Learning Cantonese: Strengthening the Innermost Heart (Kongstories 99)

The title of this video from Kongstories means something like “that little kid isn’t slow”, and refers to the treasures hidden inside every human being, even those dealing with some form of serious disability. As 馮惠芳 Nancy Fung puts it towards the end of the presentation: 總有一日可以追尋自己嘅夢想,踏上屬於自己嘅舞台, or “One day you will be able to go chasing after your own dreams, and step out onto a stage that belongs to you and you alone”.

You can take a lot of heart from this video, and the English subtitles make it very accessible, even if you’re not interested in the Cantonese. Michelle Li’s comment — 每日嘅生活就係强壯内心嘅過程 = every day is a process of strengthening one’s noi sam, one’s innermost being — is something than lingers in the mind for a long time . . .

For those of you who are language learners, however, there is nothing too challenging about the grammar in this video, but there are some very nice turns of phrase that are well worth trying to make your own, such as 過目不忘 to have a great memory (and its opposite, 過目即忘); 喐嚟喐去 = to move back and forward; to be unable to sit still (using the specifically Cantonese verb 喐 yūk1); 局限自己 = to limit oneself; 擴闊自己嘅世界 = to broaden one’s world; to expand one’s horizons; 接納 = to accept (a person as they are, without conditions); 渡過難關 = to go through a difficult period in one’s life; and 總有一日 = one day (in the future); the time will come that.

Please scroll down for my transcription and notes. You can view the video here (you are offered subtitles in both English and Standard Written Chinese). Since it is a YouTube video, you can slow down the playback speed if you wish: at 0.75 and 0.5, the sound quality is still good. And remember, if you want the standard jyutping romanization or to check any of the Chinese in the text, please consult the Sheik Cantonese on-line dictionary.

You might also like to make use the Ekho Text to Speech Converter if you have trouble matching any part of the transcribed Chinese text to the spoken version. Just make sure you select “Cantonese” under the language menu before you paste cut and text into the relevant box.


Title: 小孩不苯 | The Little Kid Isn’t Slow

馮惠芳:我同一般家庭一樣,有兩個仔 | 但唯一唔同就係大仔 Wilson 有學習障礙 | 簡單嚟講,人讀書就係過目不忘 | // 就係過目即忘 | 所以細細個要佢讀書真係好辛苦 | 因爲佢成日喐嚟喐去 | 要比一般人用多好多時間佢先可以記得到啲嘢 | 但好彩我發現佢由細到大都好鍾意音樂 | 所以我就諗,不如用音樂嘅拍子去幫佢背書 | 結果呢個方法有得 | 順理成章,音樂就成爲佢嘅生日一部分 | 印象最深刻就有一次,我帶 Wilson 上音樂班 | 個老師同佢上完一堂就講:你叫你仔仔返去啦,唔好再帶佢嚟 | 時間【1:00】, 嘥錢,教完佢一次,佢下一秒又唔記得喇 | 呢句説話我記到而家,但我同 Wilson 講,佢唔教 | 呢就自己練習 | 只要肯心機咁練習,世上嘢難倒你 | 俾心機一定得

● 過目不忘 gwo3 muhk6 bāt1 mòhng4 = to have a great memory; to not forget stuff that has passed by one’s eyes | ● 喐 yūk1 = to move | ● 拍子 paak3 jí2 = (musical) beat; time | ● 順理成章 seuhn6 léih5 sìhng4 jēung1 = ① follow as a logical course ② follow as a matter of course | ● 嘥 sāai = ① waste; squander; ruin ② wasteful; extravagant ③ miss; let go; lose (a chance) | ● 心機 sām1 gēi1 = ① mood; frame of mind; feeling ② energy; effort; patience | ● 難倒 nàahn4 dóu2 = to daunt; perhaps also “to be put off doing (sth. difficult)

麥妙玲:劉理盈一出世嘅時候,我只能夠用「震驚」嚟形容 | 因爲我從來冇諗過 | [平時] 喺街上邊見到嘅唐氏綜合症 | 會發生自己嘅女身上 | 所以我將佢嘅名改做「盈」| 希望佢人生可以經歷好多嘅恩典 | 當初佢出嚟跳舞嘅時候 | 見到佢聽到音樂,有得跳舞就好開心 | 但到之後,佢學得幾好,要去考試 | 我開始怕,我怕佢失敗 | 怕佢做唔到,怕佢企唔返身 | 但後來我諗深一層【2:00】,人人都有失敗嘅可能性 | 點解我要抹煞佢成功嘅可能性呢?

● 震驚 jan3 gīng1 = to shock; to amaze; to astonish | ● 唐氏綜合症 Tòhng4 sih6 jūng1 hahp6 jing3 = Downs syndrome | ● 恩典 yān1 dín2 = favour; grace | ● 失敗 sāt1 baih6 = ① to be defeated ② to fail | ● 企唔返身 kéih5 mh5 fāan1 sān1 = (?) to get back on one’s feet | ● 抹煞 mut3 saat3 = to remove from evidence; to expunge; to suppress; to wipe out, to obliterate (also written 抹殺)

李苑峰:對於我嚟講,我唯一嘅願望係我嘅仔 | 梓鍵可以好似其他小朋友咁 | 擁有童心,開心快樂咁成長,咁樣就已經好滿足 | 梓鍵佢細細個就被診斷有杜興氏肌肉營養不良症 | 隨住年齡增長,佢嘅肌肉就會慢慢退化 | 你上年見到佢,佢仲可以行行走走 | 但係到咗今年,佢就已經行唔到喇 | 雖然佢而家行唔到,但都唔等於要局限自己 | 只要佢想,無論係跑步定係要游水 | 只要係我能力範圍之内,都會盡力做到 | 希望佢可以見識更多,擴闊自己嘅世界 | 每日嘅生活就係强壯内心嘅過程 | 我相信,只要我同梓鍵一齊 | 就有能力、堅强【3:00】、勇敢去面對生命中嘅困難

● 願望 yuhn6 mohng6 = a desire; wish; aspiration | ● 童心 tùhng4 sām1 = childishness; playfulness | ● 診斷 chán2 dyun3 = to diagnose | ● 杜興氏肌肉營養不良症 Douh6 sih6 gēi1 yuhk6 bāt1 lèuhng4 jing3 = Duchenne muscular dystrophy | ● 退化 teui3 faa3 = 1. degeneration 2. to degenerate; to deteriorate | ● 上年 seuhng6 nín4*2 = (over the) past year| ● 行行走走 hàahng4 hàahng4 jáu2 jáu2 = (?) to walk around | ● 等於 dáng2 yū1 = equal to; equivalent to | ● 局限 guhk6 haahn6 = to limit; to confine | ● 範圍 faahn6 wàih4 = scope; limits; range | ● 見識 gin3 sīk1 = experience; knowledge; sensibleness | ● 擴闊 kong3 fut3 = to broaden | ● 强壯 kèuhng4 jong3 = strong; sturdy; robust | ● 堅强 gīn1 kèuhng4 = strong; sturdy; staunch

