Sunday, 26 July 2009

隨想金庸

昨天下午和Shirley到旺角中大東華社區書院看「文從藝相,俠影成金--金庸小說版本展」,十分愜意。可惜我忘了帶相機,只好央Shirley代拍幾張照片。

雖然展覽廳面積很小,展品尚算豐富,而且碩果僅存的舊版單行本金庸小說均是全套展出,非常難得,至少比書櫥重門深鎖的澳門「金庸圖書館」大方得多。現在全四冊的《倚天屠龍記》,當年的初版單行本竟逾一百小冊。六年前的夏天,和Shirley在澳門舊區的古董小店不經意找到幾本零散的單行本,即使買不起,光是摸摸翻翻已是狂喜不支。只是這次的展品更珍貴,都放在玻璃匣中供人瞻仰,無緣翻閱。展櫃旁放了幾本彩色影印、製作精美的仿製品,總算是望梅止渴。

記得唸書時乘資料搜集之便,曾翻閱《明報》的微型膠卷,想一睹金庸小說初次連載時的面貌,可惜舊報紙製成膠卷之前,金庸小說的部分已被剪去,只留下一個個無法彌補的黑洞,令人氣餒。

這次除了歷年不同出版社印刷的金庸小說外,還有外語譯本和漫畫版展出。其中一本是崔成安執筆、以佳藝電視米雪、白彪「繪本」為封面的《射鵰英雄傳》漫畫,令我非常好奇,猜想漫畫裡面的人物造型是否也是以佳視當年的劇集為藍本?如果是的話,那不就是有機會看到「長城三公主」陳思思飾演的包惜弱了?

本來Youtube上有轉載無線收費電視經典台重播佳視版《射鵰英雄傳》的宣傳片段,可惜沒多久就被刪除,大概是因為無線投訴侵犯版權之故,真是小家子氣。長約一分鐘的片段就是穆念慈在大都街頭比武招親,引起郭靖和楊康(梁小龍飾)大打出手那一段,不過穆念慈被小王爺乘機取去的不是繡鞋,而是腰帶(!)。結尾約有三數秒是楊鐵心(秦沛飾)自盡的鏡頭,貴為金國趙王妃的包惜弱一身深藍色的衣裙,跪在丈夫身旁哭泣。可惜那一段沒有聲音,聽不到秦沛和陳思思的說話。就是這一鱗半爪,愈發叫人心癢難搔。

近年少有電視、電影改編金庸小說,而且有耐心看長篇小說的讀者似乎也愈來愈少,金庸小說能否成為香港文學不朽的神話,看來還是有點暗湧。七月份的《瞄》雜誌就有十頁紙的長文探討金庸小說,受訪的澄雨、也斯、吳靄儀等人比較悲觀,認為金庸小說所表達的感情,跟香港新一代的生活已經脫節;金庸小說對新讀者吸引力劇減,某程度上也解釋了為何沒有再改編自金庸小說的影視作品。即使有,恐怕現在也難再吸引青少年捧讀數十萬字的原著了。

猶幸這個展覽的觀眾甚多,展覽廳中黑壓壓的站滿了人,不少看來是跟隨喜歡金庸小說的父母而來的青少年。金庸小說是我少年時的主要讀物,不但令我對古代中國深深著迷,確定了求學的方向;更啟發了我不少做人處世的想法和取態。既然是有份引導我的良師益友,所以總希望金庸小說可以繼續受歡迎,不要在是非不分、感官先行的反智社會中敗下陣來。正因為滿眼烏煙瘴氣,我們更需要洗滌身心、匡扶正道的甘露清泉。

Saturday, 25 July 2009

文海隨筆--《李清照與朱淑真評傳》

千辛萬苦從孔夫子舊書店淘到這部《李清照與朱淑真評傳》的專著,沒料到竟是一部粉絲的夢囈,自然大失所望。所謂「評論」云云,其實跡近媚諂,根本不是嚴謹的學術文字。即使〈李清照與朱淑真之比較觀〉一章,也只是簡單地說兩人均稱「雋才」、「紅顏不幸」、「功夫天分各千秋」,就連討論寫作技巧也不過以「口語化」、「通俗化」、「推陳出新」、「不落俗套」、「完全是女人口吻」等泛泛之辭來形容,怎不教人意難平?這算是哪門子的「研究」?相較之下,施議對先生在《李清照全閱讀》一書對「易安體」「正-正-反」方程式的獨特見解就高明得太多。民國七十八年的臺灣商務印書館居然會出版這麼一部平庸之作,又沒有給取個穩妥持平的名稱,也算奇事。

