Sunday, 21 August 2016

Me? Commenting on badminton? 吓!我也來評羽毛球?

Lin Dan (left) and Lee Zhong Wei

I normally only watch sports on TV when there’s no escape. But the Olympic badminton final last night was a great match, and unexpectedly emotional for a game involving two guys taking turns whacking a bunch of feathers. Both China's Chen Long and Denmark's Axelsen broke down sobbing (hey, not just tears in the eye!) after defeating retiring icons Lee Zhong Wei and Lin Dan respectively to snatch gold and bronze. It was a moment.

家裡沒有電視,也一向不留意體壇的我,昨天偶然在酒樓看了奧運羽毛球決賽。太精彩了!諶龍和丹麥的 Axelsen 分別擊敗雄霸羽毛球壇十多年的李宗偉和林丹後,都激動得伏在地上哭不成聲。以為看兩個大男人追著一撮羽毛拍打,誰知幾乎看出眼淚。

Friday, 29 July 2016

Laos (4) - Abstract Vientiane 老撾(4)- 包羅萬象

Vientiane has become a familiar name in the past few days because of the 49th ASEAN foreign ministers meeting. Lao’s capital Vientiane, aka Viangchan, aka Wiangchan, means City of Sandalwood in Lao to some, City of the Moon to others. The community is believed to have been established in the 11th or 12th century. Since then, it had been ruled by one lord after another, with a brief spell of unsustainable independence in the 18th century which the Siamese promptly squashed. During WW2, Vientiane surrendered to the Japanese without much of a fight; Laos was a French colony at the time.


Sunday, 17 July 2016

Laos (3) - Beautiful Laos 老撾(3)- 美麗的老撾

I'm still wondering if the two figures I saw at the magnificent Phapeng Falls are real or not
我到今天還懷疑 Phapeng 瀑布石頭上的人,是真是假

We entered Laos by bus at Boten(磨丁). The immigration officer asked politely for RMB20 “service fees” to fill my entry form. It wasn’t necessary but I paid anyways. Most of my travel mates were at another line, and not asked to pay anything. Jobbery — if it isn’t too serious an accusation for a minor transgression — like everything else in life, should be viewed with a sense of proportion. Poor folks wanting to make a few bucks is understandable human nature. Monstrous greed from rich people, in the name of “economic freedom”, is grotesque and pathological. To simple-mindedly measure them with the same yardstick would be unfair, unintelligent, and possibly hypocritical. Anyways, we visited villages and temples, markets and waterfalls, from Boten to Luan Prabang to Pakse. The natural scenery was stunning.

Beautiful sunrise at 4000 Islands 四千岛日出

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Laos (2) - The Bombed People 老挝(2)- 被疯狂轰炸的人民

Digging for the truth  發掘真相

Nothing much happened in the ensuing centuries; just the usual merging and splitting, rebellions and suppressions. From 1893 to 1945, Laos was a French colony. After WW2, it declared independence but the French promptly returned. Independence? Not so easy mon ami. Finally, in 1954, France receded from Indochina. But guess what, the Americans were starting to pivot everywhere, including Laos. Irritated by the prospect of peace and unity in the Laos People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), a constitutional monarchy, the USA supported a pro-American faction to overthrow the coalition government, a subversive tactic which would become commonplace in the decades to come.

跟著的幾百年,老撾人民過著樸實單純的生活。政治上則離不開分分合合,侵略抵御等陳年老調。在十九世末,殖民地霸權興起。當時亞洲科技落後,當然難逃一劫。由1893 到 1945年,老撾成了法國殖民地。二戰後,據說「二等民族」可以「自治」,老撾不懂霸主們說一套做一套的慣技,誤以為真,宣佈獨立,隨即被法國禁止。到1954年,殖民地時代疲態畢露,法國撤出印支。誰料一雞死一雞鳴,大美「民主」帝國隨即補上,在乳牙未出的老撾人民民主共和國支持親美力量,推翻聯合政府。「顏色革命」這玩意,當年名義上雖未上色,卻已經開始猖獗,到處蠱惑人心,破壞和平,禍害人間。

What?   吓?

