À la recherche du temps perdu

news from nowhere

Month: March, 2006


壓力令我的胃開始痛。今天跟《on the road在途上》的作者Joycelyn見面。她真的很熱心,幫了大忙。現在開始,我多了很多功夫要做,需要很多的幫忙。寫了一個好看的計劃書,暫定了一個印刷設定,做了兩頁Dummy。我還需要一些做書刊設計的人手,很多很多的印刷厰報價,很多很多的出版發行商聯絡。這些全都靠人事關係。我懂得些甚麼人?有多少張人情牌?「很多事情單靠個人是做不來的」-O’Camp時常聽舊人們說。曾經對此存疑,現在只越來越感到其真確。



On Decency.

Decency – a difficult word. It was synonymous to Moral and was often used in the overtly moral-sensitive Victorian era. There was this belief that one would rather be a decent folk than a good one, which tells much about the importance of being decent in those days. Now the word is seldom used and most people confuse it with Politeness, which is not the same thing altogether. Decency is a code of behaviour, recognized by everyone (though this code differs by degree according to social ranks), to be acceptably Christian and civil behaviour; and the breach of which not only creates perturbance in others but also brings big disgrace to the person who has been so un-Christian, inadvertent and inconsiderate to act indecently. It was a serious crime, to be indecent; and it mattered little whether one meant well, because if you could not bring yourself to be decent you could be hardly any good anyway. This rigidity on Decency may sound absurd to the modern ear, and yet I have always wondered if it will be easier if such codes are still followed today.

If we take away all the Aristotlelean definitions and Theological arguments for each decent behaviour, to behave decently actually is nothing more than to be considerate. To make others comfortable while maintaining one’s own intergrity, Decency is as simple as that. I am not talking about the Lady First rule, or the adherence to regulations. Both men and women should be observing the code of Decency. It is like – when waiting in queue, a decent person will know where to stand, so as not to be in other person’s way. I often have this unpleasant experience when some person would station in the most unbelieveable position, as if totally oblivious of my existence.

Or say, going through a doorway. A decent person, expecially a gentleman in this case, would have the sense to let others through first instead of forcing past. But the “gentlemen” these days seem to regard that few seconds more material than being decent. I was forced away the other day by a man in suit and tie, and he seemed to have realized that he had brushed past a girl rather violently and gave me a sideway glance, and I did not hesitate to show my indignation at this ungentlemanly behaviour.

Or say, the way to address a member of the opposite sex. This is indeed the thing that vexes me most. People nowadays seem to believe that equality between the sexes means that they can be rude to the opposite sex. Whereas a lady should be modest and refrain from some topics of conversation when addressing a gentleman; the gentleman, out of decency, should avoid topics of delicacy, in consideration of the lady’s feelings – that is, whether the lady actually minds or not, the gentleman should never make any presumption. For example, it is very rude to dwelt on the lady’s or any other lady’s appearance, be it praise or not. One or two word of praise at the beginning of the acquaintance may be politeness, but to make it a topic of discussion is abhorable behaviour. The lady’s good-looks will not make that behaviour any more wholesome. Men tend to think every woman likes to be praised upon their good-looks, which is a very wrong concept. And then they think they can treat a woman like their fellow men, which would mean respect enough. That is a disasterous mistake again. Women are more delicate in many ways than men, and the respect for women is quite different from the respect for men.

Actually the whole entry is for me to vent my frustrations against the hopeless men I met. I just wish that I may meet some decent folk soon and pershaps some day I can review this article on decency.

時間﹕8:15 pm




Eunice,Year 1時Late-come入宿何東,住十一樓。歐碧在一個課堂上認識她,於是知道有這個人。印象不很鮮明,只知是那種會化妝穿得漂漂亮亮上課的文學院學生。以為她不會對Hall的活動有興趣,但在之後的Interhall Drama,她就擔任了SM。因為我(被迫)做幕前,稍為多一點對她的了解包括她天然卷的頭髪不用髪夾也能盤成髻。接着的夏天,作為I-Day OC,跟我們一起搏盡了幾個月。Jessica帶她去Orientation Committee列席,回來就不停嘮嘮叨叨,說Eunice的小背心低腰牛仔褲極容易春光乍洩,完全破壞何東形象。對此當事人自然大叫冤枉。除此之外,Eunice作為I-Day OC的表現可謂無可挑剔。Year 2開始,我們一起上英文系的課-我發現除了打扮,她的論文都很用心去做,那些英文都修飾得非常漂亮才會交上;對比起來,我的論文做得很馬虎,但不知為何Eunice總是認為我的好。落庄後,Eunice以Drama Team Team Captain的身份邀我幫忙Interhall Drama,於是我們又一起過了非人生活的兩個多月,徘徊於一樓何添之間和SARS陰影之下。有時會去她那亂得要命的房間,看見滿佈四周的衣衫鞋襪,又知道她是一個名牌時裝愛好者和超級購物狂。拿此來挪揄她,她會自衛說我身上的衣服都比她身上的貴-除了牛仔褲。Year 3,一段時間沒找她,郤忽然接到消息她要搬離何東,為了一個我很清楚的原因。於是,之後除了偶然在課堂上見面,都甚少見到Eunice了。畢業後,Eunice很快便找到工作,而我就在預備去英國留學的事宜。在我出發之前,好像只吃了一頓飯,就沒再踫面。到我回到香港,Eunice又被調職到上海。因此,今天是我們闊別年半後首次見面。

