À la recherche du temps perdu

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Month: August, 2006

Out of town notice

I will be out of town from 25/8 to 1/9. If I survive the mysterious beauty of Angkor Wat and riotous bustles of Bangkok you will find me here again with photographic testimonies of my great escape to Southeast Asia. See you then.

The Modern Battle of Carnival versus Tragedy

I first came across the idea in my 3rd year. Professor Tambling had this as the title of his course – Carnival versus Tragedy, and it was only after I graduated with an A- from Professor Tambling, when I continued my journey with Renaissance culture in London, that I learnt of it as a common motif in Renaissance Europe, as manifested in Pieter Bruegel’s signature Flemish Peasant painting. The colourful and comic battle scene between the lustful Carnival as a fat man and dolourful Lent as a lean hag strangely juxtaposes with that sadness about the present life of sin and sufferings, and nonetheless, the post-feudal-pre-modern, turn-of-century anxiety and loss.

It is not strange at all that I should be intrigued by the idea of Tragedy, by the concepts of Melancholia and philosophical brooding, by the image of Prospero, head drooping, renouncing his magical power in that awe-inspiring scene. It is not at all strange, since my disposition is nearer that old hag than the jolly fat Falstaff, who likens more to introspection, to repression, to gloominess. One needs either be so brave or so insensitive as to overlook the sad truths about existence, which the old hag embraces fully. And yet too much of the old hag does one no good in this modern world, and in my days staying in Lady Ho Tung Hall I forced myself to lay aside that impractical sensibility and behave like Falstaff – not a riotous drunkard, but one who faces the world with the brightest of hopes and be ever progressive.

And yet my Carnival battles with my Tragedy nonetheless. I am happy to be confident, to be daring, to be active and whatsoever I was not in my earlier years. But still I cannot totally extinguish my tendency to brood, to feel like escaping from all that is going on outside. Sometimes I manage and sometimes I do not. Something disquieting is going on within me – Tragedy is getting the better of me. And perhaps it is time I take a break, and when I come back, hopefully my Carnival and Tragedy will start their battle anew.

RTHK3 Teen Time 22/08/2006


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How to be always good

Fairie tales always tell about people who are poor but good, and people who are rich yet bad. And I wonder how that can really be, because in my experience, it is easier to be rich and good, and as easy to be poor and bad. Not to mention chances and qualities of education and society, as my rational deduction and objective observation go, rich people, since they are free from most evils of the world, they have less cause to sin and are less likely to be tempted. Whereas rich people have this extra something, which is called honour, meaning an aversion against being considered impolite, they are also driven by this curious upperclass vanity to be good, or at least, to appear good. On the other hand, under the same deduction, poor people are more likely to be tempted and as it is more important to survive than to be thought good, they are also less scrupulous all those codes of behaviour invented and zealously maintained by their well to do counterparts.

And so I think, if my is proposition is valid, that it is easier to be rich and good, and to be poor and bad at once, then I shall not so much admire those people who appear so beautiful and gracious than those who are nothing near grace and yet are so good that as if the troubles of the world that haunt them all their lives are nothing to them. If anyone is to complain about the grievances of life, be discontented, they are the ones. For we are men of flesh, are not the ones who bear the sufferances with a smiling face more blessed than those who smile because they have heard of no worries? And then I remember that passage in the Gospel about the poor widow whose scanty money offering was mocked at, yet Christ said it was easy for the rich to offer a fortune and yet that little was all the poor widow had, and in which case, the poor widow was the one who offered most to the Lord.

And then I feel the more immensely that we are a happy generation. We are free from all the worries of life and we are free to display our tempers. Just as we are always happy and free, should we not be always good as well? But then it seems such a difficult thing to achieve! Pray that I shall always remember this sudden enlightenment and be always good, even if I shall some day fall from prosperity and abundance. And I shall add a final word, in case some one should mistake, that this is no sermon, and I no Christian, and though everything looks very like it, that is but a far cry from my conscience.




我其實真的不懂評論。我懂得分辨好和壞的東西,但我不會也不喜歡評論。(除了有關舍堂文化的命題--那是因為太切身了,而且了解也深)唸英文系的時候,論文考試會拿甲等,也只是因為當其他人不看讀本時我全都看完;當其他人看不懂筆記時我都看得懂,這樣而已。所以當我上比較文學系的課,讀本多得看不完又沒有筆記供參考的情況下,我的成績就顯注下滑了。所以說,我能看文字,能分辨好與壞的文學,看得懂各種文學理論,但就不懂評論。因此,學術一定不會是我走的路。又或者根本是不夠閱歷。評論,不是胡亂拿弗洛依德的大名出來,把所有人物都評成有戀母情意結。我真的不喜歡一篇文章裡90%內容都是專用名詞令人每讀一句得查十次字典的所謂評論。英國文學史上最著名的文學評論非William Wordsworth的Preface to the Lyrical Ballads莫屬,然而那對我來說也不夠好,反而Oscar Wilde的The Artist as Critic更引人入勝。文學評論本身也是藝術--若有天能做到寫評論和寫作亦同樣爐火純青便好了。

I used to hate history (thanks to the high school history curriculum) but now I am literally yearning for it. Perhaps it is this voidness one oftentime feels about existence which makes one anxious looking for any trace of life and meaning in the history of man.

I am relapsed to this hateful state again – no incentive for performing my myriad duties, no impulse to write anything, dragging on with nothing particularly interesting to account for. I read and read, hoping that by reading the time out I would at least gain something at the end of the day. Sometimes I hate to be exhausting all my sentiments by overworking and sometimes I hate to leave my sentiments to enhaustion by an excess of leisure. Sometimes I would rather I am common enough to be satisfied with a full time job and a quiet life. Sometimes I would fear (genuinely) that I should end up like that, after all these endeavours to be anything but ordinary.

