Friday, 11 April 2014

Questioning Democracy Goes Mainstream?



What’s going on? Criticising the occult of Democracy has suddenly gone mainstream?

Just within the past few weeks, I’ve read, with utter disbelief, first in The Economist, then The Washington Post, warnings that Democracy could collapse unless reformed. Even Professor Francis Fukuyama, writer of “The End of History and the Last Man” who declared liberal democracy to be the ultimate political model of mankind, has joined rank. It’s like witnessing the Vatican expressing doubt over the Genesis.

I’ve listed the links of these incredible but excellent essays below, plus a couple of my old blasphemous pieces which questioned the viability of Democracy, especially when coupled with extreme capitalism and mass petulance. Hey, these “eccentric and cynical” views are now kinda mainstream! I still find it difficult to take in, and wonder what the catch is. . .

西方主流传媒也批民主?



世界真的变得越来越快,快得有点儿不真实。几个星期前,我根本不能想像 “民主” 这神性不可侵犯的大迷信,会被西方主流传媒认真批判。

这几周内,首先是超保守的英国 “经济学人”,然后是 “华盛顿邮报”,轮流对西方肆意式民主的前途作出前所未有的认真检讨和批判,甚至坦然承认若不改革,整个制度可能会面临崩溃。现在甚至连曾经预测西方民主将会成为人类 “终极制度” 的福山教授,也改变了看法,承认民主发展下去是个大死结。

究竟搞什么鬼?事有蹊跷?想不通。不过趁机挑了两篇我曾经斗胆写过的反民主游戏文章,与这几篇高档传媒的论文并列,高攀一下,过瘾一下。

Monday, 31 March 2014

Mini Memories and the Significance of Snowden



Modern memories, like attention span, are fashionably short for a number of reasons, the most obvious of which being incessant shrinking and conditioning by the mass media. Another reason could be mental overload. There are way too many baffling issues, some real, some fabricated, designed to confuse.

Many survivors of WW2 are still alive with their scars and memories, yet the denial and reinvention of history have commenced before their eyes. No wonder Iraq has been largely forgotten. But countless Iraqis are still dead, for reasons that never existed. They are the relatively lucky ones though. Thousands of deformed children, DNA warped by depleted uranium bombs, are yet to face life in a broken country. What about Guatanamo Bay, the 21st Century torture camp operated by the most vociferous lecturer of human rights and rule of law, offering indefinite detention without bothering to stage even a show trial? 

集体失忆与斯洛登



当今集体记忆与注意力的严重收缩,首要多谢传媒多年来的悉心培养。极其复杂的天下大势,电视报章只消花三言两语便忠奸分明,正邪定局。来不及想深一层,话题已经消失,变了广告。欲深入分析已资料难寻,亦不合时宜。再者,天下劲乱,资讯泛滥;值得注意的事情太多,能做的事情极少,众人心理负荷过大,唯有跳制短路,以求自保。

曾经二战的人很多还健在,战争的前因后果已经当他们的面被删改得模糊不清。难怪记得伊拉克的人不多了。百多万伊拉克人死得不明不白,家破人亡的不计其数,连个牵强的借口也没有。如此离谱的侵略行为,世人还是忘记得越快越好。死者已矣,要忘记相对容易,自由传媒不提便好了。但数以千计的小孩子,基因被灭绝人性的贫铀弹扭曲,奇形怪状地出生在一个破落的国家,还要面对整辈子的挣扎。他们欲忘不能。

集體失憶與斯洛登



當今集體記憶與注意力的嚴重收縮,首要多謝傳媒多年來的悉心培養。極其複雜的天下大勢,電視報章只消花三言兩語便忠奸分明,正邪定局。來不及想深一層,話題已經消失,變了廣告。欲深入分析已資料難尋,亦不合時宜。再者,天下勁亂,資訊泛濫;值得注意的事情太多,能做的事情極少,眾人心理負荷過大,唯有跳制短路,以求自保。

曾經二戰的人很多還健在,戰爭的前因後果已經當他們的面被刪改得模糊不清。難怪記得伊拉克的人不多了。百多萬伊拉克人死得不明不白,家破人亡的不計其數,連個牽強的藉口也沒有。如此離譜的侵略行為,世人還是忘記得越快越好。死者已矣,要忘記相對容易,自由傳媒不提便好了。但數以千計的小孩子,基因被滅絕人性的貧鈾彈扭曲,奇形怪狀地出生在一個破落的國家,還要面對整輩子的掙扎。他們欲忘不能。