麥妙玲:我覺得,就算佢係唐氏,都阻礙唔到佢實現自己嘅夢想 | 做家長嘅只可以好似放風箏咁,喺適當嘅時候就要識得放手 | 好多困難都係自己俾自己 | 就好似搭地鐵嘅時候,怕人哋望到阿女 | 但其實要人哋接納佢,首先係要自己接納佢先 | 呢個心態上嘅轉變就好似當你渡過難關之後 | 回頭一看就會發現呢個嘅經歷會令你嘅生命更加精彩

● 阻礙 jó2 ngoih6 = to hinder; to block; to impede | ● 放風箏 fong3 fūng1 jāng1 = to fly a kite | ● 放手 fong3 sáu2 = to let go; to let go one’s hold | ● 接納 jip3 naahp6/laahp6 = 1. to admit (into an organization) 2. to accept | ● 轉變 jyún2 bin3 = to change; to transform | ● 渡過難關 douh6 gwo3 nàahn4 gwāan1 = tide over a difficulty; pull through | ● 回頭一看 wùih4 tàuh4 yāt1 hon3 = turn around and look | ● 精彩 jīng1 chói2 = brilliant; splendid; wonderful

馮惠芳:佢就日練夜練,有時日頭返工,夜晚練習 | 佢終於可以完整咁彈 // 首《真的愛你》俾我聽 | 我覺得上帝喺每個人嘅生命裏面都有一個計劃 | 無論本身你有咩困難【4:00】,只要你肯努力 | 總有一日可以追尋自己嘅夢想,踏上屬於自己嘅舞台

● 日頭 yaht6 táu4*2= the sun; daytime | ● 完整 yùhn4 jíng2 = complete; integrated; intact | ● 追尋 jēui1 chàhm4 = to pursue; to search; to track down

我叫馮惠芳 | 我叫李苑峰 | 我叫麥妙玲 | 香港土生土長,七百萬個故仔成就一個香 . . . 港故仔

Learning Cantonese: Thierry Chow, the Fung Shui Designer

In a recent post about the Hong Kong Charter, I used a photo of a small temple taken outside of Tuen Mun in a place called 紫田村 Tsz Tin Tsuen, literally “Purple Fields Village”. On the lintel, there is a stone plaque engraved with the characters 神人共樂, or “Spirits and People Enjoying Themselves Together”. This very unexpected notion is echoed in the arcane study of fung shui, a central concept of which is summed up in the expression 天人感應, which means something like “the mutual responding of the natural/spiritual and the human realms”. I have a feeling that ideas such as this may offer us some hope in finding a more satisfying relationship with the Earth. Perhaps a century ago, you could still see whole villages organized according to fung shui principles in Hong Kong’s New Territories, and it must have been an exquisitely beautiful sight, and one now virtually unimaginable after around half a century of cynical “development”.

In this video, we meet Thierry Chow (in Cantonese, 周亦彤 Jāu1 Yihk6 Tùhng4) who works as both a fung shui master and an interior designer. As a microcosm of the universe, our living spaces can also be affected by the way vital energy or 氣 hei3 (or 正面嘅能量 jing3 mihn6 ge3 nàhng4 leuhng6 = positive energy) moves through it, and Chow’s job is to maximize the beneficial flows for the sake of health, wellbeing and good luck: in work, study or romance!

For those of you who are Cantonese learners, the highlight of this video is the use of a rare word in the opening sentence, 直頭 jihk6 tàuh4 = “directly, simply, completely, truly; straight head”. People often use it to emphasize the point they are making. Another example provided by a friend is 佢直頭係我個杯茶!, meaning “She’s exactly my type!” There’s also an interesting use of the aspect marker 返 fāan1 with the verb 平衡, “to balance” — 其實最緊要都係去平衡返自己嗰個心靈呀, neatly expressing the idea of restoring or regaining one’s balance. In the same segment, there is also a good example of express the notion of using something for a particular purpose. The phrase 用紅酒一啲木箱去做嘅架 uses yuhng6, the verb “to use” to introduce the thing that is employed, and then 嚟 or 去 to express the purpose: “to take red-wine crates and make them into shelving”. It’s a very common and useful structure. Oh, and the character 彤 tùhng4 used in Thierry Chow’s Chinese name means “red; vermilion” and there is a noun 彤雲 tùhng4 wàhn4 which means “red clouds” or “dark clouds”.

On the subject of fung shui (sometimes spelt “feng shui” in line with Mandarin romanization), there is a wonderful textbook written by Lee Siu Lun called A Feng Shui Master: Learning Cantonese through Stories. You can see more about the book at the Greenwood Press website here. In it you’ll find the following astonishing comment:

He hopes that this fung shui tomb can make his business prosper, and make his descendants prosper and become rich too. (p.19)

This idea of connecting extended prosperity to the correct siting of an ancestor’s grave was traditionally one of the most important aspects of fung shui practice.

Please scroll down for my transcription and notes. You can view the video here (you are offered subtitles in both English and Standard Written Chinese). Since it is a YouTube video, you can slow down the playback speed if you wish: at 0.75 and 0.5, the sound quality is still good. And remember, if you want the standard jyutping romanization or to check any of the Chinese in the text, please consult the Sheik Cantonese on-line dictionary.

You might also like to make use the Ekho Text to Speech Converter if you have trouble matching any part of the transcribed Chinese text to the spoken version. Just make sure you select “Cantonese” under the language menu before you paste cut and text into the relevant box.


我係 Thierry,係一個風水設計師 | 風水我覺得直頭係中國古時室内設計 | 令到一個人可以有正面能量 | 地方呢,就位於呢個柴灣區 | 樓底呢,四米,士就係一千六百呎嘅 | ,風水角度去睇呢,一個地方最緊要就舒服啦 | 記得其實裝飾就比較簡陋少少 | 因爲佢呢度好 high ceiling 嘅 | 第一下經決定我要好多自然光 | 加窗簾啦 | 我同我老公都好鍾意自然嘅陽光 | 個情緒上係會比較好嘅 | 一入門口呢,可以坐同埋著鞋嘅地方啦 | 噉嗰個位呢 | 我哋就掛咗啲畫喺度 | 放咗一個魚缸嘅 | 魚缸係水 | 噉水呢,財

● 直頭 jihk6 tauh4 = directly, simply, completely, truly; straight head | ●室内設計 sāt1 noih6 chit3 gai3 = interior designer | ● 正面嘅能量 jing3 mihn6 ge3 nàhng4 leuhng6 = positive energy | ● 樓底 làuh4 dái2 = the height between floor and ceiling | ● 裝飾 jōng1 sik1 = ① to decorate ② ornament (perhaps “interior decoration” or “décor” is implied here) | ● 簡陋 gáan2 lauh6 = simple & crude; basic | ● 第一下 = (?) right from the first moment

