And I Love You Three



— FOR R.

Do numbers count? Exactly how much
is the anniversary
of a mystery? When I finished school
with a diploma in you, we
took up all our time,
meaning those myriad minor-finer details
of How? Why? Where? What? Who?
hardly ever made even half a lip-print on memory.
Those first few Eden leaves grew up largely
unnoticed — seamless
and quite ruly — there
where loving makes a living out of dearth,
in all its forms . . .
In the three spheres,
in the nine heavens,
in the eighteen unspeakably shameless hells
it is you-you-you
whom I with my triple hammered stutter
call SOLE and SINGLE WONDER of the WORLD.

A Russian Soldier Reflects


To write in sickly pink ink
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
on a plain lethal war-drone
and to decorate your message
with clumsy, childish sketches
of a wrapped beribboned gift,
of sky-high starburst fireworks,
of a bulbous, cartoon bomb (BOOM)
and to fire it in the direction
of ice-cold-blooded civilian manslaughter,
before pulling in your mind’s eye’s mirror
that all-too-humanly inhuman face.

A Vivid Sonic Somnolence

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


The rain has no space in it for hopelessness
or hope — its tactile
aural braille
spells away everestless longing for elsewhere’s
president drift. Drop
to drop,
it is the one identical tranquil outpour,
gentle beyond the creep of thought,
idea’s nadir.
An empty bedroom heard through rain
is what sleep’s marvellous nervous system must sound like from within,
if we could sleep and wake —
both listening and lucid —
in exactly the same time.

《新心界》:「好似斷咗線嘅風箏咁」

After spending the whole day out with friends — first in Tai Po, then at Kadoorie Farm, and finally at the village of Fong Ma Po where both the Sea Goddess Temple and the famous Wishing Trees are — 陳之一 Chan Chi-yat lives up to his reputation as a 掃帚星 or magnet for bad luck when he returns to Sha Tin later that night . . .

Soundtrack: “Barbarism Begins at Home


離開嘉道理搭車返大埔之前,大家先去睇吓林村放馬莆嘅天后廟同埋附近嘅許願樹,但因為唔係農曆新年,冇人想向神樹提出任何願望,反而向樖樹講咗好多吉祥嘅說話。然後,五人決定喺大埔揾間餐廳食晚飯。今日下晝大家玩得特別開心,所以晚飯亦都食得十分痛快,氣氛份外高興,令到大家傾得更加埋,閒聊嘅話題亦都比平時廣闊,天南地北、亳無保留:其中涉及到陳之一嘅兒子、阿綠嘅兩個父親、孚翠對於香港生活嘅種種憂慮同不安、蛾鬼整蠱友人嘅習慣、阿奇對於香港獨立嘅睇法等等。不過,對澳洲火柴人嚟講,最難忘嘅係凡傑談及香港地理環境時所講嘅一句:「本港每嚿石頭話成係香港《創世紀》中一個單詞,嚿嚿拼埋起嚟就可以開始閱讀呢啲詞所講嘅創世故事。」

總之,陳之一返到沙田東鐵站嘅時候已經好夜。落車之後,乘客好快就往四處分散,收尾月台淨係剩低佢一個獨自人企喺度,集中聆聽由道風山上傳嚟嘅夜蟲叫聲,係好奇妙嘅一種集體鳴聲,令到寧靜逐啲變得愈聽愈深。上世紀五十年代初期,創立「萬佛寺」嘅月溪法師聽到嘅大概就係呢啲織蟀、草蜢同埋蟬不停吱吱喳喳嘅啼鳴聲。當其時,由於沙田嘅自然環境仲未遭受「發展商」嘅殘忍毀壞,所以月溪仲可以聽到淤泥灘上嘅蝙蝠倒掛喺紅樹上倒掛時發出嘅尖厲叫聲,有時又會聞到吐露港略帶澀澀味嘅海風。諗到呢一點,男人突然醒起阿綠最後嘅警告:新聞報道話,今晚沙田街道有人進行示威、堵塞公路,睇嚟有可能會再度發生警民衝突。一講曹操,曹操就到,呢個時候,近處就響起一下震耳欲聾嘅槍聲——唔通警方放緊催淚彈?陳之一有少少擔心,但係由於佢嘅方向感好差,攪到好難判斷槍聲究竟喺邊度嚟。好好彩車站係連接新城市廣場嘅,萬一外邊真係有啲咩事,佢都可以捐入商場避難。