全書最有價值的就是轉載黃盛璋先生的〈趙明誠、李清照夫婦年譜〉及〈李清照事跡考辨〉兩篇鴻文,考證詳盡、見解精闢,給明、清時代一廂情願地為李清照再嫁「辯誣」之說予以有力的反駁,開創近代李清照生平研究之先河,值得細讀。尤其是〈李清照事跡考辨〉一文,附有宋高宗從金陵南下避難與李清照追隨御舟日程及路線的比較列表和地圖,資料彌足珍貴,極具參考價值。近年有關李清照的研究,似乎尚未突破黃盛璋先生逾半世紀以前的創見,可見其學術成就和研究成果不同凡響。

Friday, 17 July 2009

《李察三世》觀後

看了香港話劇團《李察三世》,頗感失望。

從來沒看過以粵語改編的莎士比亞劇作,《李察三世》是第一次。但似乎粵語不太適合演繹莎士比亞的作品,聽演員唸白時,總是覺得有點別扭。如果對白太接近書面語,唸起來就像朗誦一樣,不符合粵語生動活潑的談吐習慣;但如果太口語化,又顯得通俗無文,讓觀眾缺少了含英咀華的享受。其實這次《李察三世》的粵語對白,也算是翻譯得相當成功,文白之間較為平衡,但瑕疵仍然不少。演員對於劇本文白之間的掌握還是稍欠火候,大都以一般通俗化的方式處理對白,就很容易落入通俗易懂的窠臼,牲犧了原著的語言特色。想窺探翻譯劇本的文字功力?唯有分神去看字幕了。

除了語言的局限,令文字上的享受打了折扣,最令人失望的就是改編和演繹,偏重於交代故事情節,而非揭示人物的深層個性。簡單來說,就是有「劇味」而無「戲味」。

經典戲劇之所以百看不厭,不只是靠曲折離奇、出人意表的情節,更重要的是動人心弦的感情,為觀眾營造感情上的震撼和共鳴。坦白說,即使是最曲折離奇的劇情,看一次就瞭然於胸,根本沒有推動觀眾重溫的吸引力。但感情卻可以歷久常新,同一個人物,由不同演員的演繹,也可以帶來簇新的觀賞角度和體驗。不知道是我坐得太遠,還是導演真的偏重於搬演一代梟雄的發跡史,我真的完全感受不到身體殘障、野心勃勃的李察,為甚麼對權力如此著迷?為甚麼如此不擇手段,連自己的親生兄弟也不惜犧牲?是為了彌補身體殘障、備受白眼的自卑心理,還是非比尋常、極度偏激的身殘志不殘?最後他如願以償登基為王,但隨即面臨內憂外患的嚴峻考驗,竟然良心發現、噩夢連連。為甚麼在「良知未泯」這節骨眼上,前文完全沒有暗示和伏筆?

更耐人尋味的是林保怡飾演的白金漢,到底與李察有何交情?有何共同利益?為甚麼會明知道李察的喜怒無常,仍然把賭注押在他身上?白金漢憑甚麼認為自認鐵石心腸、權力重於一切的李察,會對自己推心置腹,毫無猜疑?

一切就是那麼順理成章、理直氣壯,彷彿連半點關於動機的解釋也是多餘的,更遑論揭示人物的深層性格。也許這是編劇為了遷就演出時間所作的取捨,但卻犧牲了戲劇最引人入勝的本質--透過對人性的刻劃和揭示,感動人心、啟發思考--我實在無法苟同。血腥的殺戮場面只能逞一時官感刺激,始終難以為繼,今天有斷頭台、釘床夾板,下一次、再下一次能有甚麼?

