Tuesday, 30 December 2008

給Anita的信

Dearest Anita,

你好嗎?好久沒見了。這陣子,你都在做些甚麼呢?

這一年來,我工作一直很忙,沒甚麼時間可以盡情地讀書、看戲。直到昨晚,才可以早一點下班回家,胡亂吃點東西,然後靜靜地看完一本關於趙太的小書。

這份難得的寧靜和悠閒,實在是久違了。

耳聽著窗外微弱的雨聲,一分一秒慢慢過去,突然覺得身在夢中,不太真實。坦白說,我真的有點想哭--高興得想哭。

也許你要取笑我是名副其實的書蟲,其實沒所謂,我這條書蟲當得理直氣壯、當仁不讓。只有獨個兒在燈下捧著書細讀的時候,一顆心才覺得安定、踏實。文字一行一行地在眼前流淌,書頁一片一片地翻過去,猶如清澈溫潤的泉水,滋潤著枯燥乏味的心。剛才看書的時候,我就感到,一顆心又重新有了一點血色。

可惜靜靜地看書,如今已經變成了一種奢侈。這幾個月來唯一的堅持,就是做運動、練太極拳。

有朋友取笑我是不是「骨格精奇」,有點練武的慧根。因為我說才練到熱身動作的第二招,就有一道真氣直透指尖。練拳的時候,汗珠就不聲不響的從毛管裡慢慢地冒出來;拳練完了,背上的衣服也都濕透了。

很舒服,也很踏實。一種活著的感覺。

真氣游走全身,暖烘烘地,彷彿感受到生命在緩緩流動。

練拳的時候,真的可以甚麼也不想,一心一意聽著教練的指導出拳、呼吸,對於我這種喜歡胡思亂想的人,確是紓緩緊張的靈丹妙藥。如果五年前就開始練太極拳,也許後來就不用吃那些苦頭了。

嗯,原來一晃眼,你已經離開五年了。

五年。六十個月。一千八百二十六天。四萬三千八百二十四小時。

已經記不起這些日子裡做過些甚麼。準確一點來說,是指沒甚麼值得紀念的事情,平淡得很。當然,平淡也沒甚麼不好。老子教我們「致虛極也,守靜篤也」,其實就是要我們甘於平淡,不要為鏡花水月迷失了本性。

只是沒來由有點迷茫。來到一年將盡的日子,驀然回首,居然沒甚麼值得紀念的事情,不禁叩問自己:到底是因為自己乏善足陳,還是無怨無悔、毫無遺憾?

我答不上來。

或者,其實,也沒必要回答。

活在當下,是你的教誨。只要過好每一天,這一輩子,也就不枉了。

看,你說過的話,我都記在心裡。牢牢的記著。

即使你沒有親口跟我說過話。

是了,剛過去的周末,《明報周刊》用了你一張細碎長髮的舊照做封面。次冊的封面也是你,用的是《變奏》的唱片封面照,標題是「花逝五年:香港女兒梅艷芳」。你看到了嗎?

明知道沒甚麼內容,一樣是找那些無關痛癢的人來充撐場面,一樣是把那些陳穀子爛芝麻炒完再炒,但我還是忍不住買了一本。看過之後,又是忍不住失望。

我真的不明白,他們為甚麼要用「香港女兒」這個稱呼。無論對你,或是謝婉雯醫生,這個稱呼都是一種冒瀆。更何況,《明報周刊》次冊的內容,不過是把你的故事重寫一遍,而且一如既往著眼於你的舞臺、你的感情生活,跟這個稱呼毫不相干。

當日那些無謂人說你是「香港的女兒」,表面上是褒揚你的成就和貢獻,實際上不過是俗不可耐的恭維,好讓他們名正言順地叨你的光--「看,咱們香港出了個梅艷芳,多厲害!所以……(下刪九萬字)」對於這種勢利無恥的嘴臉,我是說不出的厭惡。如果那些無謂人真的把你當女兒看待,又何必在你走了之後才一窩蜂湧出來煞有介事地一錘定音?你為香港人做了那麼多事情,為甚麼他們不早點給你應得的褒揚?我知道你不會介意,更不會稀罕甚麼,正如趙太說過:「堯功舜德本如天,安用區區紀文字?著碑銘德真陋哉,迺令鬼神磨山崖。」只有汲汲於虛名的傢伙,才會稀罕那些勞什子勳章和獎狀。但是他們總是等你不在的時候,才躡手躡腳地鑽出來拿你的名字撈油水,叫我如何嚥得下這口氣?

我知道自己有點傻,明知道那是投機之作,就不應該助紂為虐。

但是,我更害怕自己看到關於你的東西,會變得無動於衷。

你說過你是天秤座,喜歡伸張正義,替人家主持公道。可惜你走遠之後,沒有人給你填補這個空缺。尸位素餐的仍然尸位素餐,浪得虛名的繼續浪得虛名。

如果我有你這份能耐,那就好了。

可惜我是水瓶座。

好了,祝你和Ann姊新年快樂。如果有空的話,就去打聽一下哪兒可以學太極拳吧,很好玩的,包你喜歡。

Forever yours,

Sunday, 28 December 2008

文海隨筆--不如向,簾兒底下,聽人笑語

落日鎔金
暮雲合璧
人在何處
染柳煙濃
吹梅笛怨
春意知幾許
元宵佳節
融和天氣
次第豈無風雨
來相召
香車寶馬
謝他酒朋詩侶
中州盛日
閨門多暇
記得偏重三五
鋪翠冠兒
撚金雪柳
簇帶爭濟楚
風鬟霧鬢
怕見夜間出去
不如向
簾兒底下
聽人笑語

--易安居士《永遇樂》

寫了那麼多關於趙太的東西,愈寫愈覺得不知所謂,真有點氣餒,好像這些書都白唸了似的。

也許是自己功力太淺,說來說去說不到點子上。就是說「喜歡趙太的詞」這麼簡單的事情,也不知道從何說起。

若問為甚麼喜歡她的詞,大概是因為一種沒來由的悸動。雖然和她素未謀面,彼此的生活方式和處境也大不相同,就是不知哪裡好像搭通了天地線一樣,寥寥幾句流傳了一千年的文字,竟然仍能深深的觸動這顆躁動的心。同樣是婉約宗主的南唐後主,還有秦觀、柳永、周邦彥等名家,讀來卻總是覺得隔靴搔癢。偶然可能會為某些佳句名篇而感動,但卻始終沒一位能像趙太那樣,達到震懾心神、魄蕩魂搖的地步。

既然如此,自然就會問為甚麼,為甚麼只得趙太有這份能耐?

當然,這跟我自己一些主觀因素也有關係。例如我讀書不博,可能尚未認識到一些比趙太功力更高的作家;或者對於其他作家認識不深,有事沒事就拿趙太的集子當飯吃,卻沒有以同樣的態度反覆細讀他們的作品。又或者是我骨子裡的大女人主義作祟,總覺得趙太可以穩佔宋詞大家一席位,著實為女性爭光不少,二話不說就給她投了信任票。

撇除了這些主觀因素,最吸引人的當然仍是趙太的天賦才華,以及她作品的感染力和藝術成就。

作品的感染力,其實是一種既主觀又客觀的東西,不容易說得明白。對於讀者來說,一件作品能否引起自己的共鳴、能否挑動自己的情感、能否啟發自己的思考,可能是很主觀的,因為這些都取決於每個人的性格、遭遇和生活環境。對於作者來說,卻不盡然。要塑造一件具有感染力的作品,經過千百年來前人的探索和實踐,總有一些表達技巧和內容方面的共通點,可以讓作者自由採用和發揮。當然,自出機杼仍是創作的基本手法和目的,但每個人才力參差,並不是人人都能達到公認的一流境界。

為了探究趙太作品傳誦不衰的內在原因,不少學者也有研究「易安體」,企圖歸納趙太作品的某些規律和特色。「易安體」這個概念由來已久,早在南宋已經出現,先有侯寘,後有辛棄疾,都有作品註明「效易安體」。不過,他們並沒有說明「易安體」的定義和表現方法。根據施議對先生在《李清照的〈詞論〉及其「易安體」》一文的分析,「易安體」是趙太獨創的鋪敘手法,以柳永、周邦彥的技巧為基礎,再作提升,大致包括三大要點:

一、平敘中注重渾成,融合柳永講究的「細密而妥溜」,周邦彥的「渾化無跡」。

二、平敘中注重含蓄和餘韻,講究弦外之音。

三、平敘中注重變化,迴環往復,增添波瀾;以對比來製造氣氛,烘托主題。

施議對先生更認為,第三點在趙太鋪敘手法之中「最為高明」(以上論點詳見《李清照全閱讀》,頁254)。

從來對寫作技巧不甚了了,讀了施先生的文章才恍然大悟,頗有振聾發聵之感。在他提出「易安體」的特點之中,以對比手法給我的感受最為深刻。施先生以我最喜愛的《永遇樂》為例,仔細分析內容結構,發覺趙太不但以景物(「元宵佳節,融和天氣」)和自己的心境作對比(「不如向,簾兒底下,聽人笑語」),就連句子結構也是由對比組成的。例如「落日鎔金,暮雲合璧」,景致優美,意境空闊,接下來卻是「人在何處」,氣氛一下子變得蒼涼孤寂。「元宵佳節,融和天氣」,正是春意盎然的好時節,突然接了一句「次第豈無風雨」。這句話若是平日說將出來,頗有煞風景之嫌;但在這闋詞中,卻可見作者面對良辰美景、朋友相邀也無心玩樂的愁思,撩人哀感。《永遇樂》下片回憶「中州盛日」慶祝元宵節的熱鬧歡騰,再對比眼前的熱鬧與自己的孤寂,世界雖然繼續轉動,彷彿已經與我無關,最後「不如向,簾兒低下,聽人笑語」的自嘲和感嘆,一字一淚,餘韻無窮,落寞蕭瑟之意噴薄而出,確是上乘之作。

不過,除了上述技巧上的優點之外,我認為趙太的成功之道另有更重要的關鍵,就是真摯的感情。若要感動人家,至少要讓人覺得那是發自肺腑的聲音,而不是堆砌技巧和意象的結果。如何組織思緒、如何表達感情,當然又是牽涉技巧的問題,但是如果感情不夠真實,再高明的技巧也無法化腐朽為神奇。

這一年來反覆細讀趙太的詞,讓我深深地感受到趙太在作品裡流露的坦率和真摯。這種感覺很奇妙,至少對我來說,是其他作者難以企及的。讀趙太的詞,就像她站在我面前說話一樣,紙上每個字也直透心房,每個香爐、竹簾、燈花、釵鈿、瑤琴的意象,甚至是酒醉酒醒、活火分茶、試穿夾衫、暗燈清話等情景,以及趙太身處其中的一顰一笑,全部宛在目前,好像我真的坐上了時光機去應趙太邀約一般,看得真切分明。

我不知道趙太這份教人瞠乎其後的功力,是得自天賦才華,還是辛苦經營的成果。只知道每讀一遍她的作品,就喜歡她多一分。少年時曾經不自量力地以趙太為私淑的對象,鬧著玩學填詞,可惜二十年來毫無寸進,愈寫愈退步,看來我還是學她「向簾兒底下,聽人笑語」便了。

文海隨筆--學詩謾有驚人句

天接雲濤連曉霧
星河欲轉千帆舞
彷彿夢魂歸帝所
聞天語
殷勤問我歸何處
我報路長嗟日暮
學詩謾有驚人句
九萬里風鵬正舉
風休住
蓬舟吹取三山去

--易安居士《漁家傲》

和很多趙太的粉絲一樣,我喜歡她的作品、喜歡她這個人,都是從她的詞作開始的。當年課文選讀的是《醉花陰》,其後細讀她的集子,才發覺趙太很多作品比《醉花陰》寫得更巧妙、更渾然天成。其中我最喜歡趙太晚年的《永遇樂》,以尋常用語道盡離亂之餘的蒼涼和無奈,堪稱壓卷的絕唱。其他著名的作品如《一翦梅》、《如夢令》、《鳳凰臺上憶吹簫》、《聲聲慢》等,自然也是耳熟能詳。

千百年來,趙太與南唐後主李煜齊名,號稱「婉約詞宗」、「詞中二李」。也許因為這樣,趙太的形象總是偏向溫婉、嬌柔的一面,跟我們想像中的古代閨閣女子沒甚麼分別。

可是翻到集子尾聲,才知道趙太在詩賦、文章中的表現,又是另一番光景。最記得初讀她的《夏日絕句》:「生當作人傑,死亦為鬼雄。至今思項羽,不肯過江東」,暗諷宋廷偷安江左,痛快淋漓,不禁拍案叫絕,真想敬她一大碗酒。繼而讀到《詠史》、《感懷》、《題八詠樓》、《分得知字》、《浯溪中興頌詩和張文潛》二首、《打馬圖序》、《打馬賦》等詩文,才明白趙太不是深居簡出、終日傷春悲秋的弱質女子,而是個性耿直、爽朗豪邁、光風霽月的熱腸人。

在趙太現存的十多首詩裡,以節奏強勁、豪興遄飛的《浯溪中興頌詩和張文潛》最得我心。讀到開端幾句:「五十年功如電掃,華清宮柳咸陽草。五坊供奉鬥雞兒,酒肉堆中不知老」,唐玄宗天寶初年承平日久,耽於逸樂的情景,栩栩如生,歷歷在目;讓人意識到「安史之亂」爆發,並不是偶然,而是早晚會發生的必然後果。中段「堯功舜德本如天,安用區區紀文字?著碑銘德真陋哉,迺令鬼神磨山崖」,在歷來瞎吹法螺的馬屁精,還有那些自吹自擂、好大喜功的庸陋傢伙臉上,狠狠摑了一巴掌,真是痛快。最後以「夏商有鑒當深戒,簡冊汗青今具在。君不見當時張說最多機,雖生已被姚崇賣」作結,明顯是以張說和姚崇的互相傾軋,諷喻北宋末年愈演愈烈的新舊黨爭。趙太的父親李格非被列入「元祐黨籍」,丈夫趙明誠的父親趙挺之卻是新黨中人,無論父親或丈夫也親受黨爭之害,想必對黨爭深痛惡絕,在詩中借古諷今,抒發不滿。

那麼,為甚麼趙太在詞和詩文的表現南轅北轍呢?在我看來,可能因為趙太是「形式決定內容」的「形式主義」先行者。

借用「形式主義」這個名詞,沒有貶抑趙太的意思。在一般情況下,我們說「形式主義」的作品徒具其形,作者拘泥於修辭、聲韻、字數等外在的東西,對於主題和內容反而不太重視。魏、晉以來流行的駢文,正是「形式主義」體裁的代表。不過,趙太並沒有只重外表、看輕內涵,而是她認為「詞」是非常獨特的體裁,由於形式上的限制,「詞」只適合敷寫某些內容,填詞的技巧也不可以與吟詩作文混為一談。故謂之「別是一家,知之者少」是也。

可惜趙太在《詞論》中,並沒有清楚說明「詞」適合敷寫哪些內容,但綜合她批評諸家的意見來看,我認為趙太心目中真正「別是一家」的「詞」,須符合「嚴守音律,抒情述性」兩大條件。

「詞」既然是歌詞,自然講究音律、字句精鍊。如果不合音律、不能歌唱,就成不了歌詞,不過是案頭文章而已。另外,歌詞篇幅短小,宋代最常見的詞牌如《菩薩蠻》、《如夢令》、《青玉案》、《蝶戀花》等,少則十餘字,多也不過數十字,而且須配合音樂演唱,實在宜於抒情、詠物,卻不擅於議論或敘事。即使後來篇幅較長的慢曲漸多,也不過百餘字,實在難與古詩、樂府等適合長篇敘事的體裁相比。事實上,趙太的詞作,都是以抒情、詠物為主;而她的詩賦和文章,題材則廣泛得多,遣懷、詠史、敘事、諷喻時政等都有。因此我認為,趙太的作品貫徹了她對「詞」的獨特見解,而且也是她「詞以形式決定內容」理論的最佳演繹。

在寫作技巧方面,趙太這位填詞的大行家自有其獨到的見解,對當代文豪和成名詞家的批評也最為尖銳,所以招來「皆摘其短,無一免者,此論未公」的指摘,還有「蚍蜉撼大樹,可笑不自量」的譏諷(詳見宋胡仔《苕溪漁隱叢話》後集卷三十三)。連對她頗有好評的王仲聞先生,也認為《詞論》「苛求太甚」。這些批評,基本上我都同意,但是趙太的評語,對於鑽研「詞」這個體裁,仍是極具參考價值的。例如她批評「學際天人」的大文豪晏殊、歐陽修和蘇軾所填的詞,淪為「句讀不葺之詩」,其實就是說明填詞的技巧與作詩不同。那麼,填詞的技巧是甚麼呢?她又批評柳永「詞語塵下」、晏幾道「苦無鋪敘」、賀鑄「苦少典重」、秦觀「專主情致而少故實」、黃庭堅「即尚故實,而多疵病」。那就是說,填詞要鋪敘、要典雅、要故實、要主情致。「故實」和「情致」兩個概念比較難懂,而且眾說紛紜。以我自己的理解,「故實」大概是指要有實質的內容,不能空泛,更不應無病呻吟。「情致」則指以抒發情感、描述心性為主,以配合「詞」偏向婉約、陰柔的風格。

坦白說,我不太贊同「形式決定內容」的說法,蘇軾以詩為詞、辛棄疾無事不可入詞的才氣縱橫,更合我的脾胃。然而「詞」畢竟還得倚聲而歌,要是不合音律、佶屈聱牙,的確讓人耳朵受罪,而且也失去了作為歌詞的性質和意義。趙太以「詞」是獨一無二、有別於詩的體裁立論,提出填詞須有獨特的技巧,須兼顧形式與內容的要求,不愧是詞壇「本色當行第一人」。

可惜現存的《詞論》確實失諸偏頗,細讀之下,文意也似乎言猶未盡,所以我懷疑《詞論》並非全豹,有一部分早已散佚。故此,看到趙太因為這篇文章而招人非議,說她狂妄自大、目空一切,總是有點不服氣。其實,評議諸公為何不仔細想想,這篇文章會否有甚麼不尋常或缺漏的地方,或者趙太為甚麼甘冒天下之大不韙,把當代名家都得罪個遍?趙太雖然自負,卻也不是信口雌黃之人,她的批評並非無的放矢,更不是惡意中傷。如果因為言語率直得罪於人,那還罷了;最怕是評議者因人廢言,那就不是趙太的問題,而是有人被偏見蒙蔽了理智。

Saturday, 27 December 2008

文海隨筆--沒箇人堪寄

藤床紙帳朝眠起
說不盡無佳思
沉香煙斷玉爐寒
伴我情懷如水
笛聲三弄
梅心驚破
多少春情意
小風疏雨蕭蕭地
又催下千行淚
吹簫人去玉樓空
腸斷與誰同倚
一枝折得
人間天上
沒箇人堪寄