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

慰安妇艾莲娜




English]   [繁體中文

“不吸取历史教训的人,注定要重蹈覆辙” 丘吉尔
很多人都说过类似的警语。但我们依然在逃避历史,拒绝吸取教训,
因为历史的黑暗角落往往令人不安,伤心沮丧。。。


“万岁!万岁!天皇万岁!”
楼下转来的欢呼声,令艾莲娜极之恶心。她心里已经没有恐惧,只有憎恶;深切的憎恶,渗透了每一个细胞,每一滴血,煽着怒火,焚烧着失去了知觉的肉体。
一口酸水,随着胸口的恶气直冲口腔和鼻窦。她咬紧被卡在口中用来防止她咬断舌头的木条,用力把胃酸从口鼻喷出。劲力之大,自己也觉得出奇。
禽兽!禽兽!禽兽!
不对!他们是名副其实的禽兽不如!除了人类,没有任何动物会这样把同类轮奸的。野兽固然不会,昆虫也不会。这班人连蛇虫鼠蚁也攀不上。
自从当上护士之后,她听了不少有关战争的恐怖故事。短短一年间,本来备受保护的少女情怀已经被战争催熟。似乎自古有战乱便有性暴力。妇孺一向都是男人的暴力和野心的受害者。但最凶狠横蛮的侵略者,也不会公开组织集体轮奸的兽行。排队“享用”被捆绑在凳上的妇女,轮侯时一边喝酒唱歌,一边谈天说地细说家常的军人,就只有这批纪律优良的妖怪。
她垂头看看自己。身上的粗毛毯从肩膀滑落了,堆叠在腰间。赤裸的上身微微发抖;但体内有如火烧,对十二月的冷风毫无感觉。刚才呕的酸臭水,参着血丝,沿着麻木的胸膛淌滴,给她带来了片刻的满足。她仿佛听到自己的声音从老远喝彩:“好!越脏越好!” 
她合上双眼,躲进了自己的世界。

Comfort Woman Eleanor




“THOSE WHO FAIL TO LEARN FROM HISTORY ARE DOOMED TO REPEAT IT” 
Winston Churchill was the last famous person to have warned us of that. 
But we still refuse to learn because facing history’s dark pages is upsetting.



Banzai! Banzai!! Tennouheika Banzai!!!” 
The euphoric cheers filled Eleanor Thompson with disgust rather than horror. There was no fear left in her. She felt only revulsion, pure and intense, incinerating her numb body. 
Her stomach went into spasm. A mouthful of acid erupted. She chocked, biting hard on the stick tied over her mouth to prevent her from chewing up her tongue. Pungent liquid spouted from her mouth. Some shot up the nose. She coughed and blew it out, surprised by the force. 
Beasts. Vile beasts.
No! Beasts don’t do this. No other animal would line up — drinking, smoking, singing, exchanging hometown tales — while waiting to force sex on another animal tied to a chair. Only these sub-bestial demons could. Sure, rapes happen during war times. She had heard many stories since becoming a military nurse, horrifying stories which would have been absolutely unseemly for  a girl like her just a year before. War had abruptly moulted her well preserved innocence, presented a new stark face of the brutal world. Women bearing the consequence of men’s aggression seemed nothing new. But never so brazen, organised and endorsed.
Never like this…
She looked down. The blanket had slid from her shoulders, bunching at the waist. She was trembling slightly, from rage rather than the cool December air. Vomit and blood was crawling down her chest. She could not feel it on the skin, but the sight was gratifying. “Good. Filthier the better!” She heard her own exhausted voice inside, as if coming from the far end of a long dark tunnel, then closed her eyes.