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Other Stories and Publications 其他故事和文章

Laos (1) 老撾 (1)

I know it’s downright silly to attempt summarising a country’s history in a hundred words; but let’s do anyways. It’s the internet age you see. Laos shares a rich diversity of ethnicity with neighbouring China, comprising dozens of ethnic groups. From the 6th to 13th century, the region was settled by mostly Chinese and Kmur. Hinayana Buddhism was introduced in the 14th Century, and quickly gained prominence through compassionate talks rather than bloody crusades. Mountain tribes are roughly demarcated by altitude into high, middle and low clusters, though low altitude mountain tribes are technically not so mountainous aren’t they?  Here we go: nine centuries recapped in a hundred words.

用三兩百字去概論一個國家的歷史,是荒誕行為。但在互聯網活動,非要這樣。否則沒有朋友,沒有讀者,哪來順手 「贊」 呢?老撾的人口成分跟毗鄰的雲南相似,比較豐富,由幾十個部族組成。於六到十三世紀期間,游移到老撾定居的民族主要來自中國山區和高棉地帶。小乘佛教自十四世紀傳入,很快被接受,從沒有搞過十字軍式的屠殺來釋放靈魂。導遊說山地民族一般按聚居的高度分為低,中,高,三類。不過把在低地生活的人划成 「山地人」,似乎有些矛盾。反正九百年的一段日子,就這樣被我三言兩語歸納啦!

The mountain villages are fog locked every morning 每天早上被浓雾困锁的山区寨村

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Xishuangbanna (3) — Yourantai, a Swiss chalet in Jing Hong 悠然台 - 景洪的瑞士绿洲

Whoever has heard of a border city in Xishuangbanna called Jing Hong? Just short of half a million inhabitants, it’s neither here nor there by Chinese standard. We arrived in the early evening. After dinner, we took a brief walking tour downtown to absorb its ambiance. As in nearly every Chinese town and city, a big group was doing dance exercise in the public square. Nearby, the riverside disco was warming up their oversized loudspeakers to a different tune. Next to it was a vibrant night market selling all things edible or wearable under heaven.

After loitering at the market for half and hour, we headed for our resort hotel. The driver’s navigator predicted the drive to take only five to ten minutes. Ten minutes from here? I couldn’t help being skeptical. I prepared for mental shutdown, getting ready for an early night with my earplugs firmly inserted. I suspected the “resort” to be one of those furnished with an all-night disco and twenty-four-hour massage service.

聽過西雙版納景洪市的人應該不太多吧。一個四十多萬人口的邊疆城市,不大不小,也不怎麼中型。到達景洪時,已近黃昏。在市中心晚飯後,到熱鬧的夜 市逛了一圈。湄公河畔的幽靜,似乎已被剛流行的迪斯科音樂所淹沒。逗留了大概一個小時,司機才用導航尋找「悠然台」去。據說這度假村離開市中心只有五到十 分鐘車程。我心想,一個跟景洪夜市相距十分鐘的「度假村」,能有多棒呢?莫非又是門庭如市,二十四小時 MTV 和按摩服務的所謂「現代化」休閒勝地?我暗自把期望降到最低,拿出耳塞,準備早睡早起身體好。過了幾分鐘,巴士停在半山一個小區中央。導航系統的機械聲音宣佈我們已經到達目的地。「就這裡?」 我忍不住問了句。沒有人回答我。可能大家的心裡當時也盤旋著同樣的問題。

A few minute later, we arrived at an unimpressive neighbourhood. “Here?” I asked. Nobody answered. I guess everyone had the same question in mind. A garden gate next to a local corner store had its name in Chinese and English — Yourantai. When the owner and his manager welcomed us inside, there was a synchronised wow! Unfortunately, I’m going to ruin this element of surprise for you with this post, if you ever visit Yourantai.


Sunday, 29 May 2016

Xishuangbanna 西双版纳 (2) — Ancient Tea Mountains 古茶園

Dusk at Jing Mai Shan 景邁山暮色
Inside Jing-Mai Shan (Shan means Mountain) is one of the oldest natural tea plantations in Yunan Province with over 1800 years of history according to Bu Lang Tribe records. The Bu Lang plant tea trees at the fringe of the forest with minimal disturbance to the flora and fauna, just as their forebears had done for nearly two millennia. To ancient farmers, protecting the natural environment upon which they depend for food and survival is just common sense and self-preservation, not delusional “magnanimity” towards pitiful Mother Earth. There are no fences or spray painted logos around the tea trees. The farmers recognise which tree belongs to who. The ability to tell trees apart might seem incredible to some, but it’s actually quite easy, provided one has nominal vision and intelligence.