--易安居士《孤雁兒》

如果世上真的有神仙眷屬,我曾經以為,趙太和她的寶貝丈夫,會是其中之一。

神仙眷屬有甚麼條件?夫妻恩愛、生死不渝、志同道合是少不了的,而且日子還須過得逍遙自在、不落俗套。至少,終日為柴米油鹽操心的凡夫俗子,是說甚麼也成不了神仙的。所以,隱居世外的楊過與小龍女、黃藥師與馮氏,能成為無數金庸讀者心目中的神仙眷屬;而同樣堅貞不二的郭靖和黃蓉,因為有了入世的覊絆,只能成為讓後人景仰的模範夫妻。

細讀趙太晚年為丈夫遺作《金石錄》撰寫的《後序》,相信沒幾個讀者會對趙氏夫婦的共同研究金石銘刻的高雅情趣、志同道合的鶼鰈之情而無動於衷。多少平凡的夫妻牛衣對泣之際,趙氏夫婦卻甘願典當衣裳來收購碑文,展玩摩娑,不知倦怠,甚至以「葛天氏之民」自詡,絲毫不以家中清貧為嫌。後來趙明誠出仕,「竭其俸入,以事鉛槧」,貫徹多年來的志趣,也是難得。為了收購書畫銘刻,趙太即使「食去重肉,衣去重采,首無明珠翡翠之飾,室無塗金刺繡之具」也在所不惜,可見他倆對於金石考證的熱忱,已經超越了廢寢忘食,而是到了癡迷執拗的地步。尤其難得的是,趙太並沒有責怪丈夫不務正業,在一些無聊的事情上浪費心力和錢財,反而興高采烈地參與,樂在其中,自稱「樂在聲色狗馬之上」。至於夫妻倆在青州歸來堂烹茶賭書的遊戲,更是冠絕千古的閨房雅趣,羨煞旁人。

古語有云:「百世修來同船渡,千世修來共枕眠」,能成為夫妻,就是一種難得的緣分。在古代,婚姻須承父母之命、媒妁之言,夫妻倆感情是否融洽、能否同諧白首,只是一場沒有底牌的賭博。對於很多古人來說,談情說愛可能是終生難以冀及的奢侈。我不知道趙太和趙明誠在婚前有沒有交往過,但至少根據她的憶述和宋人筆記的記載,兩人感情融洽,志趣相投,趙明誠對她似乎也相當遷就,已是十分難得的了。

把《金石錄後序》和趙太的悼亡詞如《武陵春》、《聲聲慢》、《孤雁兒》等對讀,不難發現趙太對趙明誠感情極深,多少年過去了,趙太還是惦記著同甘共苦二十多年,與他展玩古器、賭書潑茶的丈夫。

但是,趙明誠對趙太的感情是怎樣的?印象中,這方面的記載幾乎沒有,大概因為趙明誠所寫的文章以考證、題跋等為主,很少提及私事。手上藏書轉引的,只有兩處。其一是陳祖美《李清照評傳》引清繆荃蓀《雲自在龕隨筆》卷二錄趙明誠跋《楞嚴經》:「因上馬疾驅歸,與細君共賞。時已二鼓下矣,酒渴甚,烹小龍團,相對展玩,狂喜不支。兩見燭跋,猶不欲寐。」(陳祖美《李清照評傳》第二章,頁77)其二是康震《康震評說李清照》引趙明誠跋蔡襄《趙氏神妙帖》:「此帖章氏子售之京師,余以二百千得之。去年秋西兵之變,余家所資,蕩無遺餘。老妻獨攜此而逃。未幾,江外之盜再掠鎮江,此帖獨存。信其神工妙翰,有物護持也。」(《康震評說李清照》第五章,頁68)何況,古人可能覺得男兒漢大丈夫,在文章裡談及兒女之情,未免流於小家子氣,所以不屑一顧。

現在有學者認為,趙明誠曾經納妾,所以他和趙太的感情,並不像趙太所寫的那麼恩愛。學者提出來的證據,其實也是趙太自己寫的。在《金石錄後序》中,趙太記載趙明誠臨終之時:「取筆作詩,絕筆而終,殊無分香賣履之意。」「分香賣履」語出《文選》陸機《弔魏武帝文》引曹操《遺令》:「餘香可分與諸夫人。諸舍中無所為,學作履組賣也。」其實是指趙明誠尚有「諸夫人」。但除此以外,並沒有其他證據表示趙明誠納妾。陳祖美和康震以《鳳凰臺上憶吹簫》、《聲聲慢》、《蝶戀花》、《感懷》詩的內容作分析,在我看來卻不太可信。若以《鳳凰臺上憶吹簫》、《感懷》詩的內容分析,還算說得過去;《聲聲慢》明明是悼亡之詞,如何竟會摻進嗔怨丈夫納妾之語?以趙太的爽朗大方,又怎會在丈夫死後去喝那些陳年舊醋?《蝶戀花》原是趙太為寄給一些女性朋友而作,陳祖美卻說「東萊不似蓬萊遠」一句,隱含趙太對丈夫有「天台之遇」的不滿,說他像「劉阮上蓬萊」,忘記了老婆大人正在趕往萊州云云。這種說法未免失諸穿鑿附會,似是作者以結論先行的臆測,並非事實。

無論如何,這些點點滴滴的蛛絲馬跡,早把趙氏夫婦角逐神仙眷屬的資格徹底打破。可憐天縱奇才如趙太,來到終生幸福的節骨眼上,還是敵不過殘酷的現實。

學者估計趙明誠納妾,是因為趙太沒有孩子的緣故,我也認為這個可能性極高。不過,根據洪適和趙明誠表甥翟耆年的記載,趙明誠身後仍是無嗣,就表明問題並非出在趙太身上。在她身處的年代,沒有孩子的確是一種無法彌補的遺憾;但以現代人的眼光來看,在那顛沛流離的日子裡,尚且自顧不暇,帶著孩子四處飄泊,也不見得能好到哪兒去。當然,趙太十八歲就下嫁趙明誠,假設婚後數年生子,她四十六歲喪夫之時,孩子也應該二十多歲了,可以照顧母親了,趙太也不至於孤苦無依、寄人籬下。但是,我始終不能想像當了母親的趙太會是怎生模樣。如今在字裡行間親炙的趙太,永遠年輕自我、細膩敏感,就像長不大的閨女一般,和母親的感覺相差太遠。也許,如果她真的有了孩子,就不會再有閒情逸致寫下那麼多情意真摯、委婉動人的佳作,更不會成就她「一代詞宗」的地位。

現在我終於明白,為甚麼小說戲劇裡事業成功的女子,總要付上寂寞的代價。原來這並不是誰看不起誰的問題,而是在男尊女卑的遊戲規則之下,我們女子無法抗拒的宿命。

Friday, 26 December 2008

文海隨筆--良宵淡月,疏影尚風流

小閣藏春
閑窗鎖晝
畫堂無限深幽
篆香燒盡
日影下簾鉤
手種江梅更好
又何必、臨水登樓
無人到、寂寥恰似
何遜在揚州
從來,知韻勝
難堪雨藉
不耐風揉
更誰家橫笛
吹動濃愁
莫恨香消雪減
須信道、跡掃情留
難言處
良宵淡月
疏影尚風流

--易安居士《滿庭芳》

除了喜歡喝酒,趙太似乎也特別喜歡梅花。

在她傳世的詞中,提到與梅花有關意象的詞,再加上開宗明義的詠梅詞,就有十八闋之多,約佔總數的三分之一。

也許這麼說是有點不要臉,但是趙太那麼喜歡梅花,讓我感覺上跟她更親近些--

因為,我也很喜歡梅花。

小時候讀過不少有關梅花的故事,可惜在香港這溫暖潮濕的小島,從來沒見過梅花是甚麼模樣,更遑論明白「香雪海」是怎樣一番風流光景。記得十五年前,在寒風凜冽的冬天初訪揚州,逕往史可法紀念館參觀。甫入門中,濃香襲來,清遠怡人,難描難畫。我像狗兒一般循著香氣一路尋去,終於在庭院中看到兩株盛開的臘梅。那份驚喜若狂和難言的激動,至今歷歷如昨。

從此,我就鐵了心,要做梅花的粉絲。

那趟乏善足陳的日本關西之旅中,若不是碰巧遇上梅花綻放的季節,可以肆意在紅白相間、錯落有致的梅花樹下徘徊良久,仔細玩味趙太的詠梅詞,恐怕我真的會提早結束假期,憤而離場以示抗議。不過,無論在和煦陽光或寒風冷雨之下,日本的梅花都沒有絲毫香氣,枉有嬌嬈嫵媚的皮相,卻少了引人入勝的風韻,一如日本貪圖聲色之娛的文化基因,頗令人失望。

為甚麼趙太會喜歡梅花呢?我永遠不會知道答案,但我想,梅花的孤芳自賞、堅強忍耐,總會讓趙太心生共鳴,繼而嚮往罷?梅花優美清麗的形態、清新幽遠的香氣、冒寒盛放的傲骨,相信也沒幾個人會不喜歡,問題只是程度深淺而已。反過來說,趙太那麼喜歡梅花,在那麼多作品中提到,也不禁令人遙慕趙太賞玩梅花、吟詠梅花的優雅脫俗。

趙太的詠梅詞,知名度也許比不上課文選讀的《醉花陰》或《聲聲慢》,但勝在深得花神之美,仔細賞玩之下,只覺齒頰芬芳,心曠神怡。其中我最喜歡《滿庭芳》,通篇流麗溫婉,蘊藉敦厚,雖云詞詠殘梅,曲盡寂寞之情而未流於淒怨酸苦,非公孫大娘舞劍器手不能為之。《聲聲慢》起拍連下七組疊字,雖云先聲奪人,細讀之後就顯得有點賣弄小聰明似的張揚跋扈。《滿庭芳》最後三句「難言處,良宵淡月,疏影尚風流」,暗用林逋詩意,卻別有一番悠然自得的氣魄,誠屬上品。

也許,我所以那麼喜歡趙太和她的作品,就是因為她在愁苦困頓之中,仍不失積極樂觀、坦率自然的性格,並未流於自傷自憐、怨天尤人。很多像趙太那樣身遭離亂的人,都會選擇以極盡怨恨酸苦的文字來抒發心中的鬱結,但是趙太沒有。趙太的性格和涵養,讓她把錐心之痛昇華成七分坦誠、三分含蓄的文字,讀之真切動人,又不會失諸味同嚼蠟的直抒胸臆。例如另一首聲稱是「梅詞」的《孤雁兒》,算是趙太比較簡單直接的作品,文字淺俗易懂,但字裡行間充溢著的淒涼和思念,卻是迴腸蕩氣,撩人心魄。

說起梅花,在我看來,當然還不止於冰清玉潔、凌霜傲雪的奇葩。梅花的形態、香氣,甚至只是名字,總叫我想起那早已跨鳳乘龍、隱沒在濃雲輕煙裡的瘦削身影。趙太的詠梅詞,如今讀來,又像是隔世的嘆喟,代我訴說著心底裡那些無以名狀的悲哀。

花與人,趙太和我自己的心事,就這樣糾纏在一起,再也分拆不開了。

Reflections on Christmas

Yesterday the outgoing Cardinal of Hong Kong Joseph Zen, 77, urged people to reflect on the values of poverty and frugality, what Christmas truly represents, because over-consumption has caused the current financial crisis that has still seen no end to its existence and sphere of influence.

"Is it not over-consumption, greed for easy money, irresponsible financial management, refusal by government officials to answer to the people or to fulfil their responsibilities in financial market control which caused the crisis?" asked Cardinal Zen, as quoted as saying by the South China Morning Post in his last pastoral letter to all Catholics in Hong Kong before retirement.

Coincidentally, Anglican Archbishop Paul Kwong of Sheng Kung Hui also urged people of Hong Kong to return to the virtue of love because "mythologising rampant capitalism" is "a recipe for social unrest".

I can't agree more with Cardinal Zen and Archbishop Kwong on their timely and well-intended reminder of what Christmas truly means. More importantly, their remarks are extremely relevant and valuable to those who never had a chance to learn about God. For many years, I have become too sick of the brainwash of consumeristic and materialistic festive "celebrations", if anything has been done to celebrate anything at all other than shopping. This epidemic behaviour now seems to me a surreal existence that eradicates the original meanings, connotations and significance of all festivals, regardless of their cultures of origin. Those meanings, connotations and significance are replaced by an artificial urge for tangible commodities as some sort of compensation.

For many years, shopping has been positioned and promoted as a widely practised form of celebrations, which in turn creates strong social and peer pressures on those who don't follow suit. This "under siege" mentality, founded on consumerism that is tirelessly advocated by business enterprises, in particularly those powerful transnational corporations based in Europe and the United States, has become truly addictive and irresistible. Countless people have now been brainwashed and believed wholeheartedly that such special occasions as Christmas and St Valentine's Day are not much more than legitimate excuses for excessive and wasteful shopping.

As I wrote last September when the financial crisis became more visible, I believe it is time for us to rethink capitalism as the preferred economic system for the long-term and sustainable development of mankind. In other words, capitalism that encourages deregulation and excessive consumption to promote economic growth has now come to a crossroad where serious thoughts and reflections are required to identify the direction for its survival, as well as that of mankind. From the environmental perspective, I cast serious doubt on how much longer we can afford to wait until capitalism rectifies itself. After all, the nature has already issued too many warnings in one way or another that we are terribly running out of time.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Enough is Enough

I thought I knew enough of the highly bureaucratic, and most of the time, ossified administration of Hong Kong on both personal and professional fronts. Yet I still couldn't help flung into puzzle and unbelief when I read that a 56-year-old man was killed by a heart attack when he was only 100 metres away from the emergency unit of the Caritas Hospital in Sham Shui Po yesterday.

According to the media reports, the man was taken to the hospital reception lobby where a uniformed staff refused to offer help, citing he/she didn't know how. When a doctor reporting duty at the hospital helped the man's son call the emergency line, an ambulance was dispatched from Mong Kok three kilometres away. Another ambulance from Cheung Sha Wan finally arrived and took the man to Caritas Hospital's emergency unit after a long-winded detour of hundreds of metres. The man, eventually but not surprisingly, was certified dead.

Even if the media reports were accurate to the best possible extent, a number of key questions remain unanswered:

1. Who was that uniformed staff? Was he/she a medical staff? If yes, how could he/she refuse to help, which can be as simple as fetching the appropriate personnel rather than giving emergency treatment himself/herself?

2. Did the doctor reporting duty at the hospital call his colleagues for help as well? If no, why not?

3. Upon receiving the report, why did the Fire Services Department dispatch an ambulance from Mong Kok rather than Cheung Sha Wan in the first place? If there was no ambulance available from Cheung Sha Wan, why could there be one to arrive at the scene when the Mong Kok ambulance was stuck in the traffic?

Once again, the Caritas Hospital responded today that the parties involved have all followed the hospital's guidelines and procedures in handling this case. This means no one is liable for any fault or misconduct at least in legal and operational terms. Like many other cases, any human life or property lost is nothing more than an unfortunate coincidence.

Pardon me if I sound a bit too assertive when this matter is still under investigation, I can't help venting my anger and frustration upon reading this piece of news.

I can't remember how many times I have heard unfortunate and yet irritating stories of this kind. At this time when judgement built on a strong common sense is indispensable, it seems there are still more than enough technocrats in the administration who know nothing but ploughing through the nitty-gritty trivia and the countless guidelines and regulations to hold them in their positions until their retirement. Apparently there is a strong belief that as long as the guidelines and regulations are adhered to, one can be assured that he/she is legally and operationally clean. Unfortunately this exclusivity to rigid bureaucracy is a regrettable neglect of what civil servants and public service personnel are supposed to do in the first place - serving the needs of people. If the human race can be governed by bureaucracy instead of sensible discretion and judgement, why do we need the complacent civil servants and public service officers to make decisions on our behalf?

Anyone who suggests that the Hong Kong bureaucracy may eventually change some time when the younger generations are promoted to more senior positions may be over-optimistic. The mammoth administration of Hong Kong has already evolved into a blood-sucking vampire who can turn every victim into one of its kind, losing sight of the reality and feeling complacent and hostile towards those who stay outside its crumbling castle of elitism.

Monday, 15 December 2008

A Belated Christmas Gift Delivered Early

Today shall be remembered for the re-establishment of the three direct links - flight, freight and postal services - across the Taiwan Straits.

For many Chinese people, both at home and abroad, this is a belated Christmas gift that is delivered 10 days in advance.

As discussed in this blog in July when the agreement was signed, the re-establishment of the three direct links are by all means welcomed, even it may cause repercussions on the Hong Kong's position as an entrepot. Like President Ma Ying-jeou of Taiwan aptly said, this re-connection indicates the disposal of hostility and replaces with co-operation for mutual benefits.

Certainly, this reconciliation has been longed for more than half a century. This is a remarkable achievement that was unthinkable even 10 years ago. This is a great leap forward that should be celebrated not only by Chinese people but also their neighbours around the world.

For many years countless people in China have been suffering from torture of longing for reunion with their families torn apart by war and upheavals. As a student I had read enough of those heartbreaking stories of husbands and wives, mothers and sons, brothers and sisters forced to part for whatever changes the political crises and unrest had brought about. People at those times were so helpless and desperate and yet many of them managed to cope with the life-threatening hardships that fell upon them. Sometimes I just wonder if it is truly justified to say that the younger generations are more "capable" than the previous ones. As I can see in recent years, we are by no means stronger than our forefathers simply due to a lack of training of challenges. The ability to use computers or electronic gadgets doesn't really mean we are smarter or stronger, especially when hard times hit us in the face.

One of the greatest poets in Chinese history Du Fu (712-770 AD) once wrote, "The smoke of violence has spread for three consecutive months, thus making a letter from the family worth 10,000 pieces of gold." A clever journalist of Now TV News recited these two sentences in the lead paragraph of his report of the three re-connections last night, which drove me to tears within split of a second.