慰安婦艾蓮娜




English]   [简体中文

“不吸取歷史教訓的人,注定要重蹈覆轍”  丘吉爾
很多人都說過類似的警語。但我們依然在逃避歷史,拒絕吸取教訓,
因為歷史的黑暗角落往往令人不安,傷心沮喪。。。


“萬歲!萬歲!天皇萬歲!”
樓下轉來的歡呼聲,令艾蓮娜極之惡心。她心裡已經沒有恐懼,只有憎惡;深切的憎惡,滲透了每一個細胞,每一滴血,煽著怒火,焚燒著失去了知覺的肉體。
一口酸水,隨著胸口的惡氣直衝口腔和鼻竇。她咬緊被卡在口中用來防止她咬斷舌頭的木條,用力把胃酸從口鼻噴出。勁力之大,自己也覺得出奇。
禽獸!禽獸!禽獸!
不對!他們是名副其實的禽獸不如!除了人類,沒有任何動物會這樣把同類輪姦的。野獸固然不會,昆蟲也不會。這班人連蛇蟲鼠蟻也攀不上。
自從當上護士之後,她聽了不少有關戰爭的恐怖故事。短短一年間,本來備受保護的少女情懷已經被戰爭催熟。似乎自古有戰亂便有性暴力。婦孺一向都是男人的暴力和野心的受害者。但最凶狠橫蠻的侵略者,也不會公開組織集體輪姦的獸行。排隊“享用”被捆綁在凳上的婦女,輪侯時一邊喝酒唱歌,一邊談天說地細說家常的軍人,就只有這批紀律優良的妖怪。
她垂頭看看自己。身上的粗毛毯從肩膀滑落了,堆疊在腰間。赤裸的上身微微發抖;但體內有如火燒,對十二月的冷風毫無感覺。剛才嘔的酸臭水,參著血絲,沿著麻木的胸膛淌滴,給她帶來了片刻的滿足。她仿佛聽到自己的聲音從老遠喝彩:“好!越臟越好!” 
她合上雙眼,躲進了自己的世界。

Thursday, 30 January 2014

"A Head" in the Year of the Horse 马年头头是道

新年快乐
Happy New Year

甲午将至,我拿着个头拍了几幅照片,
祝各位马年进步,头头是道!
I took a few photos to wish you happy and ahead in the 
Year of the Horse!

Sunday, 5 January 2014

How Many Earths?三千大千世界图?




According to a New Scientist presentation (http://exoplanets.newscientistapps.com/), a simulation based on data collected by the Kepler Telescope suggests roughly 10 to 30 billion Earth-like planets in the Milky Way which might harbour life. The Milky Way is of course just a speck of dust in the cosmos - less than "a grain of sand in the Ganges". Isn't this is an excellent scale to measure the disproportionate self-importance of Homo sapiens?

“新科学家”(http://exoplanets.newscientistapps.com/)报导:用“开普勒望远镜”数据所作出的估计指出,单在银河系就有100 到 300亿与地球相似的星球,可能有生物存在。而银河系在宇宙中只不过“恒河一沙”。“三千大千世界”这形容词似乎一点也不夸张。反正人类对自己的“独特”和重要性,随时高估了几十万亿倍!令我禁不住要学和尚们作偈自娱:

三千大千   但求方便
恒河沙多   何必细算
微尘满布   点滴唯心
安于当下   妙在无穷



Monday, 30 December 2013

笙歌再现


一部小说的诞生,其实也得依靠自身的生命力。

我写笙歌的时候,每朝起来都会满脑子情节。故事中人昨天的遭遇,由于我要吃晚饭而被暂时冻结。今天他们苏醒之后,究竟会如何反应呢?我变成了“欲知后事如何 必须续写下回” 的心急人。吃罢早餐,连忙打开电脑找答案。我对故事主人翁们的命运的好奇,变成了一种推动力。

整个创作过程中最需要铺排和营造的,是故事的背景。一个不育的人类世界,人口和社会结构究竟会如何演变呢?这方面需要下功夫研究,构想才会合理。至于框架内的详情细节,大多是写作当时的念头幻化而成的现象。但念头这东西一向不受控制,更莫说悉心策划了。从这个角度看,故事的发展并不全由作者刻意安排。情节之间也有因果关系,节节相连;更曲折的布局也得顺理,方能成章。

Writing of Man's Last Song


When working on Man’s Last Song, I discovered that a story has its own life force. 

Most mornings, I would wake with a headful of ideas, wondering how to match them with my fictional characters. I had left them for dinner the night before, temporary frozen in a situation. How would they continue today? After breakfast, I rushed to the computer, anxious to find out. The story, yet incomplete, was spurring me on with the intrigue of its emerging fate.
Designing the global setting — a diminishing human world due to infertility — required research and planning. Once the general framework had been constructed, filling it with details became a day-to-day happenstance that could neither be planned nor controlled any more than real life. My thoughts of the moment — spontaneous and unruly as usual — would shape the vagaries of life faced by the protagonists. 

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

37 - A Beautiful Movie


Movie “37” is a Mainland and HK joint production, supported by the Hong Kong Film Development Council, directed by Chen Guo Xin. Main actresses include Liu Xiao Qing, Charlie Yeung, and Lin Miao Ke. 

When a friend invited me to view the movie, promising breathtaking scenery and delightful songs by cute and organic Mongolian children, I was skeptical. I love good movies but don’t have the stamina to sit through bad ones. That’s why going to the cinema has become an annual event. The occasional experimental artsy creation could be a pleasant surprise; unfortunately, most are impenetrable. Straightforward coherence, though extremely rare in everyday life, is paradoxically regarded ordinary and unoriginal by many artists. 