【1:00 】噉再入到去呢,就會見到一間 kitchen | 空間都係比較 open 嘅 | 個牆上面呢,我哋就用紅酒一啲木箱去做嘅架嘅 | 我呢度九十 percent 嘅傢俬都係二手、朋友唔要我就拎咗返嚟咁樣嘅 | 植物啦、花草啦、啲木嘅傢俬都係木嘅元素 | 可以提升一個人嘅工作運 | 或者係讀書運嘅 | 噉另外就係植物呢,係清潔空氣呀 | 提升一個人個精神呀 | 所以我屋企都好多植物嘅| 右手邊 [UNCLEAR] 我個工作室啦 | 朝頭早我通常都會花少少時間去冥想 | 最近都有一個就係 *jai 叫做 Mercury retrograde | 但個人可能會比較 sensitive 呀 | 其實最緊要都係去平衡返自己嗰個心靈呀 | 因爲佢樓底高啦,加一個閣樓嘅啦 | 可以行樓梯上去|  噉如果想休息就可以喺上面休息

● 木箱 muhk6 sēung1 = wooden box; wooden crate | ● 朝頭早 = morning | ● 冥想 mìhng4 séung2 = this really means “deep thought”, but is often used with the sense of “(spiritual) meditation” | ● 閣樓 gok3 láu4*2 = attic; loft; garret; mezzanine floor

【2:00】窗邊嗰度呢,就有張梳化 | 最嗰個位可以望到出面個海 | 跟住 呢,亦都可以 *hoi 見到就係我啲衫 | 八十 percent 都係二手衫 | 唔同嘅顔色其實可以帶自己唔同嘅情緒啦 | 幾隻顔色都係比較旺桃花嘅 | 譬如係一啲比較紅色少少嘅衫啦 | 好紅嘅都 OK 嘅 | 我會每個星期,我都會安排起碼一至兩日 | 就真係乜都唔做,休息 | 自己有個安穩嘅開始先至可以幫到人 | 個習慣就係譬如我每三個月我就會大清掃一次 | 係有啲負能量嘅嘢呢 | 噉我嗰啲我就會可能整走呀 | 選擇會擺一啲 . . .

● 二手衫 yih6 sáu2 sāam1 = second-hand clothes | ● 旺桃花 mohng6 tòuh4 fāa1 = good luck in romance | ● 安穩 ōn1 wán2 = smooth & steady | ● 大清掃 daaih6 chīng1 sou3= to have a big clean-up

【3:00】. . . 係有一啲好正面能量嘅嘢嘅 | 一對嘅獅子頭 | 中國人嗰個傳統上,代表喜慶啲嘅嘢啦 | 噉而,即係 *je ,有時可能會唔會話覺得突然間運氣差 | 噉會唔會都喺室内都會調動一啲嘢呢 | 有時,室内係可以反應自己嘅習慣、自己個性格啦 | 噉所以呢樣嘢係可以喺室内裏邊去調整返囉

● 喜慶 héi2 hing3 = ① joyous ② festive occasion | ● 調整 tìuh4 jíng2 = to adjust; to regulate; to revise

Dancer at Sanya

I squirm in my seat, convinced I know
exactly what to expect: the show starts
with a man blowing folk-tunes on a leaf.
In her pink, sequinned costume
she could have lost heart
in this troupe forced on tourists.
Not so. I’m forced
to sit up in my seat at once
by the awareness she projects
to the ends of her human body.
Not a cell seems to sleep,
and when she orbits away from my gaze
I still feel the concentration of her face
staring at me in her hands, in her feet,
in the effortless torsion of her spine:

     Watch me if you can thoroughly, she dares.
     Match me this aliveness with your own!

Even the dismal clapping of the crowd
cannot drown her dancing from my nerves.


Recently, I’ve been enjoying Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic, an inspiring book for anyone who finds most of their happiness in living comes from trying every day just to make something a little bit beautiful. Her emphasis on discipline and the importance of making art for love rather than money are two aspects that certainly struck a true chord with me . . .

She ends the book with a section entitled “Divinity”, comprising a single anecdote about the sacred temple dances of Bali. The following paragraphs helped me make sense of the incident described in Dancer at Sanya”, in which profane and sacred collide disconcertingly:

They decided that they would make up some new dances that were not sacred, and they would perform only these certified “divinity-free” dances for the tourists at the resorts. The sacred dances would be returned to the temples and would be reserved for religious ceremonies only.

And that is exactly what they did. They did it easily, too, with no drama and no trauma. Adapting gestures and steps from the old sacred dances, they devised what were essentially gibberish dances, and commenced performing these nonsense gyrations at the tourist resorts for money . . .

The thing is, over the next few years, those silly new meaningless dances became increasingly refined. The young boys and girls grew into them, and, working with a new sense of freedom and innovation, they gradually transformed the performances into something quite magnificent. In fact, the dances were becoming rather transcendent. In another example of an inadvertent séance, it appeared that those Balinese dancers — despite all their best efforts to be unspiritual — were unwittingly calling down Big Magic from the heavens, anyhow. Right there by the swimming pool.

There’s actually quite a good deal of material on-line about Balinese dancing. If you’re curious, you can take a look here. And here’s some Gilbert on Big Magic.

Learning Cantonese: On Hating and Despising Philosophy with 豬文 Chu Man

A group of young philosophers associated with the group 好青年荼毒室 or (approximately) “Studio for the Corruption of the Very Young” has been very active in recent times on YouTube, and one of its more eloquent members, a man by the name of 豬文 Jyū1 Màhn4 (yes, 豬 means “pig”) looks set to become a kind of Socrates of Hong Kong, opening everything up to question at a time when more and more options are being very firmly screwed down.

In this 10-minute, he tries to get to the bottom of why philosophy has such a low standing in contemporary society, but in the end comes out passionately in favour of his chosen discipline, closing with the idiom: 你哋走寳 — “you’re missing out on a real treasure!”

So, here’s your chance to enjoy an extended intelligent discourse on ideas in Cantonese, with the added bonus of Cantonese subtitles as well! The grammar is fairly straightforward, the only novelty being the expression 唔似得 mh4 chíh5 dāk1, which seems to be the negative version of the very common 好似 hou2 chíh5 = “to be like; to be similar”. Another interesting feature is the shortening of certain compound words, which both clips one element and removes most of the emphasis. Listen out for the following examples: 咁樣 (*gam’eung); 究竟 (*gau’ing, geung); 可以 (*ho’i); 佢哋 (*keui’ei); 好似好 (*houchou); 就會 (*jeui); and 只係 (*jei) — occasionally too the word for philosophy itself, 哲學 jit3 hohk6, sounds more like the abbreviated *ji’ok . . .

Last but not least, you’ll notice that 豬文 pronounces 鞏固 gúng2 gu3 = “to consolidate” as *gwóng gu. In another piece I’ve been working on about fung shui and interior design, the speaker pronounces 魚缸 yùh4 gōng1 = “fish tank” as yùh4 *gwōng1. I was under the impression that the usual tendency was to remove the “w” — common words such as 廣 gwóng2 and 國 gwok3 are often pronounced as góng2 and gok3, making life (all that more vastly) difficult for the learner listener. This opposing tendency is something I can’t recall ever reading about. No doubt it’s there just to keep us on our toes . . .