踏上扶手電梯,啱啱進入廣場中堂嗰時,陳之一就聽到舊時英文成日講嘅「大自然嘅呼喚」,即係 the call of nature,於是就嗱嗱聲箭步直奔往 agnes b. 隔籬嘅公廁。入咗厠所裏邊,襲擊耳朵嘅係特登播放嘅爵士音樂,同具體衛生設備實在脫節得太犀利。男人心諗,嗰個旋律所代表嘅瀟灑、不可一世、虛榮心等等嘅情態半秒鐘就開始無情進攻,對佢嘅内心世界既從容又有把握咁,緩慢侵略過嚟,好似一線線絲綢一樣,將佢敏感嘅五官緊緊包紮住。幾分鐘之後,當佢行到公廁出面嘅走廊嗰陣,澳洲瘦削者依然被啱啱嘅噪音污染纏繞不放。咁橋,男人呢個時候忽然之間收到「繁益翻譯公司」老闆白先生嘅短訊,訊息上話有急事,本來聽朝開會需要嘅一篇陳之一翻譯嘅關鍵文件無啦啦唔見咗。男人確定一下,當時已經係夜晚九點九,但一生養有嘅盡責精神強逼陳之一,令佢專心一意咁想儘快返到屋企幫老細忙。

不過,呢刻新城市廣場已經變咗樣,原本平安無事嘅氣氛而家消失得無影無蹤。男人行入中堂嘅時候,第一時間就有一枝灌滿可樂嘅膠樽喺上層高出速掟落嚟,撞到扶手電梯再彈出去,相當有力咁擊中陳之一左邊嘅膊頭,跟住佢就倒往側邊一間鋪頭嘅平面玻璃櫥窗上,同一時間又將手上拎住嘅電話丟咗落地下。到處都有人大聲尖叫同埋亂跑:男人估計示威者已經闖入商場裏邊。突然間,一個後生男人向陳之一嘅位置奔跑過嚟,好似被另外一個人追緊;逃跑者一邊跑一邊不時往後擰轉頭,所以一直冇留意到陳之一,最後就被半坐半瞓嘅澳洲排骨精絆倒在地上。尾隨其後嘅一個警員,由於身穿裝備俱全,令到眩暈無力嘅陳之一即刻諗起呢排備受新聞關注嘅「速龍小隊」。當警員跑到陳之一身邊,伸出一隻手想捉住嗰個示威人士之際,電梯另一邊忽然竄嚟三至五個人,用手持嘅雨遮瘋狂咁一直往警員身上左打右㩧;呢隻非速非龍嘅速龍成員終於失足跌落嚟,攪到收尾有兩個對手喺昏頭昏腦嘅澳洲人身上左右扭動。

男人就嚟昏厥嗰刻,腦海失驚無神諗起廣東話比賽期間見到嘅旗幟,又一次喺佢眼前揈嚟揈去。同上次唔一樣嘅係,原先揮旗嘅女人已經唔見咗,令到男人困惑不解。跟住之後,旗幟蛻變成為紙鷂,喺屏山南北路上空中翺翔。唔係喎!陳之一隱隱約約咁意識到自己無意中犯咗錯:地點應該係烏溪沙碼頭。冇幾耐之後,呢次幻覺再度發生轉變,喺男人眼前有兩隻紙鷂同時喺高空出現——兩隻進行緊鬥爭嘅風箏!風箏忽而遠遠對峙,忽而迎面碰撞,一回接住一回咁相互攻擊。經過好一番鬥爭之後,其中一隻被對手嘅刀片鎅斷!隨後,陳之一好似斷咗線嘅風箏咁由高處緩慢地跌落吐露港,等到穿破海面之際,轉眼間一切就係一片黑暗。

Oidentifierade objekt, oidentifierade känslor | Översatt av Stefan Albrektsson

Photo by Bruno Thethe on Pexels.com


Svävande vagt märker du att de inte riktigt passar ihop:
dessa flygande mobila källor i din atmosfär
här vid känslornas yttersta främmande gräns.

Gåtfulla punkter utan återvändo,
flyger en sekund eller två över distraherade nerver,
lämnar aldrig någonsin minnet.

