Friday, 29 June 2007

十年回首(三)

看本地傳媒鋪天蓋地的十年回顧,總覺得搔不著癢處。正如我,嘮嘮叨叨寫了那麼多,還是覺得滿腹牢騷。也許年紀漸老,鬱積已深,實在無法以三言兩語訴說肺腑。

在政治、經濟、民生等陳腔濫調長期霸佔論述空間的情況下,香港流行文化的衰落永遠只能敬陪末座。

羅文、張國榮、林振強、梅艷芳、黃霑等象徵著香港流行文化的大師級人物先後去世,後知後覺、因循苟且的傢伙才驚覺「一個時代的終結」。其實,遠在九十年代所謂「四大天王」冒起,黃家駒和陳百強意外去世之時,本港的粵語流行樂壇早已呈現衰落的先兆。

我無意板起臉孔批評目前的粵語歌有多糟糕,這些年來國際唱片業協會的銷量統計就是最好的證明。盜版問題根本沒有唱片業界口中所說那麼嚴重,而是像我這樣早被華實兼備的藝術家寵壞了的歌迷,發揮應有的市場力量,向一眾掛羊頭賣狗肉、姿勢多於實際的傢伙說「不」。

很多人都說,香港不會再出現像Anita那樣才華橫溢的歌手。這個當然。如今人人心浮氣躁,自我膨脹得厲害,寧願躲在卡拉 OK裡縱聲狂叫發洩壓力,也不肯花一兩個小時坐在戲院裡安靜地看電影、看表演。何況,以前表演的場地多的是,電視台還沒有發展到可以隻手遮天的地步,酒廊、夜總會(拜託,不是有小姐陪酒出鐘的「大富豪」)、遊樂場、劇院,如今剩下多少?啟德遊樂場、荔園、利舞台早已灰飛煙滅,哪兒還有培養專業藝人的木人巷?連栽培了幾代電視藝員和歌手的長壽綜藝節目《歡樂今宵》也因為黔驢技窮、收視下滑而黯然落幕。藝人表演的機會愈來愈少,技藝怎會有進步?像Anita 那樣四歲踏台板,十九歲就已經是跑了十多年碼頭的老江湖,若是現在,只會淪為社工、道學者和文化研究者「拯救」的對象。

所以,儘管我非常討厭那些五音不全的傢伙,有時候也忍不住對他們有一點同情--因為他們大都沒準備好,或者只準備了一首歌,就被人急不及待地推出台前或鏡頭前獻世。

表演藝術是需要時間浸淫的,但現在時間愈來愈寶貴,台上台下都負擔不起這樣的奢侈。也許我們吃慣了前菜、餐湯、主菜和甜品同時奉上的快餐,即使偶然吃一頓悠閒的盛宴,總覺得渾身不自在,甚至可能等不及餐湯已經忍不住破口大罵。在這樣過分追求效率和投資回報的環境下,怎麼還會有好的藝術市場?怎麼還會有好的藝人和作者?就連當年可以左手寫《皇后大道東》、右手寫《似是故人來》的林夕,今天又如何?香港自詡為「國際都會」,其實對世界的認識,只是局限於歐、美為主導的金融市場和超級品牌。若論國際視野,又有誰比得上會為非洲孤兒和南非黑人領袖曼德拉出獄而創作粵語歌的家駒?為甚麼我們還不知感恩、不知悔改,因利之名毀掉一個又一個天賜奇才?

多年前聽舒琪談香港電影,他說香港電影的成就,都是一個個適逢其會的巧合。他臉上無奈、悲涼之意,至今不忘。其實,流行音樂又何嘗不是?政府的放任和漠視固然不消提起,就連學院裡的音樂、藝術教授也莫不對下里巴人的大眾娛樂嗤之以鼻。諷刺的是,偏偏就是電影、粵語流行曲等大眾娛樂產品令香港蜚聲國際,也塑造了香港人的獨特身分,想必教那些「正規」藝術家恨得牙癢癢。

都說香港人是世界上最善忘的動物。如今金融市場火氣沖天,數年前經濟蕭條時提倡創意產業,發展多元經濟結構的口號已是明日黃花。然而,目前掌握香港經濟命脈的「中坑」,都似乎沒有意識到香港的經濟危機已經逼在眉睫。在回歸十年的節骨眼上,那一片肉麻當有趣的歌功頌德、粉飾太平,實在令人不忍卒睹。