Jean,是Eunice帶來何東的。就是那個忙着I-Day的暑假,Eunice帶了這個外表酷酷的Jean來何添堂,幫我們架鐵枝。那時,我不知道Jean其實是害羞,看着他不發一言的在鐵枝堆中工作,都不敢跟他說話,只是常常看着他頸上的Hysteric Glamour頸鍊。Jessica走過來,眼尾示意在何添另一方的Eunice和Jean,嘴上是別有用意的笑容。之後再見Jean,是Year 2的Interhall Drama。雖然答應了Eunice做Pros & Setting,但自問對此一無所知。因此曾在演藝唸舞台設計的Jean的出現,實在是幫了大忙。記得那晚跟Drama Team開完會,回到707,郤又接到Eunice的電話,說要跟各core member開閉門會議。我拿着我的百老滙電影中心的膠文件夾,踢着拖鞋到一樓Study Room,郤出乎意料的見到半年前那酷酷的臉。那是Jean和我第一次交談-那時我才發現原來自己一直不知道他的名字。我們立刻就交換了電話,如果不是第二早要練波,我們便一起去可可食宵夜了。如果說有一種朋友是第一眼便知道合得來的,Jean和我便是這一種吧。之後Jean和我幾乎每天都見,一起坐在一樓一邊談天一邊做佈景,一起去深水埗買材料,一起吃Catherine做的晚晚新款的宵夜。那個冬天,我的心情其實跌到谷底。我的庄友們都理不了我,不知道我正頻臨崩溳。能撐着,能為何東取得Best Stage Effect,完全因為有Jean在身旁。那個時候,我真的覺得沒有他不行。其他人看我做那麼多事情那麼堅強,但我心裡知道那是因為我有Jean可以依賴。Interhall Drama完結,除了不捨得排戲的時光,我更不捨得和Jean渡過的日子。Interhall完結他自然沒有再來何東的需要,而Year 3時Eunice搬出跟他共住,就更不會見到他了。雖然常常說一起吃飯,但就沒有一次成事的。其實,從倫敦回來後,已約了他好幾次;如果不是他在Eunice和我正在午饍時來電並吵着要來,我想我們再見之時也是遙遙無期了。




On Connections

In Pride and Prejudice, the keyword is Connections. To be more accurate, Connections is the main theme in the Austen repertoire. That is something deeply rooted in every Georgian/Victorian English civilian. When Mrs Bennet proclaimed before the Netherfield Park party (rather proudly) that she knew the Bennet family dined with four and twenty families, Mr Darcy must have raised his eyebrows while the Miss Bingleys snorted, and Mr Bingley trying to keep his countenance for the sake of poor Lizzy, utterly embarassed by her ignorant mother and her no less silly sisters. Truely, even though the Bingleys and Darcy had nothing against sweet Jane and clever Elizabeth Bennets, as Darcy put it, “But with such a father and mother, and such low connections, I am afraid there is no chance of [the Miss Bennets being well settled in marriage].”

Today we still talk of Connections, though with a very different meaning. While Connections was more about family honour and reputation, where one was born within a certain network of connections which was more or less fixed; Connections nowadays is less about the family name (except for the very few among the upper society) but more on a business or practical level. If you are able to get connections and mingle in better society, your prospect increases almost certainly. There will be no Mr Darcy or Miss Bingley striding gracefully at the cocktail party to remind you that your mother is a silly woman, though you have a good degree. Getting to know the right persons and impressing them would quite suffice to make an easy career path, whereas it would certainly be insufficient back in Jane Austen’s time. And the Miss Bennets could not go look for connections in the first place, even if they had a more recommendable family profile (“Indeed you must go, for it will be impossible for us to visit him, if you do not.”); whereas now we, men and women alike, would not be judged too harshly about seeking connections in a more aggressive way. The society sure has changed a lot these 200 years, but nothing is changed much except that today we have less prohibitions in building connections. Connections still remains a main theme of the life of the individual. Austen remains popular for no other reason.