Some time ago I wrote my sentimental history. I was writing it and musing upon it and when I was finally done it was already 4am. Some time later, when I met up with Andy, he said if something is special about my book, it is that I do not indulge in romance (which, sadly, is the pleasure of the general public). Why do people like those kind of stories so much, he asked. I said Hong Kong people are too bored. Romances stimulate their senses and make them feel in this unfeeling city. Everything is so like what Huxley foretold in Brave New World! But Andy did not know, or did not understand, that kind of affection. Some read the book and find themselves weeping, not for a lost boyfriend, but for something more substantial and yet remote to this city. I guess I wrote the book because of the realization of the loss of that world and all those sentiments. And I think I wrote that sentimental history because I feel this void within me. I remember this theory of Optimum Level of Stimulation I read about in my ALevel Psychology and I never thought that this optimum level is so difficult to achieve within myself.

I said I could not write and yet I have written so much so far. It is raining outside and lightnings disrupt my thoughts. I wonder the softball practice tomorrow will be cancelled.





PS 好久未試過吃完一碗飯了!練完壘球的胃口總是最好。
PPS 我的身體很痛啊,明天還要去濕地公園……
PPPS 原來何東壘球隊有綠野仙踪的VIP折扣……果然厲害,福利比我們當年好……
PPPPS 我真係要買Glove啦!接唔到波呀!
PPPPPS 或者我真係要舉下鐵…….
PPPPPPS 許堂友欠我$25宵夜錢。


讓大家久等了!今天終於跟出版社確實了,《91a:我是何東人My Days in LHT 2001-2004》,將於十日後(即8月21日那星期起)正式登陸本港各大書局!錯過了書展的,請務必捧場!


I thought I would write something about softhard – in fact I had drafted the passage this afternoon while I ironed my clothes. But as it goes, I had a delightful evening and those happy thoughts temporarily eclipse my former enthusiasm on the subject. And after listening again to the dear British accents the past two hours and a half I am impelled by a most delicious temptation to write in a Jane Austen demanour again.

It was September last since I last met Simon. He looks just as tall (well that is good news he is not growing any taller) and when I spotted him (which is not at all difficult) in the crowd I immediately regretted my choice of shoes. He had a really nice pair of glasses on – still scrupulous about looks in a gay-like way. A walk around, a drink, a walk around, dinner at sushi bar, film (on sudden impulse), briefly summarizes the evening.

Pirates of the Caribbean II was just out of my expectation. We both laughed out and some audience actually cheered and clapped. I really liked the episode of the island of Cannibals – though comical in a very comic (meaning impossible) way it actually works out fine. I am all astonishment (because you see, it is very easy to make such comical things silly instead of comical). I should definitely think this is the film to watch this summer.

And I think my love for Orlando Bloom (as for Johnny Depp, I have always loved him) is rekindled. So it suddenly dawned on me that I really like that kind of slenderly figure. That kind of subtle glamour. That kind of gentle manliness. And now I think back, retracing all those shadows deep inside, perhaps that is not quite unfounded after all……

PS Have no wish to recall the other distressing incidents today. Anyway I got the invoice (and all the annoyance thereby follows), went to the dentist, and posted an application.




今天早上下雨,下午放晴,終於可以去練壘球了。不過今天只有九個人,剛好夾到一個Field。雖然如此,還是覺得今天比之前都練得多。而現在也仍然很累,還鬧頭痛。再苦練一下體能好了。Throw ball也回復了八成功力吧,但是下手接波仍是死穴,要克服心理障礙!Batting一向都是不行的嘛,要想辦法平時也做點練習。最後夾Field時,Glove的Power Lock竟然斷了!連Glove帶波飛脫在地上!大家定了定神之後,我再接一次波,結果也是一樣-Glove和波都丟了!沒有Power Lock真的不行呢……我的小童Glove終於也壽終正寢了……(那個時候野仁Coach見我買了一個這麼小的Glove,還說我幹嘛買那麼小,除非我接波練得很好,否則便死路一條;但其實這只Glove的Power Lock我也要扯到最盡才穩陣……扯下扯下,終於便斷了……)要花錢買新Glove了-我想我仍是買11.5的吧!練完波跟Joey去東京,見到一個也不錯的,比現在那個舒服,那個Power Lock也好像不會那麼容易斷……

吃完飯,爸爸在旁看《千機變II花都大戰》(很奇怪他竟然會看他最不喜歡的Twins……),我就玩最近上網下載的《Age of Mythology》(明明頭痛得炸開還玩電腦遊戲…..)。我覺得很好玩啊!比《Age of Empires》好,因為有我最喜歡的Mythology的元素(可以造出神話中的生物!如Pegasus-不過如果飛的話會被敵方射下來就是了)。不過這個Trial Version不能存檔,又只能玩Zeus(有點想玩Isis呀,Odin也好),所以想要一個Full Version呢!有人買給我的話,又或者告訴我哪兒有翻版(別告發我喔),我會很高興!看來我真的盡是喜歡一些別人不會有興趣的東西……




其實自問不算是Fan吧,因為雖然一直都覺得他很有才華,但就沒有怎麼留意他的音樂。只是,去年在倫敦的時候,因為房間太靜了,每天都在電腦聽903。很記得那首《心中的日月》,第一次聽魂魄已出竅了,之後買了CD也要不停repeat着聽,總覺得比很多人喜歡的《Forever Love》扣人心耾多了。之後很遅(還要是因為某些原因才跑去找來聽)才聽《花田錯》,起初沒甚麼感覺,之後卻越益感受到歌中的淒美。還有《Kiss Goodbye》,有點像《Forever Love》的一首歌,郤越聽越悲傷,想必是把私人感情加進去了吧……