Sunday, 23 September 2007

《眼兒媚》(兩首)--詠任盈盈

凝碧幽篁影森森,簾內冷香侵。良宵淡月,爐煙款吐,獨理瑤琴。
波雲詭譎江湖事,未許繞青襟。暖風疏雨,詩情酒意,唯寄清音。

幽徑欣迎義君臨,雅奏滌愁深。衷腸盡訴,感懷弦外,暗自傾心。
癡情喜得汪涵報,患難證同衾。孤山竹巷,琴簫淡酒,淺唱低斟。

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

懺情記之梁珮玲篇

從來沒想過會為梁珮玲寫一篇文章。

說穿了,只為她演的任盈盈,實在令人喜出望外。

繼莉娜之後,再次被技術擊倒,反抗無效。

曾經捫心自問,會不會是把自己對任大小姐的欽敬和仰慕,都投射到演員身上去了?

似乎是,又似乎不是。原著的任大小姐自然是最好的,本來應該衝著聖姑的金面,給扮演她的演員寬容幾分。然而戲看下來,卻不見得誰來演這個角色也要給她賣帳。這些年來,不能賣帳、不應賣帳的還是多一些。

小時候很喜歡陳秀珠演的任盈盈,磊落大方、溫柔靦腆之中,仍有三分威嚴和冷傲,魅力非凡。後來讀了原著,又覺得稍欠了一些甚麼,卻說不出所以然來,只好諉過於編劇,設計那個灑狗血的三流結局,真是令人搖頭。

後來陸續看了一些改編本的《笑傲江湖》,有些著力刻劃任盈盈溫婉可敬的一面,有些則把任大小姐貶為可有可無的配角,都沒能引起一些深刻的感受,只是一味暗罵編劇亂改瞎掰,把好端端的《笑傲江湖》弄得亂七八糟,不成模樣。

本來十分慶幸還有機會看到十一年前轟動兩岸的「新版」《笑傲江湖》,只怕期望愈高,失望愈大,沒料到居然是推陳出新,青出於藍。初看還不覺甚麼,但關機之後,滿腦子忙不迭重播某些片段,我就知道自己又著了誰的道兒。好像吃了一記力道剛猛的吸星大法,勉強支撐了一會兒,內傷才狠狠的發作出來。

梁珮玲演任盈盈勝在甚麼地方?說來說去還是「神似」二字。也許每個讀者對任盈盈都有獨特的想像,但那麼多人眾口一詞說梁珮玲演「活」了他們心目中的任大小姐,也就是說她的演繹符合了大部分讀者的想像,功力之深湛,可見一斑。

不是說編導沒有功勞,但看戲嘛,始終還是以演員的部分最搶眼。較諸呂頌賢演令狐沖的疏淡隨意,梁珮玲的演法顯然更細膩、更能符合宜喜宜嗔、恩威並濟的任大小姐。看看老頭子、祖千秋和計無施三個老粗高談闊論任盈盈怎樣傾心於令狐沖的時候,她那焦急、害羞、尷尬、薄怒、不知怎樣面對令狐沖的神情,細緻淋漓,遠勝令狐沖那一臉不懷好意的微笑。其實,以令狐沖的重情,他聽了老頭子等人的話,應該感激任盈盈垂青才對。

上網翻查一下資料,赫然發現梁珮玲可能是飾演金庸改編劇女主角的最高紀錄保持者。她加入無線的首部作品就是一九八七年的「新版」《書劍恩仇錄》,飾演香香公主喀絲麗。後來陸續演過九十年代「金庸小說前傳系列」的《九陰真經》(馮衡)和《中神通王重陽》(林朝英),當然還有《笑傲江湖》的任盈盈。若論擔任金庸改編劇女主角的次數,印象中沒有哪一位女演員能望其項背。

