2015年9月16日 星期三

Horrors of Motherhood (恐怖之母性)

We are all accustomed to think of motherhood as sweet and the birth of a baby a God-send which will elicit production of incredible amounts of the magical caring hormone called oxytocin which will turn otherwise egoistical, hard-hearted, no-sense beasts into loving parents. That may not be false but if we may judge from Italian director Saverio Constanzo's film Hungry Hearts (幸福魔天輪),  there may well be another side to this common belief.

As the film starts, we find two characters meeting in the most unusual circumstances: Mina (Alba Rohrwacher) got into the male toilet by mistake where another guy, Jude (Adam Driver) was relieving himself from a particularly bad case of diarrhorea. The embarrassment and the unutterable stench inside a tiny and stuffy New York Chinese restaurant toilet the door to which got stuck may not be the most auspicious beginning to a romantic relationship. But strangely, one developed. And before long, we hear weddding bells because Mina was pregnant and the surprised Jude decided that he must take it like a man. This is where the film started to be interesting.

2015年9月15日 星期二

Cirque de la Symphonie (交響馬戲團)

Throughout the history of the circus, music has been indispensable. We would see acrobats perform the most incredible feats, often with comical antics, trapeze artists  with or without balancing rods, walking the tightropes two or three storeys above ground, others doing double or triple mid-air somersaults on flying swings before being caught by their partner's precisely timed hand grips, with and sometimes without safety nets, wild beasts like elephants, tigers, leopards, lions doing balancing acts etc often to the sound of drum rolls at climactic moments and then more relaxing but lively music before and after those unbelievable feats. That would normally happen under huge colorful tents and later under the canopies of giant stadia. But last Saturday, the context seemed completely reversed. We had the downsized HKPO members playing various pieces of French and Spanish music (written by French and Russian composers!),Russian ballet music and German light music on a stage which was specially fitted with two huge metal frames more than a hundred feet high so that at the time that we heard the music, we would also be regaled by the spectacle young body contortionist artists doing their incredibly difficult tricks sometimes on one and sometimes on two huge pink silk ribbon(s) high up in the air or on a hastily assembled and dismantled wooden platforms. Music combined with new style animal-less circus, instead of the traditional circus with music!

Conducting for us was the versatile Australian media writer-conductor Guy Noble who already has 12 CD's under his name and entertaining us were Aloysia Gavre, Jaroslaw Marciniak, Andrey Moraru, Alexander Streltsov, ElenaTsarkova, Vladimir Tsarkov, Dariusz Wronski, Christine Van Loo, all members of the Cirque de la Symphonie, the only circus company in the world which performs exclusively with live symphony orchestras which they have done with more than a hundred different orchestras in all parts of the world. As its manager William Allen writes, they add "energy" and "excitement" to the concert experience.

2015年9月14日 星期一

Lanterns before the "Cirque de la Symphonie"(交響馬戲團外的花燈)

Sometimes it's a good to be a bit early for one's concert.

One can certainly snoop around to see if there's something interesting. This is a wishing tree at the ground floor foyer of the concert hall of the Cultural Centre , shaped like dragons and sheep (which has the more or less the same sound as the word "blessing" in Chinese)

2015年9月12日 星期六

Saturday Fun (星期六趣味)

Just visited one of the neatest temples in Hong Kong: a Buddhist temple in the Tai Po area. I am most impressed. There we were given an initial taste of what Buddhism is all about. The staffs and volunteers there are most pleasant. Perhaps the only thing missing  from them is a sense of humor. But there can be humor not only by but also about Buddhists and Buddhism.


Q: Why don't Buddhists vacuum in the corners?
A: Because they have no attachments.

2015年9月11日 星期五

The Photographic Leftovers (攝影雜碎)

In the world today, a world of abundance, it often happens when we prepare a meal, we always make slightly more than is enough for the total number of diners,  so that by the time the last diner has taken his or her last mouthful, there are left on our dining table various leftovers from different dishes which it would be a waste to throw away. This often happens during festive meals like Christmas and New Year etc. For the thoughtful family cook, often such leftovers may be re-cycled and turned into a new dish or for the lazy French housewife who wants to eat but who does not want to engage in any more time-consuming new cooking with fresh ingredients, simply jumbled up together into a  non-descript pot of mixed meat and vegetables called a "potpourri", which literally means, a "rotten pot". Sometimes, the same thing may happen to a lazy photographer. I've got some spare photographs which I hope may be sufficient for a new blog of "photographic potpouuri". 

This is my free Café Latté

2015年9月10日 星期四

A Peek at Tsz Shan Monastery (慈山寺一瞥)

Intrigued by the blog of fellow blogger Tsz Mei, I thought I'd visit one of the newest and most beautiful temples in Hong Kong, the Tsz Shan Monastery in Tai Po

My very first view of the head of the Koon Yin in the path leading to the temple. it felt really odd to see a slightly bent head in white between tree tops and electric light poles!