By all means, it is my humble hope that what Du Fu wrote would become history forever. The re-connections today indicate a memorable milestone in the right direction. I look forward to the leaders of both sides of the Taiwan Straits for more co-operation and understanding in the interest of people across the rough seas.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

不成風月轉摧殘

說起《碧血劍》裡的「夏溫之戀」,總是意猶未盡,忍不住再嘮叨一下。

雖然「夏溫之戀」蕩氣迴腸,令人動容,但細想金蛇郎君為了寶藏而放棄與溫儀私奔的機會,終於一失足成千古恨,其實是他咎由自取,怨不得人。金蛇郎君在遺書裡慨嘆:「此時縱集天下珍寶,亦焉得以易半日聚首?重財寶而輕別離,愚之極矣,悔甚恨甚。」確是警世良言。其實,二千多年前老子就告誡我們「知足者富也」(第三十三章)、「故知足之足,恆足也」(第四十六章)。《紅樓夢》也有名言:「身後有餘忘縮手,眼前無路想回頭。」人就是這樣,不到絕路,就不會醒悟;待到醒悟的時候,又已經太遲。從《鶯鶯傳》到《碧血劍》,「悔之已晚」的故事總是說之不盡、聽之不厭,如果不是我們記心太差,就是冥頑不靈。

金蛇郎君夏雪宜是一個充滿矛盾和缺陷的人,從他的名字到一言一行,莫不教人難以捉摸、猜想不透。例如他利用何紅藥的感情騙去五毒教的寶物,卻又對溫儀忠貞不二,寧死不屈,已經有很多人分析過其中的原因,從性格差異、心理狀態到文化衝突均有涉獵,眾說紛紜。其中網友Wiccan《從文化衝突看夏雪宜對溫儀和何紅藥的選擇》的鴻文,更是精采絕倫。不過我還是覺得,兩人相遇的時機,才是其中的關鍵。

我不否認金蛇郎君和溫儀在性格、心理狀態方面的契合,Wiccan所謂的「文化衝突」,也是金蛇郎君內心深處對亡姊的思念和依戀,轉化為對理想愛侶的一種期望或指標。不過,我認為這些因素都比不上時機那麼重要。

金蛇郎君所以成為變態殺手,皆因幼年時全家無辜被殺,令他一夜之間變成孤兒。他原是家中幼子,深得父母兄姊疼惜,是個萬千寵愛在一身的孩子。他對父母兄姊的依戀,正是他對付溫家時機關算盡、手段毒辣的原因。反過來說,他報仇之心愈堅決、手段愈狠辣,就表示他對家人的孺慕之情愈深刻,家破人亡的傷痛和怨憤愈難排遣。儘管在復仇的過程中,他不相信任何人,不讓人任何討他便宜的機會,但內心深處,他仍是渴望像童年時一樣,享受家人的愛護和溫暖。

金蛇郎君遇上何紅藥的時候,正在籌備他的復仇計劃,雖然已學成一身武功,還欠缺一些報仇的手段和利器,所以他偷學五毒教的下毒本領,又打算到峨嵋山盜劍。他自己說得清楚明白,毒龍洞中的事,在他而言不過逢場作戲,何紅藥的一片癡心,原不過是一廂情願。

但是,金蛇郎君遇上溫儀的時候,他的復仇計劃已經進行了一大半,預算要殺五十人,遇害者已有三十八人,還未計算被賣到揚州娼寮的兩名女眷。這時候的他,報仇之心可能已經轉淡,經年累月籌備的復仇計劃逐步實現,意味著他的人生目標逐漸消失,心靈愈覺空虛,溫婉善良、外柔內剛的溫儀正好符合他的心理需要。因為一個人精神長期處於緊張或戒備狀態,始終很疲累,很想有一個可以信任的對象讓他傾訴、讓他依靠。更何況,溫儀被他抓到山洞的時候,曾經以頭撞石,寧死不從,可能令他想起當年慘遭毒手的姊姊,也是這樣反抗過。當溫儀和亡姊的形象重疊,對於渴望得到愛護的金蛇郎君來說,溫儀就成為無法抗拒的理想愛侶。後來溫儀在他受人圍攻時流露關懷擔憂的神情,在他身受重傷時用心照料他,令他嚐到久違了的溫暖和關懷,令他感到安心、親切。金蛇郎君不顧一切地愛上溫儀,可能正是這個原因。後來夏雪宜向溫儀承諾,已經殺了四十人,看在她的眼淚份上,就此罷手不殺。表面上,他這樣做是為了向溫儀表明心跡;然而如果上述的心理分析成立的話,他其實是找到了另一個人生目標,決意從仇恨的深淵跳出來,和溫儀開始新生活。

如果金蛇郎君在復仇之初遇上溫儀,即使兩人性格契合,金蛇郎君也很可能無法說服自己放棄報仇。他不可能對父母兄姊食言,來換取自己的幸福。正如何紅藥,不惜身敗名裂來幫助他盜取金蛇劍,金蛇郎君又何嘗流露半點感激之情?他甚至反客為主,利用何紅藥的癡心,還在毒龍洞中佔盡便宜。可見在復仇之初,金蛇郎君早被復仇意志埋沒了良知,即使與溫儀相遇,也不見得就會愛上她。因此,我認為時機是兩人相愛的關鍵。

其實,金蛇郎君性格上有一個很嚴重的缺陷,就是貪婪。他明知何紅藥鍾情於己,就利用她的感情去盜劍,一見到毒龍洞內的寶物,更毫不猶豫的一併取去。即使他和溫儀真心相愛,又莫名其妙地先把她送回家裡,逕去盜寶,再圖相聚,終於鑄成無法挽回的悲劇。他臨死時才明白「重財寶而輕別離」的愚昧,可是已經太遲了。

也許因為金蛇郎君在性格上有太多缺陷,我對他沒有太大感覺,只覺得他的故事奇詭曲折,引人入勝。相比之下,我更同情溫儀和何紅藥的遭遇;而兩者之間,又覺得溫儀更惹人憐惜。

不少讀者都同情何紅藥錯愛負心人,指責金蛇郎君始亂終棄,我又何嘗不是?癡心錯付,原是很多女子的宿命,但何紅藥的偏激和怨毒,和她偏向「我愛你,你就得愛我」的一廂情願,又令人毛骨悚然,同情之心稍減,驚懼之情驟起。金蛇郎君欺騙她的感情,沒錯是罪證確鑿,但何紅藥二十年來自傷自憐,自己何嘗沒有責任?她彷彿是《神鵰俠侶》李莫愁的前身,多年來一味沉醉在憂傷和怨恨之中,卻沒想過這些憂傷和怨恨,真箇是負心人給她的,還是自找的?

溫儀外表柔弱,不懂武功,但內心堅強忍耐,絕非尋常鴛鴦蝴蝶派的女主角可比。她願意接受金蛇郎君的愛意,為他忍受父母家人的無理歧視,已是勇氣可嘉。後來帶著情郎的孩子在溫家這等虎狼之地忍辱偷生十八年,艱苦委屈可想而知。沒錯,她可能衣食無憂,但溫家上下對她母女倆白眼橫加、肆意侮辱,這等精神虐待是錦衣美食無法補償的。俗語有云:「寧吃開眉粥,莫食愁眉飯」,正是這個道理。女兒青青刁蠻任性、敏感脆弱,可能是遺傳自父親,也可能是被人長期歧視而造成的扭曲心理。不過青青始終心地善良,分辨是非,溫儀教女有方,可見一斑。想到她一介弱質女流,在強敵環伺的溫家撫養女兒成人,女兒雖然曾入歧途,尚未至於泯滅良知的地步,更是難能可貴,可敬可佩。

每次重溫《碧血劍》,總是忍不住掩卷長嘆。三個苦命人,兩段刻骨銘心的愛情,造就了《碧血劍》最蕩氣迴腸、最教人難忘的片段;即使在金庸小說之中,也堪稱罕有其匹。三人因為一個「情」字糾纏不休,淒苦半生,最後屍骨化灰,合葬於華山之巔的懸崖上,碧落黃泉之後,又不知勾起多少剪不斷理還亂的公案。想到這裡,不禁記起納蘭性德這一句:「不成風月轉摧殘」。情之累人,摧殘的又豈只是風月?

Thursday, 11 December 2008

五十年前的浪漫

人老了,小時候的情意結就愈纏愈緊,難以排解。就像金庸小說《碧血劍》。愈是忙得喘不過氣的時候,就愈記掛字裡行間的江湖、蛛網塵封的浪漫。

趁著難得的假期,終於看到了1958年李晨風編導的《碧血劍》上集。

由於時間緊逼,只能看到上集。不過能看到金蛇郎君和溫儀的故事,已經很不錯了。其實,兩冊《碧血劍》原著,讓人魂牽夢縈的,除了他倆,還能有誰?

早知道原著中的萬人迷由吳楚帆飾演,但他在溫家牆頭出現的時候,我還是忍不住笑。他把溫儀擄去山洞之中,咧嘴向她獰笑的時候,更幾乎忍不住哈哈大笑。我無意對老前輩不敬,但吳楚帆正義凜然的形象實在太突出,無論造型和氣質,都跟金蛇郎君沾不上邊。即使吳楚帆也演過令人恨得牙癢癢的壞蛋(如與芳艷芳合演的《琵琶怨》),但金蛇郎君的邪魅疏狂、陰險狠辣,又豈能與兇橫霸道、劫財劫色的土豪惡霸相提並論?

話雖如此,吳楚帆演繹金蛇郎君的偏激和狂躁,倒是相當出色。只匆匆一瞥他的神態,就明白精神長期困擾的人是甚麼模樣,難怪原著裡堅忍勇敢的溫儀,也要被他嚇得大哭起來。

至於金蛇郎君口中「又美貌、又溫柔、又天真」的溫儀,則由羅艷卿飾演。坦白說,比吳楚帆還要叫人失望。羅艷卿演的中年溫儀尚可,少女溫儀就真的不敢恭維。儘管她很努力地表現少女溫儀天真率性的一面,但是,除了抱歉,還是抱歉。

李晨風導演的作品,我看得不多,但《寒夜》、《日出》、《春殘夢斷》、《豪門夜宴》、《人海孤鴻》、《李後主》等,均是佳作。印象中,李晨風導演的作品,具有深厚的人文氣息,他的風格也處處顯露一股文質彬彬、淳厚仁和的鴻儒之風。我本來就奇怪,為甚麼他會改編武俠小說,而且挑中了金庸小說中比較冷門的作品《碧血劍》,而不是《射鵰英雄傳》;看了《碧血劍》上集,還是想不出個所以然來。不過,根據李晨風兒子李兆熊憶述,李晨風當年拍《碧血劍》,是為了幫助他叔父李化創辦、以製作武俠片為主的「峨嵋影片公司」,並沒有甚麼特別的原因(詳見《李晨風:評論.導演筆記》,香港:香港電影資料館,2004,頁155)。

《碧血劍》上集以袁崇煥被崇禎處死開始,不夠五分鐘就轉到童年袁承志(陳碩修飾,即是今天的石修)為安大娘(陳惠瑜飾)所救,啞巴(袁小田飾)帶他上華山拜穆人清(楊業宏飾)為師。人物之間的對話,一直強調袁承志要為父報仇;編導借用明末腐敗政治諷刺時弊的痕跡,可以說完全找不到。中段以後,居然花了大半篇幅來描寫金蛇郎君和溫儀的故事,更是出乎意料。雖說李導演拍文藝片成就蜚然,當年武俠片畢竟尚在起步階段,而且不是他擅長的片種;以這個形式刻劃感情和人生,未免托大。其實,李導演花了那麼多筆墨描寫「夏溫之戀」,充其量只是照本宣科,雖然偶有佳句,但整體而言,甚是枯淡無味,算不上是名家手筆。

片中金蛇郎君和溫儀的故事,對原著改動不少,大概可以從李導演對「夏溫之戀」的態度,窺見他創作的風格和原則。其中重要的改動計有:

一、溫儀脫去衣服,用被子裹住身體,向金蛇郎君說寧願讓他侵犯自己,來交換他答允不要再傷害溫家其他女子。金蛇郎君吃了一驚,自認拗不過她,著她穿回衣服,答應送她回家。

二、金蛇郎君被溫明山(石堅飾,電影中依照舊版原著的名字,一九七零年代新版才改為「溫方山」)、一名道士、一名和尚圍攻,他殺掉一僧一道後,被溫明山暗算受傷,但溫儀沒有留下來照顧他,而是跟隨父親回家。

三、後來金蛇郎君夜探溫儀閨房,告訴她要尋找建文皇帝的寶藏,尋到了就回來接她。溫氏五老佯裝接受兩人的戀情,在他們拜堂成婚後,讓金蛇郎君喝下放了迷藥的合巹酒,令他失手被擒。

其餘還有金蛇郎君的姐姐給改成妹妹、哥哥改成弟弟,溫儀母女倆居然跑到袁承志(曹達華飾)的客棧去聊上老半天等零碎改動。

坦白說,第一個改動,真叫我目瞪口呆。當然不是因為有甚麼玉帛相見的場面(其實石牆上映出溫儀脫掉衣裳的影子,出自溫文爾雅的李導演手筆,已經夠震撼的了);而是因為溫儀的形象倏地拔高,直如聖女貞德一般,何止叫人肅然起敬,簡直要頂禮膜拜。溫儀不但撞石尋死,在明白了金蛇郎君向溫家復仇的原委後,居然願意犧牲自己來保全溫家其他女子,難怪身經百戰的夏雪宜也給嚇得手足無措。也許,夏雪宜所以愛上溫儀,就是從這份突如其來的悸動開始的。

第二個改動,把原著裡二人單獨相處、情愫漸生的場面一筆勾銷。生死不渝的夏溫之戀,沒有經過脂粉首飾、小貓小狗的試探,也沒有給她看肚兜、給她削製木頭玩具的親暱和肯定,只有義無反顧的勇氣、接受感情支配的率真和坦然--愛上就愛上了,絕不含糊,也不用多費唇舌解釋。以前讀原著時對兩人為何相戀的懷疑和猜測,一下子變得無聊兼多餘。也許因為這樣,看他倆久別重逢,在溫儀的閨房熱情地擁抱,居然有點心跳眼熱,早忘記了他倆原是嚴重超齡、過分魁梧的吳楚帆和羅艷卿。那一刻,真箇是「當我眼前只有你」,管他天崩地裂、冬雷夏雪,甚麼也無法阻擋兩對渴望的眼睛、兩顆熾熱躍動的心。

至於第三個改動,可能是李導演為了解決溫儀未婚生女這個「不道德」的難題而設計的。就像他改編自《牡丹亭》的《艷屍還魂記》,湯顯祖原著中一切顛覆禮教、活色生香的性感場面,全部經過高溫消毒,保證老少咸宜。到底是當時的尋常百姓保守如此,連一丁點兒踰規越矩的情節也接受不了,還是李導演被「文以載道」、「教化社會」的傳統知識分子使命感所驅使?不過我想,如此編排,看來還是出於李導演的個人取向罷?君不見《紫釵記》、《牡丹亭驚夢》等不乏性暗示的作品,在當年也大受歡迎麼?當然,唐滌生先生寫來含蓄蘊藉,樂而不淫,若非挑通眼眉,又如何看得出蛛絲馬跡?

站在喜歡「夏溫之戀」讀者的立場,金蛇郎君和溫儀有幸拜堂成親,正是求之不得,樂觀其成,總算稍為彌補了原著裡的遺憾。不過,即使溫儀成為金蛇郎君名媒正娶的妻子,理論上青青不再是私生女,青青的敏感和偏激,仍然順理成章。為甚麼呢?很簡單,由於溫家壓根兒不承認那個姦淫擄掠、無惡不作的「奸賊」是女婿,唯有把一腔怨毒、憤怒、厭惡,發洩在這個女孩兒身上,對她和她父親肆意詆譭,讓她覺得委屈、難堪,甚至怨恨為甚麼父親沒有保護她母女倆,而要她們忍受溫家的精神虐待。青青的脆弱和任性,看來已是命中註定,除非夏雪宜能與溫儀雙宿雙棲,否則恐怕無法改變的了。

可惜的是,李導演未能充分把握「夏溫之戀」的精髓,拍來平實有餘,感人不足,平白浪費了一段好故事。「夏溫之戀」也明顯與前半部的故事銜接不上,袁承志和青青彷彿淪為了鋪墊主角(金蛇郎君和溫儀)出場的紅地氈。故事說來就如一篇流水帳,即使情節曲折、人物鮮明,還是挑不起觀眾的情緒,吸引力遠遜原著。

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

한국어 공부하는 원인

저는 한국어를 공부한지 한 삼 년 됐습니다. 하지만 이야기 와 듣기를 잘 못합니다. 듣기를 연습하니까 한국 드라마를 많이 보고싶은데 시간이 없어서 못 것을 합니다.

저는 회사에 다닙니다. 매일은 일이 많마서 늦게까지 하고 집에 돌아갑니다. 그래서 공부 시간이 모자랍니다. 이따금 주말에도 일을 해야 하니까 쉬지 못합니다. 실은 두 달 동안 그래서 너무 피곤합니다.

공부 시간이 없어서 한국어 이야기와 듣기를 아직 잘 못하지만 한국어가 재미있습니다. 한국 역사와 문화를 공부하기 때문에 한국말을 열심이 배웁니다.

2005 년 가을에는 한국에 처음 갔다 왔습니다. 서울과있는 조선 왕궁들과 박물관들을 가고 봤습니다. 그리고 경주, 안동, 수원에도 갔다왔습니다. 그래서 저에게 한국역사를 정말 재미있어서 한국어를 공부해봤습니다.

한국역사를 공부하고 싶어서 한국어로 쓴 역사와 문화책을 읽을 줄 알으면 아주 좋겠습니다. 그러면 저는 중국어, 영어와 한국어 책을 읽을 줄 알니까 전면적 역사를 공부가 됩니다.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

文海隨筆--莫許杯深琥珀濃

莫許杯深琥珀濃
未成沉醉意先融
疏鐘已應晚來風
瑞腦香消魂夢斷
辟寒金小髻鬟鬆
醒時空對燭花紅

--易安居士《浣溪沙》

我有個毛病,無論心情好壞,總喜歡喝點酒。喝得兇的時候,我甚至懷疑自己是不是有酗酒的傾向。四年前大病一場之後,總是警惕自己不要喝太多,卻說甚麼也狠不下心腸戒酒。

喝酒本來就對身體不好,身為女生而喜歡喝酒,甚至可能招來一些微詞。偏偏我就是喜歡喝酒,而且喜歡獨酌。一邊吃喝,一邊讀詩詞小說等閒書,真是人生一大快事。

我也弄不清楚為甚麼自己那麼喜歡喝酒,大概因為天生嘴饞,邊吃邊喝,饒有興味。如果要耍無賴的話,恐怕趙太難辭其咎--因為她把喝酒塑造成一種很「帥」、很「酷」的自我表達方式。身為粉絲,有意無意之間,也難免要仿傚一下。

自古以來,「酒」是日常生活不可缺少的東西。在古代,喝酒從來是一件男女不拘的風流韻事,趙太自然也不甘後人。不過,像趙太那麼坦率地承認喜歡喝酒,在女子之中可謂少見。難怪內地學者楊雨在《莫道不銷魂--楊雨解秘李清照》一書中說趙太是「酒鬼」,就招來一片罵聲。看來大家都覺得在趙太筆下,喝酒是一件風流雋逸的雅趣,用「酒鬼」來形容趙太,未免失諸粗俗,唐突佳人。

其實,趙太愛酒貪杯也不是甚麼秘密啦,這恐怕是除了「賭」以外,她絕不介意公之於世的喜好。根據徐培均先生的《李清照集箋注》,在她傳世的五十三闋詞作中,提到喝酒的約佔一半,共有二十五闋。恐怕多少自命風流的才子墨客也望塵莫及。

楊雨又認為,趙太雖然喜歡喝酒,但酒量不怎麼樣,又喜歡喝「扶頭酒」之類的烈酒,弄得「一喝必醉」,大失淑女儀範云云。此說未免迂腐。所謂創作,跟歷史紀錄不同,總有一點脫離現實的成分。字裡行間的感情是真實的,道具、場景等具體細節卻未必。即使趙太常常說自己喝醉,誰也知道「醉」可以有幾個層次。「醉」固然可以是因為喝酒太多,為甚麼不可以是因為眼前景物或面對心儀之人而弄得心魂俱醉?例如《如夢令》:「常記溪亭日暮,沉醉不知歸路」兩句,楊雨認為是指趙太少年時外遊,就已喝得酩酊大醉,未免武斷。溪亭是濟南名泉、名勝之一,亭上雖可宴飲,但風景自然秀麗,說趙太因為沉醉於美景之中而忘其歸路,有何不可?

