Monday, 3 August 2015

The Caucasus (3) Faces of Armenia & Azerbaijan 高加索掠影(3)阿塞拜疆與亞美尼亞的面


A capella singer in a stone chamber at Garni, Armenia
在亚美尼亚古迹 Garni 石室清唱圣诗的歌手

我將阿塞拜疆與亞美尼亞兩個世仇放在一起,是對他們的一種友好祝願。早在一戰前,這兩族人一有機會便你插我眼珠,我咬你耳朵。20世紀期間,奧斯曼帝國,大英帝國,和蘇聯都先後當過監護人,亦分別播下了新衝突的種子。

By mixing Armenian and Azerbaijani faces in this post, I’ve probably committed a capital offence in both countries. Animosity between the two neighbours goes way back to before WW1, for untraceable reasons which have long been distilled down to elemental hatred. For more than a century now, they’d kick and bite and scratch each other whenever a big guy isn’t around. The Ottoman, British, and Soviet empires had all played guardian here, and sowed new seeds for future conflict.

高加索掠影 The Caucasus (4) -格魯吉亞的面目 Faces of Georgia


Woman outside Church 教堂外的老婦

要瞭解格魯吉亞的處境,失業率是個好參數。蘇聯瓦解後,格魯吉亞獨立,失業率狂飆至85%,社會動蕩了二十多年。現在比較安定,失業率降了下來,仍然停留在65%的懸崖邊上。導遊指出,格魯吉亞人的傳統本領是務農和打仗。現在人口只有三百多萬,要把本事擴大,經濟多元化,談何容易?美國,北約和以色列於是把握機會,大發好心,在一個名為 「軍備培訓」 的資助計劃下,大力培養格魯吉亞人的戰爭天分。

格魯吉亞人給我的印象很淳樸倔強,老實勤勞。但很多人的眼神都帶著幾分無奈與憂戚。

Unemployment in Georgia is a good indicator of the disheartening situation. When first separated from the USSR in 1991, the newborn nation plunged promptly into chaos. Unemployment rocketed to 85%. Relative calmness has been restored, but unemployment still stands at an astounding 65%. Georgians, in the words of the tour guide, are traditionally farmers and warriors. With only 3.5 million of them, holding on to strong traditions, diversifying the economy is much easier dreamt than done. Israel, NATO and the USA are currently helping to develop one of two Georgian talents under an aid programme prosaically and ominously named Arm and Train.

Many Georgians look sad.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

The Caucasus (1) — A Brief Intro 高加索掠影(1)-文明摇篮的面貌


Azerbaijan 阿塞拜疆

A few months ago, I was still misspelling Caucasus as “Caucuses”. Now that I’ve visited Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia for 18 days, less travel time, I have learnt a few trivia about the Southern Caucasus, and formed some superficial impressions of my own.
老實說,幾個月前,我連高加索是哪個「索」字也搞不清。但花了18天時間參觀南高三國 -- 阿塞拜疆,亞美尼亞,格魯吉亞 --之後,除了知道了一點點他們的歷史文化和風土人情外,也對這歐亞要塞多了幾分模糊印象和片面看法。
Tsminda Sameba Church against Kazbegi 格魯吉亞著名的卡茲別吉風貌

The Caucasus (2) — Religion 高加索掠影(2)-宗教


We are supposed to be tolerant of religion no matter how absurd it is; but religions have not been very tolerant of others. Throughout the Caucasus, there’s nearly nothing left of its pre-Christian glories; they have been brutally destroyed or craftily painted over by organised religions long ago. All that’s left from five millennia of Caucasian civilisation are churches, cathedrals, monasteries, and memories of savage conflicts incited by gods. In less than three weeks, I saw a lifetime’s worth of crosses and churches and monasteries. I suspect there are more crucifixes and monasteries in Armenia and Georgia than in Heaven itself. 
無論多荒誕的宗教,現代文明人都不只要包容,還得尊重。這國際規矩是由宗教文化養大的人定的,不得破壞。但回顧歷史,宗教本身對異見通常不留情面,手起刀落。在有幾千年歷史的高加索,差不多所有古蹟都是四世紀歸奉了基督以後的遺物。在這之前的異教建設,祭祀聖殿之類,都被清洗乾淨,考古無從。幾千年老的文明搖籃,剩下的都是教堂和修道院。我看在亞美尼亞和格魯吉亞的十字架,可能比天堂的還要多。

Pilgrims at Geghard Cave Monastery, Armenia
亞美尼亞 Geghard 山洞修院的朝聖信徒

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Movie Review: September 11, the New Pearl Harbour



September 11, the New Pearl Harbor, a five-hour documentary by Massimo Mazzucco, surprises even a reasonably informed “Conspiracy Theorist” like myself. It's an eye-opening tour of the glaringly questionable tragedy. Mazzucco packs a prodigious amount of irrefutable information into three DVDs without sacrificing clarity, objectivity, or “entertainment values”. Issues are explained in lay terms before queries are raised. Prominent Debunkers — defenders of the official story — then answer or “debunk” these queries. The audience is then left to make his own judgement.
We all like to bemoan mass ignorance, though social stupidity isn’t all bad from a personal standpoint. Contrary to popular belief, humans are actually rather dumb. Nevertheless, intelligence is relative. Having correctly noticed collective dumbness means having seen something with better clarity, or a step ahead of others. Hey, that’s potential competitive advantage, even undeserved profits to the individual — something to be secretly happy about right?