Please scroll down if you want the transcription, notes and English translation. Otherwise, you can view the video here. Since it is a YouTube video, you can slow down the playback speed if you wish: at 0.75 and 0.5, the sound quality is still good. And remember, if you want the standard jyutping romanization or to check any of the Chinese in the text, please consult the Sheik Cantonese on-line dictionary.

You might also like to make use the Ekho Text to Speech Converter if you have trouble matching any part of the transcribed Chinese text to the spoken version. Just make sure you select “Cantonese” under the language menu before you paste cut and text into the relevant box.


有冇試過呢,喺條街度 | 問人哋鍾唔鍾意睇書呀?| 或者你哋冇試過喺條街度同人講 | 你最鍾意睇哲學呀?| 你哋有冇試過同朋友講,你最鍾意嘅團體係好青年荼毒室呀?| 唔知當你咁樣同啲朋友嘅時候 | 俾咗啲咩反應你呢?| 雖然通常睇得呢條片嘅你呢 | 應該都對哲學有啲興趣 | 你先會嚟睇呢條咁嘅片嘅 |但係事實上呢 | 喺個社會入便大多數嘅人呢 | 都係非常非常鄙視哲學厘個學科嘅 | 噉今日我就希望同大家討論一下 | 究竟哲學點解會落得如此嘅下場呢 | 究竟佢係咪抵死嘅喇 | Caption: 荼毒青年 | 係好耐之前呢,荼毒室啱啱成立嘅時候呢 | 其實就有一個計劃叫做哲學樹洞 | 就係 *jai 俾各咁多嘅室友呢,去隨意咁樣擺低佢 | 心目中困惑咗好耐嘅哲學問題 | 噉曾經呢,就收到一個 . . .  位好青年室友 . . .

● 團體 tyùhn4 tái2 = organization; group; team | ● 好青年荼毒室 hóu2 chīng1 nìhn4? tòuh4 duhk6 sāt1 = approx. “Studio for the Corruption of the Very Young” cf. 荼毒 = to afflict with great suffering; to torment | ● 鄙視 péi2 sih6 = to despise; to disdain; to look down upon | ● 學科 hohk6 fō1 = branch of learning; course; subject; discipline | ● 如此 yùh4 chí2 = so; such; in this way; like that | ● 下場 haah6 chèuhng4 = end; fate; perhaps even “where someone/something winds up” | ● 抵死 dái2 séi2 = ① serve one right; deserve the punishment; have it coming ② funny and sarcastic; naughty and witty | ● 樹洞 syuh6 duhng6 = a hole (or hollow) in a tree | ● 隨意 chèuih4 yi3 = at will; as one pleases | ● 困惑 kwan3 waahk6 = perplexed; puzzled

Have you ever tried to ask random strangers [人哋] on the street: “Do you like to read?” Or, have you ever tried telling people: “My favourite reading is philosophy”? Have you ever tried to tell your friends that your favourite organization is the Studio for the Corruption of the Very Young? And what I wonder [唔知] was the response you got when you talked to your friends like that? If you are watching this video [?], you are watching it because you ought to be someone with some interest in philosophy; however, for the most part [雖然通常], in actual fact, the majority of people in society despise this discipline of philosophy intensely [非常非常]. Today, I hope to discuss with you why it is that philosophy has come to such a pass [落得如此嘅下場] and whether it serves philosophy right. [Caption: Corrupt the Youth] A long time ago, just after the Studio for Corruption had been established, there was a plan for what was called “The Philosophy Hollow Tree” [哲學樹洞], to give members of the group to set down [?] as they wished any philosophical questions that had been troubling them for a long time. Now, a question was received from a young member of the group . . .

【1:00】. . . K 嘅問題 | 佢就問:究竟點解哲學 | 會淪爲好多人眼中嘅低等學問?| 聽到呢個問題嘅時候呢 | 我就起一位哲學家 Bernard Williams [呀] | 其實曾經寫過一篇文章叫做 | On Hating and Despising Philosophy | 去討論呢個問題 | [噉今日] 呢條片呢,我就會講 Williams 同我自己嘅一啲諗法 | 去答 | 究竟點解哲學會落得如此嘅下場?| 我諗啲人憎哲學呢個學科呢,其中一個最簡單 [係] 香港社會嘅理由就係 | ,揾唔到食吖嘛,乞食科嚟㗎嘛 | 噉我哋好青年荼毒室都成日自嘲 | 我哋揾唔到食 [啦] | 噉我估其中一個令啲人咁憎哲學呢個學科嘅理由 | 就係因爲揾唔到錢 [呢] | 但我諗呢個理由係咪,即係 *je,完全係能夠説明 | 點解哲學咁黑人憎呢? | 我估唔係呀 | 因爲事實上呢,有好多人呢 | 都唔會同時討厭其他嗰啲乞食科嘅 | ,可能其他人文學科啦、或者啲純自然科學嘅學科

● 淪 lèuhn4 = to fall; to be reduced to | ● 眼中 ngáahn5 jūng1 = (?) in the eyes of; in the minds of | ● 低等 dāi1 dáng2 = low-grade | ● 如此 yùh4 chí2 = so; such; in this way; like this | ● 落得下場 lohk6 dāk1 haah6 chèuhng4 = come to a particular end; meet with a particular fate | ● 理由 léih5 yàuh4 = reason; ground; argument | ● 乞食科 hāt1 sīhk6 fō1 = literally 乞食 = “to beg for food” + 科 = “area of study”, so “an area of study that does not lead to highly-paid employment”  | ● 自嘲 jih6 jāau1 = (?) to ridicule oneself; to send oneself up | ● 黑人憎 cf. 乞人憎 hāt1 yàhn4 jāng1 = despicable; detestable; contemptible; annoying | ● 人文學科 yàhn4 màhn4 hohk6 fō1 = the humanities

. . . by the name of K. K. asked: “Why is it that philosophy has, in the eyes of many people, become a low-grade knowledge?” When I heard this question, it reminded me of the philosopher Bernard Williams. [He] once write an essay entitled “On Hating and Despising Philosophy” to discuss this topic. In this video, I would like to say a few words about the views of Williams and myself in answer to why philosophy has come to such a pass. I think the simplest reason why the discipline of philosophy is hated by people in Hong Kong society is because it doesn’t pay the bills [揾唔到食] and is a hat sik fo, an area of study that does not lead to highly-paid employment. We here at the Studio for Corruption are forever laughing at ourselves about not being able to find a job. I guess another reason why people hate philosophy so much because it doesn’t earn much money. However, I wonder whether this reason fully explains why philosophy is so detestable. I don’t think it does, because in actual fact there are many people who do not detest other hat sik fo. So, possibly there are other [subjects in] the humanities or pure science subjects . . .

