Saturday, 27 October 2007

A Miraculous Encounter

I think I owe God a serious gesture of gratitude for granting me an opportunity to see Fiona in person so soon.

I am simply overwhelmed with joy.

There are a number of reasons for that. For one thing, she seems to have put on some weight and her face is glowing with happiness, warmth and satisfaction. This is exactly what I have been dying to know and see.

For another, she played extraordinarily well in her first appearance in a musical. At a time when she didn't have a line, she simply spared no time to do whatever she could not to grab attention but to fulfil what her character would have done as if it ever existed in real life. While I must confess that I spent all the time following her movements on stage, there is no question that she deserves the strongest possible compliment for a tremendous job done. Bar none.

How privileged I was to be able to present her in person a bouquet of peach-coloured roses and a letter after the performance was completed. Her lovely small face lighting up with surprise and innocent excitement just seemed unforgettable. Making someone you admire happy is just a wonderful experience.

What was even more unforgettable to me was that she gave me a big hug when I congratulated her for a great performance. I never thought that such a sincere but small compliment would make her so excited. Who was I to her to deserve such a miraculous encounter like this? Since that particular moment I just felt like my favourite Jin Yong character Ren Yingying was throwing herself in my arms. Then I found myself flung into a dream that would be too good to be true.

Dear Fiona, just a quick note to thank and congratulate you for a great show. Make sure you take some good rest tonight. May I wish you every success in the performances to come.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

A Major Milestone

What a relief it was when Xavier called to tell me that renovation of my new home has been completed after three full months of work.


I couldn't help giving a sigh of relief and satisfaction.

In general, the project worked out smoothly despite some delays and minor issues, such as the removal of the light bulb at the doorstep by mistake and the problems in identifying a vendor that accepts special orders for the picture to be craved on the frosted glass. In any case, these were inevitable anyway and I was not very much concerned.

However, the six-week delay apparently has drained my reserve of patience and I'm now more eager than ever to move in. Yet I need to plan properly for the packing and unpacking, which can only be equally annoying and time-consuming.

Hopefully my rationality is still strong enough to suppress the boiling restlessness.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007


世間事,因緣迥異總傷情。念珠沉微水,池魚枉惹凶刑。算盡良謀勝當恃,到頭無計欲推枰。可憐那,蟪蛄之年,何似冥靈? 盈盈,抱殘缺,守靜虛懷,莫問崢嶸。勘破迷津,急風驟雨難驚。且自逍遙沒人管,但憑琴劍寄心聲。長相憶,竹巷綢繆,陰滿中庭。

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Happy Birthday, Anita!

First of all, I would like to thank all those Anita's fans who have devoted time, money and hard work to organise the ongoing commemorative exhibition in Tsim Sha Tsui. It is not an extravagant exhibition, but certainly one filled with great love for and cherished memories of our Queen.

What a pity that I missed the deadline for donations. I feel somewhat ashamed enjoying the hard-earned results of those who worked on this project without any contribution.

Walking along the Promenade on a breezy autumn evening is by all means refreshing and relaxing. But it is equally heart-breaking to read the billboards of a retrospect of Anita's colourful and respectful life, knowing that I can no longer see her anywhere in this world. In the years to come, I can only cling to her legacy of songs and films that have made, and will continue to make, my life more colourful and enjoyable than it should have been.

Just a few hours before her 44th birthday, a sense of loss and hollowness took over me when I reviewed her remarkably successful career on the display boards. It reminded me of all the fond memories of her singing and dancing during my days of carefree happiness and disappointment. I expected tears running down my cheeks, but they didn't. They barely managed to wet my eyes.

While the paper models of Anita's famous characters and album covers looked perfectly glamorous in the backdrop of Hong Kong's glittering skyline at night, they only reminded me of the emptiness and sorrow following the permanent loss of her Godsend talent in entertainment and sympathy for the disadvantaged. Her kindness and integrity as a performer and a philanthropist will find no substitute.

Looking beyond the shoulders of her paper models into the Symphony of Lights across the harbour, I couldn't help giving a big sigh of sadness and frustration. The glittery visible to the eye simply can't disguise the lack of strength and substance deep inside the heart of Hong Kong.

How can I miss you less, my dear?

Just let me wish you a very Happy Birthday, Your Majesty.