Du vet bara att de har varit,
inte vad de betyder – oidentifierade känslo-objekt
för något du inte kommer att vara än

eller för någon trångbodd självgodhet –
likt en koloni sjöfåglar på en skarp klippa –
som missar allt genom sitt ständiga pladder,

men där du, vanligtvis, inte kan höra
deras finstämda halvspådomar inom dig,
de knappt hörbara fossila vattnens undertoner.

Touch Down

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


I had my hair cut last week right here on the stone veranda.
Now,
a diligent wattlebird
strand by strand
extracts the scattered silver filaments
off moss.
I find it heartening to think
that this soft
most dispensable part of myself
could help Spring’s best, next brood
hatch
a fraction less harshly out into this world.

Hagiasma (The Manual Minimalist)

Photo by 7inchs on Pexels.com


One day you will wash your hands
of their grip — no more grasping,
clenching, holding on
and on
and on for dear life.
Smooth out your palms in that otherworldly water
and wonder:
“And so, where did they go to,
my fists?” In Winter,
rinse them under the bathroom’s warm tap,
while in Summer dip them if you can in some cool pool
or in the salt marine green
of a sea.
A brand-nude world will meet you at your fingertips —
feel your hands heal;
feel them hale,
whole; and remember the colossal
agile whale, she whose heart is neither here nor there
and who hoards to the end
not one drop in her giant fins.

One-minute Wonderful Short Cantonese Videos: I Am a Porcupine!


In this magical one-minute deleted scene from周冠威 Kiwi Chow’s 2019 film 《幻愛》(literally “hallucinated love”, but officially rendered into English as “Beyond the Dream”), the two main characters try to get to know one another. 阿樂 Ah Lok, who has suffered from a mental breakdown that causes him to have hallucinations, is all sweetness and circumspection, while the psychologist 葉嵐 Yip Lam (the character 嵐 is pronounced làahm4 and means “haze; vapour; mist”) is the prickly one — having been damaged herself as a child, she strives to find security in her professional persona . . .

The Cantonese word for “porcupine” is 箭豬 jin3 jyū1 or “arrow pig”. And it is true that the spines can really stab (㓤 gāt1 in Cantonese). Martin Booth describes his encounter with one in Chapter 7 of his Hong Kong memoir, Gweilo:

The porcupine stopped at the roadside and faced me. Now that I could see it clearly, it was huge, three feet long and bulky. Its nose was blunt, like a beaver’s, its quills black and white. It shivered. The quills rattled. Then it was off, running clumsily down Harlech Road and into the twilight. It was only later that a Chinese friend of my mother’s told me that porcupines could kill a leopard cat with their quills.

Needless to add that, in the end, Yip Lam’s expert armour is no match for Ah Lok’s sincerity or for the purity of his affection.

You can watch the video here


阿樂:你輔導嘅時候呢 | 好似變咗另一個人咁喎

葉嵐:我其實鍾意輔導時嘅我多啲 | 幫人分析問題 | 我可以好清晰 | 但係冇咗呢個身份 | 有時我都唔知自己 *je 想點 | 我鍾意見 client 嘅感覺 | 多過見朋友

阿樂:你好鍾意幫人 | 但係你會怕同人太親密

葉嵐:好似隻箭豬咁 | 行得太近會㓤嚫對方

阿樂:同我唔怕咩?

● 輔導 fuh6 douh6 = to give guidance in study or coaching; to coach; to counsel | ● 清晰 chīng1 sīk1 = distinct; clear | ● 親密chān1 maht6 = close; intimate | ● 箭豬 jin3 jyū1 = a porcupine | ● 㓤 gāt1 (or 拮) = to stab; to pierce; to prick

Note: Yip and Matthews refer to 嚫 chān1 as an adversative particle. It is added to verbs and means “to one’s misfortune, whether physical or psychological” (Intermediate Cantonese: 79). Yip Lan adds it to the verb 㓤 gāt1 to give the sense of “stabbing” or “jabbing”, with the clear implication that hurt is inflicted.

Ah Lok: When you are counselling, it’s as if you become a different person.

Yip Lam: I prefer the me [I am] when I am counselling. I can be very clear when analyzing [other] people’s problems, when I am not in that role [呢個身份 = lit. “this status”], sometimes I don’t know what is going on in my head [想點]. I like the feeling I have [when] seeing a client more than the feeling I have [when] seeing friends.

Ah Lok: You like to help people, but you’re afraid of getting to close to them.