Lakeside at Jing Mai Shan 景迈山的湖畔风光

Monday, 23 May 2016

Xishuangbanna and Laos (1) - Meng Zhe Market 西双版纳与老挝(1)- 勐遮市场

These days, when travelling, I often feel a precocious sense of nostalgia. The photos that I take could become mini time-capsules much sooner than expected. Come back in a year, and the scene may have changed beyond recognition due to hyper development, mindless conflicts, a colour revolution, and/or an invasion followed by wanton looting plus cultural devastation by a disproportional military power. The jolly marketeer in my viewfinder could become a refugee within months, for reasons beyond reasoning. Friends who have been to Syria like to reminisce how suddenly and thoroughly a beautiful and friendly country can be ruined.


Back in January this year (2016), I visited Xishuangbanna and Laos with a few travel-mates. Fortunately, these regions seem more likely to prosper rather than be ruined in the foreseeable future, though one should never underestimate the destructive power of Dark Forces.


Thursday, 28 April 2016

What About True Democracy? 講到真普選

Duh... So? What has it got to do with True Democracy?

Believe it or not, I’m a traditionalist. I think revolutionaries should have a nominal understanding of what they fight for. I have therefore enclosed two articles (excerpts and links at the end) for the information of Hong Kong’s Democracy Revolutionaries. There are plenty more information about their Cause, but I know I shouldn’t overload.

The first article explains the super complicated phenomenon of “super delegates” or “unbound delegates” in the US. If you can’t fully understand the mechanism, don’t feel bad. Not even ordinary party members do. It’s designed to obfuscate. Suffice to say that each super delegate is equivalent to thousands of ordinary party members in terms of voting power — like a condensed expression of democracy I suppose. 

The second article is a Harvard study which shows American election to be the most unfair among Western Democracies. Hong Kong Revolutionaries who understand English may find these information helpful in their current endeavours, and when the time comes for them to export “True Democracy” — a grand experiment they’re pushing in Hong Kong, between happy hours — to pay back supportive countries such as the United States or United Kingdom.

Since many Freedom Fighters a la Hong Kong are functional illiterates in English and modern Chinese, I’ve prepared a short summary in traditional script for their benefit.

在香港喊破喉嚨爭取「真普選」的民主鬥士們,懂英語的幾位可以自己閱讀以下鏈接的兩篇文章 :第一篇有關「超級委託人」。第二篇是哈佛的專家調查報告:有系統地比較所有西方民主國家的選舉工程後,專家們認為美國選舉的公平性倒數第一。這類資料很多,港式「革命家」應該負荷不了。但能夠咬緊牙關略讀一兩篇,稍微認識民主偶像大美超級金主共和國的「真普選」實況,對他們的革命事業會有幫助。假如有朝一日他們在香港成功爭取到「真普選」的話,說不定可以輸出回灌通通沒有實現「真普選」的英美贊助國,也算投桃報李。


Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Tuning into Man's Last Song

I’ve never managed to give a talk according to script. 
But this is a reasonably close approximation of my presentation at 
the University of Hong Kong Main Library on 31 March 2016. 

I discussed the problems of our world today (oh dear) and 
how simulated hindsight had led me to writing Man’s Last Song 

First I’d like to thank the HKU Library for the invitation and excellent organisation. When giving a talk on campus, one never knows who’s in the audience. There could be a specialist present on everything I pretend to know something about. It’s therefore safe to declare my ignorance from the onset. 

I don’t read newspapers, and haven’t had a TV since 1982. These days, I rely mostly on books for attitude reinforcement, and the internet for a selective glimpse of current affairs, avoiding distortions and misdirections by the mainstream media as much as possible. That’s why I won’t protest when someone tells me I don’t know what’s going on. I know they’re right. Just that they often don’t know they also don’t know what’s going on. 

According to my non-mainstream impression, the world has become dangerously disoriented for quite some time now. Nearly everyone, regardless of race, cultural background, nationality, religious affiliation, intelligence, degree of sanity and political persuasion seems to agree on one thing: There’s something wrong with the way things are headed. They just can’t agree on what, why, and how to rectify. Incumbent “universal values” seem to promote perpetual procrastination over major and pressing issues of enormous consequences, and endless debates over petty and abstract ones. Even without any knowledge in anthropology, I suspect that wasn’t how Homo sapiens climbed to the top of the food chain.