【2:00】其實可能出到社會呢 | 都未必有相應嘅職業可以俾佢申請嘅 | 噉其實呢啲學科呢,其實都係唔好到食嘅 | 噉事實上嗰啲好憎哲學嘅人又未必 | 同時憎呢啲學科 | 噉如果你純碎用揾唔到錢嚟解釋呢個現象嘅話呢 | 我覺得係唔足夠嘅 | 噉所以呢,我覺得第二個反對哲學呢個學科嘅理由呢 | 就係佢缺乏可能對世界嘅好奇心 | 可能呢,呢啲人呢,未必真係咁金錢至上 | 咁功利覺得一定要揾到錢嘅學科 | 先係一個好學科 | 但佢覺得呢,哲學探討嘅問題呢 | 實在太過奇怪 | 太過離地 | 例如我哋會探[討] | 究竟世界嘅本貌係啲咩呢 | 究竟呢個世界有冇因果關係嘅呢 | 心靈係咪,即係 *je,獨立於物質而存在嘅呢 | 可能好多人呢,聽到呢啲問題呢 | 都摸不著頭腦,究竟你想講乜呀?| 可能佢人生入便根本 | 從來都冇對呢啲問題 | 產生過任何困惑同埋好奇心 | 噉如果佢對呢啲問題完全都冇興趣嘅話 . . .

● 憎 jāng1 = to hate; to detest; to abhor | ● 純碎sèuhn4 seui3 = pure; unadulterated | ● 缺乏 kyuht3 faht6 = to be short of; to lack; to be wanting in | ● 金錢至上 gām1 chín4*2 ji3 seuhng6 = money above all else | ● 功利 gūng1 leih6 = utility; material gain | ● 離地 lèih4 deih6 = to lose touch; to be out of step | ● 本貌 bún2 maauh6 = lit. “original appearance, that is “what something really looks like” | ● 因果關係 yān1 gwó2 gwāan1 haih6 = causality | ● 獨立於 duhk6 laahp6 yū1 = independent of | ● 摸不著頭腦 mó2 bāt1 jeuhk6 tàuh4 nóuh5 = cannot make head or tail of sth; be totally at a loss; be bewildered | ● 困惑 kwan3 waahk6 = perplexed; puzzled

In actual fact [MEANING UNCLEAR] there is not necessarily a corresponding profession to which a person can apply to. Actually, it is not easy to find a job in any of these subject areas. The reality is, those people who really hate philosophy do not necessarily hate these other disciplines. If you use finding a way to earn money pure and simple as the explanation of this phenomenon, I don’t think it is sufficient. For this reason, my feeling is that the second reason for opposing the study of philosophy is that the person may be lacking in curiosity about the world. It may be that these people don’t necessarily [rate] money above all else or are utilitarian enough to think that the only good subject areas are those which must [help you] earn money. However, such a person thinks that the questions discussed in philosophy are really exceedingly bizarre and out of touch [with reality]. For instance, we could talk about what the true appearance of the world actually is. Or whether causality exists in this world. Or whether the soul exists independently of matter. It may be that when many people here these questions, they are bewildered: “What on earth are you talking about?” Perhaps they have never felt the least perplexity or curiosity about such questions in their lives. If such a person [佢] does not have the slightest interest in such questions . . .

【3:00】. . . 佢自然就唔會對哲學有任何熱誠 [呢] | 但呢個解釋呢,仍然都係未足夠 [嘅] | 點解呢?| 因爲我哋可以 *hoi 再問嘅嘛 | 點解嗰啲人會對呢啲問題咁興趣呢?| 覺得呢啲問題係咁無聊、咁離地呢?| 係咪真 [係] 純碎因爲 | 佢缺乏對個世界好奇呢?| 有冇啲更深層次嘅理由 | 去解釋佢哋嘅冷漠呢? | 噉其中一個解釋可能係咁嘅 | 點解嗰啲人會對哲學問題咁冷漠呢? | 就係因爲佢哋會話 | 哈,你睇吓哲學歷史 | 幾千年嚟都冇進步過嘅 | 詏嚟詏去,鬧嚟鬧去 | 根本就冇任何結論產生到出嚟 | 幾千年前,蘇格拉底討論咩公義 | 咩美,咩真理 | 到而家呢一刻 | 哲學界好似仲係探討緊呢啲問題咁樣 | 甚至可能有一啲所謂哲學上最大嘅醜聞 | 就係我哋根本仲未回應到 | 笛卡兒提出幾嘅嗰啲懷疑論嘅質疑 | 究竟世界係咪客觀哋存在嘅呢? | 我哋有冇對個世界嘅知識嘅呢?

● 熱誠 yiht6 sìhng4 = warm & sincere; cordial | ● 無聊 mòuh4 lìuh4 = ① boring; bored ② nonsense; rubbish | ● 冷漠 láahng5 mohk6 = cold & detached; unconcerned | ● 拗 is a variant of variant of 詏 aau3 = to argue; to dispute; to contradict | ● 蘇格拉底 Sōu1 Gaak3 Lāai1 Dái2 = Socrates | ● 公義 gūng1 yih6 = righteousness; justice | ● 到而家呢一刻 dao3 yìh4 gāa1 nī1 yāt1 hāak1 = (?) right up to this present moment | ● 醜聞 cháu2 màhn4 = scandal | ● 笛卡兒 Dehk6 Kāa1 Yìh4 = René Descartes; also written 笛卡爾 Dehk6 Kāa1 Yíh5 | ● 懷疑論 wàaih4 yìh4 leuhn6 = skepticism | ● 客觀哋 haak3 gūn1 déi6*2 = objectively; 客觀嘅 = “objective” is used in the next segment

. . . then naturally he or she will not have any warm feelings towards philosophy. But this explanation is still inadequate. Why? Because again we can ask: Why is it that those people have no interest in philosophy and think that these questions are boring or out of touch [with reality]? Is it really purely [純碎] because they lack curiosity about the world? Could there be a deeper reason that explains their indifference [冷漠]?  An explanation for this might be that the reason these people show no concern for these philosophical questions is that they are liable to say: “Hah! Just take a look at the history of philosophy. In the past few thousand years, there has been no progress! [Philosophers] have argued back and forth, caused trouble here and there, but have basically reached no conclusions. Over the past few thousand years, the justice [公義], beauty and truth discussed by Socrates are the same issues still being investigated today in the world of philosophy. And even worse, there is that great scandal of philosophy that we have no yet responded to those doubts raised by René Descartes’ skepticism about whether the world actually has an objective existence. Do we have knowledge about the world?