常說劇本是一劇之本,好演員固然可以錦上添花,相得益彰,最多也只能雪中送炭,卻不能化腐朽為神奇。朽木不可雕,再靈巧、再老練的匠師也無可奈何。看鍾景輝演繹李察,總是感到一點大材小用、虎落平陽的悲涼。

Saturday, 11 July 2009

文海隨筆--《唔該,埋單》

讀完呂大樂教授的《唔該,埋單》(增訂本),於我心有戚戚焉。

很同意他對香港歷史的論述,相信不少在香港生活、對香港有感情的讀者,也是一樣。例如他談到香港人的歷史觀,往往源於生活細節和體驗,並非以意識形態或政治取向為基礎,這一點我就很有共鳴。記得小時候聽長輩談起六十年代,大都會說樓下閂水喉、六七暴動、颱風溫黛等天災和社會事件,甚至是林翠下嫁比她年輕的王羽、陳寶珠蕭芳芳影迷互不相讓等八卦娛樂新聞。然後再說限制供水時自己是怎樣辛苦排隊取水、暴動時怎樣避過暴徒繞路上班下班等。如今想來,他們口中的歷史事件,不過是人生的布景板。歷史只是一些虛無縹緲的故事,就像看電視劇一般,聽起來很有趣,但卻毫不實際。歸根究柢,還是得腳踏實地工作,改善生活。畢竟,生存才是最重要的。

這種「實際至上」的想法,在香港的確很普遍,大夥兒習慣了,也覺得理所當然,沒有甚麼不妥。而這也是他認為「香港意識」淺薄、難以凝聚共識的根本原因。因為「實際至上」,所以無論遇上甚麼不公平、不合理的事情,我們隨便發洩幾句、或者上街遊行之後,還是乖乖的回到工作崗位上,默默忍受那些不公平和不合理,直至我們找到另一份工作或者存夠移民的資產為止。但我在想,如果香港真的要轉型為政府倡議的知識型經濟,鼓勵創新、發展創意產業,我們的頭腦和心態能否應付得來?如果改變不了這種心態,我們是否真的能夠培養到一流的創意人才?在知識型經濟之中,最重要的不是配套和投資優惠,而是人才。如果我們仍然沿用吸引傳統工業和服務業的思維來扶植創業產業,是否緣木求魚、不切實際?

呂教授另一個觀點:「講故,更要駁故」,我也是非常認同的。這些年來,看過不同時代、不同社會文化背景人士撰述的歷史,愈來愈感到歷史就像一幅永遠砌不完的砌圖。為甚麼呢?即使歷史事件是客觀存在的,學者論述時也必須經過取捨和剪裁,而論述的角度、編寫的手法、沒有著錄的人物和資料等,其實都是歷史的一部分。某些真相可能因為天災人禍而永遠湮沒在時間的長河中,但也有一些真相可能要等待某個時機,才可以重新出土。論述中的取捨,往往是以論述者的角度、動機、經驗和其他因素來判斷其優劣和重要程度,並無放諸四海皆準的客觀標準可循。因此,如果只是接受或容許某種論述的角度,視野和思維就會受到嚴重局限;而歷史砌圖的某些對其他論述者和參與者來說十分重要的部分,也可能因為這種人為的偏頗而永遠消失。

這本書原是一九九七年的舊作,二零零七年由香港牛津大學出版社再版增訂本。原作我沒讀過,但據呂教授的〈再版序〉,修改的篇幅不多,主要是加插了一篇後記〈有落,後數〉。這篇後記主要是補充回歸十年以來的一些觀察。呂教授認為香港戰後嬰兒潮的一代,面對回歸後的種種問題,開始叩問自己可以做些甚麼來扭轉劣勢,頗有重返戰後香港人自食其力、不倚仗(其實是不相信?)政府的想法。可能我比呂教授更悲觀、也太犬儒,目前我還看不到這種趨勢,反而看到不少所謂民間團體,不過是有人在建制以外鑽空子撈油水的幌子而已。

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Thoughts of MJ Memorial

I never knew I would watch Michael Jackson's memorial.

I am never a fan of his, although I do know some of his songs by heart. Why I can no longer recall. I only start to believe my childhood memory was too good and receptive to everything that comes into sight and hearing.

I watched simply because I didn't feel like sleeping. I knew too well it was bad for health to stay up throughout the night. I knew I was going to suffer without enough and quality sleep. But there was an urge inside me to keep me awake.

Awake until this point of time with only three hours of sleep.