仰首穹蒼,滿天灑不盡的雨水,就像十年前的鬼哭神號。莫不是天神憐憫的眼淚?腦中不禁又浮起Anita蒼涼的歌聲:「望著天一片,滿懷倦,無淚也無言。」

只是,眼前的香港,外貌早改變,處境都變,情懷亦變。我們再也配不上擁有Anita和她的好朋友,所以他們都逐一離開,到彼岸那個清涼自在的世界去逍遙快活。他們留下只有思念和傳奇,永遠糾纏著一顆顆感恩的心。

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Retrospect of a Decade (Part 3)

If you ask me what strikes me most in the last decade on the personal front, I can't really tell because everything seems to be so inextricably interwoven that it is almost impossible to single out anything from the 10,000-piece jigsaw puzzle.

If you press me for a definite answer, however, I'd say I was, and somewhat still am, most bothered by the tragic loss of Godsend talents of pop culture in Hong Kong within three consecutive years from 2002 to 2004.

Those who grew up in the heyday of Hong Kong's pop culture and so-called creative industries (pardon me for my scepticism again, but I'm somewhat uneasy about the word "creative", as the most successful Hong Kong pop culture producers are essentially very skilful adopters rather than innovative creators who make things from scratch) will share my gratitude to the glamorous stars and talents who had made our earlier days more colourful, interesting and memorable than they should have been otherwise. Emotionally, I find those extraordinary men and women as close and attached as my family and friends. Sometimes even more so. I simply can't imagine how different my life would have been should I never have a chance to know them, to enjoy their works and let them be my life-time companions.

Visitors to this blog probably know that I'm a fan of the legendary diva Anita Mui's. She is my pride and so is my privilege to become a loyal supporter of hers.

Crowned "the daughter of Hong Kong" after she lost her bitter battle against cervical cancer in 2003, arguably the darkest year in Hong Kong's history after the city's fall to Japanese invasion from December 1941 to August 1945, Anita deserves the highest level of respect from personal to professional fronts. She is the best-selling singer in Hong Kong with records unbroken for more than two decades. Jacky Cheung and Hacken Lee are not even close. She attempted and mastered a wide spectrum of characters that are unimaginable even for well-recognised actresses such as Maggie Cheung, Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi. Her sophisticated voice and on-stage charisma, as well as her success story that is often compared to the baby-boomers' Story of Hong Kong, were by no means replicable anywhere, any time.

Indeed, the local economy has changed so much that it is now impossible to replicate Anita's success story. The shabby theatres where Anita and her elder sister Ann performed were torn down. It is now unimaginable for a four-year-old toddler who can barely stand on her feet to sing Mandarin oldies and Cantonese opera live on stage. The lounges where Anita sang night after night before she won the singing contest have now become karaoke bars. Rather than enjoying music with friends in a lounge, stressed out men and women now find it much more rewarding and relieving to vent their emotions out loud in a confined space. The teenagers and students who used to listen to her songs, watch her films and attend her concerts have now become middle-aged souls torn apart in the ever-mounting confusion and pressure of Hong Kong. All they could do is to cling to their sweet memories of their carefree good old days with the hope that Anita might release a new album or a new movie sooner or later.

But their humble hope was shattered in the heart-breaking year of 2003.

The departure of Anita and other talents of Hong Kong's Canto-pop culture was not the end of an era. It was the end of a generation's dream and hope. We no longer have anyone to look up to, to attach our emotions to, and to share our thoughts and feelings with as if they can talk to us through their works. Talents like Anita have spoilt our generation with distinctive vocal authority, unmatched professionalism in performance and the highest possible integrity of mankind. This is why I felt a bit unsatisfied reading the obituary in Time Magazine, which focused on her professional achievements, although it was already much better than the sensational local press that adamantly and distastefully tagged on her private life. Her courage to defend justice and morality in the most challenging times; her genuine sympathy for those who suffer was by all means extraordinary. Those who concede to power and wealth should be intimidated by Anita's courage and selflessness, even though she might not have received as much school education as they did.

