À la recherche du temps perdu

news from nowhere

Month: February, 2005

Feels like ages I have not been attending any seminar  Today we had visual materials with Evelyn again, first seminar with her since the one during last semester  When Warren came in with his messy hair I felt surprisingly happy  With so much attention bestowed upon my topic today, I guess I cannot retract by now…  If I am not mistaken, Warren has been working on related topic and was listening intently to what I was about (hope I had not betrayed any hint of my having no idea at all…) – if I stick to it, does it mean I will very probably be under his advice for the dissertation? Either Warren or David (oh, he didn’t respond to my email though) will be heaven  

Headache… may be the result of 2 tedious bus trips and walking in the chill…

Oh… Julia’s seminar tomorrow… blow water again…

You Are 30% Left Brained, 70% Right Brained
The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning. Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others. If you’re left brained, you are likely good at math and logic. Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet. The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility. Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way. If you’re right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art. Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.
Your EQ is
12750 or less: Thanks for answering honestly. Now get yourself a shrink, quick! 51-70: When it comes to understanding human emotions, you’d have better luck understanding Chinese. 71-90: You’ve got more emotional intelligence than the average frat boy. Barely. 91-110: You’re average. It’s easy to predict how you’ll react to things. But anyone could have guessed that. 111-130: You usually have it going on emotionally, but roadblocks tend to land you on your butt. 131-150: You are remarkable when it comes to relating with others. Only the biggest losers get under your skin. 150+: Two possibilities – you’ve either out “Dr. Phil-ed” Dr. Phil… or you’re a dirty liar.

Finished The Da Vinci Code today!

Nice chat with the Lost Sheep Tsz  “The Hanged Man”… I will bear in mind.

Dinner and movie at Jessica’s  
I don’t like the American guy, and the French girl is no Botticelli angel; still I quite enjoyed the film. Will surely go to see “Before Sunset”  
Vienna… I will be there  

Got the vodafone bill – over 100 pounds for January???  What the hell???  

I am happy, because I can still write about those days; recall that naive little girl with her self-conceit first stepping into the threshold of LHT; remember all the challenges to my limits in physical and mental strength; relish the laughs and tears that fostered life-long friendships; recount the processes by which I grew to be this person now called me.

I am unhappy, because I am not there when LHT is facing a great turning point; unable to deliver what I had gained those 3 years; unable to relieve the burden forced upon my Chairlady’s shoulders; unable to be of practical service to LHT anymore. Instead I am here, half the globe away from LHT, absorbed in my own memories.

When nobody is willing to give it all anymore; when nobody talks about LHT in private talks and her OD anymore; when nobody wants to be under any expectation, themselves’ or others’, anymore; when people only want laughs and disregard tears, not aware of the fact that when you take away tears, the laughs will as well lose its immensity and value. When the SA is like this, what is to become of it?

I am back to London from Amsterdam  Feel like I have spent ages there, so weird now to see no more incomprehensible Dutch signs in public places  At least now we know what ingang, uitgang, huis, plein, 4 halen 3 betalen… etc mean  

But I lost my Esprit towel, Muji face towel and slippers in the hostel, plus the memory card before setting off  … anyway the gain is greater than the lost  

1st Day – A single Chinese girl roaming the Amsterdam streets
Jessica and Jackson went to Utrecht, so I was charged with the duty of checking in the hostel, and given leave to walk around this city I once visited 2 years ago.
Stayokay hostel – Jackson gave me the wrong address so that I walked all the way with my backpack from Central Station to Rijksmuseum to know we booked the other hostel which was half way back  We had 3 beds in a dormitory, felt like back to those days when I used to go camping with girl guides  
Rembrandthuis – The house of Rembrandt refurnished, his etching and painting workshops  The famous self-portrait etching is only about 2 square inches large  The black and white tiles, Dutch boxbeds are so cute  
Anne Frank Huis – Walked from Rembrandthuis across the Dam Square to the house of the famous Anne Frank, 14 year-old Jewish girl who kept her diaries during WW2 German occupation. Shocked to find a long queue outside, did not attempt going in finally. It was even more popular then the other museums and galleries in Amsterdam  
Red Light District – The famous Amsterdam erotica, “red light” perhaps relating to the red light bar above the prostitutes’ windows. Surrounding the Oude Kirk (Old Church) were these little boxrooms fitted with glass doors lined with curtains and a red light bar above, which made a really spectacular sight (the godly and the profane coexist side-by-side in such harmonious state)  Shocked by the old and fat dames at first, then found some much better Natalie Portman in “Closer” type  The behaviours of the (male) customers were an interesting thing to note as well  