The name “37” turned out to be the worst thing about the movie. It was beautiful, moving and charming, not hokey as I cynically suspected.

一套感人的电影 “37”


“37” 是一部中港合作电影。导演是香港电影发展局的新锐陈国新。演员包括刘晓庆,杨采妮和林妙可。

当友人彭博士邀请我观赏“37”的时候,我起初的反应老实说是少许忧心,恐怕半场熟睡而失礼老友。我一年上不了一次电影院。因为看一般的“流行电影”时总忍不住诸多挑剔,连自己也觉得扫兴兼讨厌。独立制作和实验电影间中会带来惊喜。可惜多数艺术创作都有点玄,令我散场后一头雾水,精神仿佛。说起来也奇怪:有条理的平铺直叙其实在日常生活中十分罕有,毫不寻常,但艺术家门似乎仍然觉得要转弯抹角才能突出创意。

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Man's Last Song Diary


Man's Last Song
Download PODCAST
by HK Writers Circle
http://www.hkwriterscircle.com/podcast/hk-writers-circle-podcast-episode-1/

Read Synopsis: 

*   *   *

TimeOut Review 
by Laura Besley

"It's Hong Kong -- but not as we know it. The year is 2090 and Song Sung, 42, is the youngest person alive. James Tam's debut novel, Man's Last Song, is a complex-yet-compelling exploration into the balance of mankind -- for individuals, as well as for humanity as a whole. This superbly written dystopian novel is appealing on many levels: for its dramatic use of Hong Kong, for the intriguing characters, for the questions raised and, more importantly, for those which are left unanswered. A highly recommended read."
Laura Besley 

Monday, 14 October 2013

A spooky coincidence during Chong Yang Festival



Yesterday was Chong Yang, one of two annual grave sweeping festivals in Chinese tradition. A few years ago, Chong Yang and Halloween fell on the same day. East met West in the afterlife. After visiting ancestral graveyards, youngsters dressed up as Count Dracula or George W Bush for a macabre good time in Lan Kwai Fong.

It was a beautiful autumn day yesterday. After the beach and lunch, we made a spontaneous visit to the Military Cemetery at Stanley, and was spooked by an uncanny coincidence... 

重阳坟头 迷离插曲




昨天重阳,天气特佳,和家人到沙滩打发了一个上午。在赤柱午饭后,经过军人坟场时突然心血来潮,带老婆和小女儿进去参观了一下。谁料一个不寻常的巧合,在几个陌生人的坟旁将我们引进了逝去的时空。 。 。

Monday, 30 September 2013

Writing About Asia -- Words and Prejudice


(I wrote this piece for the Hong Kong Writers Circle on-line newsletter to substitute for a panel discussion planned earlier.)

Writing about something as dynamic and diverse as Asia at this exciting juncture could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for writers living here; but chances are most of us would miss it.

Asia is changing at an unprecedented rate, causing a historic paradigm shift yet to be understood, hence the challenge. Most people, writers included, are more comfortable with familiar patterns and hindsight than gazing into the unknown, particularly when the road to future appears chaotically revolutionary as well as hesitantly evolutionary.

When we “write about Asia”, therefore, we could be talking about a dramatically different place depending on whether it’s in the past, present, or future.

文字与偏见 —— 有关亚洲的写作


香港的英语作家联会前阵子计划搞个研讨会,邀请我分享以亚洲为背景的写作心得。我自问并非专家,但也脸皮厚厚地答应了。最后研讨会改为线上论坛,我便借题发挥了几句心底话。以下的中文版本归纳了英语原文的一些看法,并非译本。

亚洲很多方面都在急剧转变。东西南北的交流,不但史无前例地频繁,亦较过往互动。这文化汇流所产生的旋涡其实创造了不少故事题材,是写作人士的黄金机会。但我觉得很多文人,不论本身国籍和文化背景,都会错过这千载良机。原因是当局者迷。大多数人身处变化时都需要时间去消化和反应。依赖熟识的一套去联想将来是人的思维惰性。作家也不例外。

外国人写亚洲,尤其容易忽略了急速变化对一个传统社会带来的冲击。亚洲的过去,现在,将来,有如脱了节的时空单元,靠着抽象无形的文化神髓连接。外人要掌握这混乱中的微妙,需要很大的敏感度。

Friday, 6 September 2013

Calculus of Predetermination


Reality being increasingly counter-intuitive is not only a problem in politics. Quantum mechanics is also taking us further and further away from the neat and simple perception of reality that Homo sapiens have enjoyed for millennia. The more we think we know, the less sure we become. Perhaps it’s meant to be. 