Of course I understand that Anita and her true friends shall live forever in the hearts of their admirers. But I still find it difficult to hold back tears when I think of the young souls who left us so prematurely, bequeathing us a legacy of dedication, excellence, integrity and professionalism that we should be grateful for generations.

This is particularly true when the lust for power replaces justice; the greed for profits substitutes respect and empathy; complacence prevents excellence and narrow-mindedness limits the options for common good. Don't you think so?

Monday, 25 June 2007

Retrospect of a Decade (Part 2)

Repetition is hardly noble. It only serves to remind people with extremely short span of memory of things that are truly important.

However, I find it really difficult to resist the temptation to repeat myself in this second part of my English retrospect. The complacence and hypocrisy of Hong Kong's baby-boomers, who are still dominating the business, political and social helms of the city, just makes me unbearably sick.

Despite the hardships and difficulties we have endured since the handover 10 years ago, there is no sign that Hong Kong's leaders have done any soul-searching in defining Hong Kong's deep-rooted legacy of problems, let alone proposing any meaningful solutions accordingly. It seems that vested interests of the powerful conglomerates have dragged the feet of Hong Kong so much that is leading Hong Kong to nowhere but decay and decline.

For one thing, alarm bells have been activated repeatedly on Hong Kong's over-reliance on the service sector, notably financial services, property development and tourism. Unfortunately no one seems to have paid serious and sufficient attention to this burning issue over the past decade. Now that the economy is said to have strongly recovered and financial markets booming, the issue is likely to be ignored for the next couple of years until another economic crisis emerges. I find it really difficult to understand why so many people genuinely believe that financial services alone would be able to support a diverse population like the one in Hong Kong. Don't they know that about one-third of our fellow citizens are still living in public housing on extremely low rents and wages? Don't they know that the glass-walled skyscrapers in Central represent nothing but the fallacy of elitism and an international metropolis? Don't they know that the financial sector is often dominated by expatriates who never step out of their comfortable zones on Hong Kong Island, feeling intimidated to cross the harbour to visit the local Chinese communities of Sham Shui Po, Kowloon City, Kwun Tong, Tsuen Wan, Tuen Mun and Tin Shui Wai? What do these guys have to do with the dynamic livelihood of the people of Hong Kong?

For another, the majority of fellow citizens are denied of the chance to share the benefits of economic recovery due to the heavily biased economic structure. With the exception of a few sectors, most salary-earners and self-employed people are excluded from generous pay and income rises like those of the civil servants on permanent employment (sorry, no contract staff allowed). Unfortunately consumer prices have shown no respect to the reality and started to climb due to supply shortages and other factors. Latest figures also showed that the income gap in Hong Kong has widened to unprecedented levels.

This is particularly regretful when the Government is trying to comply with the party line of cultivating a harmonious community. However, the Government has shown no insight or meaningful measures to address this deteriorating problem that can lead to devastating consequences.

The recent dissolution of the Commission on Poverty was welcomed though. The approach adopted by the Commission to address poverty was essentially ineffective and a waste of time and resources because the fundamentals are neither challenged nor questioned. The root cause of poverty in Hong Kong, notably poverty that can be inherited for generations, is the demise of social upward mobility as compared to three decades ago. Opportunities to improve one's life with self-efforts are extremely limited with the rapid institutionalisation of Hong Kong, whereby innovation is suppressed and challenges to vested interests condemned as a threat to superficial stability. Students are not trained to have sharp and critical minds but disciples of the baby-boomers. Fresh graduates and young workers do not enjoy the same level of trust, freedom and exposure as the baby-boomers did. Individuals from humble roots are often denied of chances for a good start due to poor education, healthcare and all-rounded personal development at an early stage, which, unfortunately, is made to be costly with limited admission quotas.

Amid the challenges of an aging population, a narrow tax base, the lack of job security due to prevalence of short-term contracts and outsourcing, coupled with the deteriorating natural environment and living conditions, it seems that Hong Kong has lost its direction for more than 10 years but still can't figure out which is the right way to move forward.

Haunted by its previous success in the 1980s, a sense of complacence prevailing among the business, political and social leaders is extraordinarily disgusting and worrisome. While I understand that Hong Kong enjoys an unmatched advantage, thanks to China's blessing and support, there is no excuse for us to brush aside our long-standing problems as if they never existed. As we have seen over the past decade, the later we start rolling up our sleeves to tackle these problems with courage and substance, the more and longer we shall suffer.