Michael Jackson's memorial was generally warm and peaceful, although there were inevitably some disturbances of flattery and exaggeration. Brooke Shields' emotional retrospect of their friendship was among the best, if not the best of all. Yet I couldn't help being speechless when someone asked online who Brooke Shields is. It just reminds me of how old I am.

Emotions were what gave it warmth. Solemnity was what made it peaceful. For some reasons similar occasions in Chinese contexts are often made into artificial and hypocritical encounters that few of us attend as anything than a ritual, or worse still, a performance. This is also why Elizabeth Taylor's excuse for her absence is perfectly understandable to the Chinese reader. After all, it was but a good show.

I watched the memorial programme calmly and quietly until the intro chores of "We Are the World" were played softly. Making up key words in the lyrics, symbols of the world's leading religions flickered on the screen, squeezing tears from my eyes.

Words can't describe what I feel when I heard the song produced more than 20 years ago. I couldn't help but thinking about the terrifying violence in Xinjiang since Sunday. Footage of victims soaked in blood, angry men clamouring with weapons in their hands, heartbroken Uyghur women asking the authorities to release their sons, brothers and husbands kept replaying in my head. Although the world has improved little over the years since "We Are the World" was first sung, it is even more tragic to see the bloodshed in Urumqi when the United States has finally made the change and elected its first black president in office.

Perhaps change is also one of the most frequently used words of Michael Jackson's. He kept changing the way he looked and performed. He endeavoured to make this world a better place for you and me. Although it requires too much more than any individual's effort to have a visible change to this world, he tried. Of course he was capable of trying, but more importantly, he was also courageous enough. He changed the way he worked by staying true to himself.

But why is it now so difficult to change the way one behaves without changing the true self? Why is it now so hard to convince myself into a special type of schizophrenia when actions and personal will can be disconnected?

Sunday, 5 July 2009

滄海拾遺--曾被我擁有

雪仍下個不休
凝聚滿山丘
是這麼清幽
小小雪片滿飛舞
輕輕飄進我的手
停下作小休

再重入雪山中
帶一點傷感
淨化一顆心
輕輕吻遍我的臉
輕輕撫遍我的手
求讓我擁有

鋪滿一雙手
我捉到片片雪花
它變一點水
瞬息間不再擁有

愛情又似雪花
曾在我的手
但卻不可久
真的愛意永不朽
不管它有多麼久
曾被我擁有

真的愛意永不朽
曾被我擁有

作曲、編曲:郭小霖
填詞:鄭國江
專輯:淑女/黑夜的豹

仔細重聽《淑女/黑夜的豹》專輯後,才發覺這可能是Anita最underrated的唱片。

兩首主打歌《淑女》和《黑夜的豹》,都是節奏強勁的快歌,而且歌詞的內容,都是承襲《妖女》以來欲擒故縱、把男人當獵物的角度,把Anita塑造成表裡不一、令人又愛又恨的欲望對象。這類歌曲約佔整張專輯的一半。唱片的另一半都是抒情慢歌,較有名的就是《一舞傾情》,無論旋律、曲風和意境,與《淑女》和《黑夜的豹》迥然不同,更接近《朝朝暮暮》、《轉走舊時夢》、《今夜只因你》等滄海遺珠。

雖然曾經很喜歡《朝朝暮暮》,不過,若說這張專輯中我最喜愛的歌曲,仔細想去,還是這首《曾被我擁有》。

以前喜歡《朝朝暮暮》,主要是因為歌詞裡描寫兩人天各一方,兩顆心似近還遠、隔閡漸深的無奈,還有前奏編曲的迷離跌宕。但是反覆聽過《曾被我擁有》之後,覺得境界更高、更堪玩味,所以要選專輯中我最喜愛的歌曲,還是選這一首。

印象中鄭國江老師為Anita填的詞不算多,最有名的大概就是改編自Wham!名作《Careless Whisper》的《夢幻的擁抱》。鄭老師填寫的西曲中詞,往往能夠保留原作的情境和韻味,卻絕非一字一句的直譯,功力之深湛,令人讚嘆。這次填寫《曾被我擁有》,禪味極濃,配合郭小霖充滿傳統中國小調韻味的編曲,空靈幽遠,相得益彰。