有人說,如果演員在演藝生涯中,只有一部令人難忘的代表作,未免有點悲哀。言下之意,一時難說得清。也許是慨嘆喜愛的演員沒能遇上更好的作品,也許只是綿裡藏針的諷刺。

其實,那也不盡然。

戲劇不是個人創作,成功與否,個人的努力和本領固然重要,也得看天時、地利、人和配合。人生在世,有多少是努力的成果,又有多少是冥冥中的巧合?戲如人生,莫不如此。

要造就一部成功的戲劇並不容易;若是珠玉在前,要打破先入為主的偏見,更是難上加難。能塑造一個口碑載道、好評如潮的角色,已是了不起的成就。多少人演了一輩子的戲,連個名字都沒人叫得出來?即使天縱奇才如曹雪芹,留給後世的也只是一部散佚了的《紅樓夢》。

所以,我不會因為沒能看到梁珮玲更多、更好的作品而感到可惜。能看到令人喜出望外的任盈盈,已是難得的機緣。聽說她去年在交通意外受傷後康復理想,如今過著簡樸充實的生活,我應該感恩的。

May God bless you, Fiona.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

新舊之間--新版《笑傲江湖》觀後記之三(完)

看完新版《笑傲江湖》,心情又是興奮,又是惆悵。

一直很喜歡任盈盈,每讀一遍原著,就喜歡多幾分;看完了戲,更喜歡她了。這幾天想起她和她的沖哥在一起說笑玩鬧的片段,總會忍不住傻笑起來。只是不明白那些編劇,為甚麼總喜歡給光風霽月的神教聖姑,編派一些矯揉造作的兒女之態。海量汪涵、玲瓏剔透如任盈盈,本來就不應該像金庸寫的那麼靦腆害羞。說她文靜內向也就罷了,要她像通俗言情小說的女主角一般哭哭啼啼,未免太委屈了她。



很喜歡新版任盈盈按照原著「沖哥」、「沖哥」的叫令狐沖,而不是舊版那麼見外的「令狐大哥」。可惜梁珮玲(我還是喜歡她的原名)的造型東洋味道太濃、服飾稀奇古怪,再加上那些「出走讓愛」、「中毒後無藥可救」的老套兼灑狗血情節,讓我對這版任盈盈的觀感大打折扣。然而這一版著力描寫任盈盈的少女情態,不只是臉皮薄嫩,也有頑皮活潑、俏麗可愛的一面(尤其是在婚宴上聽了令狐沖和桃谷四仙胡說八道之後,向令狐沖撒嬌時那三分薄怒、三分著急、三分害羞的神態,真是可愛極了),與陳秀珠的舊版偏重任盈盈的恬淡內斂、神秘莫測,仍可算是平分秋色。

要是能把兩個版本的任盈盈拼合在一起,可有多好。

看新版的時候,腦袋裡難免與小時候看的舊版對照一番。平心而論,新版的選角絕對不比舊版差,而且主角和配角人選恰當,水準平均,實屬難得。例如新版由鮑方飾演風清揚,就比舊版的劉江有說服力得多。陳少霞飾演岳靈珊,天真可愛,也比當年的戚美珍更勝一籌。

至於書中人人欽仰的寧中則,坦白說,白茵和李麗麗兩位都無法令人滿意。也許是劇本所限,她們都集中表現寧中則對華山弟子的溫柔慈愛,忽略了「無雙無對,寧氏一劍」的豪邁磊落,誠屬遺憾。如果只是一般慈愛和善、諒解子弟的師娘,那寧中則還是名動江湖的「女俠」嗎?

同樣地,新舊兩版的任我行,也不能令我信服。總覺得他們狂妄有餘,威武不足,跟眼高手低的岳不群和左冷禪沒甚麼分別。劉兆銘和羅樂林,只能說是演出平穩,誰也搶不了誰的鋒頭。

不過呢,岳不群和左冷禪這兩個五嶽劍派的哥兒們,還是覺得舊版的曾江和楊澤霖稍勝。就算是舊版《射鵰》東邪、西毒的延續篇罷,好像只有他倆才有一份沉穩內斂、棋逢敵手的宗師風範。王偉稍欠書卷氣,縱然衣飾樸素,還是像老闆而不像書生;陳鴻烈少了三分霸氣,卻多了幾分浮躁和陰險,演左冷禪還欠一點點火候。