Ladies and gentlemen, harmony does not mean speaking in one voice without any dissent or challenge to conventions. Harmony means genuine respect, tolerance and understanding for diverging views and voices. Harmony is by no means an excuse for brainwashing or whitewashing. Active listening and truly open dialogues with paradigms and stereotypes set aside are the first essential step to achieve harmony.

If you guys are not ready or reluctant to embrace the changing paradigms, stop bluffing and step down. Your dirty old tricks no longer fit the brave new world. Nor are these wanted or sought after any more.

Are you ready to go, sir and ma'am?

Sunday, 24 June 2007

十年回首(二)

讀完陳冠中在6月24日那一期《亞洲周刊》寫的封面故事:〈不確定的年代--你不能不知道的香港〉,百感交集。他的洞察力果然不同凡響,即使過了三十年(從他有份創辦《號外》算起),仍然保持一點清醒,為讀者撥開迷霧,看到問題的根本所在。可惜本港又有多少個嬰兒潮世代的當權者能聽得進去?

陳冠中說得很對,我們對香港的認知和印象,一直只停留於八十年代暴風雨前夕的歌舞昇平。其實,五、六十年代的淳厚民風,來到八、九十年代已成為無情嘲諷和戲謔的對象。不是嗎?號稱「校長」的譚詠麟,居然膽敢在眾目睽睽之下,取笑教人不能「食碗面、反碗底」的「華南影帝」吳楚帆,教人情何以堪?就連鄧小平說的「五十年不變」,也是以八十年代繁華璀璨、人心浮躁的香港作為藍本。誰會想到這是香港樂極生悲、盛極而衰的前奏?

八十年代經濟掛帥,一切向錢看,所以李嘉誠可以成為人人崇敬的「超人」,而《香港八一》裡「陳積」那種憎人富貴厭人窮、一切金錢至上的「世界仔」,更是不少香港人的寫照。可惜的是,香港人本來不是那麼唯利是圖的。《獅子山下》的貧苦大眾,仍有當年《危樓春曉》裡純樸老實、守望相助的精神。可是在白花花的銀子面前,人心都變了。當我們知道炒股、炒樓可以賺上以前一輩子也無法想像的財富,當我們把生產工序遷到薪水低的地方,充分利用當地法規不完善的漏洞,就可以謀取暴利,像父祖輩那樣腳踏實地、敬業樂業一輩子還有個屁用?所謂「執輸行頭慘過敗家」,你不去搶人家自然把你的一份也搶去,不甘後人才是王道。

就是這樣,香港人漸漸把「經濟掛帥」、「只談風月,不談政治」等標籤往自己臉上貼,而且沾沾自喜,絲毫不覺得這有甚麼不妥;甚至迷信自己的經濟實力,並相信那是香港人優勝於鄰近地區和世界各地華人社會的依據。時至今日,他們仍迷信香港的經濟實力,是香港人勤奮工作、靈活適應的成果,而非港英政府管治政策和內地改革開放造就的必然結果。當然,有部分香港人對政治和社會發展的冷漠感,只是一種對中、英政府在香港前途談判期間漠視民意的無聲抗議,1989年的北京民主運動以「六四屠城」作結,更助長了這種沉痛而無奈的冷漠和疏離。影響所及,就連外地人都以為香港只是一個沒有人文關懷、沒有靈魂的經濟城市,北京政府對香港人在1997年後「馬照跑,舞照跳」、「資本主義制度和生活模式五十年不變」的承諾,明顯就是這種背景之下的產物。就連前國務院港澳辦主任魯平最近也在訪問中承認,當年只想穩住富豪和大企業的民心,甚至考慮過推出政治保險,明顯反映了中央政府以為那幫人就是香港社會主流的幼稚想法。因此,我們有了承認港人在外地所生子女居港權的《基本法》,種下了回歸後居港權風波和解釋《基本法》的禍根。

