2017年7月14日 星期五

Getting Acquainted with the WKCD (認識西九文化區)

I've heard and read in bits and pieces about what's come to be called the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) for a while but I never visited the site after actual construction of the relevant facilities began in earnest. Yesterday, I did so.

I first had to cross the highway serving the Western Harbour Crossing tunnel from the Kowloon Station of the MTR's Tung Chung Line to the seafront

2017年7月10日 星期一

A new adventure (新冒險)

I'm familiar with D'Aigular Street in Central. But I never knew until recently that's there's a beautiful place called Cape D'Aguilar, or Hok Tsu. It's a cape south of Shek O on the south-eastern tip of Hong Kong Island.  The cape is named after after Major-General George Charles D'Aguilar.

I got off the at the intersection of Shek O Road and Cape D'Aquilar Road and walked along the road for some 10 minutes before arriving at the road actually at a round about where I discovered that in fact, It's served by Route No. 9 Bus.  There were plenty clouds in the sky.

2017年7月8日 星期六

Pingxi ( 平溪)

Pingxi District ( 平溪區)  is where the Keelung River begins( in fact it starts Jingtong) In early 20th century, the Pingxi town itself was an important coal mining  centre. The area was first settled in the 1870's when the local population started growing a plant called in Chinese 大菁(大青)or 細葉臭牡丹、臭腥公、山尾花、淡婆婆、鴨公青、山漆, used in the preparation of blue dyes but with the growing use of artificial dyes that declined and the population switched to growing Ooloong tea (大葉烏龍、青心烏龍)  as well as 青心大冇 and 硬枝紅心.  In 1920's the Poon and Ngan clans began mining coal in the area. At its height, it had more than 20 such mines. But in the 1970s, with the  import of petroleum, coal mining declined and its days of glory are over. Now the population has dwindled to only less than 5,000. The Pingxi District is however very rich in water resources. It's got more than 200 rainy days per year with average rainfall of 3,500 mm each year. In 1912, it had a record 8,500 mm and in 1986, 6224 mm. It's also known for its 36 waterfalls.   

My first view of Pingxi,a rural district in eastern New Taipei City in northern Taiwan, the average age of whose population is more than 50 compared to the national average of about 38 and is the highest in the whole of Taiwan. 

2017年7月7日 星期五

Jing Tong (菁桐)

The next stop in my short Taiwan trip is a small town along the old diesel engine railway line called the Pingx Line (平溪線): Jing Tong(菁桐)  The small railway station was built in 1929 to serve this small coal-mining community. At its height, it boasted more than 10,000 inhabitants. With the global switch from coal to petroleum and natural gas as energy, the nature of the town's economy is completely transformed: from mining to tourism. In 2003, it was declared a cultural heritage by the Taiwanese Ministry of Culture.  It was not always called by its present name. It used to be known as  菁桐坑驛. The station underwent some renovation in 2014-2015.

There's a prominent sculpture to mark its historical past right at the side of the road close to the local police station. 

2017年7月6日 星期四

Cape Santiago Lighthouse(三貂角燈塔)

Our last stop for the day was to be a famous lighthouse at a place which got its name from the Portuguese when they first came here in 1626 and built a small fortification: Cape Santiago, translated into the local dialect as  "三貂角"

According to internet sources, this lighthouse was built by the Japanese governor shortly after two Japanese ships sank off its coast, one after another, the first in 1929 and the other in 1931. It was commissioned in 1935. The tower is some 16.5 metres high but its lights project up to more than a hundred metres from the ground up. It flashes out both white and red lights. The white light has a range of some 24.5 nautical miles whilst the red some 20. The lights make one complete turn every 28 seconds. The white light streams out continuously but the red flashes only intermttently.

2017年7月5日 星期三

Magang Village (馬崗村)

Our third stop of the day is a small fishing village most of whose youngsters have moved to seek their fortunes in Taipei. It's at the eastern-most tip of Taiwan. It's the Magang Fisherman Village (馬崗漁村)


 Many of the old houses in the village are now deserted and left in ruins

2017年7月4日 星期二

Wave Power (浪能)

After a foretaste of the inventiveness and immensity of Nature's sculpture near to the fishing port of Cape Shen O (深澳岬) our car sped along the highway to our second point of interest. 


After parking at a passing place, we had to go down a path, crossed the highway by following a stony path passing under tiny bridge to reach the seaside.

2017年7月3日 星期一

Destination North Taiwan (終點北台)

As far as our politics are concerned, it's clear whose flag is up and whose down.

But whether our flag is up or down, one can always fly away, at least for a time and visit some exotic places, where the eating habits are quite different.

2017年6月25日 星期日

Nothing Ever Stays the Same (無常)

These days, the weather seems extremely unstable. I wonder whether that's got anything to do with global politics. There are changes everywhere, and sometimes, not necessarily in the kind of directions we would like to see.

But the flowers don't seem to care.

2017年5月31日 星期三

After the Dragon Boats, the Dragon Trail Clouds(龍舟過後龍脊雲)

It's often said that the Chinese dragon brings rain.

But this year, it brought merely clouds but no rains

and merely a blue sky.