年紀稍長的好處,就是可以沉緬在美好的回憶中嬉戲,玩個不亦樂乎。看新版的祖千秋居然是舊版的桃谷六仙之一(鄭藩生)、舊版的啞婆婆「晉升」為新版恆山派的儀和(鄭少萍)、舊版的楊蓮亭變成了新版的沖虛道長(談泉慶)、新版的向問天就是舊版的風清揚,也就是舊版《射鵰》的完顏洪烈和新版《射鵰》的鐵木真(劉江),就像是多年不見的老友跟自己開玩笑一樣,即使化了妝、換了衣裳,還是認得出來,親切如昔。

看著螢幕上一張張熟悉的臉孔,也免不了感嘆時光飛逝。二十多年前的舊版,固然早已人面全非;就連十多年前的新版,很多演員早已引退,甚至已經過世了。例如新版的綠竹翁(羅國維)、游迅(黃天鐸)和風清揚(鮑方);舊版的林震南(關海山)、方證大師(白文彪),已先後在這十多年間因病去世。其餘很多演員,也為了不同的原因離開了香港,甚至退出演藝圈,各奔前程去了。繼續留在演藝圈的,有人成為了國際知名的巨星(例如周潤發,不過他仍然親切如昔,毫無架子,不時在街上和市民合照),有人從主角變成了配角(例如陳秀珠),另有一些人則仍然在配角的崗位上默默耕耘。所謂「各有前因莫羨人」,際遇是羨慕不來的,但冷眼旁觀,仍不免教人嘆息再三。

也許,是時候重讀《笑傲江湖》,重新領略令狐沖和任盈盈恬淡無爭、清靜自持的境界了。

附錄:無線兩版《笑傲江湖》演員表

人物演員(1984年版)演員(1996年版)
令狐沖周潤發呂頌賢
任盈盈陳秀珠梁珮玲(梁藝齡)
岳靈珊戚美珍陳少霞(陳采嵐)
林平之董偉何寶生
儀琳黃曼凝何美鈿
岳不群曾江王偉
寧中則白茵李麗麗
左冷禪楊澤霖陳鴻烈
定閒蘇杏璇梁舜燕
定逸黃文慧羅蘭
定靜佩雲梁葆貞
任我行劉兆銘羅樂林
向問天馬宗德劉江
東方不敗江毅魯振順
楊蓮亭談泉慶李耀敬
方證白文彪張英才
方生蘇漢生何壁堅
沖虛余子明談泉慶
莫大高雄孫季卿
天門道人吳業光譚一清
林震南關海山朱鐵和
林夫人南紅黃愷欣
綠竹翁劉國誠羅國維
劉正風任達華黎耀祥
曲洋甘國衛黎漢持
曲非煙朱小寶唐寧(江麗娜)
風清揚劉江鮑方
不戒和尚葉天行華忠男
啞婆婆鄭少萍馮素波
田伯光劉丹鄭柏麟(鄭君熾)
藍鳳凰陳復生談珮珊
勞德諾戴志偉陳榮峻
陸大有曾偉明李家強
米為義劉青雲游飆
向大年關禮傑
余滄海駱應鈞關菁
木高峰秦煌鄭雷
黃鍾公吳孟達陳中堅
黑白子林文偉梁欽棋
禿筆翁麥皓為李龍基
丹青生徐廣林鄺佐輝
桃根仙何廣倫郭德信
桃幹仙龍天生
桃枝仙鄭藩生焦雄
桃花仙陳狄克虞天偉
桃葉仙陳國權
桃實仙廖駿雄博君
老頭子朱剛蔡國慶
老不死韋以茵
祖千秋郭鋒鄭家生(鄭藩生)
計無施羅國維古明華
平一指方傑沈威

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

形神之間--新版《笑傲江湖》觀後記之二

中國傳統的審美觀一直很強調形神之別,就像《笑傲江湖》華山派的劍宗、氣宗之爭那麼壁壘分明。若論形神之別,又以「神韻」為先,「形神兼備」往往被奉為改編作品最上乘的境界,「形神俱無」固然是四不像,「有形無神」也是常見的貶詞。