The latest dilemma is that “Reality, Relativity, Causality, and Freewill” cannot coexist (New Scientist No.219 Vol 2928, 3 Aug 2013). One of them has to go. But which one? To me, the answer is obvious: Freewill! 

I suspect General Freewill to be an anthropocentric delusion spawned by arrogance and wishful thinking, a notion I briefly entertained fictionally in Man’s Last Song. Believe it or not, I reached this conclusion through a mathematical approach. Well, kind of.

微积分谈宿命论


量子物理学目前面对的问题与国际政治很相似。两者都越来越“违反常理”,与直觉“现实”不符,甚至不可思议。我们自以为知道得越多,就越糊涂。13年8月3号的“新科学家” (New Scientist)的一篇文章归纳得很好:现实,相对论,因果关系,和人的自主,四样东西不能并存。要解决矛盾,必须否定其中一样。但四个概念均被视为基本,要开除一个并不容易。

我却认为答案很明显:废除自主!因为所谓自主,无非人类的自大幻觉。这点我在小说 ”Man’s Last Song“ 也略略讨论过。

信不信由你。我这结论其实颇有科学基础,是按照微积分概念推断出来的。

Saturday, 31 August 2013

The Age of Propaganda

Propaganda are like a virus. They enter through the eyes and ears, anchor in our head or heart, then grow and spread. Once in a while they turn epidemic, with devastating effects. 

It has been said that modern propaganda was invented in WW-I. Caricatures, novels, and poems assisted recruitment to excellent effect. Newsreels from the front was a sensational innovation. Total WW-I casualties reached 35 million. Most died without having asked why. It was unpatriotic and cowardly to question. 

Most atrocities since then had at least been partially fuelled by mass propaganda. Millions of ordinary folks had been induced to murder by surprisingly simplistic slogans. Posthumous propaganda such as cowboy movies and Islamophobic hate messages are arguably more heartless. Is it not enough to destroy a community unprovoked without demonising the dead and their children?

A scary fact about New Age Propaganda is their transient and “entertaining” nature. As long as a sensational lie is believed for the time being, when it’s needed, subsequent uncovering carries little if any consequence. The International Community’s atrophied attention and memory spans have apparently shrunk shorter than its moralising sermons. The Bay of Tonkin conned the American people into an atrocious war. More than a million Vietnamese were killed. Tens of thousands of American young men died for nothing. The false-flag operation had since been declassified. So?

面对现代化政治宣传


宣传有如病毒,可以在我们的脑细胞繁殖滋长,甚至发展为瘟疫,为害无穷。

以前的统治者们由于有上帝支持,奉天承运,或许身上流着世世代代内部通婚积聚下来的贵族淤血,一切理所当然,无容置疑。宣传对他们来说作用不大。所以政治宣传通常都是搞造反的人们的玩意而已。

有人说第一次世界大战是转捩点。英国政府利用宣传发动人民参军,与不久之前还是皇亲国戚的德国拼命。当时的宣传手法简单:只不过一些把德军描绘成凶残暴虐的海报和小说,和激励战斗心的诗词等等而已。最先进的是首次利用电影播放联军在前线英勇作战和牺牲的片段,哄动一时。

欧洲看宣传看得满腔热血的后果,是四年间死伤三千五百万人。他们把生命断送之余,来不及问一句整场战争因何而打。当时来说,谁有疑问谁就是奸细懦夫,可以被扣上手铐送上战壕。而冲动的不单只头脑简单的粗人。不少贵族学院精英,也唱着校歌冲向德军的机枪阵地,硬着头皮吃子弹。“一战”之中,穷的富的,贵族与贱民,一律踊跃当兵,争相捐躯。

在“一战”之中,统治者发现了一个新的大杀伤力武器:政治宣传。

自此以后,很多大规模暴行都依靠政治宣传来争取广泛支持,加大破坏力度。但贵族们经过“一战”教训,学懂了君子动口不动手,开始远离前线,站到炮火射程之外指手划脚。

Saturday, 10 August 2013

The Democracy Mission - A Conspiracy Theory

Whatever the merits of democracy, I’m more curious about its evangelical preachers. 

Democracy is a vague term, like “Christendom”, “Islamic World”, or “the West”.  Besides the democratic banner, the political landscapes of the USA, Afghanistan, Iraq, Japan, India. . . don’t share many common features. In the end, I suspect Democracy could be fantastic for some, at some point in time, and disastrous for others, under different circumstances. Any system, like its human inventors, would age, turn insufferable, then die one day. Some reincarnate, others don’t.