There are exceptions though. The mass gullibility about 911 is unsettling and ominous, like being locked up with a roomful of blind and gung-ho idiots. 911 is a blatant atrocity of historic proportion and consequence, but ironically also the most clearly documented to those who care to look. Yet few would bother. Is it in fact mass connivance with an innocent look, rather than wholesale ignorance of ming-boggling proportion then? More likely, it’s simply too disturbing, even frightening, to look; so everyone turns his head the other way. Life goes on.

影評:911 - 重演珍珠港


Massimo Mazzucco 的紀錄片 September 11, the New Pearl Harbor,收集了大量各方面的證據,足以錄滿三隻 DVD,連播五個小時而毫無冷場。片中把每一個技術論點都以淺易的方法清楚介紹後,才發出疑問。而每一個疑問之後,都播放了各 「官方代言人」 的駁斥,讓觀眾自己作出判斷。
雖然大家都喜歡埋冤 「大眾愚昧」, 但大眾的愚昧其實對個人來說並非壞事。能夠正確洞察到大眾愚昧,等於自己相對聰明,競爭能力相對提升,「搵食」也容易了。不勞而獲或者少勞多得的機會增加了,心底應該暗暗高興才是!不過凡事都有例外。大眾對十五年前 911事件的愚昧,再繼續下去的話,後果會越來越嚴重,不止搞出阿拉伯人命那麼簡單。

Saturday, 27 June 2015

A New Eurasian Century?



While stock markets climb relentlessly, humanity sits blithely at the brink of self-destruction through military conflicts and environmental devastation. But being only at the brink also means we may still be able to avoid it. I believe a key hope depends on how successful Eurasia manages to restore a world order which belongs to the world, not just one or two bullies. Unthinkable? Not according to history.
For years, the Western media have been hyperventilating between China’s “imminent collapse by five in the afternoon” and a looming “Chinese Century”. Entertaining only extreme outcomes, however, they have overlooked a highly probable scenario outside their thinking box — a multi-polar world evolving around a Eurasian axis.  This is a scenario which dominated most of human history until very recently — the last century or two.

夢想歐亞新紀元




這個歌舞昇平,股票飆升的世界,其實十分危險。一下擦槍走火,隨時要承受人類史上最嚴重的災難。不過有危便有機。我相信化解目前危機的一個現實希望,是歐亞攜手創造一個真正屬於大多數人的世界新秩序,擺脫單靠槍桿子打造一言堂的所謂 「世界秩序」。難以想象?但幾千年來,這世界絕大部分時候都由歐亞主導,並非什麼新噱頭。
西方的 「自由傳媒」 散播中國威脅論多年,已成耳邊之風。它們這分鐘預測中國會於今天下午收工前崩潰,另一分鐘估計中國即將取代美國;二十一世紀會是 「中國世紀」 云云。這兩個極端的預測都很刺激,戲劇性豐富,迎合市場口味,卻忽略了最有可能發生,也最應該發生的 「歐亞新秩序」。

Sunday, 7 June 2015

小说 “笙歌” 第五章 之(8)“挖洞型经济(下篇)”

挖洞型經濟(下)

老馬認為發達社會的經濟活動,
很大程度上是你挖一個洞,我來填上,
最後大家都很忙,也有了為事業而努力的目標。。。




續上篇。。。

老馬故意把當年如何按照規則,跟足程序,把項目引進死胡同兜圈的 “業績” 說得眉飛色舞,旨在刺激尊信。尊信果然面色起了反應,越來越紅潤。你這種行為,跟跟跟。。。偷有甚麼分別他終於忍不住要打斷老馬。
有!有天淵之別。老馬竪起食指,肯定地回答。
尊信沒有等他解釋,便繼續說道:政府和納稅人給你工資,指望你做好環保工作。你不但未有盡職,還耍花招把項目搞成大昏迷,薪水卻照支,這不是偷是甚麼?
呃,何止支薪水那麼簡單。我其它的福利和補貼多不勝數呢!
還有,外國的知識產權。。。
這點你放心!政府辦事,最尊重知識產權。這類文章,連原作者的親生媽媽也讀不下去。我肯用,他們都再三感謝賞臉。馬依力頓了一頓,一臉嚴肅地繼續說下去:社會通過人民選出來的代表,清楚說明了他們根本不知道希望我做些甚麼。那我最後沒有執行老闆自己也不明所以的任命,又何來失職之言呢?