我一向「重神輕形」,很看重氣質、神韻等「只可意會,難以言傳」之美,而非五官、體態等「有形」之美。人人趨之若鶩的所謂俊男美女,在我眼中,他們的吸引力往往比不上散發著某種獨特氣質的人。

本來呢,「美」之為物,就是一種很主觀、很個人的看法,難以一概而論。即使是大部分人認為「美」的人和事,總會有極少數的人對那些人和事無動於衷。

只是沒想到,看了新版《笑傲江湖》之後,竟然啟發我思考形神之別的本質。

很多觀眾都說呂頌賢演「活」了令狐沖,都說他的灑脫不覊、率性隨意,跟原著裡的令狐沖一模一樣;彷彿讀過金庸原著的電視觀眾,即使與令狐沖素未謀面,仍有某種共識,知道令狐沖的灑脫不覊、率性隨意,可以透過某種長相的演員,以及他某些言談舉止來具體呈現的。

為甚麼會這樣?氣質不是屬於比較抽象、難以言傳的「神韻」嗎?借用李安導演的名言,不是每個人心目中都應該有一個「不一樣」的令狐沖嗎?為何那麼多人眾口一詞,評定呂頌賢的令狐沖符合原著描寫?

這就是引領我開始鑽牛角尖的問題。

《笑傲江湖》原著是透過文字來塑造令狐沖的形象的。儘管每一個方塊字都有特定的含意,但要在大部分讀者心目中建立一種毫無爭議的具體形象,殊不容易,甚至可以說是沒有可能的。

須知道,文字是連接抽象和具體之間的紐帶,但這條紐帶有多長或多短,未必有客觀的標準,要視乎使用文字和接收訊息雙方的思維能力。文字寫得好,就表示內容易於理解;寫得差,就是辭不達意、莫名其妙,這道理不難明白。修辭、剪裁、敘事角度等技巧,已屬另一個更高層次的範疇,與文字論述事理,表達思想、感情的基本功能不可同日而語。

金庸的文字雅俗共賞,流暢生動,毋庸置疑,但始終沒可能把抽象的東西完全變得具體起來。令狐沖性格上公認的「瀟灑」、「率性」等概念,其實都是很抽象的東西,光靠辭典裡的解釋根本無法讓人充分理解,讀者往往要結合自己的認知和經驗,才可能得出一個粗略的印象。例如《碧血劍》裡袁承志營救焦公禮一段,就是因為他沒見過真正疏狂瀟灑的人,不知道金蛇郎君的「疏狂瀟灑」到底是甚麼模樣,所以裝成金蛇郎君的使者時,非常笨拙,滑稽之至,恐怕連焦公禮也暗暗搖頭。

由此可見,性格、氣質等屬於「神韻」範疇的東西,即使可以透過文字表達,仍有機會因應每個接收訊息者在認知和經驗方面的差異,而造成不同的效果和感覺。這也是為甚麼討論改編自文學作品的戲劇演出時,觀眾往往就演員「是否神似」持有不同的意見。

呂頌賢演的令狐沖,在九十年代香港無線金庸改編劇開到荼薇、新版舊版孰優孰劣的爭議聲中,贏得好評如潮,經久不衰,實在非常難得。看網友支持他的熱烈程度,足以媲美當年翁美玲演黃蓉、黃日華演郭靖,甚至秦煌演老頑童一樣,讓觀眾奉為一代典範。到底他有哪些過人之處?

先談外在的「形」。原著裡的令狐沖「長方臉蛋、劍眉薄唇」(第五回〈治傷〉),呂頌賢最多只是符合長臉的要求,其實他臉型稍尖,並非方形臉;「劍眉薄唇」云云,更談不上。儘管化妝可以彌補這方面的不足,但看戲裡的造型,化妝師似乎沒有在這方面著力太多。何況男子漢大丈夫,要塗上厚厚的油彩來修飾唇線,似乎也說不過去。

既然外形不太符合,那麼神韻呢?

