Sunday, 18 November 2012

Life Is Precious, Human or Animal

Last night I found a picture of a bleeding cat on Facebook. Taken from its back, the picture showed that the cat turned and dipped its head with blood pouring from its jaws. The person who took the picture said the cat had been kicked by at least two young men as if it were a ball. The poor little soul, unable to move anymore, was weeping and wailing. It was sent to the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for medical treatment.

This morning I read that the cat had been put to sleep due to critical injuries. Tears ran down my cheeks in silence.

I am never a vegetarian, and at this point I have no intention to be one. Neither am I any devout Buddhist who opposes to any form of animal killing. I confess that I do kill harmful pests that trespass my home. Yet I condemn violent abuse of animals like this, especially when human health and hygiene is by no means under threat.

I do not mean to defend carnivorism. At the end of the day, it is a matter of personal choice. And eating meat and seafood does not necessarily imply cruelty to other animals that are not for human consumption. Anyone can enjoy a beef steak and work for the interest of cats and dogs and other animals in the wild.

Tonight the news reported that two persons allegedly involved have been arrested. May justice be done for the poor little soul.

Life is precious, be it human or animal. May God have mercy on the kitty and let it rest in peace.

6 comments:

  1. Anonymous10:03 am

    It is sickening to see some people would treat animals so cruelly and senselessly. Hope the offenders are punished by the law.

    Samson
    Ontario, Canada

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Precisely. I do hope justice will be done for the kitty.

      Delete
  2. Anonymous10:53 am

    精神折磨與肉體折磨

    精神上的折磨所帶給一個人的傷害,遠遠大於肉體上的折磨。肉體上的折磨、毆打、鞭刑、等等的痛苦就在那一瞬間,瘀青終會復原。

    生命只有一次,而且去不再來,對于人來說,還能什麽比生命更珍貴的呢。花容易逝,激情容易消失,愛情容易褪色,疾病折磨,都是生命慣性的證明。求生是生命的本能,肉體無例外地都要走向死亡。

    思想、理論、主義都是專制。眼看反腐敗民運人士受盡百般痛苦與肉體折磨的人,有時會使人變得憤世嫉俗。六四是貪污腐敗政權的禁忌,李旺陽終被自殺。艾未未飽受精神層面的折磨 - 連續多天不關燈、被監視、被問話,讓艾未未精神消耗很大。

    人的獸性和憐憫心不斷地鬥爭著。

    生命不應受政權奴役。施用精神折磨與肉體折磨的人,目的是護航政權繼續貪污腐敗。偷攫高達三萬八千九百億美元的財富的人逃離無法根治的後遺症。

    內地政治運動令生靈塗炭、禮教蕩然。我們沒有忘記自己是中國人,擁有五千年歷史,與埃及、印度和巴比倫同樣傲視世界的璀璨文明,是每一個炎黃子孫引以為榮的錦繡山河。我們批評當權者,因為我們希望早日實現長治久安,自由富足。如果有人認為批評當權者就是不愛國,那是無知,只是我們愛國的方式,並非任何貪污腐敗的當權者所喜聞樂見而已。

    偉大或渺小,智慧或無知,最後,生命的盡頭是平等的。

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous4:09 pm

    A different subject. I happened having read Perry Lam’s article on 《桃姐 》in 亞洲週刊 that is attached for your information. Obviously I am not the only one taking exceptions to the film. By the way I bought a DVD of the film and my previous opinions remain unchanged.

    Samson,
    Ontario, Canada


    主僕情深的悲劇 .林沛理

    《桃姐》拍出主僕情深,卻渾忘反思桃姐的悲劇人生,以至對不仁不義的奴僕制度作出批判。


    ________________________________________


    林沛理,牛津大學出版社副總編輯,香港藝術發展局委員及藝術評論小組主席。著有《破謬.思維》、《英文玩家》及《玩起中文》,最新的一本書是《反語》(中國人民大學出版社)。

     

    十八世紀英國哲學家休謨(David Hume)畢生致力研究「人的科學」(the science of man)。他認為,人之所以為人,在於有所謂的「道德感」(moral sense),能夠以旁觀者(spectator) 身份,對行動者(agent)施加身受者(receiver)的行為,作出或褒或貶、震驚、憤慨、感動以至讚嘆的道德評價。

    我想,我不喜歡、甚至討厭港產片《桃姐》,就是因為它冒犯了我的道德感。我不想以道德主義者自居,但我真的很想知道,一套在道德上那麼令人反感甚至反胃(morally repulsive)的電影,竟然可以感動那麼多人;香港這個社會明辨是非的能力,英文所謂的「sense of right and wrong」,究竟出了什麼問題?