當年為甚麼要解釋《基本法》,把香港人在內地出生的子女拒諸門外?說穿了,其實很簡單,因為《基本法》的骨子裡根本是照顧香港有錢人的法律,目的是承認他們在歐美國家出生的子女的居港權,而不是低下階層的香港人在內地所生的子女的居港權。中央政府在草擬《基本法》的時候,居然沒考慮到原來有那麼多香港人在內地結婚生子,對於倚靠貧苦大眾起家、擅於宣傳造勢、掌握民情的共產黨而言,不能不說是一大諷刺。從另一個角度看,當年參與草擬《基本法》的各方代表,大都是豪紳名流、社會賢達,對香港民情的認識極為片面,他們從哪些渠道收集所謂的民意也無從稽考。中央政府倚靠那些擅於逢迎媚諂的巨賈富商和政治投機分子認識香港,就像是戴著有色眼鏡,一定無法掌握到真正的香港民情。

平心而論,過去十年中央政府的確能恪守《基本法》,沒有主動干預香港內部事務;那些被泛民主派批評為干預的干預,其實也是香港當權者奴性發作的結果。不知道為甚麼,香港社會領袖為自己的經濟成就沾沾自喜的當兒,被當權者牽著鼻子走的奴隸個性也日益嚴重。即使香港不再是英國的殖民地,但某些人對中央政府的那副奴顏婢膝,跟侍候宗主國的主子沒有甚麼分別。就像一個自小受慣了氣、唯唯諾諾的奴才,長大以後忽然叫他當家作主,不用再聽人家頤氣指使,他倒是有點手足無措,總覺得有個主子可以倚仗,心裡才踏實。只是香港那些奴才的嘴臉變本加厲,有奶就是娘、寧為牛後不為雞口的噁心場面無日無之,如今我們批評山西的奴隸磚窯河南的「血漿經濟」令村民染病等人神共憤的社會問題,其實也不過是五十步笑百步。

想起董建華、曾蔭權說北京領導人肯定他們的工作時那副不可一世的嘴臉,泛民主派議員到廣州訪問的得意洋洋,還有親中陣營為了獻媚於上,口出狂言的下流無恥,可見他們骨子裡都是同一幫渾水摸魚的勢利之徒而已。由一群主子還沒吭聲,早已左揣右度,以迎合聖意為己任的傢伙來掌握香港的命脈,怎不叫人齒冷心寒?

內地負責香港事務的官員當然也有不可一世的時候,但他們來自另一種制度和文化,還算可以理解;但土生土長,號稱以香港為家的傢伙流露那些狐假虎威的奴才嘴臉,才叫人無法忍受。

其實,即使在殖民地時代,也有富商和社會領袖頗能秉承良知和公理,與港英政府據理力爭,抵制不合理的制度和法規,例如當年創辦東華三院的華人領袖,不肯妥協於政府禁止在資助醫院使用中藥的規定,堅持以中藥就診,就是其中的佼佼者。前賢不畏強權的風骨、為民造福的情操,如今安在?錢賺得再多,又算得了甚麼?

在憲制發展的議題上,香港上承清末民初推翻帝制革命的餘緒,一直自詡為中國改革的先鋒,如今則成為泛民主派爭取普選立法會和行政長官的藉口。然而,站在中央政府的立場,不願意看到香港民主步伐太快也是理所當然的。如果香港立法會議員和行政長官均由市民直接選舉出來,「一國兩制」這柄尚方寶劍,不見得對中央政府向內地百姓交代有甚麼幫助。「香港能,為甚麼內地不能?」並非中央政府此時此刻可以解答的難題。面對香港人強烈的訴求,這個燙手山芋如何解決,不只是中央政府的一大考驗,也是泛民主派能否與內地政府和解、建立長遠互信的契機。我深信,中央政府有誠意與泛民主派和解,泛民主派也必須與中央政府改善關係才可以長期發展,問題是中央政府對香港民情的掌握仍嫌偏頗,在旁邊說三道四的魑魅魍魎太多,妨礙了他們掌握香港的實際情況。此外,中央政府內部的保守派仍然人強馬壯,單憑少數開明的領袖,也難以在短期內把情況逆轉,何況他們還要處理內地各種逼在眉睫的社會問題。同時,泛民主派的策略明顯仍停留於抵抗專制、推翻極權的道德高地,絲毫沒有互諒互讓的表現,姿勢多於實際,根本無濟於事。