我必須承認自己也同意其他觀眾說的,呂頌賢果然名不虛傳,比周潤發更符合我心目中的令狐沖。但若是尋根問柢,到底他的演繹怎麼個像法,比周潤發優勝在甚麼地方,連我這樣喜歡說三道四的老觀眾也無法有條不紊地說出個所以然來。不是很奇怪嗎?

說到底,這只是一種最直接、最原始的感覺,好像捕捉了一些甚麼,但卻看不見、抓不住,只有心神領會。

談到形神之別,還想補記一筆關於八十年代和九十年代金庸劇的改編手法。這裡也是我思考形神之別的另一個方向。

八十年代是無線金庸改編劇的黃金時代,《天龍八部》、《射鵰英雄傳》、《神鵰俠侶》和《鹿鼎記》可算是其中最膾炙人口的作品。像我這樣喝香港電視奶水長大的觀眾,自然對那時的電視劇有一份很深厚的感情。即使情節給改得亂七八糟,仍然瑕不掩瑜,甚至覺得金庸改編劇,以至所有武俠劇,理應如此,沒有其他更好的演繹方法。

到了九十年代無線重拍金庸改編劇時(同樣是以《天龍八部》、《射鵰英雄傳》和《神鵰俠侶》三部人物眾多、最為人熟悉的金庸小說為主),情節方面比八十年代的舊版更忠於原著,編劇自行創作或補充原著不足的場面明顯減少,但吸引力居然驟減,令我迷糊了好一陣子。

大概而言,九十年代的改編劇,雖云忠於原著,但拍下來就像一篇篇流水帳,缺乏了引人入勝的起伏跌宕,令人覺得徒具金庸小說之形,少了原著令人愛不釋手的吸引力。八十年代的舊版雖然有不少瞎吹亂掰的情節,卻往往讓人看得欲罷不能,實在莫名其妙。

我承認「先入為主」的意識在作祟,而且「戀舊情意結」非常嚴重。不過,平心而論,九十年代的版本拍得不差,選角也不會比八十年代的版本遜色太多。例如新版《神鵰》的選角,與舊版可算各擅勝場,勢均力敵;而新版《天龍八部》和《笑傲江湖》,整體而言比舊版更勝一籌,尤其是《笑傲江湖》。《天龍八部》的主角選得很恰當,但配角較弱;而《笑傲江湖》則勝在主角和配角兩相宜。

然而,談到選角是否恰當的問題,似乎又要回到形神之別來做判斷。

也許,我還沒有能力解答自己提出的問題,只好期諸日後,寄望高明了。

Monday, 10 September 2007

沖盈之間--新版《笑傲江湖》觀後記之一

自小很喜歡《笑傲江湖》。年紀愈長,愈是喜歡。每讀一遍,喜歡的感覺就加深幾分。即使只是戲劇或其他形式的改編本,也興沖沖的去湊熱鬧,不甘後人,樂此不疲。

感謝Web 2.0世代,終於讓我看到好評如潮的無線「新版」《笑傲江湖》了。

說是「新版」,其實已是十一年前的作品了。劇中的主要演員早已風流雲散,連很多配角也退下來了。

不過,看了那麼多版本的《笑傲江湖》,不論整體優劣,總是意難平。

因為,目前沒有一位編劇能把任大小姐寫好。

我不明白,寫好任大小姐有這麼難嗎?還是編劇沒有把原著讀通,對任大小姐有偏見?

說起來,喜歡任盈盈的似乎以女讀者佔大多數,男讀者絕無僅有。也曾聽過不少男讀者說任盈盈「厲害」,令人望而生畏,不敢「喜歡」云云。

那麼,機關算盡的黃蓉何嘗不厲害?為甚麼少女時代的聰明機變就是可愛,中年以後的深謀遠慮就是可憎?任大小姐思慮縝密、洞察人情,而且磊落大度,極有君子之風,為甚麼居然令人覺得敬而遠之?