The brute force and passion with which democracies export their faith is bewildering, reminiscent of colonial missionaries. Is the missionary complex simply a hangover from the religious past? Could there be an element of altruism in their uncontrollable urge to share a great social discovery with the rest of humanity? But. . . come on, these are ruthless invaders, operators of 21st Century torture camps and lynching drones so. . .

民主传教士:一个阴谋论

民主的利弊,已经有很多人辩证不休,无需我插嘴。我想探讨的,倒是民主大国尽其所能,甚至不惜动武,也要把他们的制度推广于世的心态和原因。 

“民主”的定义极为含糊,跟“基督教世界”,“回教世界”之类的通称同样概括。试问美国,阿富汗,伊拉克,日本,印度等民主国家除了“民主” 旗帜之外,政治上有多少共同点呢?我觉得民主制度,最终跟君主制,贵族制,神棍掌权制,有钱万能制,共同无产制等等的 “智人” 花招一样,好的时候蛮好,差的时候挺差,一切视乎情况,时机,运气,数理像的配合。另外还得视乎是否已经好过了三代。

哪么民主大国不顾一切,把一个有待时间考验的政制加诸别人,究竟居心何在呢?况且很多的实例证明,一个国家只要挂上民主羊头,便可以公然贩卖狗肉;正常情况之下,大哥不但视若无睹,还会维护,这又是什么原因呢?

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Maternal Love 母爱?



This is not an uncommon sight in Hongkong. I’ve witnessed parents of all ages and descriptions performing assisted feeding on their beloved kids, so the game may go on. It inspired me to write the article New Age Narcotics (http://guo-du.blogspot.hk/2012/10/new-age-narcotics.html). Last week, I finally couldn’t resist capturing it with my phone. 

Love is a universally positive word in the modern world, though the boundaries between love, care, obsession, indulgence, etc. are not clear. I suppose they are, and should be, a personal definition. However, these boundaries seem to be shifting further and further away from my old-fashioned sense, becoming increasingly incomprehensible. At what point does “love” become toxic, I wonder.

The characters in Man’s Last Song (http://guo-du.blogspot.hk/2013/03/mans-last-song-event-diary.html) used up an entire section to dissect love, trying to discover its illusive nature: While so-called “love” from an enlightened person can be liberating and enriching, blind passion from a fool is annoying at best, murderous at worst. Fervid love chokes us when happening, and pains us with regrets when dead. . . Of course not everyone agrees.

只要够“八卦”,留意周围,这感人场面在香港不难看见。我见过不少衣着入时,看上去颇有教养的年轻父母,不忍亲生骨肉为了两餐把电子游戏中断,也在酒楼餐厅悉心喂饲“中童级”小朋友。这也是我较早的一篇博文“摩登鸦片” (http://guo-du.blogspot.hk/2012/10/blog-post.html) 的灵感来源。

在现代社会,“爱心”被视为文明素质,不容置疑。可惜爱与痴迷,狂热,娇宠,放纵等的界线,除了是个人选择之外,也很难划清。对我这个食古不化的人来说,“爱”在物质过盛,时间缺乏的社会中,变得越来越难理解。中国人都听过物极必反。究竟爱到什么程度才会“作反”呢?可能很值得思考。在 Man’s Last Song (http://guo-du.blogspot.hk/2013/03/mans-last-song-event-diary.html) 的故事中,几个“文明过后原始人” 把酒论爱,希望找出它的玄妙真谛。就是一直还没有空完成中文“笙歌”的最后版本!

Guo Du  31.07.2013

Friday, 5 July 2013

My Hundred-Year-Old Neighbour Mr. Chan


I’ve lived in the same building for more than half a century now. Standing twelve storeys high, it was the tallest structure on Robinson Road in 1958, if not all of Mid-Levels. We were surrounded by colonial style mansions and low-rise apartments. Until the mid-sixties, we could pick wax apples just across the street. The neighbourhood, like everything else in Hong Kong, had since changed beyond recognition. The panoramic view of Victoria Harbour has long disappeared, replaced by a barricade of oppressively tall buildings, spotted with industrial-standard windows that never open.

我的百岁邻居陈老先生

我三岁到现在都住在同一栋大厦。我和两个女儿都在这五十年代建成的公寓成长。它楼高12层,当年可能是半山区最高的建筑物,俯瞰维多利亚海港。周围都是富有殖民地色彩的古老大宅和四五层高的洋房。直到六十年代中期,我只要横过罗便臣道路,便可以和朋友攀树采摘洋蒲桃,现在很难想像。过去半个世纪,香港改变不少。 今天,我的家被高得有威胁性的新厦重重包围。举目环顾,无数永不打开的工业铝窗密麻麻地遮挡着视野。在天台看海景烟花的日子,老早已成过去。

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Other Snowden Revelations

Allow me to hop on the bandwagon and make a few comments about Edward Snowden from a slightly different angle.