可悲的是,經歷了十年艱苦歲月,香港的當權者似乎還沒有認真深思香港的深層次矛盾在哪兒。經濟轉型了十多年還是非驢非馬,民怨日熾,貧富不均更見嚴重,不是空喊「亞洲國際都會」、「國際金融中心」等口號就可以圓滿解決的。不能放下成見,虛心反思香港社會和經濟結構的得失,就無法對症下藥,推行針砭時弊的改革,達致長遠的繁榮穩定。

逃避問題只會令情況惡化,前人種下的苦果,我們還沒吃完,卻始終看不到改善的曙光。更無奈的是,我輩也似乎沒有甚麼能力改弦易轍,到底這種深不見底的惡性循環何時才能停止?

Friday, 15 June 2007

Retrospect of a Decade (Part 1)

How could I spare myself from sneering when Ada Wong, chairperson of Wan Chai District Board and a vocal activist to defend the culture and heritage of Hong Kong, made a fuss of the attendees to a recent civil service training workshop, who were said to know nothing about the increasingly influential pressure groups such as the Roundtable Group, the 30SGroup and the Independent Media?

The laughing stock was not just those ignorant and arrogant mid-level to senior civil servants who genuinely believe that they are the leaders of Hong Kong rather than a bunch of idiots obsessed with bureaucracy, but also those lawmakers or so-called opinion leaders who waste no time to fire bullets at any game that may stick their head out for any reason.

Unfortunately, the number of those cowards and idiots has been increasing over the last decade, as is their level of lousiness and senselessness.

For one thing, the lawmakers elected in the handicapped democracy of Hong Kong often represent their own interests rather than those of the people who actually cast the ballots to put them on their seats. They even don't bother to conduct opinion polls on key issues before putting words into their electorate's mouth. Unfortunately most Hong Kong people are too busy to be bothered by the fact that they have been manipulated for all these years.

For another, the hopelessly poor and yet deteriorating quality of discussions at the legislature, if those can be truly defined as discussions in any sense, is by all means too embarrassing for the world city of Asia. Sometimes I can't help wondering what the people of Hong Kong have done to deserve nothing better than a bunch of idiots sitting at the bench.

Apparently there are plenty of examples in the ongoing farce surrounding the plunge of a cable car last Monday evening. For example, James Tien, the newly appointed chairman of the obsolete Hong Kong Tourism Board, also head of the pro-Government and pro-business Liberal Party and an elected member of Legislative Council from the New Territories East constituency, spared no time to jump on the bandwagon to suggest that the Tourism Board should seek compensation from the cableway operator for the promotional materials that highlighted the cableway as one of the major attractions during the public holidays in early July but could no longer be used. I have no interest in speculating what Mr Tien's remarks truly meant but just by looking at his complacent and exciting smile displaying the "wasted promotional materials", he left me a strong impression of sheer opportunism by taking advantage of the eyebrow-raising incident in his own benefit rather than the Tourism Board, let alone the public. Pardon me for any scepticism here, but there is no obvious evidence to convince me of anything other than that.

Those who have a chance to attend any legislative session or watch it live on television would probably agree with me that the Hong Kong lawmakers are truly naive and stupid to an extent that has become hardly tolerable. It just seems that these guys - again most of whom are baby-boomers - don't really understand what they are talking about. Words seem to flow out of their lips or any organs other than their brains, if any. And I can never understand their enthusiasm to ask meaningless questions that don't really help resolving matters as if they could receive credits by the number of questions asked in their four-year term.

Now that we should appreciate the concerns of Beijing and its die-hard proteges that Hong Kong is not ready for universal suffrage for the legislature and the chief executive. The issue does not lie in democracy but the people that are more than eager to hijack the system for their own benefits rather than public interest.

While I appreciate the much-touted and even untold concerns of Beijing, as well as the genuinely sordid nature of politics, I am still supportive of introducing democracy in Hong Kong sooner than later. Only by that time could the people of Hong Kong prevent those shameless opportunists from hijacking our ballots for their personal pursuits for longer than necessary.