我真的不明白。

以戲論戲,任大小姐的問題總是出在結局之上。無線新舊兩個改編劇版本,大致上忠於原著,可是來到「曲諧」之前,卻非要讓任大小姐身中劇毒,讓她的沖哥表演一下憂急如焚,甚至以身殉情不可。

為甚麼要這樣?與其說是編劇認為原著的結局太平淡,喜歡弄得峰迴路轉、引人入勝,不如說他們壓根兒不相信令狐沖能放下小師妹的心結,對任大小姐產生愛慕之情。

很多讀者都覺得令狐沖對任盈盈只有感恩,沒有「真正的愛情」。令狐沖答應和盈盈廝守終生,只是為了報答她為自己所做的一切。但「真正的愛情」是甚麼?怎樣才算愛?怎樣才算感恩?夫妻相守,是否一定要有純粹、真正的愛情,才稱得上神仙眷屬?楊過對小龍女矢志不渝,難道就是為因為虛無縹緲的愛情,完全沒有感恩相報的情義在內?

元好問的難題問了差不多一千年,始終無人可以提供一個圓滿的答案。這大概又是因人而異的罷?不過,愛情應該令人愉快、溫暖,令人感到備受尊重、信任和愛護;這些特質大概不會有人反對罷?令狐沖和任盈盈在一起的時候,完全沒有矯飾,不用擔心對方誤會,可以隨意和她說「公公婆婆」、「小桃谷六仙」的笑話,這都是跟岳靈珊在一起的時候無法享受的輕鬆自在。我甚至可以斷言,令狐沖只有和任盈盈在一起的時候,才能活出真正的自己。這源於任盈盈對他的信任和瞭解,而對於灑脫不覊、追求精神自由的令狐沖來說,信任和理解正是他在人際關係之中最看重的一環。誰相信他、誰明白他,他就會剖腹掏心的相待。他待師娘寧中則如此,任盈盈也是一樣。

所以,我認為令狐沖和任盈盈一起經歷了那麼多,根本不用亂灑狗血來強調令狐沖是真心真意的愛慕任盈盈,這樣做反而褻瀆了他倆盡在不言中的親暱。

即使令狐沖對任盈盈真箇是感恩重於一般人所認知的愛情,那又如何?這都不妨礙他倆相敬相知,相扶相守。做夫妻的,即使再恩愛百倍,也離不開這八個字。

Saturday, 8 September 2007

From the Face of A Great Man


I never give a damn when the streets of Hong Kong are flooded with people carrying Louis Vuitton bags. But I must give a credit to Louis Vuitton for its latest advertising campaign that features former president of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) Mikhail Gorbachev. It is the best print advertisement I have seen.

The advertising campaign launched last August features more than the Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1990. Andre Agassi and his wife Stefanie Graf, the "young" tennis stars of my time as opposed to John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl, also starred in another print ad of the same campaign.

Understandably, the emotional connotations of these two print ads are designed to be different. Surprisingly, however, it was the one featuring Mr Gorbachev that has stirred up quite a bit of emotions inside me rather than that of Steffi (what the press used to call her in the 1980s and early 1990s) and Andre.

Let me be honest and upfront: I know very little about Mr Gorbachev and the USSR. All I know comes from the biased and selective news reports in the media. My family and school education hammered in me the Western ideology that anything behind the iron curtains of communist regimes, be it China or Russia, is subject to scepticism, allegation and wild imagination.

Perhaps Mr Gorbachev is the first Russian communist who successfully breaks through the stereotypes imposed by his Western rivals during the Cold War. In the innocent eyes of a teenager, Mr Gorbachev just didn't look like any of his predecessors or peers in China during the 1980s. He looked civilised, cultured, confident and sincere. He had, and still has, a strong charisma of intellectuality, kindness and understanding that was not found in the big names of his time, be it Ronald Reagan, George Bush or even Margaret Thatcher.

Mr Gorbachev's bold but unsuccessful reforms of glasnost, perestroika and uskoreniye were proven to be too much for the vulnerable giant of the USSR, but his courage and resolution to replace the Cold War with co-operation, respect and understanding was by all means adorable. Some critics may say that the balance between two superpowers, despite their hostility and lack of trust, might have helped prevent the bloodshed and tragedies in the Middle East since the First Gulf War. But in the course of history, aftermath and consequences can never be calculated and predictable as much as we want and hope.