2nd Day – Across the boundaries, a super-condensed tour of Holland
This was a day of extreme exhaustion… we were in 4 cities in one day. Even the travel agencies cannot organize such a packed schedule  
When we set off, it was snowing!!! My jacket was covered with a thin layer of white feathers as we treaded toward the Central Station  
Dan Haag (The Hague) – A brief look at the Parliament Buildings, then the Mauritshuis to see my Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring”  Finally I got to see the real thing, not the distorted printed versions…
Rotterdam – Erasmus’ Rotterdam? Postmodern Rotterdam more like… All the experimental buildings created a postmodern virtual space  Fantasies made real.
Delft – Vermeer’s Delft  Oh what a lovely little town! I wish I had more time for it… looked like the serenity Vermeer represented in his View of Delft had stayed crystalized throughout these centuries.We could only look at the Oude Kirk where Vermeer was buried from the outside because it was closed already, and walked up to the square before the Neuwe Kirk before we had to catch the train again.
Amsterdam – Back to discover the cleaner of the hostel took away all our stuff  The staff was not being helpful at all, left a blemish in the journey  

3rd Day – Goodbye Holland
Zaanse Schans – The symbol of Holland. Despite the windmills, there were even cheese and wooden shoe workshops  
Rijksmuseum – The world famous Rijkmuseum was under renovation, the masterpieces were moved to another wing. When I first saw Rembrandt 2 years ago I could not really appreciate his style. Now that I know more about Dutch Art of the Golden Age through my MA and my essay on painting last semester, I can recognize his genius  The best quality print cannot reproduce the stunning effect of the real paintings. And of course there was Vermeer as well  The Dutch Blue Porcelains faking the Chinese Ming Porcelains were so hideously fake that Jessica and I could not stop laughing in the exhibition room  
Anne Frank Huis – Finally got to see the annex. The Frank family hid in a secret annex which entrance was hidden behind a bookcase  It was very sad as we walked into the annex, reading the persecuted Jews’ testimonial of their suffering in WW2 and feeling the horror of Auschwitz… Especially when we finally came to a thick catalogue of about 103,000 Jews in Holland who died during WW2  I guess I must get an English copy of Anne Frank’s Diary…

London was snowing when we arrived. Back to hall before mid-night. Extremely tired but fulfilled.


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Haha yes it is a bit late of me to read this best seller thriller now… considering it is about Renaissance Art  Though the book undoubtedly has its charms, I have to say that it is badly written (the language has no charm at all, like a second-rate writer who cannot find his own tool), and the plot devises are the clichest of all cliches  But perhaps it is good enough for a best seller thriller  One can tell what is in a book by its cover – whether it is written “A New York Times Best Seller” or “Winner of this year’s Bookers Prize”  Also placed on the Best Selling shelves of bookshops beside Dan Brown, Ian McEwan (former winner of the Bookers Prize) is so much more profound  I must get his new book soon… While the general people would see Dan Brown’s thriller as a genius work by an informed mind, genuine Renaissance scholars would just read it for a laugh  

Yesterday’s seminar was a bore. I spent the rest of the day doing nothing. And today I continued to be inactive. When I woke up the kitchen was under redecorating process, so I kept confined in my room looking at the information about The Netherlands on the internet. In the afternoon I wrote a bit more for the proposal of my project, and then reclined to my bed reading The Da Vinci Code. When night fell I made my dinner and had it with Zaleha in the kitchen, which was painted greyish blue now  

More striking than the blue wall was a letter from the university I found on the kitchen table afterwards – we had to pay for the redecoration of the kitchen because it was “beyond cleaning” and which was like 492GBP excluding VAT  I guess everyone is quite disturbed by it. I will go to the Site Manager with Zaleha tomorrow to sort things out anyway. May Sir Thomas More – the Saint of Rhetoric – bless my tongue tomorrow!