Yip Lam: [I’m] just like a porcupine: if I get too close I can jab the other person [對方].

Ah Lok: But aren’t you afraid being with me?

Learning Cantonese: Chiang Hiu-mei’s Tuen Mun Character


What is the relation of place to personality? In this video, writer 蔣曉薇 Chiang Hiu-mei speaks at length of her feelings for Tuen Mun, a new town “developed” in the 1970s. She argues that the relative isolation from both business and fashion pressures can result in a more independent character, one with a rhythm and speed all of its own.

The best proof of this is in Chiang’s writing. The novel she talks about here, a literary adaption of Kiwi Chow’s film Beyond the Dream, is a finely-paced love story about a young man who falls in love first with a hallucination and then with a psychologist who resembles his imaginary lover. Her most recent book, 《秋鯨擱淺》(roughly, “The Stranding of Autumn Whales”), takes the mass beaching of 400 whales in New Zealand as a metaphor for the current predicament of the people of Hong Kong and sees in the human effort to save these marine mammals a ray of hope for a Hong Kong renaissance.

There are some splendid vocabulary items for, if you’re keen to improve your Cantonese: 氣質 hei3 jāt1 = ① temperament; disposition ② qualities; makings; 餵貓 wai3 māau1 = to feed a cat; 甜蜜 tìhm4 maht6 = sweet; happy; 願景 yuhn6 gíng2 = an aspiration; 零用錢 lìhng4 yuhng6 chín4*2 = pocket money; 養份 yéuhng5 fahn6 = nutrient; and 時尚 sìh4 seuhng6 = ① fashion; fad ② fashionable.

You can watch the video here. If you are interested, you can also look at these two other posts on Chiang Hiu-mei:

● Learning Cantonese: 蔣曉薇 Chiang Hiu-mei on Hongkongers — Leaving, Staying or Stranded?

● Learning Cantonese: A Tuen Mun Love Story . . .

Beyond the Dream by Chiang Hiu-mei (Part 1 Ah Lok: 1-6)


蔣曉薇:其實呢度都係好,好塑造到一個人嘅氣質嘅,係啦! | 你有你自己步伐嘅,有自己節奏嘅

Caption: 我的繆思 | 青山碧海 —— 作家蔣曉薇

記者:電影《幻愛》以屯門做背景 | 發掘咗呢個社區好多動人嘅畫面 | 而小説版嘅作者蔣曉薇本身 | 都係喺屯門長大嘅 | 佢喺創作裏面 | 投射咗好多個人喺屯門嘅回憶同埋感受

蔣曉薇:你寫屯門就係我最親切嘅回憶囉 | 擺咗好多自己個人嘅感受呀 | 經驗呀,落去嘅 | 有啲中學同學睇完我本書呢 | 喺度笑呀, 喂,你真係寫中我嘅心聲呀,咁樣 | 係,我們嘅第一章呢,就寫 | 阿樂呢,就約阿葉嵐呢,就喺屯門碼頭嗰度等 | 我將我自己嘅感情擺咗落去 | 噉啊裏面講到 . . .

● 塑造 sou3 jouh6 = to mould; to model | ● 氣質 hei3 jāt1 = ① temperament; disposition ② qualities; makings | ● 步伐 bouh6 faht6 = a step; a pace| ● 繆思 màuh4 sī1 = a muse | ● 發掘 faat3 gwaht6 = to excavate; to unearth; to explore | ● 投射 tàuh4 seh6 = ① to project (a ray of light) ② to cast | ● 感受 gám2 sauh6 = to experience; to feel | ● 心聲 sām1 sēng1 (or sīng1) = heartfelt wishes; aspiration; thinking

Note: The 中 used in 寫中我嘅心聲 is pronounced in the mid-level tone (jung3). It is added to verbs to express the idea of “hit (a target); fit exactly”. In this example, it is added to the verb 寫 sé2 (to write) = “writing in a way that captures (a person’s heartfelt wishes)”.

Chiang Hiu-mei: Actually, this place really shapes a person’s qualities, yes. You go at your own pace, [with] your own rhythm.

Caption: My Muses | Green Mountains & Blue Seas — the Writer Chiang Hiu-mei

Reporter: The film Beyond the Dream is set in Tuen Mun and uncovers many moving scenes in the local community there. The author of the novel version of the film Chiang Hiu-mei also grew up in Tuen Mun. She has cast many [of her] personal memories and experiences of Tuen Mun into [the novel] she created.