Anyways, it’s impossible to list all the problems. Just that some of them will eventually affect the planet, or, more precisely, the suitability of this planet for human habitation at current population level and rate of consumption. 

“笙歌” 的世界




根據我的非主流印象,今天的世界一塌糊塗,程度史無前例。這不是由於我個人悲觀,或神經衰弱。全球人士不論背景,唯一的共識是世界不對版了。至於如何走樣,則看法很多,無法一致,更莫論應對方法了。當今流行的 「普世價值」,最顯著的效果似乎是瑣碎事爭辯不休,大談原則;與人類未來有關鍵性影響的巨大事情,則猶疑不決,一拖再拖。我雖然不懂人類學,但夠膽打賭:我們的祖先當初肯定不是光靠嘴巴當上了動物霸主的。


Tuesday, 15 March 2016

A Little Soho Story 蘇豪區的小故事

Ah! Soho! Sounds so Chinese. But the name originated in London, probably as hunting grounds for Henry Number Eight and friends. Nobody’s sure. Gradually, the area was taken over by brothels and bars and restaurants, pleasure establishments favoured by privileged gentlemen after shooting foxes. Since the 1980s, prostitutes have been replaced by high margin shops and posh restaurants. Foxes had been long gone. 

蘇豪這個名字很有中國味道,出處卻在倫敦。據說蘇豪區原來是亨利八號和哥們的狩獵場。貴族獵狐完畢,都要輕鬆一下。於是妓院,酒吧和食肆慢慢蓬勃起來。自八十年代後,貨真價實的妓女雖然佔地不多,也難逃被貨真價不實的高級商鋪取代。不知為何,蘇豪這名字甚受歡迎。紐約抄了之後,香港又抄。美國人抄襲肯定有一番道理,說 Soho 代表 South of Houston 街。於是香港連這命名之術也照抄,話 Soho 代表 「荷里活道之南」 -South of Hollywood 才真。其實 Soho 位置在歌賦街以北,叫做 No Go (North of Gough Street)會較有創意。不過香港的強項是抄襲,和取笑大陸人抄襲,不是創新。 

The name Soho attracts copycats for some reason. It’s been recycled in New York and Hong Kong at least. Soho, after due American justification, means South of Houston Street in NYC. Hong Kong  feels the need to copy semanticity as well, and claims it stands for South of Hollywood Road. But Soho Hong Kong is also north of Gough Street. Why not call it NoGo instead? Too original I suppose. I personally prefer the vagueness of Soho London; truly seminal things tend to be shrouded by time, elusive to definition.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Trump for President

The US election is a reality show which many outsiders follow as if their own. But non-Americans of the Brave New World should remember there’s no point agonising over the theatric competition. Entertainment is just entertainment. Don’t risk hypertension over it. Moreover, pardon my perennial repetition: Whoever wins makes no difference. That said, I still have an impertinent preference for Donald I over Clinton II, and I’m not even being sarcastic.

Many non-Americans irrationally cringe at the prospect of a President Trump. Well, I confess I wouldn’t want a friend like him. My contact list is full. But the arguments against him, from an outsider’s perspective, are mostly invalid or irrelevant.




Friday, 26 February 2016

A Beginner Meditator's Reflections

Homo sapiens are but one recent life-form on a mediocre planet in a universe comprising hundreds of billions more impressive ones. Genetically, we overlap banana by about 50%. Nevertheless, probably through some short-term evolutionary mishaps, modern humans manage to disregard these humbling facts with baffling self-confidence. Our contemporaries have no qualms about dismissing “reality” if it transcends their five dull senses. That’s partly why meditation — a human discovery which has been tested for a few thousand years — are commonly viewed with suspicion, even derision, by present-day urbanites. Fortunately, many “amazing” claims of meditation have been verified by inquisitive remnants of our species. Google for researches on the subject by any reputable institution (try Harvard, for example), and you might be surprised by the amount of investigations done in the past few decades.

Naturally, most meditation guides and insights are from accomplished masters. However, the experience of a beginner may prove comforting, if not necessarily helpful, to someone who’s curious about the basics such as what to do during meditation and how to deal with mental noises. I don’t have the answers, of course, but do have conjectures based on a few months of daily practice. I hope they are worth sharing.


