行。拜火教中文译名有些误导。教徒拜的不是火,而是与日本汽车同名的真神“万事达” 。崇拜祂的工具是薪火不断的“火盘”。伊斯兰教由阿拉伯侵略者大概一千年前带入波斯,自此成为主流,但仍然有部分人信奉拜火教。

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Impressions from Iran (2) — Persian Bazaars 伊朗印象(2)- 波斯市集

Tehran Bazaar 德黑兰市集 


Whenever I visit a strange place, I like to see its markets. They tell me a lot about the locals’ lives, habits, social order, living standard, and behaviour towards each other. For example, supermarkets are efficient, impersonal, and cold, while advertising “organic” produce. I wonder who invented them. 

Persian Bazaars are colourful, personal, and busy, but clean and quiet comparing with their Far East counterparts. Iranians do bargain, but not at the expense of sanity and composure. They don’t scream and exchange curses ritualistically before finalising a deal. The bazaars open early in the morning, then take a long nap after lunch before resuming in the late afternoon. Normally, there’s a seemingly incongruous tomb of an imam and/or a religious school in the midst of fragrant herbs and sticky candies, probably to remind people of their spiritual needs while depraving the bodies with yummy food and colourful fabrics.

我每到一个陌生地方,都喜欢到市集逛逛。市场是当地民生的缩影;人民的所爱,生活水平,物价指数,大概的治安情况,和相处态度,都会在市场反应出来。假如你有留心中国市场文化从70年代到今天的转变,便不难看到整国国家过去几十年的演变。再看看高效冷漠的“超市”,打着招牌大卖“有机食品”,便不难推想谁是现代超市的“发明者”。

市集是每个伊朗城镇的心脏;虽然十分繁荣热闹,却比我们的街市干净宁静。伊朗人也讨价还价,但不过份,亦不会大吵大闹,互相诅咒一番才忿忿然成交。波斯市集一早开市,午后小睡,到四五点才苏醒过来。市集当中通常有个宗教领袖的墓,祈祷的地方或伊斯兰学校,提醒着人们买香料煲鸡汤的时候不要忘记了照顾灵魂。

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Impressions from Iran (1) - FACES of EVIL 伊朗印象(1)- “邪恶轴心” 的嘴脸


When newspaper-reading friends first learnt of my plan to join a few retirees for a trip to Iran, their common reaction was: “Iran? You be careful huh.” As departure approached, I became slightly nervous about adventuring into Bush's “Axis of Evil”, braving a “yellow travel alert” dutifully echoed by the Hong Kong Government. I even considered buying insurance for the first time. However, anxiety was no match for my curiosity about the only other ancient civilisation which still thinks reasonably independently.

前阵子有几位退休朋友自己组团游伊朗,我立即报名参加。除了中国,当今世上还能基本上思想独立的文明古国就只有伊朗,非要看看不可。 但很多经常看报纸的朋友们知道之后,都面带忧色地警告我小心。“踏足美国的邪恶轴心非同小可,惟望三思而行。” 可惜退缩已经太迟,最后只有鼓起勇气,与家人拥抱道别之后,战战兢兢地登上飞机。

Monday, 28 April 2014

The Justice of Sin



Slightly edited version of "The Sins of Sin",
Originally anthologised by Hong Kong Writers Circle 

Sin went through the morning’s news clippings for the fifth time, sucking desperately at a fibre of lunchtime chicken lodged between molars, making loud slippery tzits! He stuffed his half-finished lunchbox into the paper basket without closing the lid, then searched fruitlessly for a toothpick. 
His secretary Flora was returning from lunch, shuffling past his open door to take position behind her desk for another two hundred and ten minutes before she was free to go. Though only a few metres from her, he summoned her with the intercom as a matter of principle: “Flora. Do you have a toothpick?”
“No Mr. Sin,” she replied in an intimidated voice that some suspected was a result of having worked for Sin all these years.
“Can you first look?”
“I know I don’t Mr. Sin but I can look anyway if you wish.”
“Forget it. Just come in.”
She entered, goggling him in silence, not wondering what he might want. She had given up on that long ago. 
“Can you make a copy?” He eyed the news clippings on his desk, picking his teeth with a straightened paper clip. His “media contact” Winnie Poon had asked a few questions outside the courtroom yesterday, mentioning his new title, just as he had skillfully hinted. Her question on cross-border corruption had been a surprise, but he had handled it well. He was extremely pleased with the result: “No Territorial Boundary  in the Battle against Corruption”, said Senior Assistant Director. Fantastic, he thought. Visionary, bold, and righteous. It would attract many “likes” if he could share it on Facebook.