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Category: Heart of Darkness




You appeared in my disturbed sleep and

You appeared in my disturbed sleep and I knew we were to meet up and that was what I kept telling myself because it was important since it would be the first time I could face you properly after that traumatic event which lasted four years and which I thought would be a life time. But I could not I kept being called upon and I kept running about and I always looked at my watch thinking that damn we should be meeting by now but all I did was to move further and further away from you so much that I began to wonder if some malicious force was at work to delay our meeting and if this force was actually my very self. I was delaying that long wished for moment when I could realize what I dreamed of when I was sober of how I could look you straight in the eyes and talk to you freely and smiling I would tell you that I did love you very much so lightly that the words would seem to float in the air and then disappear.




去了日本以後的某一天,我開始了清理舊電郵的習慣。一年工作假期對我來說其中一個大意義,大概便是讓我有機會清空並重新整理自己。用了十多年的Hotmail Inbox裡堆積了百多頁面成千上萬的電郵,於是我從最早的中學時代跟同學間分享偶像訊息的電郵開始,逐一把它們歸檔或銷毀。勤力的時候每天都清一頁,有時懶惰沒有心情或者去了旅行便會隔好些時日才清理一次。清理電郵的過程讓我發現自己的記憶力並沒有自己想像中強,很多無疾而終的交流更透露出我其實比自己想像中更薄情。


現在的我已不年輕,早已明白這世上沒有永遠的愛情,也沒有永遠的憎恨。人生如戲,每一幕總有開始終結,完場時總要一笑置之,Forget and forgive。於是我想起另外一個他曾經對我說:Never say never. 我那時覺得他很殘忍,但原來殘忍的不是他而是把一切變成回憶再完全抹去的時間。




More On Human Bondage

After watching (probably chosen unconsciously) “Her” and “Before Midnight” in the space of two days, I have come to the same conclusions regarding human bondage —

Blame nobody for the failed relationships;
Be grateful to the other person for everything both of you experienced, good and bad alike;
Ask for forgiveness for the pains you ever caused anybody including yourself;
Be genuinely sincere in wishing the other person every happiness even if without you;
Be free of the doomed notion of a soulmate without whom you can never be complete; and
Be perfectly happy by yourself without trying too hard to seek that theoretical person who may not even exist.


This morning I was woken up – shaken, more appropriately – by an earthquake that lasted a few seconds. Shortly after that I fell back to sleep again. Was I being too insensitive? But no – now that I am sober and can think of it properly – I was more shaken by the dream I was in that moment the earthquake hit than the earthquake itself. And it is only now, after so many years, that I can frankly acknowledge that this thing – matter – whatever – has been haunting me all along. All the denials I have been employing now appear to be plain defence mechanisms I have been employing to save myself from pain and embarrassment – albeit useless and pathetic. In my dream the two young couples join hands amidst loving crowds, literally bathed in their youthful glory. Seen from the perspective I was somewhere on the ground near the altar, but the approaching beauties did not seem to notice my presence. What would their reaction be if they saw me? I have never understood what happened, what I did that made them decide to stay away from me. I guess I shall never know. By now I have learnt the arts of human relationship and know that not everyone is meant to like you, to be your friend. In the same way you are not meant to like everyone you meet, and be friends with just anyone. And that is nobody’s fault. It is just the way it is. And (hopefully) this shall be the last time I think of these two persons with regret.

Too much

Tears and sadness
Guilt and loneliness
Love gained and lost


The Pink Notebook – On the occasion of Doris Lessing’s death

[There were four notebooks. The first one lemon, the second navy, the third a clear colour, the last one pink. Mary began with the lemon notebook, thinking that it would be her life’s work. But it was not. Like most passions, it sparked off like no other, then died down like all else. Three years, and she no longer looked at it anymore. Then Mary began the navy notebook, carefully bound with a textured woodfree card and black satin ribbon. It had an even shorter life span, and was now entirely forgotten. The more intense the passion, the stronger the resolution to forget. As for the clear notebook, she intended to make something out of it, but time had outlived her passion, and she forgot about that too. And then there was the pink notebook. It was a nice cloth-bound notebook from IKEA. The colour was a shocking pink. Choking shocking pink. As with the previous notebooks, the pink notebook also carried a certain fatalism with it. The last notebook, the pink notebook, began in densely written characters in blue ink:]

Today I read about Doris Lessing’s death through Facebook. Nowadays all news come to me through Facebook, in the form of shared links. I am lucky to have friends who share news about Doris Lessing. I learnt that you receive most news feeds from those with whom you interact most. That means if you keep LIKEing and SHAREing and COMMENTing a certain friend, you not only keep yourself informed of his/her activities, you also keep he/she informed of your own activities. From that I learnt to stay away from some people. People who can hurt you just by appearing on your news feed, by giving you a well-meaning smiley emoticon.

But today I saw a post other than the news about Doris Lessing. I had not been seeing that person’s posts for some time now, and I had had a hard time resisting the temptation. It was a beautiful photograph. Not technically. It was blurred, unphotoshoped, just an ordinary snapshot by any ordinary smartphone. But it was beautiful, because the subject, a young girl in a black dress ice skating, was beautiful; and the person who took the photograph, a young man, undoubtedly in black as well, took the photograph lovingly, and that was beautiful. Because I saw that the young girl, who used to be a little eccentric tomboy, had changed into a little black lady for him; and that the young man, who used to be an angry nihilist, had softened for her, and all that was beautiful. So beautiful you could not wish it otherwise. So beautiful it hurt. And I had stayed away for over two years now, just to spare myself the pain of looking at this.

But even that was not enough. There were times when I felt like choking to death, that I had to let my pain out, and I remembered my three notebooks, the three caskets of forgotten secrets. Two years had passed before I opened the fourth notebook, the pink notebook, and poured out my desperate and suicidal thoughts. I would then enjoy a period of serenity, before the next attack came unannounced. While I scrawled on the white pages I thought of how I would be working on it for the next 36 years, and imagined the scenario in which the notebook would be discovered and my secrets revealed. I swore to myself that nobody should learn of my secret until the day should come, 36 years later, and the notebook would be testimony to my passion. I would either be mad then, or have forgotten about all the notebooks.