Chiang Hiu-mei: You write about Tuen Mun . . . my most intimate memories [are bound up with this place]. I put a great number of my personal feelings about things [好多自己個人嘅感受] and experiences into [the book]. When people I went to high-school with read the book, they laughed and said: “You have really captured [寫中] my innermost wishes”. Yes, our first chapter [describes] how Ah Lok arranges to meet Yip Lam and waits for her at Tuen Mun Pier. I put my own feelings into [this scene]. In it, there [are certain things] . . .

【1:00】有一啲就係,欸,一個城市人嚟到屯門碼頭嘅時候 | 佢覺得好驚訝啦 | 點解呢度會有船去出澳門嘅呢,咁樣?| 第二就係,欸,阿樂喺度等葉嵐嘅時候呢 | 佢就喺度餵貓、撩貓啦 | 噉呢個係好常見嘅一個畫面嚟嘅 | 噉因為喺電影裏面呢,欣欣係阿樂嘅幻想出嚟㗎嘛 | 噉電影嘅時間好有限嘅 | 噉所以呢,佢,你見到呢,佢同欣欣拍拖嘅畫面呢,啫,挨住欄杆啦 | 好似就係 . . . 我記得就係挨住欄杆啦 | 摸吓佢啦,咁樣嘅拍拖畫面主要都係咁樣 | 或者喺輕鐵嗰度接佢 | 啫,阿樂同欣欣拍拖嘅時候,係會做啲乜嘅呢 | 噉佢喺屯門區會做啲乜嘅呢 | 噉我第一個最直接嘅反應就係 | 嗯,佢哋一定會去食糖水咁樣囉 | 啫,好甜蜜㗎嘛,呢啲嘢 | 噉我就諗啦,屯門區最著名食糖水嘅地方就喺美樂嗰度有個糖水店咁 | 噉我喺小説嗰度冇開名嘅

● 驚訝 gīng1 ngaah6 = surprised; amazed; astonished; astounded | ● 餵貓 wai3 māau1 = to feed a cat | ● 撩 lìuh4 = to tease; to tantalize; to provoke (Sheik) | 挨 āai1 = to lean against | ● 直接嘅反應 jihk6 jip3 ge3 fáan2 ying3 = an immediate reaction | ● 糖水 tòhng4 séui2 = a dessert soup such as red bean soup or almond paste soup | ● 甜蜜 tìhm4 maht6 = sweet; happy | ● 開名 hōi1 méng2 = (?) to mention sth. by name

. . . such as, first of all, the surprise city people feel when they come to Tuen Mun Ferry Terminal — how come boats leave from here to go to Macao? The second thing is that when Ah Lok was waiting for Yip Lam, he fed the cats and tried to make them come to him [撩貓]. Now this is something you see all the time. Because, in the film, Yan Yan is an imaginary person who only exists in Ah Lok’s mind, the time [spent on this] in the film is limited. When you see Ah Lok with Yan Yan, they are leaning against the railing [of a housing estate] — I think it’s like that: as I recall, he leans against the railing and strokes her. They are the main ways the dating scenes are done. Or he goes to meet her at the light rail [station]. So [in the book], what would Ah Lok and Yan Yan do when they were dating? What would they do in downtown Tuen Men? My immediate response was: they would go and have dessert soup [together]. Such things are very sweet. I then thought that the most famous place in Tuen Mun for dessert soup is the shop in the Melody Gardens Estate. In the novel, I didn’t mention the name.

【2:00】記者:美樂花園係屯門碼頭一帶第一個非公屋屋苑 | 可以話係象徵咗呢個社區小康嘅一面

蔣曉薇:我細個係住,呃,美樂嘅 | 我覺得,呃,美樂花園個名改得好靚嘅 | 美好又快樂 | 啫,佢一個寄願就係一個新市鎮 | 有個咁嘅願景喺度 | 打風呢,其實屋企係最慘嘅 | 因為個廳就係望住個海嘛 | 噉啲風刮入嚟嘅時候呢,係成個廳係水浸嘅 | 噉屋 . . . 我爸爸媽媽就冇得瞓啦,但係我同我細佬就好開心囉 | 因爲有水玩吖嘛,又可以抹地吖嘛,咁樣 | 噉呢啲係一啲好,好特別、好快樂嘅回憶 | 但係其實生活係一啲好簡單幸福嘅小點滴呀 | 放學就會同啲同學嚟到蝴蝶灣囉 | 噉主要喺,啫,呢度比較清靜啲啦 | 同埋,呃,個空間好廣好闊吖嘛 | 噉所以就會,呃, 有陣時周末呢,咁冇嘢做呢 . . .