2015年9月8日 星期二

Tan Dun's Opening of our 2015 HKPO Season (譚盾之港樂2015樂季"開鑼" )

Tan Dun comes from Hunan, a province which I just visited. There I found numerous men who share his roundish head.  Some of them are so round that you could easily imagine that if they were not heads but balls on the ground, they could be kicked hither and thither without the slightest difficulties. But that's probably where their similarities end.  No, may be not. I'm positive that Tan Dun hasn't lost his predilection for chillies.  How could he? There's hardly any dish in Hunan where you would not find in varying quantities those long tapers in red, green, yellow and even white which burn your tongue and your throat. But apart from those, they can't be any more different because to me at least, there are hardly any contemporary Chinese composers who are bolder and more innovative than Tan in seeking out the sonic qualities of all kinds of musical instruments or even non-musical instruments like tyre-rings  capable of producing percussive sounds ,even folded paper which are blown and water which drips and  somehow incorporating them into his music.  So I arrived at the concert hall last Saturday full of expectations because the HKPO 2015 season would open with two of his works: Symphonic poem on three notes and Nu-Shu: the secret songs of women.

2015年9月7日 星期一

A roving camera (不停走動的鏡頭)

Color is something very strange.

Often, it will be much affected by the surface from which light is reflected.

2015年9月5日 星期六

Jokes which are no jokes for this weekend (是週末笑話的笑話)

September 3 , 2015 is a special day. On that day, the PRC staged its first military parade in its 66-year history to celebrate the 70th anniversary of China's victory over the Japanese invaders. Whenever we see Chinese soldiers in smart uniforms marching in perfect unison and rows and rows of military trucks and armored vehicles smoothly following one another and jet fighters flying in well drilled flight formation, it's difficult not to be impressed by their magnificence. But once I realized that they are all moving like perfect robots, including our head of state and chief of the nation's armed forces crying out in a tired voice on an emotionless face time after time the standardized greetings "How are you, comrades" alternatively " Comrades, it's difficult on you" and that all such uniformed troops and weaponry are nothing but killing machines, created for the express purpose of  destroying lives and properties of flesh and blood human beings and thoughts of maimed bodies and of the unconsolable cries of thousands of mothers, wives and children witnessing or being told about the deaths and injury of their loved ones surged up in my mind, a chill went down my spine. It's a parade of the angels of death! Hardly a cause for celebration. The thoughts of Laotzu sprang up in my mind: "He who has exterminated a great multitude of men should bewail them with tears and lamentation. It is well that those who are victorious in battle should be placed in the order of funeral rites."‧Cap 31 (殺人之眾, 以悲哀泣之, 戰勝以喪禮處之). September 3 should be a day of reflection and mourning.  So this week, I shall post 5 jokes which are not jokes by a Chinese historian by 馮學榮 in his blog post dated 9th April 2015. I apologize for spoiling your fun. My heart is heavy. I fear for China and its billions of innocent and not so innocent people. My only consolation is that on that same day, our head of state announced cutting our military forces by 300,0000

It is
well to remember what Hemingway who fought for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War said:
"They wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fitting to die for one's country. But in modern war, there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason."  Albert Einstein, the discoverer of the formula of E=MC2 which helped create the world's first nuclear bombs had this to say about war: "He who joyfully marches to music rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.” Samuel Johnson says it most succinctly: "Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel."

Patriotism alone is bad enough but a patriotism built on ignorance of the facts of history may be fatal, not only for the people but for their nation.

國人歷史觀的幾個笑柄   201549 16:29


2015年9月3日 星期四

Outdoors again (重出户外)‧

So glad now that the heat is gone for the time being.

Time to go out again

To look at the paper flowers

2015年9月1日 星期二

A First Visit to one of the earliest Soviet villages in Modern China( 初探新中國農村蘇维埃之首)

After having lunch, we were taken to another village in Human which is the embodiment of both tradition and revolution: Liu Hua Wan Village (流華灣村) in the southern part of Hunan Province. According the information at the entrance to the village, it was built at the end of the Ming Dynasty, some 400 years ago. Originally it belonged to the Liu clan (劉) and was later sold to the Yuan clan (袁) which produced a dozen provincial level scholar (秀才) and 5 state level scholar (進士) who were  entitled to be examined at the palace. The village also took part in a revolt in March 1928 and set up the first soviet government in China under the guidance of two Communist revolutionary leaders Chu Teh/Zhu De  (朱德) and Chen Yi (陳毅) at the home of a Communist Party member 袁才奇 and then organized an attack of the county government at 資興興寧 then controlled by the Nationalist government, by some 200 peasant soldiers of its own village together with another 100 or so peasant soldiers from a neighboring county 郴縣. In that battle, 40 of them died as early martyrs of Communist China.

There are now still some 400 people from a hundred or so families all surnamed Yuan (袁) living in this rural village with buildings built some 400 years ago.