趙太的「酒」,當然不是給飲驢糟蹋的東西,而是寄托情懷、表達姿態的載體。像李白一樣,她高興的時候喝酒,難過的時候也喝酒。不過,她並沒有像李白把喝酒當作激發靈感、宣洩情緒的工具。無論是勸酒、喝酒、醉酒或是酒醒,都緊扣著她當時的心理轉折和身段姿態,讓人清楚明白她在想甚麼、在做甚麼;若是缺少了酒,趙太的形象恐怕也不會那麼鮮明圓滿。只要有了酒,彷彿她的心靈和動作也會活躍起來,更能放開懷抱,率性而為;那些自信開朗、柔腸百結、悲苦沉痛、苦中作樂的情態就躍然紙上。讀到蕩氣迴腸處,真恨不得借用叮噹的時光機回到宋代,和她浮一大白。

在趙太提到喝酒的詞中,我最喜歡《漁家傲》:「雪裡已知春信至,寒梅點綴瓊枝膩。香臉半開嬌旖旎,當庭際,玉人浴出新妝洗。 造化可能偏有意,故教明月玲瓏地。共賞金樽沉綠蟻,莫辭醉,此花不與群花比。」

這闋《漁家傲》是趙太早年的作品,表面上似是賞梅之詞,細讀之下,卻頗有自負之意。趙太以蠟梅自喻,邀得佳客共酌賞梅,更叮囑對方要仔細鑑賞,做個「識花人」,莫以等閒視之。趙太自信率真的性子,可見一斑。

其次,我喜歡《蝶戀花》:「永夜懨懨歡意少,空夢長安,認取長安道。為報今年春色好,花光月影宜相照。 隨意杯盤雖草草,酒美梅酸,恰稱人懷抱。醉裡插花花莫笑,可憐人似春將老。」

這闋詞題為「上巳召親族」,據徐培均先生考證,乃趙太於建炎二年(公元1128年)三月上巳所作,當時她從青州倉皇南渡建康不久,雖與丈夫、弟弟等相聚,懷鄉之思定必難以排遣。即使草草預備的美酒佳餚「恰稱人懷抱」,最後「可憐人似春將老」才是趙太這闋詞的題旨所在。前文的「恰稱人懷抱」、「花光月影宜相照」等美景良辰,更顯得趙太在離鄉背井、國勢多舛的情況下,苦中作樂的無奈,強顏歡笑的蒼涼。這跟趙太壓卷之作《永遇樂》的結語:「不如向,簾兒底下,聽人笑語」,頗有異曲同工之妙。同樣以尋常用語道盡飄泊流離的悲涼,但趙太晚年所寫的《永遇樂》,意境終較《蝶戀花》更勝一籌。

趙太還有不少名作提到「酒」,順手拈來就有《醉花陰》(「東籬把酒黃昏後,有暗香盈袖」)、《聲聲慢》(「三杯兩盞淡酒,怎敵他,晚來風急」)、《念奴嬌》(「險韻詩成,扶頭酒醒,別是閒滋味」)、《如夢令》(「昨夜雨疏風驟,濃睡不消殘酒」)等,不勝枚舉。彷彿琥珀流光的酒漿,能把八百年前趙太的一顰一笑、悲歡離合,重新在腦海中映照一遍。她的詞,每一闋都有其獨特情懷,猶如醇厚甘美的佳釀,值得仔細品嘗,決不可做那糟蹋了美酒的飲牛飲驢。

Thursday, 6 November 2008

A New Page in History, An Old Dream Revived

I have never been following closely the presidential elections in the United States. I was even so dumb that at the very beginning, I thought Barack Obama was running against Hillary Rodham Clinton, although I soon found out that they were actually competing with each other for the candidacy of the Democratic Party.

In any case, Mr Obama's landslide victory against his Republican opponent John McCain has certainly turned a new leaf in history.

Many people, especially those outside the United States, have been focusing on Mr Obama's ethnic origin. Anyone who knows the history of the United States should understand how extraordinary it is to elect someone with African origin as the president of the world's surviving superpower.

However, as we can see in Mr Obama's campaign, ethnicity has never been a highlighted item on his agenda. Yet his speeches about change, about hope, about multi-ethnicity and multi-cultures have never been so compelling and emotionally inspiring. This is why so many commentators in Hong Kong have attributed Mr Obama's success to his unique and uncompromising position throughout the campaign.

As someone who has worked in the communications industry for more than 10 years, I also take my hat off for Mr Obama's articulation, confidence, eloquence and charisma - all essential attributes for a successful leader. But I would restrain from comparing him to those political opportunists in Hong Kong. Any comparison would either be a humiliation for Mr Obama or exaggerated flattery for the locals.

More importantly, in my opinion, the election of Mr Obama revives an old dream that has long lost its appeal.

For many years people in the United States have been proud of their openness and tolerance of different cultures, ethnicities and religions. But the experience of many Asian and African visitors, including myself, has been telling us the opposite. From the immigration officers to the people whom we encounter on the streets, the reality just looks too different from the much-touted propaganda.

If anything, Mr Obama's success resonates with the genuine American Dream that has been tirelessly promoted for decades. It doesn't really matter whether it is coincidence of life or deliberation of communication spin, but Mr Obama's story is undoubtedly a striking and motivating replica of the American Dream. His story embraces all the core values and essential elements of the prevalent imagination of the United States that have motivated countless people over the years across the world. But the Dream has lost its appeal over the years, especially when more people are becoming disillusioned by the discrepancy between reality and expectations.

The election of Mr Obama, to a certain extent, will revive the hope as people are looking forward to a new era of change, unity and harmony in a world power that has been known for its bloody struggle for these merits. As a non-US citizen, I do hope Mr Obama's election indicates a fundamental paradigm shift that ethnicity is no longer an issue - not just in the United States, but every corner of our world.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

桃花盡日隨流水

電視劇《九陰真經》所以被奉為經典,大概是因為選對了黃藥師為主角。在《射鵰英雄傳》裡,最具吸引力的配角非他莫屬;即使在所有金庸小說中,受歡迎程度能與他匹敵的,也只有金蛇郎君夏雪宜、楊逍等寥寥數人。

金庸描寫亦正亦邪、性格複雜、狂放不覊的男子,堪稱獨步武林。每一位人物都能獨當一面,魅力非凡,讓讀者神為之奪。小時候讀金庸小說,甚至得出一個「結論」,就是這些邪氣男子的形象,從《碧血劍》的金蛇郎君,到《射鵰英雄傳》的黃藥師、《神鵰俠侶》的楊過,以及《倚天屠龍記》的楊逍,自成脈絡,與郭靖、蕭峰一類正氣凜然的男子形成強烈對比。

基於這種根深柢固的想像,我對於姜大衛飾演的黃藥師,態度比較冷靜,不及眾位「尊粉」那麼花癡,因為始終覺得他的外型比較厚重,少了幾分黃老邪「蕭疏軒舉,湛然若神」的瀟灑雋逸。不過,他演技精純,劇本也寫得用心,能讓他充分發揮,自然容易征服觀眾。談到影視作品中的黃藥師,老實說,至今沒有一位完全符合我心目中黃藥師的形象,從外貌、服飾到神態、氣質,總是有這樣那樣的遺憾。

黃藥師和馮氏的悲歡離合,一直是不少金庸讀者肆意想像的題材。選取《射鵰》這段旁枝來發展一個完整的故事,可見《九陰真經》的編導多麼明智。我在星期日的文章提出過,無人理解的寂寞,是黃藥師與馮氏相愛的主要原因,也是《九陰真經》編導刻意經營的觀點;如今仔細想去,這可能比較接近黃藥師愛上馮氏的理由。馮氏為甚麼會愛上黃藥師,劇集裡倒是語焉不詳。

也許,女性總有一份與生俱來的母性,看到別人軟弱的一面,就會不由自主的寄予同情,尤其是男人。一個男人無論多麼強悍、多麼優秀,也需要擺脫形象、回復自我的喘息機會。如果女人明白男人埋藏在強悍面具之下的心事,更懂得在顧全他臉面的情況下,讓他知道自己理解他、關心他,男人應該會感激不已,引為知己。至少,在《九陰真經》裡,黃藥師和馮氏之間的情意,也是從馮氏聽懂黃藥師的笛聲開始的。

不過,引為知己也好、愛得如何刻骨銘心也好,男人總是得隴望蜀,總有比心愛的女子更重要的身外之物。捫心自問,即使到了現在,我們又有多少人會瞧得起愛情至上的男人?或者,不斷追尋目標,滿足一個又一個的願望,才是他們的生存法則。像蕭峰那樣失去目標,就等於來到了生命的盡頭。其實,以黃藥師的聰明才智,又何必貪圖《九陰真經》的武功?原著裡的黃藥師,也曾汲汲於浮名俗利,居然忍心讓懷孕八個月的妻子晝夜苦思,背默《九陰真經》,其實又能高尚到哪兒去?所以電視劇把原著的情節改成他為馮氏療傷而中毒,需要修習《九陰真經》來保住性命,已是給黃老邪臉上貼了金。

可惜,編劇筆下的黃藥師,仍未擺脫一般男子自我中心、不解溫柔的俗套,所以他只會自嘲:「我輩江湖中人,不知道為甚麼,一生下來就有無窮無盡的比試」,卻從來沒有勇氣,為了讓懷孕的妻子安心而拒絕歐陽鋒的挑戰。是他不甘心示弱於人,還是他心底裡也渴望與歐陽鋒爭奪「天下第一」的虛榮,抑或「人在江湖」的觀念根深柢固,從來沒有反省過?恐怕連他自己也說不清楚。

因為深藏不露的貪婪,或者無法抗拒的宿命,黃藥師終於失去了他一生最愛的女人。那一天,斜陽如血,看著馮氏晶瑩明亮的眼睛逐漸黯淡,戀戀不捨地瞧著丈夫的背影,嚥下最後一口氣,我竟忍不住掉了幾點眼淚。梁珮玲的演技、製作人員以燈光、攝影、配樂等刻意經營的幽怨淒美,固然應記一功;但我更心疼的是,馮氏就像無數民間傳奇裡溫柔可人的女主角一樣,為丈夫無怨無悔的付出所有,最後只換來令人握腕的淒涼。

佳人已逝,悔之已晚;思憶斷腸,亦復何如?難怪有人會懷疑,黃藥師為亡妻修築精緻的墓室、建造華麗的花船,每晚在妻子墓前吹奏《碧海潮生曲》,其實只是虛有其表。與其說這些是他深愛妻子的表現,不如說是他在為自己超度。他讓自己沉溺在寂寞和悔咎之中,彷彿這樣就能減輕為了奪得《九陰真經》而犧牲妻子的罪業。其實,這種自虐式的沉緬,又何濟於事?因為他的思念,只能隨著浪花湧向天涯海角;他的笛聲,只能徘徊於墓室與山澤之間;他的眼淚,只能灌溉一株株盛放的桃花。

看罷《九陰真經》,讓我想起兩句舊詩:「桃花盡日隨流水,洞在清谿何處邊?」也許,桃花島本來就不是武陵源,只是有人一廂情願而已。

Monday, 27 October 2008

Paying the Price

Readers of this blog may notice that I have not been commenting on recent affairs for a while, be it the melamine scandal or the global financial tsunami that is sweeping through different parts of Asia.

Well, not that I don't want to do so, but I simply don't have the luxury of time. Not so much the time for writing, but thinking.

If I tell you the previous blog entry took me more than six or seven hours in two days to write, you should understand what I really mean.

But I must admit that I didn't intend to comment on the melamine issue. The reason is simple. There is little to comment on the evil and heartless deed of some profiteering opportunists. All they wanted to do was to make lucrative profits, but they didn't know their money was extracted from human health, especially children. Those guys had the knowledge of increasing the protein levels in milk products by illegal cheats, but they didn't know the adulterated amounts were sufficient to cause permanent harm to human health.

Isn't it ridiculously sad? Does it mean the chemistry education in China has nothing to do with moral values of mankind? How can you give any meaningful comment when an amateur chemist smart enough to understand the correlation between melamine and protein content in food products that is detectable by the most widely used testing methodology told you that he didn't know too much melamine would kill?

Some may say those amateur chemists are facing severe punishment. I don't really care, as long as they are paying the price for what they did. However, I can no longer stay away from even more pressing issues about our future when the melamine storm spreads to other foodstuff, such as eggs.

As early as in late September when the melamine issue was flaring up and the Hong Kong Government was developing the safety standards for melamine, medical scientists such as Professor Thomas Chan Yan-keung of The Chinese University of Hong Kong have reminded us that it is time to pay the dear price for what we, and our forefathers, of course, did to the natural environment. He tirelessly told the local media that it is not feasible to have zero tolerance for melamine, because this substance is everywhere. Having minute traces of melamine in the food chain is perfectly normal.

So what does that mean? The concept of the food chain is simple. It is just a chain of "we are what we eat" relationships. We all know too well that we drink milk from milk cows, which eat grass, which is produced by the earth with photosynthesis. So, if the land is heavily polluted, harmful substances such as melamine may be found in grass. Then milk cows eat grass, and some of the unfavourable substances may be absorbed and retained in the milk cows' bodies. When the milk cows produce milk for human consumption and food production, some traces of the substances may be found in the milk. Don't forget the plastic containers that have become so indispensable to our daily lives. All plastics have some melamine too.

So, we should not be surprised when the existence of melamine, or any other unknown but harmful substances that are not expected in food, is now exposed. We are simply paying the price for what we did.

If we are serious about the non-negotiability of zero tolerance of any foreign substance in food, we should start doing something to tackle pollution with a holistic and international approach. Some radical measures seem inevitable to be effective. You may say this is like a mission impossible, especially at a time when everyone is trying to secure their money in the banks. Yes, that is very true. I know it too well seeing the interest-driven approach of public affairs in the international arena. So be it, but then it means we will have to put up with anything that may emerge at any inconvenient time, any unimaginable scale.

Unfortunately his thought-provoking comments did not attract much public attention. Too many people think Professor Chan, a member of the melamine expert group appointed by the Government, was just defending the Government's refusal to adopt zero tolerance for melamine, I believe. How sad it is. The resentment of the authority has blinded too many of us from seeing what the real issue is, just like the nihilistic controversy of the appointment of undersecretaries earlier this year that ended up with nothing. Everyone just missed the point.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

我們都寂寞

沒來由心血來潮,花了兩個月斷斷續續的看,終於把一部十五年前的舊劇集看完。這些年來,好像沒有看到另一部劇集,可以把「傷逝」演得如此淋漓盡致。

「傷逝」是文藝作品常見的主題,而且往往最能觸動人心。相親相愛的人,因為各種各樣的原因不再相見,只是想想,也覺得柔腸百結,欲語無言。

「傷逝」所以能引起共鳴,就是因為我們大都擁有一些美好而已逝的回憶,所以失落、所以悲傷;如果沒有記憶,彷彿一切也沒發生過,那可能更落得清靜,省卻很多煩惱。

因此,博聞強記的才智之士,往往不及頭腦簡單的人快樂。就是因為聰明的人記心太好、包袱太重,很難放得開胸懷。在感情方面,尤其如此。

自古以來,我們都歌頌用情專一、矢志不渝的人物,無論是真有其人或只是虛無縹緲的傳說,總會叫人心神激盪。為甚麼呢?大概是因為我們都渴望得到毫無條件的注視和關懷,總覺得有一個人能夠全心全意地為自己付出所有,那就是一種矜貴的禮遇、無比的幸福。有趣的是,父母往往也是全心全意的為子女付出,很多人卻不稀罕。至少,我們大概都同意,「緹縈救父」、「臥冰求鯉」等傳揚孝悌的故事,始終不及「梁祝」、「白蛇傳」之類的愛情故事那麼感人。

如果全心全意的關愛,不是愛情本質的重點,那麼,愛情故事引人入勝的地方到底在哪兒呢?

也許,其實,是因為寂寞。

寂寞不是孤獨。孤獨只是形體上落了單,心靈仍可以很充實;寂寞卻是心靈上的枯燥。不是說,人類是群體的動物嗎?其實,我們不只需要形體上的夥伴,更需要心靈上的夥伴,渴望自己的想法,得到人家的理解和認同。即使親如父母兄弟,不理解、不認同的情況比比皆是。朋友也許可以彌補這方面的缺失,但朋友始終不是同行同食、形影不離的親密夥伴。只有情人或配偶,才有機會一次滿足兩個願望。

想到這裡,我開始明白,十五年前的《射鵰英雄傳之九陰真經》,為甚麼能讓那麼多內地觀眾念念不忘,奉為經典。

小時候讀《射鵰英雄傳》,對黃藥師的妻子充滿了好奇。不是因為她擁有過目不忘的本領,而是很想知道,她是怎樣贏得黃藥師的癡心,甘願為她承受一輩子的寂寞。黃藥師活到差不多一百歲,對亡妻的思念始終不減,用情之深,可謂罕有其匹。《九陰真經》的劇情,就是填補了這塊空白,為黃藥師的癡情提供了一種甚具說服力的詮釋。

從表面看,《九陰真經》的主題是「傷逝」。故事從黃裳矢志報仇,不知時日飛逝開始,到黃藥師之妻因默寫《九陰真經》,心力交瘁而死作結,最後更來一段《紅樓夢曲》的尾聲:「欠命的,命已還;欠淚的,淚已盡,落了片白茫茫大地真乾淨」作首尾呼應,結構尚算嚴謹。

仔細看去,「寂寞」才是真正的重點所在。黃裳潛心練武,四十年轉眼過去,當日的妙齡女子,已變成雞皮鶴髮的老婦。黃裳的仇人早已死去,他練成了絕世神功,天下無敵,也抵不過失去人生目標的寂寞。

劇中黃藥師和馮氏,不約而同都是寂寞的人兒。也許因為這樣,他們才會愛得如此刻骨銘心。黃藥師被逐出師門,苦練十年,矢志為師妹報仇,本來就是一段寂寞無比的試煉。報仇之後,他決心放下過去,重過新生,但他始終無法驅除寂寞。這一切,馮氏從他的笛聲裡早聽出來了。按照劇情,馮氏是受人崇敬膜拜的聖女,是神仙一般的人物,身邊只有忠心的侍婢和野心勃勃的權臣悍將,寂寞可想而知。馮氏對黃藥師的理解、黃藥師對她的感激,促成了這一段金庸筆下教人難忘的癡戀。

正因為這樣,他們的悲劇結局也就順理成章。因為寂寞,所以他們相愛;只有寂寞,才能成全他倆的愛情。所以,黃藥師既然不滿足於與嬌妻相守的幸福,就要以畢生的寂寞和思念,來懲罰自己的偏執和貪欲。要是馮氏沒有早死,她和黃藥師可能會是金庸小說中最令人艷羨的神仙眷侶。不過,我也無法想像,他倆會像《神鵰俠侶》的郭靖和黃蓉一般,變成為子女操心、為家務吵架的俗世夫妻。

優秀的文藝作品,都需要用心創作,觀乎《九陰真經》編導描寫人物的細緻透徹,此言非虛。如今電視早在因循苟且裡沉淪,更顯得這部滄海遺珠的可貴。

其實,身為老觀眾的寂寞,又有誰理會呢?