不少摩登 「智人」 都忘記了我們不過是宇宙數以千億星球其中一顆小恆星的表皮寄生新物種,身上的遺傳因子有一半與香蕉相同,客觀說絕不出色。但任何咱們遲鈍六根覺得難以掌握的現象,他們都會毫不猶疑地斷定不應該!不可能!心理作用云云。幸而科研人員的努力,某程度上打擊了21世紀智人的巨大自信。這在量子物理的領域最為明顯。鮮為人知的是,經過幾千年考驗,卻被現代人懷疑的 「靜坐」,這幾十年來亦被科研 「平反」。頂級的中西學府如哈佛之類,都做了大量工作。有興趣不妨花幾分鐘搜狐或Google一下。

大部分有關靜坐的論述和指導文章,都出自高人手筆。不過對一個有興趣卻未開始的人來說,另一個初學者的經驗和 「心得」 可能有更貼身的啓發作用。初學靜坐的人,有兩個最通常的問題。其一是:「打坐時做什麼?」 其二是:「念頭不斷,如何處置?」 這些問題看似簡單,其實很深。我雖然沒有答案,但短短十個月的靜坐經驗,給了我某些大家可能覺得有趣的妄想,便儘管寫出來分享一下吧。

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Hong Kong & Taiwan's "Brain Drain"

The following SCMP article doesn’t surprise me (  I think a severe “brain drain” has been going on for some time, as evidenced by the high proportion of intellectual dross in the community. 

Historically, HK’s talent outflow was predominantly westward. Now it’s north and west. Both Taiwan and HK suffer a silent leakage of useful people. Silent because the more serious the depletion, the less we hear about it. The mainstream media don’t like the story, and the alternative voices are gone. Two million Taiwanese live in mainland China. Serious enough? Hush hush.

港臺 ”腦外洩“


其實香港的人才外流,英文的所謂 「腦外洩」,已經流了一段時間。稍為留意今天社會上腦渣滓的不尋常比例,便可一瞥端倪。香港過往的腦外洩都往西去,後期回流的也不少。二十一世紀的流向比較多樣,有北有西,有喜有悲。台灣跟香港都有嚴重的腦外洩問題,但聲音不多。傳媒不報道,大家便聽不到。而外洩越嚴重,警號聲便越微弱,因為會發警號的人都跑了。兩百萬台灣人搬了回大陸生活工作,夠嚴重吧!還是別提了。不提便沒有問題啦!台灣是塊民主福地,有美國認同,請大家鼓掌!

Sunday, 29 November 2015


                                                                                                                               illustration claire tam :
Read English Version: Gollum's Demon

「陳先生,咩事呀?」 她也感覺到氣氛不對勁。
她這一問,倒把他解了穴。他攤開雙手,竪起手指,像魔術師準備變戲法的姿勢:「乖乖,唔好出聲。吁!乖!」 他一邊說,一邊拉濕膩的被單,把她蓋上。

Gollum's Demon

                                                                                                                         illustration claire tam :

Gollum will soon be discharged. 
Thirteen years had passed slowly. Some days had felt like eternity. 
Life is hard, but starting a new life is much harder.
The sun will be up soon. Will Demon survive?

The pounding on the door sends him sitting bolt upright.
“Open! Police check!”
He can’t move or think. All his blood seems to have drained. He’s cold, so cold that he can’t shiver. His stomach is churning, but too weak to throw up.  
Three more knocks, ominously gentler.
An indistinct discussion outside, followed by the confused sound of keys clinking…
She stares up at him. 
Through a chink in the black paper taped over the windows of the hourly motel, a dim shaft of light lands on her waxy oval face. A thick strand of greasy hair, damp with his sweat, is caught between burgundy lips. Plump yet dry and faintly wrinkled, they look like pig livers after a long day at the butcher’s counter.
Her dark round eyes, vacuous and wide like a Japanese voodoo doll’s, reveal a dazed trepidation.
Mud si ah? Chan Sang? What’s the matter Mr. Chan? Her abstract voice unfreezes him. He raises his hands as if to show nothing’s hidden in his palms. 
Shhh. Guai guai. Be good. Be very quiet. Shhh. 
He pulls the clammy blanket over her. She doesn’t protest. She never does. 
The door swings wide open. 
“Police!” A bright light shines on his face. Searing heat penetrates his frozen head, setting off a deafening ring inside. 
Startled, he pees the bed. The urine keeps flowing, as if his bladder is infinite. The warmth feels comforting for an instant. The stomach lets go. He convulses violently, and vomits all over himself and the unmoving shape of her tiny body, curled up against him like a foetus.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Her Majesty and Commies