 【4:00】有冇可能獲得對個世界客觀嘅了解嘅呢? | 似乎哲學家討論咗咁耐 | 咁多年嚟,咁多咁聰明嘅人 | 咁多咁偉大嘅心靈 | 去思考呢啲問題 | 都一路俾唔到個答案我哋 | 噉好可能呢啲印象呢 | 就提供咗個理由俾我哋相信一樣就係 | 唉,其實哲學問題 | 嘈嚟嘈去,嘈幾千年 | 都冇任何進展、冇任何答案嘅 | 噉我哋仲講嚟做乜呢?| 更加麻煩嘅係 | 如果我哋其他學科 | 同哲學呢個學科做對比嘅時候 | 一比較呢,傷害就出嚟喇 | 你諗吓自然科學進步咗幾多 | 帶領咗我哋認識咗個世界多幾多 | 你諗吓以前可能我哋會覺得 | 懷孕 // 生子係一件好神秘嘅事 | 我哋要透過宗教一啲非自然嘅解釋 | 先能夠了解到呢件事點解會出現 | 但你諗吓,我哋而家現代人 | 都已經唔會再覺得 | 懷孕生子係有任何神秘嘅地方 | 因爲自然科學已經帶領我哋 . . .

● 進展 jeun3 jín2 = to make progress; to make headway | ● 做對比 jouh6 deui3 béi2 = to contrast | ● 傷害 sēung1 hoih6 = to injure; to harm; to hurt | ● 帶領 daai3 líhng5 = to lead; to guide | ● 懷孕 wàaih4 yahn6 = to be pregnant

Is it possible to obtain an objective understanding of this world? It would seem that philosophers have discussed [such questions] for a long time — [over] so many years, so many intelligent human beings, so many great souls have thought about these questions but have never been able to give us any answers. Now quite possibly this impression provides us with a reason for believing one thing: philosophical questions have been argued back and forth for thousands of years without any headway being made or any answers [being found], so what’s the point of going on talking about them? Even more bothersome is [that fact] that, if we contrast philosophy with other disciplines, the harm [to philosophy] emerges at once. Think of how much the natural sciences have advanced, leading us to a knowledge [認識] of the world that is so much greater [than it was before]. Think for a moment how once we probably would have thought of pregnancy [and] giving birth as a very mysterious business, and would have only been able to comprehend how such a thing could be by means of the non-natural explanations of religion. But think how we modern people no longer feel that there is anything the least bit mysterious about getting pregnant and giving birth, the reason being that the natural sciences have led us . . .

【5:00】. . . 好好咁樣了解到呢個現象 | 成個 mechanism 究竟係點樣出現嘅 | 噉所以呢,好多人就會覺得 | 唉,其實哲學嗰啲問題都係冇答案嘅喇 | 我哋討論咗幾千年,人生有咩意義? | 世界嘅公義係點呀?心靈存唔存在?| 呢啲咁嘅問題根本就係冇答案嘅 | 我哋一路仲喺度俾咁多心機 | 去研究一啲冇答案嘅問題 | 唔係就係 *jai 徒勞無功 [啦]?| 所以哲學唔係值得被人鄙視 [囉]?| 要回應呢個對哲學嘅質疑呢,當然係好麻煩呀 | 但我估有一個好簡單,最直接嘅回應嘅 | 個回應係咩?| 就係啱啱講到哲學好似討論咗好多年 | 都係冇答案咁樣 | 噉所以呢,呢個問題就注定係冇答案嘅 | 佢好似咁樣做咗個推論 | 但個問題係 | 呢個立場本身正正就係一個哲學嘅立場 | 就係相信嗰啲問題係冇答案 | 唔值得我哋去討論 | 當你要 argue for 呢個咁嘅立場嘅時候 | 好吊詭哋,你已經進入咗 . . .

● 心機 sām1 gēi1 = energy; effort; patience| ● 徒勞無功 tòuh4 lòuh4 mòuh4 gūng1 = make a futile effort; work to no avail | ● 注定 jyu3 dihng6 = be doomed; be destined | ● 推論 tēui1 leuhn6 = an inference; a deduction | ● 唔值得 mh4 jihk6 dāk1 = not worth | ● 吊詭 diu3 gwái2 = (?) a paradox

. . . to a proper understanding of this phenomenon, how the whole mechanism comes into being [出現]. And so for this reason, many people have the feeling that there are no answers to those philosophical questions. We have been talking about them for thousands of years — What is the meaning of a human life? Wherein lies justice in this world? Does the soul exist? Basically, there is no answer to these questions. Is it not futile to be still putting in so much effort to investigate questions for which there are no answers? And so, doesn’t philosophy deserve to be despised? To have to respond to such doubts about philosophy is of course very tedious, but I get the feeling [估] that there is a very simple and direct way to respond. What is the response? Just now it was said that philosophy has apparently been discussing questions for so many years to which there are no answers, and so for this reason such [questions] are doomed to remain unanswered. Someone, it seems, has made such an inference. But the interesting thing [問題] is, this kind of standpoint is itself precisely a philosophical standpoint, that is, believing that those questions have no answers and are not worth our discussing them. When you have to argue for a standpoint of this kind — paradoxically — you have already entered . . .

【6:00】. . . 哲學嘅領域 | 已經進行緊哲學討論呢 | 所以如果你要用呢個理由去批評哲學呢 | 其實你有個理論負擔 | 其實你要提供論證説明 | 點解其實嗰啲問題係冇答案 | 係唔值得我哋探討 | 而呢件事呢,正正係需要一個哲學嘅論證 | 呢個立場本身正正係一個哲學嘅立場 | 噉順住呢個討論呢 | 其實我哋可以進入到第四個討厭哲學嘅理由 [呀] | 第四個討厭哲學嘅理由呢 | 係牽涉到哲學嘅方法論嘅 | 好多人認爲呢 | 哲學討論問題嘅時候呢 | 只不過喺度吹水 | 因爲佢一來唔似得自然科學咁樣 | 係牽涉到經驗觀察啦 | 二來又唔係好似數學咁樣 | 牽涉到一啲好嚴謹嘅計算 | 好似喺度用一啲 | 所謂思想實驗呀、概念區分呀 | 呢啲咁嘅方法呢,去討論哲學問題 | 噉呢,啲人就覺得呢樣嘢呢 | 係非常之唔紥實嘅 | 但我對呢個質疑嘅回應 | 同我啱啱嘅質疑都係一樣嘅 | 就係呢個正正就係牽涉到哲學應該點樣做嘅問題

● 領域 líhng5 wihk6 = a field; sphere; domain; realm | ● 論證 leuhn6 jing3 = a demonstration; proof| ● 説明 syut3 mìhng4 = ① to explain; to show ② explanation; direction; caption | ● 探討 taam3 tóu2 = to inquire into; to probe into | ● 順住 seuhn6 jyuh6 = along | ● 討厭 tóu2 yim3 = to dislike; to loathe; to be disgusted with | ● 方法論 fōng1 faat3 leuhn6 = methodology | ● 一來 … 二來 …  yāt1 lòih4 … yih6 lòih4 = firstly … secondly … | ● 唔似得 mh4 chíh5 dāk1 = (?) unlike; cf. 好似 hou2 chíh5 = to be like; to be similar | ● 牽涉 hīn1 sip3 = to involve; to drag in | ● 吹水 chēui1 seui2 = to talk rubbish/nonsense | ● 嚴謹 yìhm4 gán2 = rigorous; strict | ● 紥實 jaat3 saht6 = ① sturdy; strong ② solid; sound; down-to-earth | ● 質疑 jāt1 yìh4 = to call into question; to query