● 屋苑 ūk1 yún2 = housing complex | ● 象徵 jeuhng6 jīng1 = to symbolize; to signify; to stand for | ● 小康 síu2 hōng1 = comparatively well-off; comfortably well-off | ● 寄願 gei3 yuhn6 = (?) to make a wish | ● 新市鎮 sān1 síh5 jan3 = a new town | ● 願景 yuhn6 gíng2 = an aspiration | ● 刮入嚟 gwaat3 yahp6 làih4 = (of wind) to blow in | ● 抹 maat3 = to wipe | ● 小點滴 síu2 dím2 dīk1 = usu. “a tidbit” | ● 清靜 chīng1 jihng6 = peace & quiet

Reporter: Melody Gardens was the first non-public housing complex in the vicinity of the Tuen Mun Ferry Terminal. You could call it a symbol of the comparatively well-off [lifestyle] in this district.

Chiang Hiu-mei: When I was a little girl, I live in the Melody Gardens housing complex. To me, the name [美樂 Mei Lok in Cantonese] is a very pretty one: both “fine” [美好 mei hou] and “happy” [快樂 fai lok]. It is a wish for a new town. There is an aspiration of this kind in this place. Our apartment copped it badly [屋企係最慘嘅] when there was a typhoon. This was because the living room faced the sea. When the wind blew in, the whole living room would be flooded. Now the house . . . Mum and Dad wouldn’t get any sleep, but my little brother and I would be beside ourselves because we could play in the water and wipe down the floor. These are some of the very special and very happy memories. But life in fact is those very simple [but] fortunate bits and pieces [小點滴]. After school, my classmates and I would come down to Butterfly Beach. Here, it was more peaceful and quieter. In addition, there was plenty of wide-open space. For this reason, sometimes on the weekends when I had nothing to do . . .

【3:00】. . . 唔想留喺屋企咁,噉啊會嚟呢度睇書囉,係呀 | 啫,攞幾本書咁樣喺度,喺度睇吓海咁樣,睇吓書呀,咁樣 | 其實唔去市中心㗎 | 因為去市中心要俾四蚊輕鐵費㗎 | 來回八蚊㗎 | 噉,嗯,冇錢㗎,以前 | 即係一個月好似得三十蚊零用錢咁樣呢 | 噉所以如果要落街 | 就近近哋腳行到嘅地方囉 | 但係喺呢個社區,啫,喺屯門區裏面當然有好多養份俾咗我啦 | 我諗特別係嗰個人同大自然嗰個連結呀 | 因為真係好近呢 | 行五分鐘就可以去到海邊 | 係好近個天 | 個天係好廣闊嘅 | 佢唔會有好多高樓切割開咁樣 | 鍾意寫海囉 | 會好多意象可能係鍾意寫海 | 可能就係 *jai 因為細個見得多啦、望得多啦 | 或者其實就係好簡單咁你落嚟做個運動、跑個步 | 呃,行吓散吓步 | 對個海嘅觀察 . . .

● 市中心 síh5 jūng1 sām1 = city centre; downtown | ● 零用錢 lìhng4 yuhng6 chín4*2 = pocket money | ● 腳行 geuk3 hàahng4 = (?) to go on foot | ● 養份 yéuhng5 fahn6 = nutrient | ● 連結 lìhn4 git3 = to connect | ● 切割 chit3 got3 = to cut | ● 意象 yi3 jeuhng6 = image | ● 觀察 gūn1 chaat3 = to observe; to watch

. . . and didn’t want to stay at home, I would come here and read, I would. That is, I bring some books here and look at the sea for a while, read for a while. Actually, I didn’t go into town because the light-rail ticket cost four dollars, [which made it] eight dollars to get there and back. I didn’t have the money, back then. I only got thirty dollars’ pocket money a month, if I remember correctly [好似]. So, if I wanted to go out [落街], I would to places nearby that I could walk to. But this district, I mean Tuen Mun, nurtured me in many ways, especially with regard to that connection between human beings and the natural world, because [nature] was just nearby. You could walk to the sea in five minutes. [We] were very close to the sky[, too]. The sky was so wide, so spacious — it wasn’t chopped up by all these tall buildings. I like to write about the sea: it has so many images [meaning unclear]. Perhaps this is because I saw it a lot when I was little and looked at it a lot. Or perhaps it was simply just a matter of going down [to the beach] for some exercise, to jog, or to take a walk or stroll. The thing I really looked at most of all . . .