I never thought much about Connections in my younger days. To make acquaintance for the sake of connections sounded absurdly immoral to me. Of course now I see things a lot more differently. Sometimes you do need conncections to achieve some goal, which is not necessarily immoral (which is a rather extreme word, and I refrain from using it now). It is believed that, traditionally, artists are the last people in the world to seek connections, scorning all forms of cunning or politics, which I believe is a false image. Artists have to get their work known to the world before their talents can be recognized. If Austen kept her manuscripts for her and her own family’s amusement, the world would never have known the witty Lizzy and the proud Mr Darcy, and Colin Firth would never have been remembered and loved as Mr Darcy for these 10 years.

If there are two things to complain about my recent job offer, that would be its pay and the limited connections it guarantees. But perhaps for me who have yet had a solid work experience, am in no position to complain too much as yet.


Just received Ms Mabel Cheung’s reply tonight. Cannot be more thrilled.
Connections indeed.


我的爸爸頭腦好,我的媽媽稍有姿色。於是,他們的首個愛情結晶品,集二人之大成,頭腦和姿色各有一點。但是上天似乎堅持地球上不能有智慧美貌並存完美的人,我生下來的時候,下巴上就附着一顆痣。隨着年齡增長,這顆痣亦隨之變大。當然,從小我們便被教育甚麼不要以貌取人、Don’t judge a book by its cover…我的確也相信一個人的價值在於他/她的學養,但這顆陪伴了我二十多年的痣,一直以來,也着實帶給我很大的困擾。其實,能稱得上漂亮的女生,十個可能才一個,其餘九個,六個相貌平平,三個可能比較強差人意。對我來說,我寧願自己是那六個其中一個,也不要是一個「看上去漂亮,實際上郤-」的第十一人。















Regency Fever

(At Karrian’s request )

It seems to have begun with the new Pride and Prejudice film adaptation. Tonight they are showing the legendary 1995 BBC mini TV series Pride and Prejudice again on Pearl, people are talking about rereading Austen’s classics, and everywhere in the shopfronts there are Regency high-waist-line style daydresses.

I have always liked the Regency style: elegant and dreamy. I have always looked out for a high-waist-line daydress, but never found one to my liking. People seemed to think any dress that does not highlight the waist is a bad design, and I hardly saw one in Hong Kong several years back. And now it is almost everywhere. Today I rummaged half Causeway Bay, more disappointed as I stepped out from yet another shop, until I saw something – a white high-waist-line knee-length daydress with lace trimmings and ribbons, printed with flowery patterns at the bottom – not exactly what Jennifer Ehle or Gwyneth Paltrow would wear as their Austen heroines, but what I believe to be modernly classic enough for me. It would do perfectly fine with sandals, but as a mix-and-match lover I think I would team it with a jacket or cardigan, vintage jeans and boots. Lovely. Can’t wait to go out in it.

And so I grabbed it home and without any further delay tried the immaculate dress on – oh no. I look double in size in that. The shop did not allow fitting for dresses because they have only one stock for each. I should have known – Regency dresses always make their wearers look round because they expose the armpits and conceal the waist. Only with a body like Keira Knightly’s would still look slim in a Regency dress. But still, I love my dress and I am going to wear it often this Spring and Summer.





On Idleness.

Idleness. I remember a high school teacher once said to us, “Idleness is not a sin.” A day later, when we met her again in class, she begged our pardon, saying, “Please forgive me. Idleness is indeed a sin. Laziness is not.” She seemed frightened at the idea that she might have led us astray to the deadly sin and if we ended up in Hell she would be solely responsible. What a lovely teacher. We were already in F.7 after all.

Despite the fact that I am easily irritated (obviously inherited from my mother), I find myself rather inclined towards a quiet and tranquil disposition (my father’s counter-influence). I am much more easily seized by Melancholy than Choler. Given this disposition that dislikes action, I always wonder if I am indeed more prone to Idleness than the others. But though I prefer activities of a quieter nature, I seldom find myself unoccupied. Indeed, I have never been really unoccupied at all. Being unoccupied is not equal to being out of school or unemployed; it means having virtually nothing to do. I think that is why I am so annoyed when people think I am idle simply because I am neither a student nor one of the employed population. I never let myself idle, not only because it is a sin, but also because it is killing. Being idle is a denial of time, a denial of the talents and energies inside one, and a denial of one’s own existence. Taking a rest after labourious work is another thing, it is part of the whole thing.

I just realized, these five months since I have been back from London, I have never truly had a single day off. Every day I had been working on my book. My mind never left it. Indeed, I worked more than full time on it, because even full time workers have holidays, and I had none. How dare those people think I had been idle simply because I was working at home? And what is the result? Something no one can match unless they give as much as I did. That needs courage, perseverence, and faith.

And now that nothing remains for me to do except waiting, I find myself in the danger of falling into Idleness. This is time I seek out new things to do. Wish me luck.








不想淪落至要看完整套Harry Potter