. . . the realm of philosophy, and are engaging in a philosophical discussion. And so for this reason, if you wish to criticize philosophy on this basis [理由], then in fact you have a theoretical responsibility: actually, you must provide proofs and explanations [to show] why those questions do not in fact have an answer, and are not worth our investigation. This matter requires a philosophical demonstration. This standpoint is in itself precisely a philosophical position. Now following on from [順住] this discussion, we can proceed to the fourth reason for detesting philosophy. The fourth reason for detesting philosophy involves the methodology of philosophy. A lot of people think that when philosophy discusses a question it is [doing] nothing more than talking nonsense. This is firstly because, unlike the natural sciences, it does not involve experience and observation, and secondly, unlike mathematics, it does involve making any rigorous calculations. It seems that there [in philosophy] one makes use of methods such as what are called “thought experiments” and conceptual distinctions to talk about philosophical questions. Some people feel that such things [that is, “thought experiments” and conceptual distinctions] are extremely unsound. My response to such doubts, however, is that — like my [own] doubt from before — it precisely involves the issue of how philosophy is to be done . . .

【7:00】哲學嘅方法論問題 | 其實已經轉入到所謂 metaphilosophy 嘅領域 | 就係 *jai 哲學哋反省哲學應該點樣進行 | 其實當代或者一直以嚟呢 | 都有好多呢啲咁嘅哲學討論嘅 | 就係哲學家都會諗返自己 | 究竟而家做緊嘢係有冇用嘅呢?係有冇效嘅呢?| 例如現代嘅分析哲學成日會用到思想實驗 | 而其實好多英美嘅哲學家 | 都會後設一部討論 | 究竟 *geung 思想實驗係咪一個鞏固 *gwong gu 嘅好嘅方法 | 去令到我哋逼近個世界 | 所以都係嗰句呢 | 如果你要批評哲學嘅方法論 | 係唔夠嚴謹、係唔紥實 | 只係一班唔知做乜咁樣喺度吹水嘅話呢 | 其實你已經需要一啲哲學論證 | 去支持你嘅立場 | 你咁樣講已經 welcome to philosophy | 噉 [呢] 呢條片我最後一個想討論嘅諗法呢 | 都非常得意嘅 | 嗰啲人呢,其實嚴謹而言呢,唔係批評緊哲學 | 而係批評緊現代嘅學院哲學 | 佢哋會點諗呢?| 佢哋會覺得 // 以前 . . .

● 例如 laih6 yùh4 = for instance; for example | ● 思想實驗 sī1 séung2 saht6 yìhm4 = thought experiment | ● 後設 hauh6 chit3 = cf. chit = ② to work out 3. given; suppose; if | ● 鞏固 gúng2 gu3 = to consolidate; to strengthen | ● 逼近③ bīk1 gahn6 = to press on towards; to close in on; to approach; to draw near | ● 嚴謹而言 yìhm4 gán2 yìh4 yìhn4= strictly speaking

. . . as well as the issue of philosophical method, in fact, the domain of what is called “metaphilosophy”, that is, reflecting philosophically on how philosophy should be carried out. Actually, for most of the contemporary age [當代或者一直以嚟], there have been many such philosophical discussions, [in which] philosophers reflect on themselves and whether what they are doing has any use, whether it is effective or not. For instance, modern analytical philosophy is always using thought experiments, and many English and American philosophers often add a discussion at the end of their writings (?) [都會後設一部討論], wondering whether thought experiments are a good way to consolidate [their arguments], enabling us to get closer to the world. For this reason, we come back to that same old phrase again [所以都係嗰句呢]: if you wish to criticize philosophy’s methods as not being rigorous enough, as being out of touch, as being the idle talk of a bunch of people who have no idea what they are doing, then in fact you are in need of some philosophical proofs to support your standpoint. You have already [reached the point] of “Welcome to Philosophy”. The final idea I would like to discuss in this video is very interesting. Those people [who claim to detest philosophy] are not criticizing philosophy [per se] but instead modern academic philosophy. What would they think this? They are liable to feel that // in the past . . .

【8:00】. . . 嗰啲偉大嘅哲學家,可能蘇格拉底、可能孔子、或者耶穌咁樣 | 佢哋真真實實咁樣呢,影響咗好多好多人嘅生命 | 而家嘅所謂哲學研究 | 只不過係一堆象牙塔嘅學者 | 喺度玩緊學術遊戲 | 玩緊啲概念嘅遊戲 | 喺度討論啲不著邊際嘅問題 | 而象牙塔以外 | 真實嘅社會、真實嘅世界 | 根本就冇人會 care 嗰啲人點樣諗 | 噉所以簡單講呢,呢種批評呢 | 係批評緊現代哲學嘅墮落 | 佢已經喪失咗古典時期 | 種哲學嘅影響力 | 嗰種哲學可以走進每一個人嘅生命 | 真真實實咁樣影響每一個人嘅嗰種力量 | 現代哲學只係淪爲一啲文字嘅遊戲 | 噉我喺呢條片開始提到 Williams 個篇文呢 | 都討論過呢個問題 | 佢話呢,其實拍拉圖呢 | 係第一個强調哲學應該走進生命嘅人 | 但佢話最攪笑嘅、最吊詭係 | 哲學正正喺拍拉圖嘅手上變得非常之離地 | 例如拍拉圖自己創立嘅拍拉圖學院

● 象牙塔 jeuhng6 ngàah4 taap3 = ivory tower | ● 學術遊戲 hohk6 seuht6 yàuh4 hei3 = (?) academic game | ● 不著邊際 bāt1 jeuhk6 bīn1 jai3 = neither here nor there; irrelevant | ● 墮落 doh6 lohk6 = to degenerate; to sink low | ● 淪 lèuhn4 = to fall; to be reduced to | ● 拍拉圖 Paak3 Lāai1 Tòuh4 = Plato

. . . those great philosophers, Socrates perhaps, or Confucius, or Jesus have had a real impact on the lives of many, many people. What is called “philosophical research” these days [means] nothing more than a bunch [堆, lit. “heap”] of scholars in ivory towers playing academic games, playing games with concepts, or talking about issues that have nothing to do with anything [不著邊際]. They basically don’t care what people think beyond the ivory tower, in real society, in the real world. So, to put it simply, this kind of criticism is a criticism of the degeneration of modern philosophy. It has lost the philosophical influence of the classical era, [an era when] that kind of philosophy could make its way into the lives of every single individual, and was that kind a force that could a genuine influence on everyone. Modern philosophy has degenerated into a play with words [一啲文字嘅遊戲]. At the beginning of this video, I mentioned the essay by Bernard Williams, who also talked about this issue. He says that in actual fact Plato was the first person to say that philosophy should play a part in people’s lives [走進生命], but the most ridiculous and paradoxical thing was, in the hands of Plato, philosophy became something extremely remote from ordinary life [非常之離地]. By way of an example, at the academy which he established, Plato . . .