There have been legitimate questions concerning the apparent ease with which he copied highly confidential information, his background, and the escape. They seem sensible queries, without the fingerprints of Disinformation Agents. However, observations and gut feelings have convinced me that Snowden is genuine. 

Most of these operational puzzles can be answered if we let go of one assumption: That the US secret machinery, powerful as it is, must be competent like what we see in movies. People who have worked for major multinationals might agree that the functioning of huge organisations is appallingly less coherent and rational than what outsiders might perceive. A simple example: The computer servers of most companies, big or small, are maintained by an outside contractor or a relatively junior staff member. No highly paid senior person is willing — or capable of — maintaining the system. Now, unless top executives exchange confidential correspondence by hand-written notes, relatively junior technicians could access them if they want to, including an audit trail of the Chairman’s furtive visits to unwholesome websites during office hours.

斯洛登的启示

让我也来凑凑热闹,从其它角度就斯洛登事件插两句口吧。

有些人对斯洛登是否“无间道”有所怀疑,我认为十分合理。不过事态发展到如今,我相信斯洛登是“反间谍”的可能性甚低。至于他如何能够成功掌握高密资料,顺利逃离美国等的具体疑问,其实甚有启示作用,值得思考。

有些人觉得像美国这样庞大的军事集团,给斯洛登这小子把高密文件顺利抄走离境,难以置信。但假如你了解所有外表堂皇的大集团的内部运作的话,你可能不会觉得惊奇。举个简单例子:无论规模多大的公司和企业,电脑伺服器都要由比较年轻的中低级专业员工负责。任何“高密”文件和高层交流,除非不经电脑准备和传送,否则他们都不难看到。难道要主席大人自己动手运作和保养伺服器不成?算他老人家愿意,也不懂得如何入手。这是个很普遍的操作死结。唯一的解决办法可能是“疑人莫用,用人莫疑“。还有便是尽力把员工对公司的忠诚和归属感拿稳,不能光靠银弹指挥。

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh



I recently learned three things from Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s Hong Kong retreat.

The first thing was mindful eating: chew every mouthful thirty times before swallowing (if the food has not yet disappeared). I had known this for decades, but never put into practice. But during communal meals at the retreat, everyone chewed relentlessly. I did not want to be the first one to swallow, so I munched on doggedly. Then it clicked — a sudden enlightenment!

一行禅师



大概由于福德所限,我对大众化开示布道等活动一向抱有疑惑。今回一行禅师访港,有友人赠票,于是随缘参加。谁料得益不浅,启发良多。


第一个启发是多年来听过不少次,心里亦甚理解,却从未实行的“用心进食”。想不到在禅修营吃了几餐大锅饭,便突然“顿悟”。营友们每口饭都尽量嚼磨至少30下,我唯有本着人家不吞我也不吞的精神,死磨烂嚼,想不到有所得着。

Friday, 10 May 2013

Midlife Triad (Part 1 of 2)



Midlife Triad and other excellent stories by Hong Kong based writers can be found in the HK Writers Circle Anthology: Of Gods and Mobsters.






WHEN Dragon Arm Ah Wah arrived at Dorm L1 of the Tong Fuk Correctional Institution, I was stretching in bed, breathing into my knee tendons.  
Each evening, I’d do some gentle yoga to prepare my body for the damp hard bed, and to create a little mental space while young inmates built up an evening cacophony. The room, nearly full, could incarcerate up to twenty-eight in fourteen bunk beds.
One could tell from his calculated gait — unhurried and confident — that Ah Wah had walked into more troubling situations before. His tiny round eyes, deep-set and intense, scanned the room as he came through the door, taking snapshots. They were cool and alert, but not hostile, even cautiously friendly.
The de facto head inmate Fat Shing, a quiet 30-year-old Wo Kee Gangster bearing an image of the Wheel of Fortune on his back, told him which beds were available. He took the one across the central aisle from mine. The kids’ quarter, though only a few feet away, was nominally noisier. He must have had taken note of that in just a few short minutes. Before settling down, he gave me an assessing glance so quickly that I did not have time to offer a smile back. 
After expertly laying out the military blankets, he took off his shirt, revealing a blue dragon caught in a web of bulging veins, entwining his right upper arm. Dragons, tigers and eagles used to be standard body adornments in gangland. Now they have become classic. Judging from the young ones in the room, nearly anything goes these days: Wheel of Fortune, Tree of Life, Mickey Mouse, Buddha, Popeye. One guy had a plum blossom bonsai across his back. His sobriquet was — as would be expected — Plum Blossom. I was at first surprised that a thug by profession, not gay, not even effeminate in manner, would call himself Plum Blossom; but what did I know. 
Time had changed everything, sparing nothing, not even the underworld.
Ah Wah’s dragon looked weary, slightly crinkled, not as assured as its host.