    如果導演許鞍華和編劇的moral sense不是那麼遲鈍,《桃姐》應該是一則關於悔恨、罪疚和遺憾的道德教訓。出身寒微的小女孩,從小就在大戶人家做「妹仔」、工人、奶媽和廚子。她終其一生淘空了自己,不僅不知幸福為何物,甚至連想像幸福的能力也沒有;只懂得一心一意侍奉她的少爺仔,以他的快樂為自己的快樂、他的幸福為自己的幸福。從心理學的角度而言,當個人在成長的過程中無法孕育出完整的自我意識(sense of self),以及建立有效的「主體性」(subjectivity)和「能動性」(agency),他\她便有可能像桃姐一樣,只能夠「透過別人來活自己的生命」(to live vicariously through someone else)。

    你可以說,終身不嫁、為主人鞠躬盡瘁、死而後已,是桃姐自己的選擇。問題是桃姐為了餬口,在人生最寶貴的黃金歲月為奴為婢為僕,而為奴為婢為僕又是一份特別消耗精力、時間和自尊的工作。到桃姐可以選擇離開的時候,她已經不懂得為自己而活。更何況那時的桃姐早已年老色衰,連交朋結友的基本社交能力也沒有!這就是典型的「選擇的矛盾」(the paradox of choice):當你千辛萬苦掙到選擇的權利(the right to choose)之時,選擇的意志(the will to choose)卻早已被磨平,可以讓你選擇的東西(options)更是少得可憐。

    你不用讀過馬克思,只需頭腦清醒一點,自會看到桃姐的一生不只是徹頭徹尾的悲劇,更是赤裸裸的剝削。心甘情願的奴役也是奴役,正如快樂的妓女也是妓女一樣,這已經是常識了。的確,桃姐是忠僕,她為主人所做的一切是voluntary servitude(自願的被奴役)而非sacrifice(犧牲)。所謂犧牲,是為了更重要和更有價值的東西而放棄手上重要和有價值的東西。幾乎是一無所有的桃姐,從未擁有過屬於自己的「重要和有價值的東西」——例如愛情、理想和自己的家庭——那即是說,根本連犧牲的條件也沒有,更遑論作什麼真正的犧牲了。

    作為一個創作人、一個藝術家,許鞍華最大的局限是無法用批判的眼光去審視她的題材。她將《桃姐》拍成一套講主僕情的窩心電影,全片只有一場戲最誠實:當桃姐病重,飾演大少Roger的劉德華對醫生說:「我要返大陸工作,如果發生什麼事情,請你把她直接送到殮房吧!」這場戲提醒我們,桃姐與Roger畢竟只是主僕關係。

    諷刺的是,正因為《桃姐》連最起碼的自我反省能力都欠缺,它才會成為一套賺人熱淚的溫情片,引起跨階層的廣泛共鳴。影片的宣傳句語是:你身邊有沒有一個桃姐?對不仁不義的封建制度的批判,被一種對有情有義的「老好日子」(good old days)的懷舊完全取代,簡直是混淆是非。實情是如果我們身邊沒有一個桃姐,應該覺得慶幸而不是遺憾。

    當然,《桃姐》是一套要娛樂大眾的電影,而不是一篇要批判社會的論文。可是,即使從戲劇的角度而言,加點筆墨寫桃姐的遺憾和Roger的內疚,人物的性格不是會更立體、故事的戲劇衝突不是會更尖銳嗎?演桃姐的葉德嫻幾乎得到一致好評,但桃姐其實是個蒼白、扁平、寫得欠完整和深度(underwritten)的角色——沒有自由意志,連內心世界(interiority)也沒有。葉德嫻把這個角色演得很像,卻沒有把它演活。她沒有超越劇本的限制,進入桃姐的內心世界去發掘她隱蔽、私人、可能連她自己也不知道的一面。■

    perrylam@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing. Actually I have been pondering the same issue as I left the cinema. I must say I did feel a bit guilty to consume someone else's unfortunate life. But I'm not sure if the so-called lack of free will and interiority of the protagonist is sufficient to cross out the film. I mean, whether you expect a commercial film like this to be touching, entertaining, inspiring or critically challenging the social norms is a matter of personal choice. How you see the film also reflects your views and expectations and the underlying value system. I admit that it is emotionally touching because it reminds me of the good old days when people tended to have closer bonds with each other. But that doesn't prevent me from being critical of its underlying assumptions and potential for misinterpretation - being dumped some reading that the authors never ever thought of.

      Delete
  4. Anonymous11:48 pm

    According to the media 许鞍华 plans to shoot 蕭紅傳 《黄金时代》. This will be a challenge job for her. She has many hurdles to cross apparently. First she has to satisfy the desire of investors for the film to be profitable. Secondly she has to make the film to meet the taste of the populace that is not very high generally. I am afraid the film may spend significant amount of time on the love life of 蕭紅 rather than her literature achievements and the tragic time. In the end it will be no better than those Korean soap opera TV series. I hope I am wrong in my prediction.

    Samson
    Ontario, Canada

    ReplyDelete

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