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. 

冼蛇的公义




英文版本原名 "The Sins of Sin",
收录於 Hong Kong Writers Circle 



冼福音把吃剩大半的叉烧油鸡饭盒,盖也懒掩便塞进了身旁的废纸箩,眼睛未离开过办公桌上的新闻剪稿。他今早已经把剪稿欣赏过四五遍,但仍意犹未尽。他传媒界的“关系” Winnie 潘诗菲昨天在法院门外的突发问题,他当时毫无准备,只好凭急智对应。哈!想不到效果甚佳,连他的新职衔也上了标题:“高级助理刑事检控专员冼福音资深大律师认为打击贪腐不应有国界之分!” 说得好!假如放上Facebook,肯定会招引一大堆 “赞”。他一边看剪报,一边猛力吮吸一条卡在牙缝的鸡肉,剔嘁有声,可恨效果不大。刚巧他的秘书午饭回来,脚下无声地溜过他的房门,回到座位等放工。她还有两百一十分钟才可重获一天的自由。

虽然只有三四米之隔,但他一般还是用通话机来传召秘书的;对他来说这是个原则问题。“Flora,你有牙签吗?”

“冼蛇,没有。” Flora 微弱的声音,不但充分表露了信心崩溃,还隐约带了一种重拾无期的绝望感。有人怀疑这是她多年来与冼福音共事的副作用。

“你先找找看才下定论成不成?”

“我知道我没有牙签,但你要的话,也可以尽管再找。”
“算啦算啦!你进来一下。”
Flora 花了好几分钟才拖着脚跟游移到冼福音之前,一言不发地等候发落。
“影一份,” 他用鼻尖指了指桌上的剪稿,一边用拉直了的纸夹剔牙。
Flora 拿起剪报,刚准备转身时,他突然改变了主意:“三份吧。” 心想:多印两份没坏。

冼蛇的公義



英文版本原名 "The Sins of Sin",
收錄於 Hong Kong Writers Circle 


冼福音把吃剩大半的叉燒油雞飯盒,蓋也懶掩便塞進了身旁的廢紙籮,眼睛未離開過辦公桌上的新聞剪稿。他今早已經把剪稿欣賞過四五遍,但仍意猶未盡。他傳媒界的“關係” Winnie 潘詩菲昨天在法院門外的突發問題,他當時毫無準備,只好憑急智對應。哈!想不到效果甚佳,連他的新職銜也上了標題:“高級助理刑事檢控專員冼福音資深大律師認為打擊貪腐不應有國界之分!” 說得好!假如放上Facebook,肯定會招引一大堆 “贊”。他一邊看剪報,一邊猛力吮吸一條卡在牙縫的雞肉,剔嘁有聲,可恨效果不大。剛巧他的秘書午飯回來,腳下無聲地溜過他的房門,回到座位等放工。她還有兩百一十分鐘才可重獲一天的自由。
雖然只有三四米之隔,但他一般還是用通話機來傳召秘書的;對他來說這是個原則問題。“Flora,你有牙簽嗎?”
“冼蛇,沒有。” Flora 微弱的聲音,不但充分表露了信心崩潰,還隱約帶了一種重拾無期的絕望感。有人懷疑這是她多年來與冼福音共事的副作用。
“你先找找看才下定論成不成?”
“我知道我沒有牙簽,但你要的話,也可以儘管再找。”
“算啦算啦!你進來一下。”
Flora 花了好幾分鐘才拖著腳跟游移到冼福音之前,一言不發地等候發落。
“影一份,” 他用鼻尖指了指桌上的剪稿,一邊用拉直了的萬字夾剔牙。
Flora 拿起剪報,剛準備轉身時,他突然改變了主意:“三份吧。” 心想:多印兩份“無蝕底”。

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: 

Read Chapter ONE:


*   *   *

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.