Thursday, 23 October 2008

A Taste of Beijing

Seven years have passed since I last visited Beijing. After the retreat, I spent one day and a half in the heart of Beijing where I'm most familiar with.

Not surprisingly, the Chinese capital has changed dramatically over the past seven years, especially in its run-up to and the successful hosting of the Olympic Games. Perhaps my stay was too short for any meaningful experience, but the Hong Kong-style shopping malls and well-paved walking streets where vehicles are prohibited only reminds me of how much the taste of Beijing has vanished. The crowded market in front of the centuries-old Front Gate (Qianmen) called Dashila can now be found only in memory. The hutongs have been transformed into extravagant business buildings and heartless shopping malls. The ordinary neighbourhood and cooking smoke coming out of the coal-burning stoves have become a tourist attraction to be enjoyed at outrageous costs. Now that it seems the Forbidden City and the exhausting walks on the long, wide and endless straight roads are what remaining as the icon of Beijing.

Friends urged me to visit the national stadium and the water sports centre, but I didn't. For some reason I don't give a damn to these new creatures of national glory and glamour. Perhaps I am already fed up with the three-week doses of propaganda on how magnificent and powerful China has become in August. All I wanted to do during the short stay was to take a very relaxing walk around the best of Beijing, and refresh my memory of what Beijing truly is.

This was why I spent four hours in the Forbidden City on Sunday morning with Jimin, who was visiting Beijing for the first time. Hope she was not drowned in my long-winded monologues of history and legends about the Forbidden City. In fact, all the stories and mysteries, true or fictional, embraced by the huge red-brick walls are the irresistible appeal of Beijing. Even the twin trees in the royal garden that twist their arms with each other have so much to say about the legendary Princess Changping and her husband in my all-time favourite opera.

Thank God that Donglaishun, the famous hot pot restaurant in Beijing founded 105 years ago, still serves coal-burning hot pot with lamb. This is yet another major reminder of the taste of Beijing that is on the brink of extinction for the very legitimate reason - the environment. Sometimes you just want to forget everything and indulge yourself in a few moments of sensual pleasure. And cooking the fine-cut lamb meat in a coal-burning hot pot is certainly one that offers great pleasure.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Retreat on the Great Wall

Last Thursday I had a long-awaited break and joined a company retreat on the Great Wall - far away into the mountains outside Beijing on the Great Wall at Jinshanling rather than the over-crowded tourist section at Badaling. Thank God.

The retreat was meant to be a business development training workshop in an almost sealed-off location to keep us focused and undisturbed. Not even internet access was available. To me, it was an incredible and long-awaited peace of mind and soul.

There was also a healthy challenge to the body and mind with the sleep on the Great Wall in the freezing chill. Yes, it was a challenge, but everything paid off when I found myself bathing in the blue and silver moonlight of the full moon that was lighting up the centuries-old bricks and walls and the wild mountains around me. The light was incredibly bright in the clear sky and I can't really describe how beautiful and breath-taking it was. This beauty of nature in the wild was exactly what I was looking forward to prior to the retreat.

Even more intriguing was that the moon became so dim on the second night that it would have been unpleasant and intimidating to sleep on the Great Wall. How privileged I was to be able to experience the peaceful harmony of nature and history so closely!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

西風驟起
晴空如洗
草長知冷暖
花落記愁思

年年盼得團圓夜
燈月爭輝
觥籌交錯
沁園香滿攀桂枝
可嘆秋色連波
欲賞已恨遲

早知此身非我有
無奈營役了無期
捨心忘性
勞神傷身
守靜致虛最相宜
多少違心意
欲訴嘆無辭

The Big One


連日來不眠不休、提心吊膽的非人生活,總算打開了缺口。趁著公眾假期前的晚上,偷閒溜出去看了一齣簡短的獨腳戲《萬能旦后鄧碧雲》。

一如所料,戲文輕鬆詼諧,好配合鄧碧雲爽朗風趣的形象。然而在歡笑之中,卻忍不住感慨叢生。

我一直很抗拒以「致敬」為名,行八卦之實的所謂「紀念」戲劇,總覺得把前輩的私隱公之於世,本來就沒甚麼恭敬之意,更何況演出只是為了商業利益?所以來到第十度公演,才懷著忐忑的心情買票進場--因為我深知自己實在太需要進入與現實完全割斷的「真空」狀態,躲進劇院就是最方便、最簡單的方法。不過,我又擔心戲文不好,辱沒佳人--畢竟童年時在電視上看過不少粵語長片和電視劇集都有她的份兒,一如對其他前輩演員,對鄧碧雲也有一份敬意和濃厚的親切感。

《萬能旦后鄧碧雲》戲文尚可,沒甚麼戲劇衝突,只是一篇流水帳,一個半小時就演完了。李楓扮演鄧碧雲,本來臉型太瘦,與厚重大方的鄧碧雲完全不像,但她的聲線、神態都學得唯妙唯肖。全劇是獨腳戲,以第一身講述鄧碧雲的生平,加上又唱又跳,難度甚高,李楓也應付裕如,實在難得。可惜劇本寫得不怎麼樣,場與場的銜接十分粗疏,只以一男一女配角插科打諢,讓李楓退場去換戲服,總覺得很突兀。

《萬能旦后鄧碧雲》與其他傳記式戲劇沒甚麼分別,同樣是在主角的事業、愛情和家庭著墨,而其中又以愛情和家庭最受觀眾歡迎。不過,這也是最令我渾身不自在的片段,好像和一大群人在偷窺些甚麼似的。演出後,看鄧碧雲的獨生女兒強忍淚水答謝劇團和觀眾,又說父親怎樣怎樣,不禁非常詫異。也許是我中了古人的毒,總以為老一輩的都遵行「親者諱」的道理;又或者是我太保守,總覺得這些事情,無論孰是孰非,早就化為雲煙,還是少說為妙。

編劇杜國威在場刊裡說:「希望藉著這個戲,能夠將大碧姐的靈魂留住,將她的『愛』留住,也希望觀眾在欣賞之餘可以領略到絲絲的『愛』!」我不知道杜國威所指的「愛」是甚麼,但應該是說鄧碧雲對生命的熱愛罷?如今看去,生長在那個動盪年代的人,彷彿自小已練就一副金剛不壞的耐力和意志,他們未必唸過很多書,但面對貧窮、離亂,甚至死亡的時候,總有法子咬緊牙關活下去,對生命永遠充滿熱誠和希望。我們生於太平年代,往往就是因為缺乏歷練而變得軟弱、逃避,容易對自己和別人失去信心。那麼,物質進步是否真的能夠改善人的生活呢?如今人心不古,物欲橫流,生活質素每況愈下,我愈來愈懷疑「物質改善生活」是否我們想像的那麼理所當然。

戲裡提到鄧碧雲的父親言傳身教,對鄧碧雲做人處世影響很深,而她對女兒和後輩的教導與愛護,也讓他們終生銘感。看到這些故事,總是非常感慨,一個本來被人輕視的古老行業,如今卻是傳統文化和精神最堅定、最純粹的守護者。當學生與老師的關係變成消費者和服務供應商,教育到底是為了甚麼,已經無人問津。當養兒育女淪為一場沽名釣譽、攀附爭勝的投資遊戲,父母到底是血肉至親或是明日之星的經理人,又有多少人深究?

劇中也用了很多香港歷史照片和紀錄片,來表達鄧碧雲不同年紀的時代背景。我小時候吃電視的奶水長大,看過無數粵語長片和電視劇,一下子彷彿時光倒流三十年,別有親切感。忽然想起,像我這個年紀的人,不少已是為人父母,但當中很多人沾沾自喜的認為,不讓孩子看電視才是正道,以免他們接觸不良資訊云云。我深知現在的電視節目不好看,但如果說為了孩子著想不讓他們看電視,卻未免矯枉過正。現在電視上演的故事大都脫離現實,以前經常在電視上聽到的廣東俗語,也幾乎全部「升級」為不能說的粗話,電視裡的世界純真潔淨如此,還能有甚麼害處?如果連脫離現實的電視也不准看,連這麼一丁點兒對生活的認知也沒有,更遑論做人處世、自立自強。難怪滿街不是給寵壞的小魔怪,就是怯生怕事的「裙腳仔」。

更嚴重的是,電視本來是香港文化傳承的重要媒介,我輩小時候,不但可以看到粵語長片,略窺我輩出生前香港的風貌;也可以看當時製作的電視劇,看到粵語長片裡的前輩繼續在劇集裡演爺爺奶奶、爸爸媽媽,明白香港是怎麼一路走來的。但是現在的孩子呢?不看電視的固然很多,看電視的也不見得對香港的過去有甚麼認識和認同,只能在聲色犬馬、吃喝玩樂中追求墮落和庸俗。

不難想像,二十年後,今日的孩子長大成人,記得的不是《季節》,而是《溏心風暴》;鄧碧雲的「媽打」漸被遺忘,「大契」和「荷媽」才是新一代對「母親」形象的集體回憶。不過,我希望比我年少的香港人不會忘記鄧碧雲,因為她的人格魅力、她的演藝才華,讓她成為獨一無二、貨真價實的The Big One。

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Getting Nuts

No week has ever been as tough as the last.

Crisis after crisis, I feel too strongly that I have pushed myself over the limit. And so does this part of the world, my home of 35 years.

Surely this is not the first time to work long hours, but this is the first time I feel so nihilistic and clueless. There are too many things that I do not understand.

As any of us in Hong Kong knows too well, the planet does not stop rotating just because something has happened. There are plenty of things going on as they should be, awaiting to be addressed, managed and resolved. Nothing stops and waits for anyone, and all we can do is to catch up as fast as we can. That's why I have never felt so stressful and overdraft, both physically and mentally. I'm really worried that something much worse than Hepatitis A will hit me hard like it did four years ago (just forget about the medical bills for the time being). I feel my bones and brain melting fast in unbearable heat and roaring flames that I can see no sign of extinction.

The absence of a finishing line can be extremely depressing. It feels like running for a marathon that never ends. You can't drop out, and every single leap requires extraordinary effort and determination.

I must be getting nuts. I'm desperate to see the finishing line but it is still not there. I want to be healthy with good sleep and workout but time is not at my disposal. I want to do a great job and then go and have some fun but I can't withdraw my thoughts from work.

Perhaps I'm just an idiot bothering too much about the impossible.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Abundance Does Not Last

I am not an economist, nor do I know a lot about how the economy works. But the downfall of the 158-year-old investment bank Lehman Brothers and the wild-running rumours about other leading financial institutions does stir up some thought inside me.

The first thing that pops up my mind is the old Chinese saying from the Book of Change, "Abundance does not last." It seems consumption and investment on credit has exceeded the boundaries of reason to a point where a complete meltdown is not only irresistible but also expected. Of course someone may say this is simply an indication of human greed, but I still feel sorry for and disappointed at our failure of learning the lessons of our forefathers on many occasions.

Many of us seem to have forgotten what "credit" actually means. "Credit" used to be a positive word that compliments those who have achieved something good. It also denotes a high level of trust, backed up by substantial financial strength. People with credit are those whom we believe will be able to pay later and therefore deserve some flexibility in payment terms. By this definition, credit used to go to a small number of people with sound finances, rather than every man and woman on the street who may or may not have a reliable and continuous source of income. If you think it is ridiculous to issue credit cards to children at the age of seven or eight, you should also understand why it is both irresponsible and senseless to issue credit cards to university students and any bank customer with little proof of economic stability.

The sub-prime crisis in the United States that has evolved into a global financial crisis is an excellent example of lax credit control and excessive credit approvals. From the borrower’s point of view, easy borrowing often encourages careless and sloppy investment decisions that end up with losses and bad debt. From the lender’s standpoint, there is simply little room for second thought because so many competitors out there are fighting brutally for the business. Risks can be diversified with other financial institutions, rather than rigorous and time-consuming approval procedures.

What is even more alarming to me is that in the highly capitalistic and materialistic world, economic growth is too often driven by ruthless and non-recurrent consumption, losing sight of long-term and sustainable existence of the planet and its tenants. By definition capitalism works on consumption. The more people consume and produce, the faster and greater the economy grows.

This is why the so-called durables, such as cars, electrical appliances, electronic devices and even computer hardware, are no longer durable as they used to be. Manufacturers are under enormous pressure to end the product life cycle prematurely and launch new products for new profits. To achieve this, they have to shamelessly deprive the earth of its limited supply of resources for the so-called innovations and technological advancements. At the same time, they have to create new demand for new products by brainwashing consumers with irresistible advertising. Advertisements are deliberately designed to blur the line between needs and wants, so that consumers are made to believe that their wants equal to their needs. Consumption is portrayed not as an essential way of living but a cool and gorgeous way of life. The food you eat, the clothes and accessories you have defines who you are, rather than you are the one in charge. (By the way, why should we express ourselves in clothing and accessories rather than the way we speak and behave?) It doesn’t really matter if your 20-year-old television set is still running fine and you need to replace it with an LCD television simply because you have to watch high-definition broadcasting as your friends and many other people in this city do. You should find no guilt in disposing of non-degradable appliances and devices that are still operating perfectly because new things would never come if old stuff don’t go. In essence, everything new is good and cool and old is bad and rotten. Even if you are not convinced, don’t worry, too many people around you will make you believe as they do some day.

At a time when people do not mix up what their needs and wants, capitalism may be the best option to promote the common good as people have more incentive to work hard and improve their living standards. But we shall never forget how excessive production at home centuries ago had driven expansion and colonialism abroad, creating enormous hardship and suffering for people in the so-called "developing world", where development by Western and capitalism standards still seems unattainable these days.

In addition, the capitalistic model has now become so successful that few of us would bother to take a step back and question whether or not there are other alternatives. When communist regimes collapsed physically or nominally, we are even more convinced that capitalism is the only solution.

But is it true? When we are facing challenges of unprecedented scale, such as a global financial crisis that only the tip of the iceberg has been revealed, extreme weather conditions that are threatening not only our assets but also our lives in different parts of the world, how can we still be so sure that everything will be alright as they used to be?

I do think it is time to rethink capitalism as the preferred economic system for the long-term and sustainable development of mankind. At least some sort of serious adjustments and modifications will be required to help us address the forthcoming challenges and sustain the well-being of this planet as home for us and our next generations.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Thoughts on the LegCo Elections 2008 (Part 4 - Final)

Some commentators said Hong Kong voters are desperate for change by replacing one-third of the legislators in the 7 September elections. Perhaps so, but I think it would be a bit too optimistic to proclaim the success of the youth or new generations, whatever you may call.

If you look at the affiliation of the youngest legislators elected, they all come from the conservative political parties dominated by Boomers and personally the young candidates have shown little innovation in what they do. There is little evidence, if any at all, that they can think outside the conventional box and be bold enough to push forward reforms that we have waited for too long.

Succession planning is also a pressing issue for political parties in Hong Kong, and, unfortunately, we have seen little success. The embarrassing defeat of the Liberal Party is partly due to the absence of succession planning. The lack of young talents and presence at the geographical constituencies simply detach the party from its voters. The Democratic Party also has a similar problem. Can you imagine people like Kam Nai-wai, 47, or Joseph Lai Chi-keong, 60, who resigned from the Democratic Party before the elections, claim to be the "second generation" of the Democrats? What do you think of the Democrats when you see that the second generations of other political parties are only in their thirties?

For some, age may not mean anything, but the generations to which people belong have a great impact on how they think and behave. Age somewhat indicates the generations to which people belong. At the same time, we don't need to plough through a mountain of psychological research to understand how childhood and schooling helps shape who we are. For example, people in their late 40s grew up in 1970s when Hong Kong witnessed the first wave of intellectual-led social movements. People in their late 50s and early 60s also witnessed the post-war hardships and the early economic takeoff of Hong Kong. But these are what people of my generation, born in the 1970s and grew up in the 1980s, take for granted or find unfamiliar. What we face was economic fluctuations and social unrest due to the Sino-British talks over the 1997 handover. We also faced drastic changes and uncertainties in personal relationships when our friends, classmates, teachers and relatives moved to a foreign country. We grew up at a time when people were too busy to make a fortune so that they could abandon Hong Kong and start a new life somewhere else. Those who talked about the future and criticised people of giving up the interest of Hong Kong often found themselves laughing stock of the majority. How can you expect people who grew up under these circumstances to think and behave in the same way as their predecessors, whom more and more of us are reluctant to trust and agree with?

Someone also feel sad for veterans like Lau Chin-shek or Chan Yuen-han who failed to secure another term in the legislature. To be honest, I don't really feel the same. They have worked hard for so many years and I do appreciate their contribution. But more importantly, I think it is time for new blood to pick things up. At a time when sensation supersedes senses, when convention takes it all, I believe we do need some sort of more profound changes to make Hong Kong a better place for everyone. Old tricks may not work well anymore, and we need new people to give us new ideas and work in a new way. Unfortunately I don't have much confidence in the newly elected except for a few mavericks, which can probably make little difference as they are the minority.

However, I know too well that it is not about my confidence. I'm just looking forward to seeing my scepticism broken and expectations exceeded.

Thoughts on the LegCo Elections 2008 (Part 3)

As many of us know, peace and harmony is always valued in our tradition. Over time, unfortunately, the value for peace and harmony has become the pretext to prevent change or revolution to rectify things that have gone wrong simply because some vested interest and privileges will be wiped out by those changes. The recent concern and criticisms that three representatives of the League of Social Democrats were elected to the Legislative Council just remind me of this conservative mentality.

The most common criticism of the League of Social Democrats is radicalism. Leung Kwok-hung, Tsang Kin-shing and chairman Wong Yuk-man are always criticised of being too radical in their expression.

Well, perhaps so. Sometimes I also find it very annoying to see them pointing fingers at someone else's nose and scold them as if they are quarrelling with housewives in a wet market for stamping on their toes. But if you pay enough attention to what they say instead of how they say it, you will find them more reasonable than anyone mild and mannered in expensive outfits in Central.

The reason why the Social Democrats have taken such a "radical" approach, I reckon, has something to say about the mode of information consumption in Hong Kong. Being creative and act out of the box (not just think) is the only viable way of grabbing attention. Don't you think so? You may be reluctant to admit, but let's face it, don't you ever think it is more entertaining and interesting to see people pointing fingers at each other rather than discussing important issues with pure reason and theoretic arguments that you will never understand? Don't you think it is a far better photo opportunity on the media for Long Hair to put on all the colourful props in his demonstrations than the boring photo-shoot of well-dressed idiots shaking hands and smiling like programmed robots?