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

回覆日本人寫給中國人的信

友人傳來一封網上流行,據說是一個日本人寫給中國人的信。標題很有感嘆,說:「一封日本人寫給中國人的信(讀完心好痛,感覺無法呼吸)」

哈!我看罷此信,卻十分安心,呼吸暢順。文中所提到的很多缺點,的確是中華民族的「弱點」,但也同時是強項,人生就是這樣模稜兩可。「刀沒有兩頭利」,中國的哲人在這方面看得很透,這智慧也深入民間。

「中國人」 對付外族侵略很有經驗,所以很實際,處下風陷絕境之時,不會包條頭巾做 「神風死士」,或剖腹放腸餵野狗。那麼暫時容忍,甚至服從侵略者,是否等於「投降」呢?從歷史的角度看,倒要放長雙眼!蒙古當時是「外族」,打敗了中國,幾百年後變成「中國的少數民族」,在五星旗上一顆小星。與蒙古人一般凶悍,但文化修養較佳的女真人,亦復如是。滿清皇帝最後漢語比自已的母語強。日本人上次給跑掉了,是緣分,否則也是同樣下場,三百年後要受中央政府特別保護,穿和服跳舞娛樂遊客。可惜日本自投羅網的機會可能已經難逢了。。。

Monday, 1 June 2015

小说 “笙歌” 第五章 之(7)“挖洞型经济(中篇)”

挖洞型經濟(中)

馬依力認為“白做白干”是浪費精力和天然資源的行為。
把多餘的勤奮說成美德,是妖言惑眾!
他試問一頭老虎,多跑幾十里冤枉路獵食,是否比其同類更有美德呢?


接上篇。。。

勞動是每個社會成員的天職和義務。只有工作可以客觀量度個人在群體中的相對貢獻和價值,是最基本的社群道德。尊信大義凜然的說了一遍,自己也覺得耳熟能詳。他跟老馬閒來無事,一杯在手,老愛把往昔人間的是非功過,重複辯論。幸而老人家善忘,加上兩杯美酒助興,重複也不單調。雖然大部分話題都已經是明日黃花,兩老仍然抱著半腔熱情,各持己見地你一句我一句互相對質,也實在比相對無言有趣。
呀?老馬張大口,以一副極為驚訝的表情望著尊信。
工作的看法,他跟尊信可以說各走極端。馬依力認為大部分 文明社會的所謂工作,都是些可幹可不幹的雜務。人太多,吃不飽固然麻煩,吃飽了無所事事,會更麻煩。幸好有事業作藉口,讓人們視為目標,努力奮鬥。在跑狗場的電兔,雖然無骨無肉無味道無營養,卻能替狗群提供目標和方向,以免四處亂跑。對人群來說,工作就有如電兔,可以製造幻覺,維持社會秩序。

Monday, 25 May 2015

小说 “笙歌” 第五章 之(6)“挖洞型经济(上篇)”

挖洞型經濟(上)

 尊信這老友馬依力竟然說資本主義是人類史中最封建,最不公平的制度!
不公平嘛,還可以理解,但封建這話,從何說起呢?


想當年尊信是全球第二大油公司的亞洲區戰略經理。有分參予策劃原油戰略,令他覺得人生有某種特權和意義。
他辦公的地方租金高昂,一般冒正業的公司都負擔不來。辦公室離中環 皇后碼頭不遠。尊信憑著高大身材和戰場經驗,在人潮中穿插推撞,走路也不過幾分鐘路程。沒有公費午餐吃的日子,尊信喜歡到碼頭吃簡便三明治。他是個有規律有習慣的人,每次都喜歡坐在同一個纜柱,一邊吃一邊看路人急步追趕著下一個人生目標。頻繁的海上交通也在背後跟時間競賽,興波作浪,活力十足。
碼頭下偶爾一堆像是滋生出來的蝦毛魚苗,在污濁的水流中掙扎,拼命向前。附近的大魚早已絕跡多年,小魚不似在逃命。它們的努力似乎不外本能的驅使,並無目標或原因。更奇怪的是這裡不乏釣魚人士;尊信的纜柱間中會被他們 霸佔,令他有點不爽之外,也很好奇。他們究竟在釣甚麼呢?這裡的魚蝦,一般體積比魚鈎還細,就算自動獻身也不夠資格上釣。但這些漁翁一幅悠然之態,看上去又不似有神經病,難道這是東方神秘學的一種?或許都是禪宗高人?或喬裝特務?他手執一分三明治,身旁一罐零熱量飲品,發著白日夢自娛。

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 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。