Now the teenager who admired Mr Gorbachev as a seemingly more approachable heavyweight of world politics has grown into a woman in her mid-thirties engaged in the communication business for more than a decade. Of course I know it could have been a well-designed branding campaign to create and sustain the positive perceptions of the former leader of the world's largest country. But I don't believe that any sensible human being would bother to sustain these efforts in an image-building exercise even after a disgraceful end to his/her career. Rather, I would tend to believe that the public image of Mr Gorbachev was nothing but a manifesto of what he truly believes, and what makes him the person he is. His apology to the people of Azerbaijan for the suppression of a nationalist movement for independence in Black January of 1990 was one of the examples of his respectable courage and commitment to the well-being of the mankind.

Having said that, it should also be noted that as the last president of the USSR, a regime that no longer exists, he is subject to much less pressure than any other political leader to take responsibility and confess of making those decisions during his tenure.

What I like most of the LV print ad featuring Mr Gorbachev is that it vividly captures the intellectuality of the former USSR president and the whole bunch of historical events in early 1990s that eventually changed the outlook of the world. Choosing the Berlin Wall as the backdrop is certainly the outcome of some clever calculations. What strike me most, however, are the seemingly uneasy gestures of Mr Gorbachev - once again an object of criticism for some folks.

It is understandable that Mr Gorbachev would seem uneasy passing by the Berlin Wall, where the quest for freedom and nationalistic independence in Eastern Europe in the late 1980s first sparked off. I wonder what comes up to his mind at that moment when he remembered that his reforms calling for more openness and transparency incidentally became one of the underlying factors to the revolutionary changes later in the decade and early the next. The photographer skilfully captured the complex and delicate thinking in the great man's mind.

Mr Gorbachev's far-reaching stare outside the window, his subdued facial expression and slightly opened lips tell so much more than the advertiser and the photographer intended to tell. The portrayal transcends its inherent nature of being a print ad to become a piece of art that embraces history and human nature with a remarkable aesthetic taste.

Obviously the print ad was very successful in leveraging Mr Gorbachev's personal profile and historical significance to highlight the heritage and quality of the brand. But the print ad fails to change my stubborn prejudice of luxury brands such as LV and alike. Whether or not Mr Gorbachev carries an LV bag or a Samsonite suitcase makes no difference to me. In my opinion, he is one of the great men of mankind who shall be remembered for what he has achieved and changed, intentionally or incidentally.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Let My Reflective Instinct Rule A While

It has been quite a while since I discussed work in this blog. While there is no obvious reason not to talk about work here, there seems to be plenty of compelling and interesting things to write on.

But I decided to leave a few words on what happened recently. Just to let the pressure go like the streaming sweat on my back when I run on the treadmill.

Be it inertia. Be it stress. Be it anything that distracts me from what I should have focused on, which is not surprising though, given the ad hoc and spontaneous nature of working on emails. It seems that it is ever more difficult to concentrate, to think logically and sensibly, and to keep up the confidence in my capabilities and the way I work.

This is not the first time when I reach a point where my reflective instinct urges me to take a break and think things through. This is a warning signal that something has gone wrong. Something needs to be fixed before it evolves into a bigger problem. And this is not the first time when the instinct chooses to flex its muscles at the wrong time. All I can do is to prioritise and to make my brain work on the most important things as fast as it can. The sooner I clear up my plate, the more time I can spend on thinking.

I am the kind of person who can't stop thinking but only in fragments that jump around all the time, all over the place in a logic that can be understood by none. I wouldn't be surprised to see any attempt to depict a pictorial or textual representation of my conscious and sub-conscious mental activities ending up in a load of incomprehensible mess. It often takes me quite a bit of time to sort things out in a logical way and to convince myself that the conclusion makes sense and is feasible, if any action is required. Getting away from work for a short while certainly helps clearing my mind for more efficient thinking. But I just can't afford this luxury for the time being.

Just let my reflective instinct rule a while, keeping the alarm ringing for a moment. I will soon come to address the problems in two weeks. Hopefully.