As Ivan Choy Chi-keung has documented in his analysis of the election results, the League of Social Democrats have actually succeeded in canvassing support from a wide spectrum of voters from the low-income grassroots to the better-off and well-educated middle class. To the surprise of many, these gentlemen who have been labelled (not by third parties but also by themselves) as "grassroots" are actually quite representative of different segments of Hong Kong.

Is that really a surprise? I don't think so. To me the unexpected victory of the League of Social Democrats actually makes more sense than ever. It simply shows how desperate and frustrated most Hong Kong people are. It shows that reasoning doesn't work anymore with the authorities. While many of those rich and powerful complain from time to time that many Hong Kong people have lost their sense when it comes to addressing issues, how well have they done? We have seen little more than spending billions of dollars to exploit the loopholes of laws and regulations and to brainwash people with fake reasoning and emotional whines in the business-controlled media. As individuals, many of us know there is no way of changing how things work and no one bothers to listen to us, and therefore all we can do is to get someone to express our resentment to make a stronger impact.

If this is the case, then you may ask, why was the turnout rate so low?

Again, it depends on your perspective. If you feel negatively about the so-called pan-democracy groups in Hong Kong, you are not going to change your mind whatsoever. It takes so much time to change people's attitude and perception that perception is the reality, as we often say in communications and opinion research. Having said that, as mentioned in my blog yesterday, I don't think a turnout rate of 45.2 per cent is very low under the crippled system in Hong Kong. Many of us are simply too fed up and extremely sceptical to believe that the legislators would be able to achieve anything under the current administration and circumstances. (Think about the high-sounding hopes and plans that pop up from time to time but often end up with nothing. Think about the rotten rhetoric of the authorities and public opinion that often falls on deaf ears.) Yet nearly half of the voters still believe they can try to make a small change by casting their ballots. Quite a substantial number of them also voted for candidates who are well known as mavericks. I believe this is a noteworthy achievement rather than a soft spot for criticism.

Monday, 15 September 2008

I Love Mamma Mia!


趁著中秋節的長周末,看了著名音樂劇《Mamma Mia!》的電影版,非常開心。

全片歌舞連場,笑料不絕,充滿百老匯式音樂劇的熱鬧和活力,差不多兩個小時很快就過去了,真是難得的減壓良方。無論是希臘小島的取景或是老中青的選角,同樣賞心悅目,尤其是Meryl Streep和飾演她兩位老友的Julie Walters和Christine Baranski,又唱又跳,活力十足,搶鏡異常,難怪一向貪新厭舊、勢利無情的八卦雜誌也聲明幾位大姐的演出「絕不趕客」,再次印證「薑是老的辣」這句老話。

說來奇怪,小時候不是瑞典樂隊ABBA的歌迷,但他們有好幾首名作都是耳熟能詳的,例如《Dancing Queen》、《Mamma Mia》、《Money, Money, Money》等,只要聽到了,身體就會不由自主的跟著搖晃。好些年前在香港文化中心看音樂劇原版,已是開心到不得了;如今忙裡偷閒,看看年屆耳順的「梅姐」(Meryl Streep的香港譯名為梅麗史翠普)施展渾身解數,更是佩服得五體投地。連老媽也覺得絕無冷場,從頭笑到尾,又問我這部電影的歌曲有沒有出版CD,難不成她也想買來聽聽?乖乖不得了!

其實有時候看電影真的不要煞有介事,好端端的甚麼也要正經八百的研究一番,看戲的樂趣自然大打折扣。難怪有人說研究電影就像把情人逼成老婆或老公,未免大煞風景。如今流行講文化、講社會、講教育,也許有人看了《Mamma Mia!》要投訴女主角Donna未婚懷孕、連孩子的父親是誰也搞不清楚,肯定是「教壞細路」;但她母兼父職,一手撫養女兒成人,在希臘的荒僻小島經營小飯店,箇中辛酸實不足為外人道,何嘗不能媲美傳統婦女堅忍刻苦的「美德」?不同的是,Donna曾經做過活色生香的嬉皮士,粵語長片的白燕卻是徹頭徹尾的賢妻良母。至少在未婚懷孕的事情上,也沒有Donna那樣在短時間內和三個男人一起那麼「濫交」。

也許又有人會說,《Mamma Mia!》是一部計算精準的電影,片中有歌有舞、有笑有淚、親情、愛情、友情一應俱全,商業味道濃得化不開。站在觀眾的立場,那又如何?最重要的問題是電影好看不好看。好看之後才輪到一點點更深入的分析和感受。近年在電影節上被那些故弄玄虛的電影嚇怕了,總覺得電影應該回歸基本,從好看不好看著眼。且不管甚麼深度不深度、理論不理論,多少人只管賣弄攝影技巧,連個簡單的故事也沒能講得條理分明,電影作為一種表達方式,完全與觀眾的接收能力脫節(好吧,我承認我很膚淺,不懂的東西太多),更遑論引發甚麼共鳴和思考,那還看甚麼電影?還不如去看有形無神、混雜無方的炒雜碎MTV省事。

很久沒有買電影DVD了,我想這部《Mamma Mia!》絕對不能錯過。

Thoughts on the LegCo Elections 2008 (Part 2)

Another noteworthy observation at the Legislative Council elections this year is the much-touted low turnout rate, which stands at 45.2 per cent. There were many interpretations of this figure, but the most common verdict is "low".

Is this really a low turnout rate?

Again, my favourite argument of Laozi sets in - it really depends on what you mean by "high" or "low" and what benchmark you compare with. If you compare with 55.64 per cent of the last elections four years ago, it was certainly lower. If you compare with the first Legislative Council elections since the handover in 2000, which stands at 43.57 per cent, it was actually higher.

You may also think that less than half of the voters turned out to vote indicate some sort of indifference. But I do think nearly half of the registered voters, meaning more than nine in every 20, turned up isn't really that bad. You may also want to compare Hong Kong's turnout rate with other developed democracies around the world, but are we really comparable? Aren't we little more than a crippled quasi-democracy with half of our seats dominated by a bunch of Boomers who think functional constituencies serve the interest of the privileged rather than sharing their expertise and professional insight for the common good? Not to mention that in some jurisdictions, voting is compulsory - something unthinkable in Hong Kong where freedom is the most convenient defence against regulation and intervention.

In any case, what does the "low" turnout rate mean? One possibility is the lack of interest in public affairs among the youth, just as Dr Jean Twenge argues in her book Generation Me.

Look at the number of registered voters by age and you will find some truth in Dr Twenge's analysis. According to official figures, the lowest number of registered voters is found in age groups between 18 to 40, most of which were born since 1970s and belong to Generation Me. If you compare the age groups of 18-25 and 46-50, arguably the age groups of fathers and sons and mothers and daughters, the number of registered voters stands at 296,891 and 440,696. For the age group of 18-20, only slightly more than 100,000 people have registered as voters, less than a quarter of those of their parents' age. While it is still unknown how many of those in early twenties actually cast their ballot last Sunday, the prevalent indifference and ignorance of public affairs among the youth requires some attention. As far as I am concerned, the lack of effective communication with the youth shares at least some blame. Who bothers to watch television at home when we have to work until late at night? Who bothers to read newspapers when so much news and information is free on the internet? Who bothers to think about politics and hardcore subjects when we are overwhelmed with information about gadgets, fashion, make-up and lifestyle choices that make us look good and confident as if we were truly special?

If you still don't understand how serious the issue has become, let me tell you another interesting fact. Believe it or not, even registered voters aged 71 or older total 414,311, making them the second largest group of voters in Hong Kong and the number even exceeds the combined figures of 61-65 and 66-70 age groups!

Arguably this is the age group that are most likely to be parents of those aged 46-50, the largest chunk in Hong Kong voters. If the hypothesis that family education plays a part in encouraging registration and voting were true, what has gone wrong with the parents of 46-50 and their children in early twenties?

Having taken a closer look at the figures available, I'm just not concerned about the low turnover rate. A more pressing issue is to get more young people registered and keep up their excitement about voting that will eventually translates into action. There is little point of focusing on the middle-aged or the elderly because if they were convinced of registration and going to vote, they would have done so already. To speak the young's language (mine too because I'm also an early member of Generation Me), forget about the traditional or rotten ways of communications that were adopted since 1960s. We should at least start thinking of launching a communications campaign that positions voting and engaging in public affairs as a "cool" thing that makes us feel good about ourselves.

Pardon me for the absence of depth, but this is simply the way we have been taught and exposed to since we were born. Tough luck.

Thoughts on the LegCo Elections 2008 (Part 1)

Perhaps the greatest news in the Legislative Council elections on 7 September was that all candidates of the Liberal Party, led by former chairman James Tien and former vice-chairwoman Selina Chow, failed to win any seat in the geographical constituency. Mr Tien and Mrs Chow resigned after the party's embarrassing defeat.

I must admit that I couldn't help gloating over their failure. Mr Tien and Mrs Chow's resignation may come a bit late, but better than never. This bunch of Boomers, best represented by the second generation of wealthy industrialists who never know that their economic success has been more coincidental than the achievement of their hard work, simply have no clue of what they have been doing. They think their names would be more than enough to serve them well. Everything aside, can you imagine this bunch of veteran businessmen and women didn't even think of succession planning until the last minute? What kind of managers are they? It has also been unclear what they do for the common good of Hong Kong and what they mean for the electorate, especially the young, most of whom have been working in different positions in the business sector since graduation. Why should the employer and the employed always be positioned as foes rather than partners? Why can't the political parties stop polarising members of the same organisations simply because they have different roles and positions? The Liberal Party's total defeat in the geographical constituencies is the best lesson ever taught.

And the credit goes to our fellow voters.

What amuses me though was Mr Tien's admission that he didn't know he was going to lose. Or more precisely, he thought he was going to win, no matter what. He then admitted that he might have a problem with his judgment. Then his younger brother Michael Tien complained that Beijing has offered no support during the elections.

I'm glad that elder brother Tien finally realises his weakness, even reluctantly. At the end of the day, who do you think you are? A sweetheart of your Beijing comrades who will do anything to secure you a seat at the legislature? Too simple and naive. What have you done to receive their by-all-means support in the first place? Why should they intervene in the elections of Hong Kong knowing that this violates the policies and principles they made for Hong Kong?

Of all the political parties and organisations in Hong Kong, the Liberal Party seems to be the least popular and capable. At least as it appears in the media, the Liberals would do whatever they can to maximise the interest of the business sector that is defined by their own standards. Very often the so-called business sector only confines to the well-established conglomerates or the family business that their fathers built bare-handed since the end of the Second World War. Seldom do the small family-run grocery stores or craftsman shops at the corner of Sham Shui Po or Kwun Tong have the privilege of making themselves heard by, let alone access to, the blue-blooded circle at the Liberal Party.

Some commentators went that far to proclaim that there is alarmingly strong resentment towards the business sector in Hong Kong. What a joke. Those idiots should beware that most of us in Hong Kong are sick of the rich and powerful, not the business sector at-large that they claim they represent, because we have seen too many cases of the rich and powerful's unscrupulous actions to defend their enormous interest at the expense of justice and reason. We have seen too many cases in which shop owners who have worked hard to support their family are forced out of business because of the ruthless expansion of the chains and profit-driven urban re-development. If business is truly what the Liberal Party represents, why didn't we see their legislators coming out to help the small business owners when it was the most difficult? Why are they always paying attention to the conglomerates and their own family businesses rather than the business sector as a whole?

It was also interesting to see how disappointed Allan Lee, political veteran of Hong Kong and the founding chairman of the Liberal Party. He told reporters that the Liberal Party had better merge with the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB).

I'm afraid this is quite impossible, Mr Lee. Now that we know your former comrades are so obsessed of securing seats and attention from Beijing and paying no respect to the rules of the game, do you really think it is feasible for this group of jealous and narrow-minded opportunists would live in harmony with the pro-Beijing camp under the same roof?

Of course we would be more than happy to see the opportunists struggling among themselves and giving way to those who are more committed and capable of serving Hong Kong. My only concern is that this would be too good to be true. The most likely outcome is that those opportunists would fail to compete by merit or resolve their differences and seek Beijing to intervene. This is certainly not something we would accept.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Why We Think the Youth Suck? This May Be an Answer

For two hectic months I have been reading an old book that was new to Hong Kong as I commuted on the underground, Generation Me: Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive and Entitled - and More Miserable Than Ever Before.

This well-researched book provides another strong proof to the fact that the Boomers in Hong Kong have been blindly following the practices of the United States without bothering the keyword: Why. The economic success and political prowess that the United States have mesmerised so many people in this part of the world that they would take for granted almost everything there as the best and worthy to copy. Few would realise that they are being trapped into a fallacy of their own fabrication.

The author, Dr Jean Twenge, associate professor of psychology at San Diego State University, provides a detailed analysis of the prevalent personality traits and behaviour of Generation Me, which refers to the young people born from the 1970s onwards. Of course, the United States and Hong Kong are very different cultures and communities, but our youth have shown stunning similarities in what they think and how they behave - self-centred, individualistic (often taken to the extremes that results in poor interpersonal skills and even narcissism), vulnerable to the mildest form of criticism and adversity, extremely sceptical and even apathetic to the well-being of society-at-large. When you think of the common criticisms of the young in Hong Kong, you will be surprised that the root cause might be traced back from the other side of the Pacific.

Both the author and I are early members of this generation in our mid-thirties. I can't agree more with her argument that the Boomers' education of their young children has gone terribly wrong, which causes the so-called "problems" with the young today. By emphasising too much on the self, children are taught to feel good about themselves genuinely without the basis of any achievement or capabilities. They are told that each of them is very unique and they can achieve anything they want as long as they believe in themselves and be persistent in pursuing their goals. This means children don't need to study hard and read as many as they can to become little sponges of knowledge to build the foundation for their future. This means children can't be criticised for their mistakes or lack of a sense of duty or responsibility because it will give them hard feelings and their self-esteem will suffer. This means every child is taught to believe that they are the king and queen of the world and can do whatever they want. This means they are concealed of the harsh reality that values not self-esteem but tangible results and only a tiny minority can succeed with a combination of factors, including luck.

Isn't the rhetoric sound familiar? Our government officials in charge of education told children that learning is not about grades, but as adults, we are all know this is damning not true. The so-called parenting consultants also tell mothers and fathers not to criticise their children or they will suffer low self-esteem or respond radically. But why don't they just ask this simple question: Why our children behave like this? Are they born a different species or are they taught to be so?

Not surprisingly, the super-egoistic Boomers fail to realise their own fault. They spare no time to blame the young of being unable to attain the standards but fail to realise that they are not told to perform or behave by the rules they have set.

I have been tirelessly criticising this form of sheer hypocrisy of the Boomers simply because they are so obsessed with their authority as parents and teachers to determine how their children should live or make them achieve the unrealistic ambitions that they can never do. For some reason they are too adamant to give the "best" to their children by creating a utopian environment, depriving the boys and girls of the opportunity to learn how to cope with difficulties and challenges, which are inevitable in life anyway. The enormous gap between the brutal reality and the bullet-proof greenhouse environment, as Dr Twenge convincingly argues, is the root cause of youth anxiety, depression and suicide.

Even though I very much enjoyed Dr Twenge's detailed analysis of how Generation Me comes by, I'm convinced that education is only one of the manifests of the deep-rooted problem - the Boomers - but not the problem itself. Dr Twenge only touches on the Boomers on a few occasions but fails to realise that it is the previous generation that has to take the major responsibility for setting this all up. This can be attributed to the nothing-but-profit capitalist mindset, the inertia to change, the complacence for the status quo and the failure to treat people as human beings.

This is especially true in Hong Kong where the media and the academia are so appallingly weak and incapable of reminding us from time to time to stop and reflect. While I agree with Dr Twenge that there is no better starting point than education, pardon me for my Generation Me scepticism, I can foresee little change or effect given the current inability to reflect among many in Hong Kong. Ideally, the media and the academia are the true opinion leaders who are relatively independent and critical in thinking and can push forward important social agenda for the benefit of all. When the media and the academia are also brainwashed to disarm for economic benefits and spotlight, what can you expect?

Sunday, 7 September 2008

法海

降魔不辭苦
慈悲長在懷
雲遊四海為何事
金缽伏群妖
佛杵掃陰霾

色不迷人人自迷
多少英豪葬裙釵
堪笑前車可鑒
俗子仍惹殃災

今見蛇妖惑眾
誓將手到擒來
管他恩情如海樣
夫離子散甚可哀
到底是天倫背乖
人妖類不同
焉得齊眉舉案
鸞鳳和諧

可嘆金缽能降妖
老塔早沉埋
白蛇出世姦可期
須抖擻
細尋去
不知何日除禍胎

Saturday, 6 September 2008

許宣

閒窗鎖晝
日上簾鉤
遠山遙聽啾啾
彷彿杜宇泣血
嗔怨深情不壽

自慚鄙陋
不解溫柔
當年煙雨邂逅
仙姿乞憐俗客
受寵若驚
半推半就
陷落脂粉陣
不自由

謝伊恩深義厚
爭奈無福消受
妖物由來不可欺
旦夕反顏我命休
寧甘背得薄倖名
莫與貞娘賦白頭

Friday, 5 September 2008

小青

淡月疏星
草際蟲鳴
等閒光景宜養靜
詎料孽障搖心旌

迷津失渡
旁觀者清
千載深情託凡夫
豈有膽氣一身承

可嘆奔馳亡命
肉骨死生
衝不破人妖殊途
鎮不住膽顫心驚
縱贏得
千古同悲
怎敵他
鐵石肝腸
面目猙獰

幽居無日月
湖山有孤影
多少長夜人不寐
忍見眉峰聚
代抹珠淚凝

Sunday, 31 August 2008

請不要再侮辱國家運動員

在北京奧運會贏得金牌的六十三位國家運動員,應邀來港訪問三天,期間會參加交流活動和示範表演。如果安排妥當,這原是一件美事,但很可惜,一如既往,事情從定位開始就犯錯了,而且主辦當局安排不周,有侮辱國家運動員之嫌。

「侮辱」一詞可能語氣太過分,但主辦當局對待運動員的態度可能更過分。我實在不吐不快。

首先,香港為甚麼要邀請國家隊中的金牌得主來訪問?香港市民何德何能,得到如此厚待?難道內地三十一個省市的居民,就不想瞻仰國家隊健兒的丰采?我們憑甚麼贏得對方獨垂青眼?

運動員苦練多年,在奧運會上拚盡全力競技,其中不少更背負沉重的心理壓力,可謂身心俱疲。為甚麼主辦當局不能體恤運動員的辛勞,先讓他們休息,與家人團聚,而要他們這樣奔波勞累?

其次,為甚麼只邀請金牌得主?難道贏得銀牌和銅牌的就不是國家的體育精英?須知道,能穿上國家隊制服的都是萬裡挑一的健兒,入選國家隊就證明他們具備非凡的實力。更重要的是,奧運精神的真締是透過公平競技,超越自我,傳揚四海一家的理念。難道主辦當局對奧運精神的定義就那麼勢利?那麼不近人情?難道只有金牌得主才能代表「北京奧運」?

第三,邀請國家隊健兒來港訪問,參加交流活動和示範表演,讓香港市民一睹他們的丰采,原是無可厚非。但是為甚麼還要讓他們到大球場當三流綜藝節目的布景板?他們不是主角嗎?