The clouds were hovering over our hills,

extending as far the eyes could see

and over the sea.

some were streaking across the sky

branching out like leafless trees in the sky

But they didn't dim our sea

Nor did they dull the colors of our golf courses

They're everywhere

But no torrents, merely currrents.

some took to the beaches

But not too many

Perhaps it took time for the Dragon Boat Festival dumplings to be digested, leaving on our beaches nothing but little waves to lap against the shore. .

2017年5月30日 星期二

Reflectiions (反照)

Dragon Boat Festival today.

If you wish to see dragons, you're more likely to be elbowed about

2017年5月28日 星期日

The call of Ra(拉的呼喚)

For quite a while, we have had nothing but grey skies, fuzzy fogs and even a black rainstorm or two.

So it's a real delight to see the sun again

2017年5月17日 星期三

A quiet day (悄悄的一天)

Went to a religious dialogue session at the Tsimshatsui Mosque and then a French movie at Admiralty. 

Between the two, I took the opportunity to visit two parks but didn't find much of interest

2017年5月16日 星期二

A sunless day (沒陽光的曰子)

The sun may not have decided to bestow his glory upon us.

But that need not mean one is completely helpless. 

2017年5月3日 星期三

Another experiment (又一個實驗)

Felt a bit bored with all my studies of the conscious, the sub-conscious, the personal  unconscious and the collective unconscious. What better to distract myself than a borrowed lens?

Product of ennui at the ferry

2017年5月1日 星期一

A Sigh of Relief (吁一口氣) !

How could my new lens have performed so badly? That's what bothered me last night. What did I get wrong?

When I cast my eyes at the light compensation button, all became clear.

2017年4月30日 星期日

2017年4月17日 星期一

The heart of Aura Throbbing (夏女神之心跳)

The Greeks are polytheists. They have as many gods as there are things which touch their lives. If so, then there is little doubt that Aura, their goddess of summer, is now afoot amidst the trees and leaves and flowers and her heart now throbs with every summer breeze trembling with each leaf, each petal, each tender branch.  

I got a bright welcome at the gate of Kadoorie Farm.

2017年4月15日 星期六

Exploring Nanchang Park (初探南昌公園)

I've heard that there's a park somewhere quite near to the Nanchang Station.  However, I never knew exactly where it was until this morning when I was seized by an irresistible desire to make a go at finding out. It was much easier than I originally imagined. In fact the park is just a couple of hundred feet from Exit D of the station, right across the street

This is what greeted my eyes at the entrance. 

2017年4月13日 星期四

Mimosas (含羞草)

Mimosas(含羞草) is my first film at this year's HKIFF. It started off very well and leaves me in great hopes of more films of a similar calibre in the coming days.

In many ways, it's a most unusual film. Certainly not one which one can expect to become an instant box office miracle. But it exudes a magical charm for me. The moment the film starts, I am already drawn in. I see several people, two mules, some women, two male porters. They came to the top of a hill. As far as the eyes can see, one finds mountains and mountains the top of which is covered in snow and above the mountains, nothing but skies. They stop. Some insist on going on. Some express doubt. The old sheik who knows that his days are numbered wants to go to a small  Morrocan town called Sijilmasa, at the foot of Mount Atlas in North Africa, where he expects to be buried at the side of his forefathers. But they got a problem, they do not know the way. Neither does the guide. A discussion follows. But the old sheik is convinced that if there's a will, there's a way and that they should put their faith in Allah. They continue.

2017年4月8日 星期六

2017年4月2日 星期日

Po Lin Temple Again(重遊寶蓮寺)

It's nice to take a break from Freud, Jung, Marx, Durkheim etc. and simply allow my eyes to wander to wherever my feet fancy to be.

They took me to the Po Lin Temple today. 

The Call of Summer (夏之呼喚)

Dood, dood, dood, dood, dood, dood, dee....
Dee.... dood, dood, dood, dood, dood, dood...

This is what filled my ears on my way to Mui Wo today, the first time in many days the sun came out.

Such rapid vibrations of the air are probably the call and response of male and female cicada, the harbingers of summer from behind the leaves, cleaving to the branches of the trees on either side of the road, hoping desperately to be able to catch their mates before they're caught by the grim reaper.

2017年2月17日 星期五

Letter to a Close Friend (給老友的信)

Recently, a very close friend of mine from my university days came back from Canada. He told me that owing to the influence of his wife, he has become a Christian. He had resisted being such for a very long time. His wife belongs to one of those who have from an extremely early age been a very "devout" Christian who took every word in the Bible as the literal "word of God" and who has little ability to think outside of the "box" of "Christianity". I felt sorry for him. Out of concern for his well-being, I wrote him a long letter after he got back to Canada, trying to make him see the light: the light of reason. I won't mention his name.  The following is the edited text of my letter to him, which I think might be useful not just for my dear friend.

People do have to believe in something, For some, it's the Christian God, for the Jews, it's Yahweh, for Muslims
, it's Allah (although all three are in fact exactly the same God, just named and interpreted differently in different cultural contexts) ; and for still others eg. for the Hindus, it's Brahma and for the Buddha, it's the Wisdom of Life; for the Chinese, it's either Confucianism or Taoism and for the more politically minded, it's democracy, Marxism, socialism, communism, communitarianism, anarchism and for Communist China, it's Marxist-Leninist-Maoist-Dengism ; and for some philosophers, like Plato, Spinoza and Hegel, it's Logos (literally the word of Reason) or Rational Spirit or Mind (“Geist”) .