The irony of history often becomes sharper with time. Given enough of it, the intricate matrix of cause and effect often produces results which were previously unimaginable. The significance of any event does remain “too early to tell” for a very long period. 
In 1792, King George III (Why couldn’t they name them something other than Henry and George to avoid version numbers?) had recently lost the American colonies. It probably drove him nuts, and to pivot towards Africa and Asia. He sent Lord Macartney (who’s also George by the way) to open trade with China. “Get some kind of a free trade agreement, George,” said George. But Britain and China were going through drastically different phases in their life cycles. Britain was in the middle of a world shattering industrial revolution. After centuries of religious bondage, it had discovered a newfound sense of enlightenment, enjoying an unprecedented level of confidence and ambition. On the other hand, the ageing Emperor Qian Long was tired. Go tell your O King Georgie Number Three the Celestial Empire doesn’t need gadgets, he told George lethargically, then dozed off.


話說1792年,英皇喬治三世(外國的皇室替孩子改名似乎不大創新,來來去去不是亨利便是喬治,結果要加版本號辨認)剛剛丟了北美州這大片殖民地,氣得發瘋,於是跟今天的美國一樣,把精力轉移亞非。他派高檔外交家馬戛爾尼伯爵(名字也是喬治!)訪華,要求中國開放市場,最好搞個自貿協議之類。但當時的天朝和大英帝國正處國運循環的對立方位,無法溝通。英國剛擺脫了千多年的宗教枷鎖,啓了蒙,正處工業革命高潮,意氣風發,活力無窮。乾隆則是個快要死的老皇帝,對馬戛爾尼的建議,根本聽不進去。只想要這老外扣扣頭過過癮,然後送點禮物打發回國算數。「喬治先生,回去告訴你的喬治三號,咱天朝啥都有,不需要你們的小玩意。」 皇上說罷,倒頭便睡。

Friday, 11 September 2015

Giving American Citizenship to 300M Chinese is Win-Win

Xi and Obama should seriously discuss granting American citizenship to three hundred million Chinese. It would be a win-win-win solution to many problems.

The Chinese government, authoritarian and terrible according to Western corporate media and miscellaneous China-collapse Voodooists, has an approval rating approaching 80% from the Chinese people, according to reputable surveys such as PEW. Although an order of magnitude more popular than Democratic congresses hovering at single digit approval, it nonetheless means 300 million Chinese are unhappy with their government. That’s a big headache for the Communist Party (CCP). Furthermore, China being big, diverse, scattered and nervously on guard, CIA finds it difficult to fully develop this vast number of potential colour revolutionaries. A valuable human resource capable of causing great havoc is once again frustrated by CCP policies. It’s time that the international community, namely the USA, finds alternative means to get the most out of these disenfranchised Chinese.



根據國際民調機構(如 PEW)的報告,中國政府的民間支持率大概80%。如此高的民望,單數位的「民主國家」 望塵莫及。可惜中國太大。20%的人不滿,代表 3億之眾,不能說不是個大問題。而共產黨又處處刁難戒備,令中情局無法把這批不滿人士組織起來搞 「顏色革命」。看來美國是時候變通,好好利用這批被壓逼的中國人民。

Sunday, 30 August 2015

What Academic Freedom?


Hong Kong politicshas decomposed into a tiny repertoire of elemental clichés. Nonetheless, they can cause disproportional disruptions when deployed vociferously by ardent sloganeers with singular determination. By far the most overworked slogan is of course —  freedom and democracy. Its become licence to do practically anything without consequence. Well, freedom is pointless if fettered by legal constraints, isnt it? Other banners in the arsenal include, in order of perceived popularity, social justice; freedom of press/speech/expression, academic freedom, and a few other simplistic beauties.

Freedom and democracy, having worked overtime during Occupy Central, is taking a break. Academic freedom has taken centre stage, with the University of Hong Kong (HKU) as backdrop. 