好了,不請白不請,既然他們都來了,不是應該分批請他們上台跟觀眾交流嗎?為甚麼只懂得邀請最有名氣、樣子標緻帥氣的上台,其餘的就讓他們在台下坐冷板凳?主辦當局把運動員當甚麼來著?

大言不慚地宣傳「我們就是奧運」的無線電視,兩名主持汪明荃和陳百祥語無倫次,對體育項目毫無認識,表現差勁,看得人火冒三丈。先別說陳百祥把李小鵬說成是「男子高低槓」金牌得主的笨拙,且看流水作業式的電視製作是怎樣拿人不當人。我明白直播節目,時間必須好好掌握,但幾位運動員不約而同地堅持讓所有隊友上台,才肯接受訪問,正是人家發揮團隊精神,拒絕個人崇拜的表現,有甚麼問題?有問題的倒是主辦當局安排不周,厚此薄彼,以勢利和市儈褻瀆了體育。汪明荃卻居然以阻礙節目進度為由顯得不耐煩,更連聲催促王峰上台,語含責備,實在無禮之至。

更離譜的是汪明荃向吳敏霞說的一番話。我實在無法明白,以汪明荃的豐富經驗,怎麼可能看到這麼白癡、帶有輕蔑和侮辱成分的稿子也照讀如儀。「你(吳敏霞)認為自己甚麼時候才可以超越郭晶晶的成績?」「我覺得你的回答太普通,你應該說郭晶晶應該趕快嫁到香港來,這樣你就有機會了。」真是豈有此理!她和撰稿的傢伙把吳敏霞當甚麼了?他們以為沒贏過奧運女子個人跳水項目金牌的吳敏霞,實力真的比不上郭晶晶嗎?須知道,在今年二月舉行的世界盃跳水賽中,吳敏霞就曾力壓郭晶晶,贏得女子個人三米彈板的冠軍。吳敏霞的實力,絕對可以與郭晶晶爭一日之長短;若要挑剔,就是年齡所限,稍欠經驗而已。

另外,香港傳媒和現場觀眾的提問,可不可以別那麼白癡低能沒水平?各位運動員剛抵達香港,就要參加記者會,疲態畢露,令人不忍卒睹。傳媒的焦點卻一味集中於郭晶晶是否退役結婚的八卦和失意於個人項目的程菲。難道打破世界紀錄奪冠的蝶泳選手劉子歌、在部分項目贏得中國奧運史上首面金牌的殷劍、張娟娟、仲滿、鄒市明、女子四人划艇隊等,就沒有人想知道他們的故事? 那些衝著帥哥美女失態狂喊的粉絲,可不可以尊重一下其他運動員?看程菲和江鈺源一臉認真地表演自由體操,為甚麼沒能引起觀眾熱烈的掌聲;看楊威、李小鵬、陳一冰等人像小丑雜技般討好觀眾的表演,卻瘋狂如此?香港人素來喜歡感官刺激,不動腦袋,但把好端端的示範表演變成夜總會裡活色生香、肉光四溢的floor show,真是慘不忍睹。難怪身經百戰的程菲和她的年輕隊友一直沒甚麼表情,只有江鈺源一貫禮貌地笑容可掬。所以說,自己當傻子不要緊,可別當人家都是傻子。

國家運動員在香港的訪問還沒結束,主辦當局不尊重他們,把他們當江湖賣藝還不如的例子,實在不勝枚舉。我身為香港人,只感到無比汗顏和憤怒。為甚麼掌管我們體育事業的機構,居然完全不明白體育精神和奧運精神,只懂得用勢利、齷齪的眼光,來衡量辛勤苦練、為國爭光的健兒?為甚麼水準那麼低劣的電視台,居然可以最受歡迎、獨霸一方?為甚麼我們能容忍這些庸俗、沒水平的文化垃圾,繼續污染我們的腦袋和眼睛?

我真的想向中國香港體育協會暨奧林匹克委員會和無線電視大喊一句:請不要再侮辱國家運動員!你們丟臉不要緊,請不要堂而皇之的打著香港的旗號,丟香港的臉。

Saturday, 30 August 2008

白娘子

荒谷低窪
寂寞韶華
幾許春秋冬夏
冷暖問誰家

柳拂輕霞
平湖籠紗
相逢一語未下
便知是
千年剎那

有道恩深義寡
孰真孰假
終究是
明日黃花
到如今
浮屠早作雲煙
橋畔難覓蒹葭
可憐真情動千古
難贖許郎換袈裟

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

《浣溪沙》

雲淡風輕七月天,驕陽萬里色無邊,濃愁擾夢不成眠。 欲效歸來堂上客,卻驚老去怨從前,煎心何日似平川?

Sunday, 17 August 2008

On the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony

Perhaps few would dispute that the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics was stunning and spectacular. Like many others in China and overseas, I believed the organisers have done a tremendous job to present the best of China.

Quite unexpectedly, controversy arose last week when the Beijing Times revealed on 9 August that the 29 footprints of fireworks on television seen by billions around the world were computer graphics instead of live footage. The wonderful singing of a little girl that touched the hearts of millions if billions, actually belonged to another girl called Yang Peiyi, rather than the lovely little girl in red dress, Lin Miaoke.

Not surprisingly, the breaking news was soon picked up and circulated around the world, hitting the Sunday front pages on countless coffee tables. This was certainly a wonderful pie for countless journalists and commentators who have been looking tirelessly for things to criticise of the communist regime and its hosting of the Olympics.

I must admit that I was very disappointed and frustrated learning the news. I was disappointed because I thought the Beijing Olympics organisers have done a great job to show the traditional roots of China and how the country and its people have evolved over the years. When many people said they found the first part of the opening ceremony about traditional China extremely boring and no more than a mechanical and heartless demonstration of the abundance of men and women in China, I couldn't help showing my support on my blog. Certainly the performance was a dramatic and exaggerated presentation that could have been less artificial and extravagant (in particular the bright colours that were somewhat torturous to the eyes), but what moved me to tears was the long-lost pride and respect in our cultural roots. As I have mentioned in this blog, I have seen a great and Godsend opportunity in the aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake and the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony that the humanistic heritage of Chinese culture could be re-discovered and revived.

However, the so-called fake firework footage and child singing were like a devastating blow to a sweet dream. We just can't help asking why: Why do we need to do that?

The organisers then told reporters that it would be very dangerous for a shooting crew to fly in a helicopter when the fireworks were lit. Fair enough. They also said Yang Peiyi sings better than Lin Miaoke, but Lin looks prettier than Yang. Well, I'm afraid I have to remain convinced. There are so many ways of getting this around. Making a decision purely based on appearance is the last thing we want our lovely little girls and boys to learn.

Okay, even if the organisers have decided to do what they believed to be the best approach, they have at least missed a very important issue that resulted in the current controversy: Communication.

From a communication perspective, it is very important to be proactive to tell your story, especially bad and not-so-good ones because it will help reduce criticisms and embarrassment. It also shows the organisers' respect for the audience, in this case, the billions of people around the world watching the opening ceremony live on television, by keeping them informed as early as possible. Why didn't the organisers put a line of subtitles on the fireworks footage, explaining that the footage was computer graphics due to safety constraints of live filming? Why they failed to give a credit to seven-year-old angel for her sweet voice by putting her name on the screen, along with the composer and lyricist? All these simple one-liners will help avoid any confusion and misunderstanding, and also the criticisms and scepticism today.

From what I can read so far, the organisers missed this important point because they thought this was no big deal at all. As what happened in the Barcelona Olympics opening ceremony 16 years ago, they believed it should be understandable to do whatever was required to ensure the historical event was perfect. Yet their obsession for perfection has deprived them of some common sense, in particular, when it comes to the perception of China. The more they want to impress foreigners, the more mistakes they make.

As we can see in the media coverage and commentaries so far, what attracts criticism is not China or the opening ceremony. It is essentially the communist reign and its impact over the world's most populous country. Prejudice is the most difficult thing on earth to be changed. At the end of the day, people choose to believe what they want to believe. It has nothing to do with the facts. While providing facts and new perspectives may help change some people's minds, there will always be someone who is sceptical, unfriendly and even hostile. That is perfectly fine. What really matters is whether or not we have done our best to show respect for the people around us, regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual preference and political affiliation. If someone doesn't want to be respected, so be it, but we shall never fall short of respect to anyone. In most cases, keeping people informed sooner than later is one of the best and simplest way of showing respect.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Fed with Frustration

Over the past few weeks I was heavily bombarded by waves of fatigue and frustration, so much so that I have done something that surprised many - I asked Serena for advice regarding my whereabouts and the future from a fortune-telling perspective. Although Serena was very kind to make the calculations for me, she was extremely surprised that I would ever bother to ask about my future.

To be honest, I was surprised too. But there didn't seem any other way where I could find reinforcement or counter-arguments to what I have had in mind.

Although the results are quite consolatory, the final decision has yet been made. I still need to clarify something, to work on something in order to help me make the right decision. Unfortunately the day-to-day duties are so overwhelming that I can hardly slow down and take the appropriate course of actions. Motivation seems to have been replaced by inertia and lack of interest. I can't keep myself cool-headed to think properly and decide the right approach at work. I don't have time to study Korean. I can't go home early enough to prepare dinner, the most convenient way of winding down. I can't even relax and concentrate when practising tai-chi in my weekend class as I usually do. I can't express myself soon enough on this blog. I can't do as much reading as I desperately want. I feel like a piece of charcoal burning into ashes.

The scandals about the spectacular opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, the tragic death of two respectable firemen in a blaze last Sunday and the inexplicable loss of Chinese women's volleyball team tonight only add on to the frustration.

Perhaps I need some sort of motivation to push for an extra mile. Perhaps I need to step out of the haven that I have built so tirelessly for myself. Perhaps I simply need to spend some time on what I really enjoy to keep myself happy. Perhaps there are problems that are out of my control. Whatever it may be, all I want at this point is to have a good break, during which I can concentrate on studying for the Korean final examination in two weeks.

Okay, the key word is "prioritise". Just one thing at a time. Tackle one problem at a time.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

驚艷記

2008年北京奧運昨晚正式揭幕,雖然對開幕禮沒太大期望,還是決定蹺課回家看電視直播。剛好Shirley也在附近做完訪問,碰面後買了豐富的飯菜到我家裡來邊吃邊看,很開心。

萬眾期待的開幕禮沒看到一半,已經流了很多遍眼淚。

不知道為甚麼,看奧運、世界盃等全球體壇盛事的時候,我很難掌得住眼淚。也許是感動,也許是激動,總之覺得人類真、善、美的力量,莫過於此。諷刺的是,昨天格魯吉亞發生軍事衝突,死傷枕藉。猶記得總有些對中國滿懷偏見的人,認為北京舉辦奧運只是粉飾太平。其實,哪個主辦城市和國家沒有這樣的心思?但我更相信全球健兒濟濟一堂、公平競技所象徵的和平與友誼,更值得人類珍惜和發揚。

在一片歡騰的喧鬧聲中,二十九個用焰火砌成的巨人腳印,一步一步的走向「鳥巢」,象徵第二十九屆奧林匹克運動會,終於來到了北京。

焰火隨即化成銀色的繁星,匯聚成緩緩升起的奧運五環。開幕禮以二千零八人擊缶,吟詠「有朋自遠方來,不亦樂乎」而揭開序幕。整齊的動作、澎湃的聲音、充滿歡樂和友善的句子,一文一武,竟出奇地水乳交融。

升起奧運五環標誌、迎進中國國旗、唱過國歌後,場中一幅卷軸徐徐打開,舞蹈員在上面以身體寫字繪畫,形態優美,令人想起雲門舞集的《行草三部曲》。這個設計與最後李寧凌空奔跑,捲開映出火炬傳遞片段的卷軸互相呼應,同樣是寧靜緩慢之中,蘊含無窮的活力,令人難忘。

我極喜歡開幕禮以卷軸為主要設計元素的意念,因為卷軸不只是富有傳統中國文藝特色的物品,也象徵著文化的傳承。

文字和紙張是文化的載體,如果沒有這些,先賢的智慧和經驗,光靠口述也傳不了多少。今天電腦發達,很多東西也不靠紙張傳送,只有一堆無色無味無形無聲的電腦檔案。千百年後,後人還能不能像我們現在那樣,把千百年前的著作捧在手裡親近親近?不禁有點懷疑。

接下來的表演,分為古代和現代兩個部分,像我這樣不識時務的人,當然是更喜歡展現傳統中華文明的前半部。古代部分以孔子和四大發明為表演主題,輔以戲曲和太極,選得極好,我想不到更恰當的項目。這中間有動有靜、有文藝有科技,同時顧及國內外,非常全面,可見設計者的巧妙心思。無論是孔子三千弟子手持竹簡、莊嚴肅穆的朗誦,或者表演者手持道具模仿活字字模,砌出不同年代寫法的「和」字,抑或是盛唐仕女輝煌盛大的歌舞,處處表現了中華文明的深厚內涵。

中華文明的內涵是甚麼?就是「以人為本」四字。如今這幾個字已淪落為大型企業予取予攜的陳腔濫調,但有多少人真正明白這就是中華文明的根本?中國傳統哲學主流的儒、道兩家,還有來自天竺的佛教,哪一家不是強調尊重生命、愛惜生命?活著就是要尊重自己,尊重別人,努力改善人類的生活;同時也要認識到人力的渺小,要順應自然、尊重自然,達致人類與自然和諧並存。因此,中國自古以來重視教育、重視文化和智慧的傳承,也重視人與人之間的關係。因為我們相信,教育可以提升人的修養和學問;懂得與人友好相處,就可以避免衝突,也可以讓人團結起來,變得更有力量、更有智慧,為世界作出更大的貢獻。孔子教我們以「仁」行事,紙張和活字印刷為我們傳遞知識,指南針給我們指引方向,與其他地方的人交朋友,至於為我們帶來歡樂的,不只有煙火,還有歌舞、戲曲,還有可以強身健體的武術。所以說,昨晚開幕禮的主題元素,全面地表現了中華文明的內涵,是目前所看過的中國文藝表演中,最成功、最難忘的一次。

當然,有人可以認為北京花費那麼多的錢、動用那麼多的人力物力來舉辦奧運,本來就是違反了以人為本、順應自然的道理;但正如很多教堂、佛寺、清真寺等宏偉建築,與本來講求生活樸實、刻苦修行的教義頗有相悖,然而正是因為這些建築,讓更多人認識到不同的宗教,甚至成為宗教的象徵,達到宣揚教義的目的。奧林匹克運動會的精神,強調和平友愛、公平競技,運動是為了鍛鍊身體和意志,競技是為了宣洩多餘的精力和野心,避免把心機和力量都用到其他危害人類的事情上。舉辦奧運會,其實就是希望發揚這種精神;勞師動眾,原是必須付出的代價。真正的問題是,勞師動眾到甚麼程度,是量力而為,還是不惜一切,好大喜功?

今早上網看報道,竟有不少人揶揄開幕禮的表演只是採用人海戰術,沒啥新意,我可不敢苟同。哪個開幕禮沒有組織成千上萬的演員?中國人多是沒錯,難道除此以外就沒有別的?說這種話的人,不是無知就是睜著眼睛撒謊。

有些人又嫌前半部有關古代中國的表演部分太沉悶,令人呵欠連連,更是可笑。源遠流長的傳統文化,正是中華民族引以自豪、舉世矚目的特點。那些盲目崇洋、看不起自身傳統文化的傢伙,為甚麼不仔細想想,他們所膜拜和推崇的國家,哪一個不會珍視和尊重自己的傳統?中國人已經迷茫了很多年,如今連曾經數典忘祖的人也終於浪子回頭,戰戰兢兢地向世界展示中國傳統文化優美恢宏的一面,為甚麼不能多給他們一點寬容?

在開幕禮的壓軸環節,由許海峰、高敏、李小雙、占旭剛、張軍、陳中和孫晉芳七位退役運動員接力傳遞火炬,然後李寧從孫晉芳手中接過聖火,被鋼索拉起場館頂端作「月光漫步」,繞場一周後凌空點燃主場火炬,看得我激動無言。本來我期望早前的傳言會成真,就是由運動員和四川地震的災民代表一起燃點主場火炬,象徵希望和團結,雖然有點兒失望,但如今這個設計,更讓人百感交集。

不知怎地,看著李寧在淡黃色的射燈中凌空奔跑,彷彿用腳步把身後的卷軸徐徐踢開,總令我想起夸父追日的傳說。李寧在空中奔跑的姿態,節奏不徐不疾,左手和雙腿的擺動恰到好處,優美中蘊含勁度,令人讚嘆。他每跨一步,身後就映出在希臘採集火種和環球傳遞火炬的片段,最後回到主場火盆下點燃。旁述說那是象徵把希臘以至全世界,和中國連在一起,我卻覺得好像是夸父終於追到了他心目中的太陽,拿到了他渴望已久的光明和榮耀。

如果說四川地震是「多難興邦」的契機,我更希望北京奧運是重建中國「禮義之邦」地位的踏腳石。動員了那麼多人力物力改善環境、呼籲市民守法守禮,原是為了在外國人面前表現自己最好的一面,動機可能有點功利,但也無可厚非。最令人擔心的是,如果一切在奧運之後回復「正常」,北京奧運只會淪為一場金玉其外的表演,非但無助改變外國對中國的偏見,甚至可能弄巧反拙,把原來體諒中國國情的人趕走。因此,當局更應該充分把握這個可一不可再的機會,把守法守禮、保護環境的公民教育在奧運會結束之後延續下去,惠及全國。如能成為一場改變國民精神面貌、提升國民質素的和平革命,則社稷幸甚,國民幸甚。

Thursday, 7 August 2008

제 한국어 공부하는 감상(한국어 숙제)

저는 한국어를 배운 지 벌써 이 년이 되었다. 삼 년전에 한국에 여행을 했다. 그 여행 동안에 한국역사와 문화를 저음 알았다. 한국역사가 아주 재미있니까 더 공부를 하고싶었다. 그래서 한국어 공부를 했다.

그 동안 한국어 많이 읽을 줄 알지만 듣고 말하는 아직 잘못 한다. 한국어를 재미있지만 매우 어려운다. 그래서 공부를 하기가 힘듭니다. 열심히 공부하고 싶지만 일이 너무 바빠서 시간이 없으니까 못 한다. 제는 하고 싶은 말을 표현 때는 아주 괴롭다. 사전을 많이 읽고 쓰기 밖에 수 없는다.

두 주후에는 시험이 보겠는다. 한국어 한등급이 오르면 잘보겠는다. 열심히 공부를 하겠는데 잘 할거란다. 하지만 일은 많아서 바쁜데 족한 시간이 있는 모르겠는다.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

한국에 처음으로 여행기

제는 2005년 가을에 한국에 처음으로 여행을 하러갔다. 그 여행은 많이 좋아했어서 잊지 않겠는다. 제는 한국에서 있었은데 여러 도시들에 갔다. 서울, 경기도의 수원, 경상북도의 경주와 안동에 도 갔다. 그 때은 한국어을공분 적은 없었지만 버스나 기자나 지하철을탔는 힘들지 않았다. 역하고 정유장어서 영어나 중국어 안내는 있기니까 홍콩관광객들에 아주 편리했다. 친절하고 중국어 잘 하는 직원들이 만나고 들어 주었다.