Sunday, 10 June 2007

Retrospect of a Decade (Introduction)

Those who read both Chinese and English may ask why I chose to write the same retrospect in Chinese and English. However, it is not my intention to produce an English translation of my retrospect of important issues in the past decade or vice versa. This is meant to be a personal experiment to explore my thoughts on the same issues in two languages with completely different roots, which have made who I am and what Hong Kong is today.

Despite the long-time study and daily usage of these languages throughout the decades, I have a strong feeling that I don't really know enough about them and what they truly stand for in cultural and philosophical terms. The objective of this small experiment is to confirm whether the intrinsic and unique characteristics of both languages would have any impact on the perspectives or the approach that the issues are presented and discussed.

Pardon me for my complacence, but this exercise is also meant to be an attempt to help fill the gap in English discussions on Hong Kong issues from local and non-academic perspectives. How boring and disappointing it is to see that important issues such as the impact of Web 2.0 on the governance of Hong Kong as shown in the Star Ferry pier demolition last December has been vigorously discussed in Chinese but not English. How can we still cling to high-sounding position of Asia's world city if we don't bother or are unable to share our thoughts with our foreign friends in the international language that we have been learning for generations?

How boring it is to see that the local scholars, columnists and commentators are showing off theoretical terms from the West as if they can't express themselves meaningfully without throwing those big words in the face of readers. At a time when the world has become flat, it is equally important to share our genuine thoughts with friends around the world rather than following the notorious copycat formula. Isn't it?

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

纖毫徜徉
墨跡流香
點勾直捺深意藏
莫道是尋常
可憐今為爭鋒芒
閒情逸致久淡忘
若得手澤紙半張
驚詫難言喜如狂
燈下細端詳
寸心費思量
古今多少熱肝腸
傳託玉箋字幾行

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

情為何物(並序)

近蒙網友徐肇航之薦,加入網上詩社「簡而不陋」,按題試寫「簡體詩詞」,頗有《紅樓夢》諸釵遺風。自問才藻不及,無顏高攀,謹秉摯誠,悉力以赴,唯盼砥礪互勉,日有進益。

人非草木
誰屬無情
何必獨尊癡兒女
俠骨柔腸意非輕
雁字剪長空
遊子淚暗凝
忍拋白髮倚閭望
偏憐孤枕泣娉婷
良夜有恨
冷月無聲
酒朋詩侶今安在
一彎銀鉤照孤零
匆匆年月
逝水浮萍
心債欲償知何日
莫待杯酒悼亡靈

Monday, 4 June 2007

十年回首(一)

十年回首,最值得記述、影響力最深遠的事物,我認為是互聯網功能的飛躍發展和興盛,為無權無勢的人提供發表言論的平台,真正做到百花齊放、百家爭鳴,打破了既得利益者對主流媒體和社會論述的壟斷。

也許有人會問,既得利益者是誰?就是第二次世界大戰後嬰兒潮期間出生,於上世紀七、八十年代造就香港經濟起飛,也為今天香港百病叢生埋下禍根的一代「中坑」。

再簡單一點說,就是陳冠中在《我這一代香港人》所說,和他同輩的香港人。

別的不說,光看最近二、三十年,多少香港人盲目相信曾經「一家八口一張床」的窮家子弟努力奮鬥、白手興家的所謂成功故事,不但自己心甘情願被催眠洗腦,更偏執地把這個「神話」薪火相傳下去,就可見一斑。如今那些「上岸」多年、肚滿腸肥的高官名人和社會賢達,不斷向青少年灌輸「努力奮發、永不放棄就會成功」的所謂「香港精神」,安的到底是甚麼居心?難道他們忘記了,三十年來他們一手訂立的遊戲規則,已經陸續把下一代憑個人努力爬向上層社會的道路給堵死了?那幫「中坑」樂此不疲地要香港的下一代往死胡同裡擠,不是太麻木不仁就是早給勝利沖昏了頭腦,以為他們那部得來不易的成功秘笈,可以像《溏心風暴》的四頭鮑魚一樣代代相傳。