香港目前的政治環境簡單得出奇,幾句過期口號可以完全描述。排頭的口號當然是佔中期間每天加班的 「民主自由」 啦。這是免死金牌,跟著喊可以愛啥幹啥,毫無後顧之憂。想落也合理。依然有法有天的話,要自由來幹嘛呢?其他熱門口號,根據熟悉程度排位,大概包括:公義!新聞和言論自由!還有最近紅極一時, 由港大招聘副校長的茶杯颶風引發的 「學術自由」。

長臭瘋話短說,港大正在物色負責人事和財務的副校長。不過副校長的直接上司 「首席副校長」 的職位,也正懸空。有人說稍有份量的學者,都不會上當打這份工。看來這說法不無道理。信不信由你,交給校委會蓋圖章的副校長人選,只有一人:法律系院長陳文敏先生是也。陳先生的背景的確有些非一般。當今的學術界,連教補鍋的也有博士學位。巴士的車身廣告大家有目共睹:綽號化學天王,物理奇葩等中學補習老師,都是博士,比港大副校長要求的學術地位更高,有文革特徵吧!陳先生大概因為沒有進修博士,沒有什麼學術研究可做,比較清閒,於是利用多餘時間幫手創立了「公民黨」。公民黨骨幹都是律師,靠耍法律搵食,所以對法律有種專業性鄙視,完全不放眼內。此外,陳先生身為法律系院長期間,手下戴耀庭先生亂用研究經費,在灣仔佔中環。雖然戴先生有 「民主自由」 免死金牌,最後大概也是不了了之,但身為他事頭的陳先生,有承擔的話,也難辭其責。

Tuesday, 11 August 2015



伙子終日無事,只懂網上閒聊,結果搭上狀棍流氓,繼而勾結花旗役畜,經常借勢取鬧,撒野尋釁。家長嬌寵已慣,那敢責難?大人忙於炒賣,亦無暇理會,便任其生滅。日久,童黨膽子越粗,開始招搖撞騙,欺壓老叟婦孺,還胸纏黃巾,自稱 「天經地義童民黨」,約期舉事。首領自號 「瘋人將軍」,身長五尺多少許,眼神痴瘋,面额無肉,鼻孔朝天,耳後見腮,唇若蜆肉,黃里透黑。見者或不禁失笑,或咬牙切齒,或搖頭嘆息。但瘋人小子得花旗高人傳授,舞得一手「馬桶棍」,能於一尺之內翻雲覆雨,臭氣熏天,被藩王班主吹捧為當今江湖十大高手之一。島民忌之,便任由坐大。

Monday, 3 August 2015

The Caucasus (3) Faces of Armenia & Azerbaijan 高加索掠影(3)阿塞拜疆與亞美尼亞的面

A capella singer in a stone chamber at Garni, Armenia
在亚美尼亚古迹 Garni 石室清唱圣诗的歌手


By mixing Armenian and Azerbaijani faces in this post, I’ve probably committed a capital offence in both countries. Animosity between the two neighbours goes way back to before WW1, for untraceable reasons which have long been distilled down to elemental hatred. For more than a century now, they’d kick and bite and scratch each other whenever a big guy isn’t around. The Ottoman, British, and Soviet empires had all played guardian here, and sowed new seeds for future conflict.

高加索掠影 The Caucasus (4) -格魯吉亞的面目 Faces of Georgia

Woman outside Church 教堂外的老婦

要瞭解格魯吉亞的處境,失業率是個好參數。蘇聯瓦解後,格魯吉亞獨立,失業率狂飆至85%,社會動蕩了二十多年。現在比較安定,失業率降了下來,仍然停留在65%的懸崖邊上。導遊指出,格魯吉亞人的傳統本領是務農和打仗。現在人口只有三百多萬,要把本事擴大,經濟多元化,談何容易?美國,北約和以色列於是把握機會,大發好心,在一個名為 「軍備培訓」 的資助計劃下,大力培養格魯吉亞人的戰爭天分。


Unemployment in Georgia is a good indicator of the disheartening situation. When first separated from the USSR in 1991, the newborn nation plunged promptly into chaos. Unemployment rocketed to 85%. Relative calmness has been restored, but unemployment still stands at an astounding 65%. Georgians, in the words of the tour guide, are traditionally farmers and warriors. With only 3.5 million of them, holding on to strong traditions, diversifying the economy is much easier dreamt than done. Israel, NATO and the USA are currently helping to develop one of two Georgian talents under an aid programme prosaically and ominously named Arm and Train.

Many Georgians look sad.