就連Anita的歌聲,也好像被某種特別技術處理過似的,竟然有點不吃人間煙火的脫俗幽邈。前奏那段似是漫不經意、隨心而發的哼歌,更是為全曲的基調一錘定音,懾人心魄。

聽這首歌的時候,總是想起傳說中的「香雪海」,在某個隆冬的下午,滿山瀰漫著梅花的香氣,雪花翩然而下,很快就鋪滿了伸出去的雙手。可是過不多久,手上的雪花就融化成水點,只要雙手微微抖動,水點就給抖落淨盡,了無痕跡。可是那觸手的冰冷,卻可以銷魂蝕骨,永誌難忘。

雖然歌詞說的是愛情,其實人生在世,千頭萬緒,到頭來如夢幻泡影,如露亦如電,還不是一樣?重要的不是生命的長短,而是到底有沒有經歷過。

滄海拾遺--今夜只因你

黃暗火光無意映於玻璃
柔和地照沉醉小天地
汗已染透髮端
濕暖著這空氣
為你輕呵耳畔
熱暖雙手開啟我心扉

陶醉枕於強壯可親的手臂
迷糊莫理明晨夢散在何地
就算世界變更
今晚夜只因你
讓我一生充滿溫馨與希冀

帶來一切統統交給你
既是前生拖欠
我自然盡情還贈你
假使一生光陰消散去
自我都完全忘記
仍舊念這晚深深吻我是你

作曲、編曲:鮑比達
填詞:潘偉源
專輯:淑女/黑夜的豹

若不是每年十二月的歌迷紀念活動以「今夜只因你」為題,還記不起原來Anita《淑女/黑夜的豹》專輯中有過這麼一首歌。

翻出來仔細聽了又聽,竟然又是一首沒紅起來的滄海遺珠。

不知為甚麼,這首歌的編曲、歌詞和意境,總教我聯想到某個下著雪的聖誕夜,一雙戀人在溫暖的房子裡相偎相倚,壁爐中火光明滅,把房子染成一片金黃,就連聖誕樹的裝飾品,還有餐桌上晶瑩剔透的玻璃杯和葡萄酒,都在火光中閃閃發亮。

Anita的歌聲,就像當年傳聞鄧寄塵在廣播劇中一人扮演多角,可以按照歌曲的風格和意境隨意調整,例如《IQ博士》的童聲、《似水流年》看破世情的無奈和淡然、《親密愛人》中猶如滴出蜜糖來的膩聲等。雖然未至於認不出來,但單憑聲音就可以表達不同層次喜怒哀樂的功力,實在教人佩服。

Anita演繹《今夜只因你》的歌聲,正是我最喜歡她剛中帶柔、層次分明的當行本色,彷彿那就是她在摯愛之人面前的自白書,令人怦然心動。

歌曲初段描寫兩人相處時的親暱,Anita的聲線柔和甜膩,又有點懶洋洋的感覺,讓人想像到一個熱戀中的女生,靠在男朋友身上,雙頰微紅、微醺薄醉的模樣。到了中段,兩人訂情之時,女生說出了誓言,一副義無反顧的樣子,頗有古樂府《上邪》的味道。 即使比不上《上邪》用詞的石破天驚,Anita還是愈唱愈高亢,真有一往無前、絕不後悔的堅定。可是來到「自我都完全忘記」這一句,為了鋪墊下一句提到親吻自己的戀人,聲音陡地放輕,好像那女生對著蒼天立誓之後,又回到情人的懷裡撒嬌一般。

在Anita眾多作品之中,歌迷選擇以知名度不高的「今夜只因你」作為紀念活動的名稱,已可見他們的心思和擁護Anita的真情。只是不知道這首歌會否在紀念活動中播放,好讓年輕的歌迷和旁觀者也知道,在《親密愛人》之前,Anita曾經有過這麼一首溫馨浪漫的佳作。

Saturday, 4 July 2009

When Reading Becomes a Luxury

What a pleasure it is to read the latest issue of Muse Magazine discussing the timelessness of Jin Yong novels, my favourite books since teenage.

While the variety of commentators interviewed and the breadth of their perspectives are rarely seen in any other interview published in Hong Kong, I couldn't help being disappointed with the interview's failure to discuss the popularity of Jin Yong novels, as a genre, in the context of social and cultural development of Hong Kong.