【4:00】. . . 係真係最多嘅 | 呃,喺屯門公園嗰度就有啲大媽舞呀 | 落下一啲污名呀 | 啫係你搞到污煙瘴氣 | 噉但係嚟到再遠啲喇 ,再入啲嘅地方,譬如屯門碼頭 | 噉,呃,其實呢邊又冇乜,係啦 | 呢邊都仲係保留到係好閒適㗎 | 好, 好角落呀| 好自成一體嗰一種感覺嘅 | 以前細個就覺得,呃,自己好老土嘅 (哈哈)| 特別係,啫,大家可能係行 . . . 當你啲大學同學係行尖沙咀呀、行銅鑼灣呀 | 好,好潮流呀,打扮得好時尚 | 但係自己可能係仲係好土呀 | 好鄉下妹咁樣囉| 噉但係再大啲,自己揾到自己定位 | 或者係 . . . 你諗返轉頭 | 其實呢度都係好,好塑造到一個人嘅氣質嘅(哈哈),係啦!

● 大媽舞 daaih6 māa1 móuh5 = “dancing aunties”, middle-aged women who dance in Tuen Mun Park and “who regularly blast songs through loudspeakers and dance suggestively while skimpily dressed” | ● 污名 wū1 mìhng4 = stigma | ● 污煙瘴氣 wū1 yīn1 jeung3 hei3 = ? cf. 瘴煙毒霧 = clouds of pestilential vapour; miasmal clouds| ● 閒適 haahn6 sīk1 = leisurely & comfortable | ● 自成一體 jih6 sìhng4 yāt1 tái2 = (?) separate; self-contained | ● 老土 lóuh5 tóu2 = old-fashioned; out of date; traditional; unsophisticated; rustic; not hip; uncool + 土tóu2 on its own has the same meaning | ● 潮流 chìuh4 làuh4 = trend; popularity | ● 時尚 sìh4 seuhng6 = ① fashion; fad ② fashionable | ● 鄉下妹hēung1 háa6*2 mūi6*1 (?) = roughly, “a country girl” | ● 定位 dihng6 wái6*2 = (指人生追求) niche (one’s position in life) | ● 諗返轉頭 nám2 fāan1 jyun3 tàuh4 = with hindsight

. . . was the sea. In Tuen Mun Park, there are the “dancing aunties”. They have given the place a bad name, made it sleazy and unpleasant [你搞到污煙瘴氣]. However, go a bit further away [再入啲嘅地方] [and you have] places such as Tuen Mun Pier. There’s not much there, but it remains leisurely and comfortable, a tucked away corner [好角落], with a feeling of being a little world in its own right. When I was younger, I was very out of touch with the fashion. Especially when we all went out . . . when you were walking with your university friends in Tsim Sha Tsui or Causeway Bay, [you] felt very with it, wearing the latest fashions, but you were probably still very uncool, an unsophisticated girl from the country. But when you were older and had found your place in the world [自己揾到自己定位], perhaps, with hindsight, this place was somewhere that could really mould a person’s character. Yes, indeed!

【5:00】而嗰個氣質就係 . . . 唔係咁商業化嘅 | 唔係咁追隨潮流嘅唔使行到好前嘅 | 你有你自己嘅步伐、有自己節奏嘅

And this character is . . . not such a commercialized one. It doesn’t go chasing after trends and there is no need to be at the forefront [of things]. You walk at your own pace and you have a rhythm all of your own.

Wave Forms

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


I’m enamoured of a contour made by the mind
when it comes to an understanding. A woman with query
in her voice is gratefully enlightened
by an answer from her friend. O, she says,
and her O riddles its way through extravagant intonation,
rising steeply — in imitation of strong doubts —
then falling buoyant with relief
back to clarity’s sand floor.
I thought: She might have been standing in ocean
up to her armpits, first elevated by a transit wave
against gravity, before allowing herself to be dropped —
thrilled and informed — back in a fresh calm’s certified wake.