P.S. Don't cry, my dear. It was my honour and pleasure to celebrate your birthday. I am flattered to have you thinking about me by giving me the good weather just now. Take care.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007




















就算我死心眼兒好了。這幾句歌詞,明明是說自己癡心守候,對方卻始終漠然相對,教人捉摸不透。即使兩個人走在一起,仍是貌合神離。難道任盈盈和令狐沖之間,真的是這樣嗎?這到底是編導和配樂師的Freudian slip,還是疏忽大意的無心之失?





Sunday, 7 October 2007

























Saturday, 6 October 2007

Preoccupation And Repression

Not surprisingly, the screening of Director Ang Lee's award-winning Lust, Caution has stirred up another round of fuss among many people in Hong Kong. It has been quite some time since any other film received the same level of recognition among the local audience.

Again, there is now a compelling reason for everyone to spare more than two-and-a-half hours in the cinema. Admitting that you haven't watched an extremely popular film like your friends and colleagues did is by no means noble. The incapability of engaging in a conversation about the plot, the characters or, more importantly, the sex scenes in the case of Lust, Caution, is deemed to be unbearably embarrassing. Interestingly, most of us in Hong Kong are taught to believe that we shall never become a laughing stock just by being different - something that is not acceptable and subject to contempt and disgrace.

Highlighting the eyebrow-raising sex scenes in the promotion campaign was obviously a deliberate effort to arouse attention to highest possible limit. This tactic is proved to be particularly effective for the local audience who is generally addicted to the excitement of voyeurism.

Few in Hong Kong have read Eileen Chang's masterpieces, let alone being a fan of hers. But it takes nothing to appreciate sensual pleasure, be it real or hyper-real on the silver screen.

How sad it is to spend too much time and effort focusing on the sex scenes, which were designed to deliver a message rather than being a message by themselves. Too many commentators, including those Christian fundamentalists who called for a boycott of the film because of the episode that takes up no more than one-tenth of the length of the film, seem to have lost sight of the full picture.

People who are blinded by prejudice think the others are blind as they are. People who are preoccupied by sex find sexual references in everything they see. As the Buddhist teaching says, "Wind doesn't move anything but it's your heart that makes you see things move." As we can see in communication theories, perception is often a self-imposed belief or even indulgence rather than something of objective existence.

Actually, to my own surprise, the sex scenes were the most natural and the least embarrassing I have ever seen, even though the actor and the actress were nude. I found something in the atmosphere that was much more powerful and breath-taking than what the couple was doing -  repression.

It was repression of love, repression of desire, and repression of conscience. It was a story with a motif that has been tirelessly explored and vividly depicted by Director Lee throughout these years.

Like many other characters portrayed by Director Lee in his previous works, both Wang Chia-chi and Mr Yee were victims of repression. Their subtle movements and facial expressions, and sometimes even their expressionless faces, had so much more to tell than the words they muttered.

In the setting of a war-torn China, repression seemed to be the only means of survival and deterrent to overwhelming fear. Just look at the faceless crowds on the streets of Shanghai in the film. Be they Chinese, Japanese or Europeans. There was little difference, if any at all, between sexes and nationalities before fear and repression.

Coincidently, repression is also a common theme in Eileen Chang's literary works, though it is often disguised skilfully in torture, absurdity and indifference. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Director Lee is, in my opinion, the most successful and truthful presenter of Eileen Chang's fiction in the format of film. He obviously has an insightful understanding of Eileen Chang's work as if she had told him what she wanted to deliver between the lines. What is even more important is his unmatched mastery of script, cinematography, music, props and any other component to the finest detail. What I found most impressive was the extravagant re-construction of the streets of Hong Kong and Shanghai during the 1940s. It was certainly extraordinary but indispensable in setting up the right context and atmosphere. This is particularly important in representing the fiction of Eileen Chang, who herself devoted a lot of ink in such trivial details of food, clothing and accessories of the characters. Comparing to his counterparts in Hong Kong or Mainland China, Director Lee apparently has a much stronger grasp of the "soul" of Eileen Chang's works.

Director Lee should find all his hard work and daunting efforts paid off when Lust, Caution is so far the most acclaimed adopted film of Eileen Chang's novels. As far as I can remember, he is the only person who is widely recognised by Eileen Chang's fans as a truthful and successful presenter of her works. No other director, despite their efforts and reputation, has ever received unanimous commendation as Director Lee does.

This is certainly a piece of good news for Eileen Chang's fans. For the first time in history, we now have the first glimpse of hope of having a pair of truly good hands to introduce one of the greatest modern Chinese writers to non-Chinese readers through cinema.