Let me provide my two-penny worth here: When and where reading becomes a luxury, no literary works would be timeless. Both Jin Yong novels and Dream of the Red Chamber and other titles that have survived centuries are no exceptions.

In the interview with Muse Magazine, television and film critic Chingyu was correct to point out that between 1976 and 2001, when most film and television adaptations were produced, Jin Yong novels enjoyed the height of popularity. Before discussing whether Jin Yong novels would be timeless, however timelessness is defined, we need to understand the social context under which Jin Yong novels have lost their magic to contemporary readers and the younger generations. Why are Jin Yong novels less popular than they were decades ago? What are the reasons or contributing factors? Unfortunately those interviewed by Muse Magazine, even professors of Chinese language and literature from local universities did not even bother to offer their perspectives. They just offered their observations that people nowadays are less sensitive to words and do not really care about language as much as their predecessors did. I do not disagree with their observations, which are by and large similar to mine. Yet I think the more important question is why it happens as it does.

In my opinion, the social context that enabled Jin Yong novels and their contemporary competitors to enjoy such overwhelming popularity simply no longer exists in Hong Kong.

For one thing, as many historians and sociologists have already written, the robust economic growth and lucrative gains from stock and property speculations over the past decades have groomed the prevalence of money or economic benefits as the ultimate value in Hong Kong. Anything that does not necessarily contribute to improving the economic conditions of the person is ruthlessly ignored or dispersed. Time and efforts are devoted, almost exclusively, to maximise monetary and other forms of benefits. Essentially, this extraordinary belief is penetrated into government policies to promote high land prices before 1997 and parents' frenzy to squeeze their children into business schools or any other fields of study that seem to secure handsomely paid jobs upon graduation. Under these circumstances, it is no surprise that reading is reduced to a means of pursuing and maximising economic benefits. For many years, this has been confirmed by the non-fiction bestselling lists at local chain bookstores and the books recommended by the so-called prominent figures in Hong Kong.

For another, thanks to the rise of television and computer, generations bred on graphic-based communications have no appetite or patience for language. Their predominant exposure to immediate, straightforward sensual stimulus has deprived them of the pleasure of imagination cultivated by language. Literary works are often appreciated not in literary terms but the emotions, ambiences and overtones between the lines. However, those who are used to pictorial forms of communication might find it difficult to comprehend messages discreetly articulated. At a time when directness and simplicity are far more appreciated than abstraction and subtlety, the demise of language-based literary works seems inevitable. It is not a question of yes or no, but a question of time.

Even for those who are genuinely interested in reading, it has become increasingly difficult to allocate ample time for this satisfying hobby. Hectic lifestyle, busy schedules at work and the availability of mobile communication technologies such as mobile telephone and emails have deprived us of ample leisure time and a peace of mind. We are supposed to remain in standby mode 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are supposed to stay tuned and connected when we are on holidays. We are supposed to contribute at least 120 percent in order to stay in our jobs and make our ends meet. Against this background, reading for leisure has become nothing less than a luxury. How can we expect them to appreciate the thick volumes of Jin Yong novels, which can exceed a million words in a single title?

Another factor that may prevent Jin Yong novels from being timeless is their diminishing relevance to people's lives in Hong Kong. Although this was frequently cited in the Muse Magazine interview as a deterrent to Jin Yong novels' timelessness, the interviewees did not seem to go further and elaborate on their views of the reasons behind.

Again my interpretation is related to the money-comes-first mentality prevalent in Hong Kong. In a community where economic benefits are the ultimate value and the locomotive of all endeavours, including education, political agenda and participation, how can we expect patriotism, loyalty, integrity and friendship vigorously promoted by Jin Yong novels to be able to appeal to readers? When nothing appears more important than numbers on the books and human beings are reduced to salary slaves and profiteering tools, wouldn't it be counterproductive to keep reminding yourself as an individual of dignity, integrity and respectability? When young people are taught to calculate return of investment in whatever they do, how can the Jin Yong heroes who only achieve great martial arts skills after a long time of devotion and tireless practice?

This also explains why Wei Xiaobao in Duke of the Mount Deer remains the favourite Jin Yong hero in Hong Kong. His slyness, opportunist instincts and incredible luck that makes him a billionaire with seven beautiful wives provides the perfect example of the success story many here in Hong Kong have been looking for.