한국에서는 많이 박물관과 조선조의 고적들에 가러봤다. 서울시내에서는 조선조의 왕궁들과 국립중앙박물관을 좋아한다. 마다 장소에 많이 시간이 소비하고 봤다. 그래서 한국역사와 문와를 너무 재미있니까 한국어 공부를 하고 싶다.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

會師記

好容易拿到一天星期五的補假,請胡老師到我家來坐坐。剛從歐洲回來三個月左右的 Patricia也來了,所以巴不得這一天快點到來。

昨天中午,我請她們到附近的日本小餐廳吃午飯,然後到我家聊天。Patricia買了很多水果,我們邊吃邊聊,十分愉快,頗有趙太當年煮酒分茶的意趣。

雖然去年五月和胡老師吃過飯,但當時Patricia尚未回港,總是有點美中不足。今年Patricia終於回來了,胡老師和她十多年不見,見了面自然很高興。看著胡老師溫暖的笑容,心裡也是一陣踏實和欣慰,彷彿時光倒流二十年,回到小時候在學校的日子。

胡老師是我對中國傳統文化的啟蒙老師。升上中學後,就是她教我從先秦到魏晉南北朝的歷史。因為跨越的時間長、朝代多,很多同學叫苦不迭,我卻不知怎地聽得津津有味,情難自已。最記得下課後,一溜煙的跑到圖書館去借像辭典般厚的成語故事、歷史故事集,捧回家裡細讀,駸然有興味,從此打開了初窺中國古典學術的大門。其後漸次涉獵文學、哲學等,看得愈多,興緻愈發不可收拾,但始終對歷史興趣最深、用力最勤。中五會考時,因為學校的會考班不設中史科,毅然決定自修報考,就是希望驗證自己的功力達到甚麼程度。沒想到這件事在老師之間引起了一陣議論。

我本來不知道這段掌故,只道當年副校長煞有介事地召我訓話,然後才答應讓我自修報考,是因為學校素來不以中文和中史見長,怕我成績不好,有辱門楣。昨天和胡老師說起自己有意改而從事學術,研究宋史,她才笑著告訴我,當年這個不知天高地厚的決定,讓幾位中文、中史老師留下了深刻的印象。以前她也說過,她特別記住了我這個喜歡發問的「問題學生」,因為學校氣氛拘謹,大部分同學都不太願意舉手發問,我卻別有興緻,不管是從課本或課外書看到的,也非要打破沙鍋問到底不可。但我向來沉默寡言、笨頭笨腦的,小時候居然當過「問題學生」,如今半點也記不起來,真是奇哉怪也。無論如何,胡老師認為我的熱誠和能力都應該不成問題,只是擔心學術出路太狹窄,何況香港的學術氣氛不怎麼好,能否取得長期教席也是一樁難事。Patricia又說學術界門戶之見極深,若是中途加入,恐怕會遭人歧視,有志難伸。這些我都深知,所以猶豫至今。也許,還是先做好資料搜集再說。

時光飛逝,胡老師的兒子都長大了,胡老師也快退休了,我和Patricia也不再年輕了。如果沒記錯,胡老師的小兒子好像是我唸中二的時候出生的,如今已是大學三年級的學生了。為人父母者,總是為孩子操心,胡老師也不例外。聽她說大兒子的志向和父母的期望不盡相同,不知道該怎麼辦,心裡不禁有點得意,又有點感慨。

胡老師是我最喜歡、最感激、最尊敬的老師,因為如果沒有她的啟蒙,我的志趣、專長和人生,可能跟現在完全不一樣。小時候,學校氣氛拘謹,老師和學生之界限森嚴,根本不能想像可以跟老師這樣閒話家常,談工作、談孩子、談社會。事隔差不多二十年,從學生「升級」為朋友,難免有點戰戰兢兢的喜悅。然而,我和胡老師都踏進了不同的人生階段,面臨著無法想像的未來,為了適應社會的變革而疲於奔命。日積月累建立起來的價值觀、做人處事的原則,不斷地遭受無情的挑戰和輕蔑的批判,彷彿我們永遠是做錯的一方。胡老師執教近三十年,也許可以利用自己的經驗來反抗不合理的事情,但我這一輩正當「盛年」,無論是上一輩或者下一輩,都認為我們有能力、有責任令這個世界變得更美好。而這些人對所謂「美好」的期望和定義,其實並不一致,甚至可能是南轅北轍。事到臨頭,又沒有人願意相信我們的能力和經驗,總覺得我們像攬鏡自照的豬八戒。社會上固然還有很多令人意難平的人和事,應該給糾正過來,但我們實在沒有餘力去抱不平,更遑論改變一些甚麼(其實我們連怎麼改變也不知道),因為要做好自己的本分,已經足以把自己的人生完全磨蝕。上一代所建立起來的社會制度和結構,遠比我們想像中牢不可破,因為維持現狀的力量,比變革的力量強大得太多,可能比大衛與巨人的實力更懸殊。在這種環境下,我不知道香港需要有多少個像大衛一樣不畏艱難、勇不可擋的人,才可以動搖得了這個早已腐朽的社會結構一絲一毫--前提是這些大衛般的人物要同心同德,不是各自為政,以免被人逐個擊破。別忘記了,香港本來就不是一個推崇獨立思考、創意思維的地方。人的才能和生命,只配在營營役役之中消磨,在分數、業績和別人的評價中找到立錐之地,做人並沒有甚麼尊嚴可講。

說到這些,大家都不作聲,只剩下沉默的嘆喟。

也許,想要像小時候那樣做個無憂無慮的學生,享受胡老師所講的每一堂課,全心全意地享受讀書求學的樂趣,恐怕只能在回憶和夢境裡重溫了。

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

父親母親

可以放暑假的日子,已經離我太遠。那些所謂暑期大片,說穿了只不過是電腦動畫,對我也沒有甚麼吸引力。就像在外吃飯太多的人,味蕾早被油膩和味精麻痺,偶然吃一頓清淡的家常便飯,便覺得人間極品,無以過之。

也許,這種心情,就近年對電影、電視劇意興闌珊的主要原因。

現在才說三、四月舉行的電影節,好像太過時了,但今年看了張艾嘉的新作《一個好爸爸》和日本著名導演山田洋次的《母親》,真的很愜意、很窩心,一直很想把心上的點點滴滴記下來。

很久沒有看過那麼乾淨、輕鬆、溫暖的電影。雖然沒有預期中的感動,也慶幸沒有矯情造作的催淚場面,一切是那麼平實淡然,餘韻無窮。若要駕馭千軍萬馬的場面,固然是很困難;若要平淡中見不凡,舉重若輕,也得看作者的眼界和功力。張艾嘉和山田洋次都是箇中的能手。另外,山田洋次一向擅長刻劃細膩入微的小人物,透過他們反映和批判大時代,這份功力在《母親》中更顯神采。

看電影的時候,並沒有想太多,只是專心地看久違了的演員,享受導演把動聽的故事娓娓道來。久違了的苗可秀,固然令人眼前一亮;素有「長青樹」美譽的吉永小百合,年逾耳順而飾演四十歲左右的母親,居然甚具說服力,那一抹溫柔含蓄的笑容、慈愛而堅定的眼神,彷彿能化作一雙溫暖的手,輕輕撫慰著觀眾的心靈。

有趣的是,兩部電影都顛覆了傳統男強女弱、嚴父慈母的家庭角色,只是程度不同。《母親》裡對父親著墨不多,但故事正是從父親因反戰的政治立場被捕而開始的。乖巧的女兒每天寫信給他,告訴他家裡的情況,也沒能令他堅持到最後一刻。其中的內情,電影沒有仔細交代,我只感受到那父親臨終時難以言傳的絕望和悲憤,好像他個人理想幻滅,就能讓他失去活下去的動力,卻似乎沒有顧念到在外掙扎求存的妻子和女兒。《一個好爸爸》裡的黑社會老大,一直向女兒隱瞞自己的身分,鬧出不少笑話。他這樣做,想必是對自己沒信心,害怕女兒嫌棄自己,又擔心女兒的同學、老師、其他家長因為自己的身分看不起女兒。其實,這也反映了他強烈的自卑和不安。另外,黑社會老大的岳丈,是個愛面子的老冬烘,總覺得有點小男人的詼諧意味。

反觀《母親》和《一個好爸爸》裡的母親,一個外柔內剛,一個外剛內柔,都是因為丈夫不在而當上了一家之主,艱苦維持生計之餘,仍要照顧子女飲食起居,履行傳統賦予母親的責任。劉若英在《一個好爸爸》飾演第三位母親(黑社會老大的妻子),雖然丈夫健在,但管教女兒的時候像嚴父多於慈母;而且她是律師,財政獨立,社會地位比丈夫更高,也是香港電影中並不多見的母親形象。

我並不是抗議電影顛覆傳統,其實,歌頌女性的顛覆還是多多益善。我只是好奇,電影這樣描寫父親和母親的形象,是家庭和社會結構變遷的結果,還是怎的?是大男人痛悟前非,開始敢於面對自己的弱點,抑或女性後勁凌厲、氣勢逼人,不得不往她們臉上貼金?

Thursday, 24 July 2008

홍콩의 사계절

홍콩의 봄은 따뜾하고 눅눅하다.
비가 많이 내린다.
사람들이 설날을 경축한다.

홍콩의 여름은 덥다. 햇살을 찬란하다.
하지만 이따금 태풍이 불는다.
사람들이 바다로 가려고 수영을 한다.

홍콩의 가을은 서늘하다.
선생님들이 학생들을 영행을 지니고 간다.
사람들이 산으로 간다.

홍콩의 겨을은 추워고 건조하다.
날씨가 추워서 학교나 희사에 다니는 힘들다.
그래서 뜨거운 음식을 아주 좋아한다.

Monday, 21 July 2008

巧言令色

小時候在課文上讀過一句話:「巧言令色,鮮矣仁。」是《論語.學而》篇記載孔子的一句話。大意是說,孔子認為油嘴滑舌、討人歡心的傢伙,多半沒安甚麼好心。

當時年紀小,讀書不求甚解,也不太明白是怎麼一回事。沒想到長大以後,才體會到這句話的深意。

巧言令色者何?香港特區行政長官曾蔭權爵士是也。

長了這麼大歲數,從來沒見過能像曾蔭權那樣把「巧言令色」四個字發揮得如此淋漓盡致的人。遠的不說,就拿上星期三(七月十六日)他在立法會答覆議員質詢的話來做例子罷。

走在「新聞娛樂化」潮流尖端的香港傳媒,有關這次答問大會的報道,全都落在一些所謂「金句」、「警句」之上,立法會議員審議過甚麼法案、討論過甚麼議題,基本上沒有人關心。「喝香港水,流香港血」的曾蔭權深諳民情,所以幾乎每次公開露面也會提一些「金句」來吸引傳媒和公眾的注意。他看來著實非常享受「翠擁珠圍千人敬」的虛榮。

不過,身為行政長官,「翠擁珠圍」是必然的事,「千人敬」卻未必。上星期三曾蔭權重施故技,提出「民望於我如浮雲」和「親疏有別」新解,立時招來傳媒和公眾口誅筆伐。原因很簡單,因為大家都受不了他那言行不一的虛偽。

虛偽是一門高深的藝術,就像王漁洋所說,要做到「不著一字」,才能「盡得風流」。若是斧鑿痕跡太深、求工之心太切,只會適得其反。要哄騙人家,就得像韋小寶那樣繪形繪聲,令人心悅誠服,中計了還不自知,那才叫一流的上乘境界。終日擺出一副「請君入甕」的狡獪笑容,誰還肯上當?

一些厚顏無恥、指鹿為馬的親政府傳媒,不甘後人地為曾蔭權辯解,說「民望於我如浮雲」源出《論語.述而》篇,原文是:「子曰:『……不義而富且貴,於我如浮雲。』」既然富貴可以如浮雲,改成「民望」有何不可?其實,有多少香港人知道「富貴如浮雲」的真正出處?他們聽到這句話,馬上想到的是李嘉誠。因為他曾在數年前的《傑出華人》訪談節目中曾引用過這句話,來表達自己的高尚情操。也許李老先生是人到無求品自高,真箇視富貴如浮雲,但是對無數胼手胝足,才勉強在他集團旗下的企業賺取微薄收入的員工,或者是買了他集團興建的迷你型住宅、每個月得省吃儉用來償還按揭貸款的小業主來說,一句「富貴如浮雲」,跟「何不食肉糜」沒甚麼分別。曾爵士這一下拾人牙慧,等於在市民的傷口上灑鹽,招來猛烈批評也是意料中事。不過曾爵士素以少年時歷史科公開考試不及格為榮,看來也不會知道這段典故,也許仍是百思不得其解呢。

至於「親疏有別」呢?那本來是曾蔭權於二零零六年六月在立法會上的「名言」。當時他向立法會議員坦言,政府「親疏有別」是無可避免的政治現實,不想接受也得接受。「親疏」者何?那就得由眾位看官演繹了。事隔兩年,當我們看到曾蔭權執掌的政府,接二連三與親政府政黨排斥反對派、利用親政府傳媒選擇性發放重要的政策資訊,甚至任用不知道甚麼路數的所謂「公關顧問」、「嫡系人馬」來指揮政策溝通工作,往往弄得一塌糊塗、民怨沸騰而仍然毫無愧色,卻突然來一個「親疏有別」新解,說他「親疏」的對象是香港市民。如此文過飭非,如何叫人信服?更甚者,曾蔭權隆而重之地親往立法會答覆質詢,正是他民望大幅下滑之時。即使他真的視「民望如浮雲」,是否也應該考慮一下發言的時機?如果他真的不關心民望,而是全心全意為民服務,為甚麼不著手研究紓緩通脹、增強經濟實力的短、中、長期措施,而要賣弄巡視社區、親上立法會等爭取曝光率的技倆?

曾蔭權爵士,請用理據來說服我。順便一提,我自幼喜歡讀書寫字,也從事文字工作多年,你那些「金句」迷魂陣對我沒作用。請不要再用那些掩眼法來浪費時間,謝謝合作。

Sunday, 20 July 2008

敬業樂業

上星期有兩則娛樂新聞,令我在繁忙之中稍感欣慰。

第一,七月十二日晚上,秦煌在長洲乘渡輪時失足墮海,頭部受傷,縫了幾針,幸而沒有傷及腦部,在醫院休養幾天之後,昨天精神奕奕地出院了。

第二,余慕蓮在無線節目《向世界出發》擔任客席主持,只有三集,但這單元成為該節目收視率最高的單元。在祝捷記者會上,她高興地拿起一瓶香檳豪飲。

秦煌和余慕蓮,都是自小在電視上經常看到的配角演員,感覺比每年拜年時才見到的親戚還要親切溫暖。他們平日沒甚麼新聞,但往往比現時的所謂「人氣偶像」、「新聞人物」更能吸引我。所以聽說秦煌墮海受傷,著實為他擔心;聽說他無恙,暗暗也舒了一口氣。聽說余慕蓮的節目收視率最高,或者早前得到時裝設計師賞識,請她擔任模特兒,心裡也著實為她高興。

不知甚麼時候開始,看戲時的注意力往往落在演爸爸媽媽、爺爺奶奶,甚至街坊鄰里、黑社會老大、管理員、清潔女工的配角身上,對主角的興趣愈來愈淡薄,甚至常常覺得不耐煩。也許,這種戀舊,就是人到中年的明證。

除了戀舊,我也非常佩服那些默默耕耘、敬業樂業的配角演員,對他們的尊重和崇敬,恐怕比任何人都要高。他們辛苦數十年,可能連名字也沒幾個觀眾能記住,但他們仍然努力演好那些沒甚麼人注意的角色。秦煌算是比較幸運的一位,至少他在無線舊版《射鵰英雄傳》和《神鵰俠侶》飾演周伯通,已成為有口皆碑、無人不識的經典。余慕蓮演過哪些角色,恐怕連她自己也記不清了,但我永遠記得有一次她在《歡樂今宵》的惡搞電視頒獎典禮中,拿汪明荃的《秋瑾》來開玩笑。當時余慕蓮演一個肌肉痙攣、名叫「抽筋」的女子,臨刑時臉部不受控制,嘴巴往外斜,鏡頭就停在那個難看又滑稽的表情。現在以政治正確的角度來看,固然是辱沒了鑑湖女俠;但純粹以娛樂角度看,真的讓人笑破肚皮。這些年來她不介意被編導醜化,豁出去給觀眾帶來歡笑,光是這份敬業樂業、自我犧牲的精神,就值得香港市民頒贈一個勳章致謝。

有時候我在想,是甚麼原因令余慕蓮、秦煌這樣的老戲骨在演藝圈浸淫數十年?他們的待遇,不見得很理想,恐怕只是僅足餬口而已。例如余慕蓮在無線服務三十年,退休金只有二十多萬元,捐出八萬元在貴州興建希望小學,已是那筆退休金的三分之一。像無線這樣的大財團,欺壓員工已是家常便飯,但看到余慕蓮辛苦數十年才掙得一份微薄的退休金,仍不禁令人切齒握腕。

如果沒有豐厚的收入,又是甚麼原因令他們繼續堅守崗位呢?他們的戲分不見得很多,近年更是發揮的空間也極少,演來演去也是那些角色,不是爸爸媽媽、爺爺奶奶就是貪小便宜的鄰居,像早年可以讓他們盡情發揮的老頑童、女督察等角色已不復見。在這樣的環境下,恐怕再喜歡演戲的人,也會覺得氣餒罷?

面對收入不高、沒甚麼滿足感的工作,很多人早就不幹了。然而秦煌、余慕蓮和很多其他資深演員仍然默默耕耘,繼續做好自己的本分。我不知道是他們選擇接受,還是真的熱愛演戲,到了只要有戲可演,其他免談的地步。如果只是忍氣吞聲地接受,為甚麼他們仍然可以展現如此高水準的演出,絲毫沒有被心情影響?看過余慕蓮主持那幾集《向世界出發》的話,就會明白她的功力多麼深厚--完全不著痕跡,就像是她站在觀眾面前和我們手舞足蹈地說話一樣,七情上面,令人動容。從沒聽過一個綜藝節目的旁述可以如此精彩。

也許,我和很多香港人一樣,實在太自私了。我們在工作上往往只想到自己的待遇和感受,很少想到怎樣去維持自己的工作表現,不被個人情緒左右。但是,如果我們無奈接受一切不合理的待遇和工作環境,又會不會助紂為虐,把不合理變成合理?到時可能我們連像余慕蓮那樣贏得尊敬和認同的機會也沒有。

也許,這裡面的智慧,還得好好參詳。

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

即景感懷(兩首)

難消溽暑天,欲借好風眠。豈料昏鴉噪,驚夢復糾纏。

風雨橫斜日,蒼松煥發時。栽花徒有意,零落惜殘枝。