Last seminar conducted by Warren yesterday. Surprisingly my irrelevant Holbein sketch turned out to be the most relevant one and Warren was really fascinated by it  Warren reminded us the following sessions with Evelyn and Graham, and adviced us when and how do work out our essays and dissertation  Now that we are not left so uncertain as last semester, we feel more assured and controlled  Oh should Warren have been my advicer!

Olivia and Shalom were asking about applying for PhD. I remember Julia saying to Robyn that she might not do it immediately after the MA. Not sure about the other students. Olivia said to me as we were at the doors of Warburg, that I must be going on since I like the subject so much – I guess that is the general impression people have for me. Seems like they are even more certain of myself than this body’s own master.

Have some time before the screening of the film, so went over to the British Museum. Strange that I pass by it every week I never really go in. It was really stunning within, like a modernized labyrinth. Every public museums are holiday resorts for families – full of screaming little children. I spent some time finding out the temporary exhibition “Renaissance collector: Columbus”. It was a great collection of woodcuts by famous artists, including Durer. I asked the staff if photographing was allowed there, who told me not in that particular room because the flashes would affect the exhibits. After a while he came over and chatted with me. I have always imagined how dreary it would be sitting in a museum room for a whole day keeping watch without a soul to talk to.

BBC production: “My Summer of Love”, a surprising ending. Two (three) troubled souls. More striking to me was the accent of Lisa – the so-called Englishness I crave is not really Englishness, it is more like Londoness or Oxfordness. I believe in the hierarchy of language, for though Pam was fake, she would be admired for all her learning.

Extremely cold. Went straight back to hall. Not much Valentine’s Day atmosphere on the street anyway. Worked out Julia’s presentation.

China Town New Year Celebration… the parade was crab  Everywhere crowded with people… slightly better than the Flower Market in HK during New Year’s Eve I guess  Not much… except for the first time in my life I ever saw fireworks in day light  

Back to hall extremely tired. Fell unconscious until night fall. Felt extremely uncomfortable. And then someone reminded me tomorrow is St Valentine’s Day… what’s that to me though? Have Warren’s seminar and Julia’s presentation to prepare anyway. 

Sorry Tsz, I fail my mission before the due date  I wish you have a happy Valentine’s though… don’t be so gloomy anymore, you are even younger than me  

Feel like against everyone these days… Feel like I want to exist purely by my own, without any attachment to anyone or anything… In my 1st LHT O’camp, my “dai sins” kept stating that there are a lot of things that cannot be achieved by a single individual, which I barely believed. During those three years I realized the truth in that statement, but deep-down I still maintain the conviction that I would rather thrive by myself. Perhaps it is just because I feel too insecure giving up myself to the world outside myself. Perhaps I am the neurotic Lacan recognized as one who fails to reconciliate the innenwelt and umwelt.

Anyway, Happy Valentine’s everyone, the neurotic’s best wishes.

Today it snowed for a few seconds!!!  I was doing my laundry when suddenly the sky poured down cats and dogs, and then little white stones  My first time to see snow in London, though it only lasted for a few seconds  

During my laundry, Jessica Leung called and asked me if I want to go to Amsterdam next weekend. I had been there before, and was not sure I would want to spend three days of my reading week travelling, and evaded it. But then I thought better of it, and called Jessica back. So now I am going to Amsterdam from 19th to 21st! Hopefully will have more time for the Van Gogh Gallery this time  It is not as good as the 70GBP Venice trip Emily proposed some time ago, but then I had class and was too busy to have any mood for it. Still I feel sorry for refusing it…

Because of Lent, I watched Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” again. I remember when I first saw it in cinema last year I began non-stop crying shortly since Jesus’s persecution began… and even when I watched it now, my tears keep steaming forth and my heart ached. Sceptical as I am, I do not wish to challenge the Christian faith here (though the “Holy Plan of God” itself still has lots of problems to be resolved). Of course the two Marys have most of my sympathies – their name already determined their fate: “Mary – the sea of bitterness”. Whenever I feel my name a joke I remember its meaning. The scene of St Paul’s denying Jesus three times is extremely powerful. The film is a miracle.

Today I also remembered more interesting things in LHT while writing, like Gigi’s famous(English translation) “We’ll keep it a mystery” speech