Midlife Triad (Part 2 of 2)




Midlife Triad and other excellent stories by Hong Kong based writers can be found in the HK Writers Circle Anthology: Of Gods and Mobsters.









So, the first time Ah Wah served in TC, he was fifteen. It was 1983.
The “man” he “slaughtered” was a scrawny Wo Kee kid a couple of years his junior. Thin like a matchstick, his dull yellowish complexion reminded Ah Wah of the greasy preserved ducks his mum used to hang out the window to air on a nice day, except not as lustrous. He was mentally and physically desiccated; no doubt a precocious junkie due to die anytime soon of any excuse. “I became that excuse. Shit karma,” he said, apparently still sore about the injustice of fate.

蛊惑仔的中年危机(上回)




Link to English Version Midlife Triad on this blog:
http://guo-du.blogspot.hk/2013/05/midlife-triad-part-1-of-2.html



英语版 Midlife Triad 和其它香港作家的精彩故事,可以在以下链接或 Amazon 购买. Midlife Triad and other excellent stories anthologised by the HK Writer Circle can be purchased through Amazon or the following link: 
HK Writers Circle Anthology: Of Gods and Mobsters.




当曾经一度打遍尖沙嘴,江湖上人称 “尖嘴四小龙” 之一的阿华第一次走进塘福惩教所 L1 监仓的一刻,我正在床上拉筋,全神贯注呼吸,气运膝盖,对抗风湿。

每天晚上,当年轻犯人们兴高采烈大话当年的时候,我都会着做些轻松的床上瑜伽,把老骨头整理,准备面对睡眠。我还未完全适应监狱潮湿坚硬的床版。没有足够的“热身”磨合,很难入睡。L1有14张双层“碌架床”,最多可以容纳28个囚犯。

阿华跨过门坎的一刻,有如一个几十年第一次回家的的游子,目光流露着复杂的感情,在陌生了的环境中找寻熟识的过去。不慌忙的步伐,表现出他是见过场面的人,像塘福这种的地方,没有什么大不了。细小而警惕的眼睛,藏在深深的眼窝底,像洞穴里发光的兽眼,虎视着外面的动静。他一手抱毛毯,一手拿着透明塑料袋,里面有些合规格的日用品,在门口顿了一顿,把房间里的情况打量了一眼。一眼就足够了。他似乎对周围的环境比较放心,眼神稍为松懈,甚至带几分试探式的友善。

L1 的总代表“肥星”过来跟他打了个招呼,指出几张空置的床位。肥星大约三十岁,是个寡言的“和记”会员,背上纹有“命运之轮”。健康的牢狱生活令他减了磅;命运之轮缩了水,看上去像洩了气的塑胶沙滩球表面的花纹。阿华挑了我对面的床位,与我相隔一条一米多的通道。年轻的黑帮——所谓蛊惑仔——都喜欢靠里面一点的床位,离开门口的监视窗和厕所较远。虽然二十多人共处一室,声音并无遮挡,然而近门口的都是年纪较大的囚犯,心理上觉得相对宁静。阿华放下铺盖,顺势扫了我一眼。我来不及点头,他已经把上衣脱掉,用熟练的手法把毛毯打开,准备铺床。

他右臂缠了一条瘀蓝色的蟠龙。

从前的黑社会,都喜欢在身上纹上青龙白虎等传统图案,增加江湖味道。现代的蛊惑仔,已经脱离了这些老套花样。摩登三合会会员的纹身,以标奇立异为主,不怎么注重含意或形象。除了肥星的命运之轮,各年轻监趸的胸膛背脊所展示的刺纹,包括了印度教的生命树,迪士尼的米老鼠,佛祖,耶稣,大力水手,豪乳美人,包罗万有。有位相貌堂堂,豪不娘腔的黑道青年,背上花斑斑的刺了一大束红玫瑰。他的绰号理所当然是“红玫瑰”。在未曾沦为阶下囚之前,我绝对不会相信“红玫瑰”竟然是一个跑码头混饭吃的男子汉。很明显,我对黑道上的潮流毫无认识。再者,时间不停的在改变侵蚀一切,连社会里最幽暗的角落,也不会放过。

阿华臂上的瘀龙,看上去意气阑珊,很沧桑,没有它主人的自信。