「中坑」的言論,固然偽善得可怕;而傳媒往往以「真情對話」形容那些一切盡在公關計算之中的見面會,更是無恥得令人毛骨悚然。

為甚麼會這樣呢?因為掌握傳媒命脈的是同一幫人。他們在某些議題上的意見可能南轅北轍,但他們畢竟是同一個年代的產物,身上還是有一些撇清不了的特質。

所以,當日梁錦松以《獅子山下》「勉勵」迷茫氣餒、憤怒躁動的香港人,絕對不是偶然的巧合,而是再次反映了那些「中坑」多麼自大、多麼自戀、多麼自以為是。

去年十二月政府強行清拆中環舊天星碼頭,受到不知從哪兒冒出來的學生和市民強烈反抗,正是「互聯網世代」對主流社會一次有力的控訴和打擊。無論是香港政府、立法會議員或是主流傳媒,均顯得左支右絀,狼狽不堪。因為那一群沒有姓名、沒有領袖的抗議者,完全違反了「中坑」所熟悉的遊戲規則,教他們束手無策。如果那些「中坑」還有一丁點兒危機意識的話,就應該虛心學習網上社區的運作和影響力,進而調整管治策略和諮詢民意的方法,為香港的長治久安踏出新的一步。可惜,他們始終無法適應日新月異的互聯網時代,依舊不思進取。他們根本不覺得一直以來奉若圭臬的價值觀有甚麼不妥之處,因此只會為自己無驚無險地度過一場政治風暴暗捏一把汗,然後心懷惶恐與不安,一邊抱怨年輕人少不更事,比維園阿伯更難纏,一邊只是看風駛舵地換湯不換藥,以為略施小技,換個夠潮的包裝就可以瞞天過海。

可是,這種拙劣的把戲騙得了誰?他們還在沾沾自喜的當兒,早已淪為互聯網世代的笑柄。《福佳始終有你》在網上熱播,就是最新的證據。

但又有幾個「中坑」會看過《福佳始終有你》?有幾個會明白歌詞字裡行間的憤怒和怨恨?

這些年來,外國有很多討論互聯網對社會文化影響力的專著,就像當年討論電視的影響力一樣。不過,香港文化和學術界從來拾人牙慧者多,另闢蹊徑者少,有關互聯網影響力的論述,目前仍是相當零散,未見有系統的研究,而且像當年有關《大長今》掀起韓國流行文化熱潮的調查也付諸闕如。

因此,我不會對這些「中坑」抱有任何期望。他們已經無可救藥,至少在過去十年,也沒看到他們會有醒悟的一天。十年來,只有一個走在時代前面的陳冠中敢於自省、敢於說句公道話。那些「中坑」一直以來引以為傲的所謂「靈活變通」,往往是知其一而不知其二,得其形而忘其神。例如那種以為建立幾座「國際級」劇場和博物館,就能把香港打造成世界文化藝術之都的邏輯謬誤,只有他們才會恬不知恥地樂此不疲。面對如此不學無術、冥頑不靈的「中坑」,再費唇舌也是枉然。

且看「中坑」如何帶領香港繼續沉淪吧。

十年回首(序)

《明報》早前舉辦「回歸十年」徵文活動,讀者投稿是否踴躍,無從得知;只是獲刊登的文章,仍然是各行各業那些嬰兒潮名人所寫的。彷彿除了他們的碎聒以外,香港就沒有其他值得聆聽的聲音。

號稱公信力第一,注重人文關懷的老牌報紙尚且如此,怎不令人失望?

所以,當日趕時髦學著十八廿二的學生開blog寫東西,不只是為了滿足自己的發表欲,更是為了抗衡香港傳媒故步自封、唯名是尚的言論空間。既然言路壅塞,我等無名無能之輩,只好另起爐灶,嘗試開闢自己的一片新天地。

看到傳媒一窩蜂製作「回歸十年」的系列報道,無不囿於治亂興衰的傳統歷史論述角度,說來說去還是主權回歸、經濟泡沫爆破、SARS襲港等,千篇一律,淡出鳥來。就連訪問普羅市民的論述背景,也少不了緊扣上述三大議題,彷彿脫了鉤,就會變得離題萬丈,無關宏旨。

「回歸十年」,的確是一個大題目,但我無意重蹈傳媒的覆轍,去嚼那些陳殼子爛芝麻。只想寫下自己十年來的一些感受和觀察,為這個土生土長的城市送上一份薄禮。

希望十年後再看這幾篇文章,不會像當年蘇洵那樣無地自容,要放一把火燒掉舊作,重頭再來。

是為序。