【9:00】據説呢,個門口上面呢,就掛住一個牌 | 就寫住:唔識幾何學嘅人呢,係唔可以入嚟嘅 | 所以攪笑嘅係拍拉圖明明 | 强調哲學應該要走進每一個人嘅生命 | 回應我哋人生入面一啲最基本嘅問題 | 但另一方面呢,佢就令到哲學非常專業化 | 高度嘅學術化 | 就令到一般人呢,好難親近 | 因爲至少呢,你要識得幾何學,你先可以走入哲學家嘅世界 | 面對呢個批評呢,我自己呢,有兩個諗法嘅 | 第一個諗法呢,就係 *jai | 我認爲的而且確呢,現代嘅學術環境呢 | 係會令到有大量毫無意義嘅學術論文所產生咗出嚟 | 真係有好多呢,喺度玩緊概念或者文字遊戲 | 噉我以我自己為例呢 | 我成日都講,我自己 // 真係唔係好鍾意攪學術嘅 | 但我覺得呢個 | 唔係哲學喺現代社會特有嘅問題 | 而其實係成個大環境 | 高等教育界或者學術界嘅一啲制度上嘅問題 | 噉啊 . . .

● 據説 geui3 syut3 = it is said; they say; allegedly | ● 幾何學 géi2 hòh4 hohk6 = geometry | ● 專業化 jyūn1 yihp6 faa3 = specialization | ● 親近 chān1 gahn6 = to be close to; to be on intimate terms with | ● 的而且確 dīk1 yìh4 ché2 kok3 = indeed; really | ● 毫無意義 hòuh4 mòuh4 yi3 yih6 = (?) totally meaningless| ● 大環境 daaih6 wàahn4 gíng2 = (?) a bigger/broader context | ● 高等教育界 gōu1 dáng2 gaau3 yuhk6 gaai3 = roughly, “the world of higher education”

. . . it is said, above the door they hung up a sign on which it was written “Those Who Do Not Know Geometry Cannot Enter Here”. And so, what is so ridiculous is that Plato obviously emphasized that philosophy should play a part [走進 = to go into; to enter] in every person’s life and respond to the fundamental questions in our human lives, but on the other hand he caused philosophy to become extremely specialized and highly academic, so that ordinary people could not feel close to it, the reason being that — at the very least — you had to have an understanding of geometry before you could enter the world of philosophy. Faced with this criticism, I myself have two ideas. The first idea is that I think that it is true [的而且確] that the modern academic environment can lead to the production of a large volume of completely meaningless academic dissertations, and there really are a large number [of individuals] who are engaged in playing conceptual or linguistic games. Let me use myself as an example. I’m always going on about how I really don’t like academic pursuits [攪學術] very much, but it is my feeling that this is not a problem particular to philosophy in modern society but one [that involves] a bigger context [大環境]. Systemic problems in the world of higher education or academia . . .

【10:00】. . . 其實就唔係完全係哲學呢個學科要面對嘅問題 | 我曾幾何時呢,啱啱入咗哲學系嘅時候呢 | 都好心急,好希望哲學快啲回應到 | 我人生嘅一啲基本嘅問題 | 例如死亡究竟點樣影響我哋人生啦 | 人生究竟有啲咩意義啦 | 我一路都好渴求呢啲答案 | 希望哲學家呢,可以話到俾我聽 | 噉當我抱住呢個咁嘅期待同埋渴求去入哲學系嘅時候呢 | 我開頭呢,老實講,其實都係好失望嘅 | 我當時嘅感覺呢,exactly 就好似啱啱對哲學嘅嗰啲批評者所講咁 | 就係 *jai,哈,點解你哋呢啲咁嘅哲學家或者學者 | 好似好巴閉、好似好勁 | 但係講嚟講去都冇真係回應到 | 我心目中 [又或者] 我人生入便呢 [啲] 最真實嘅疑惑嘅 | 點解你仲未答我人生有啲咩意義嘅?| 噉但係我讀得哲學越多 [啦],我就慢慢發現呢 | 其實只不過我當初太心急 | 因爲其實我哋當然每一個人生命入便 | 都有啲好真實嘅困惑 | 好希望哲學家去回答佢哋

● 曾幾何時 chàhng4 géi2 hòh4 sìh4 = before long; not long after | ● 渴求 hot3 kàuh4 = to yearn for | ● 期待 kèih4 doih6 = to expect; to await; to look forward to | ● 開頭 hōi1 tàuh4 = to begin; to start (intransitive verb) | ● 巴閉 bāa1 bai3 = ① arrogant; flashy; showy; fussy; noisy ② impressive; high and mighty| ● 勁 gehng6 = strong; powerful; vigorous; sturdy | ● 當初 dōng1 chō1 = originally; at the outset; in the first place; at that time

. . . In fact, this is not something that the discipline of philosophy [alone] faces. Not long after I became a student [入咗 = entered] in a philosophy department, I was eager and hoping that philosophy would soon provide answers [回應到] to the fundamental questions of my life. For instance, how does death affect our lives as human beings [我哋人生 = our human lives]? What is the meaning of life? I was yearning for answers [to these questions], hoping that philosophers could tell me [話到俾我聽]. When I became a student of philosophy, full of [抱住 = to hold in one’s arms; to cherish] such expectations and yearnings, at first, to tell you the truth, I was in fact very disappointed. My feelings at that time were exactly like those people who are critical of philosophy, that is, “Huh! Why is that that philosophers and scholars like you — [even though] you seem so impressive and so forceful — have not really answered the very real perplexities in my mind and in my life, [despite all] the talking back and forth. Why haven’t you answered me about what the meaning of my life is. However, the more I studied philosophy, I gradually came to realize [發現 = to discover] that it was just that I was too impatient when I began [當初]. Because in fact naturally in the life of every [single] one of us, there are some very real [sources of] perplexity which we hope the philosophers can provide answers to [去回答].

【11:00】但個問題就係 | 呢啲問題本身實在太過難答 [喇] | 我哋唔能夠期望有一個好簡單嘅答案 | 例如人生有咩意義呢個問題 | 乍看好似好 *houchou 簡單 | 但你越問落去就挖出一啲好離地嘅問題 | 例如究竟人係啲咩呢? | 世界係咩嚟㗎呢? | 人同世界嘅關係邊度呢? | 人類究竟可以知道幾多嘢呢? | 人類嘅語言點樣同個世界連擊起嚟呢 | 其實呢堆問題睇落好離地 | 但當你從一個好在地 | 嘅人生意義,呢個哲學問題出發 | 你無何避免哋一路問落去 | 就會 *jeui 問到一啲咁高度抽象 | 咁離地嘅哲學問題 | 所以我個意思係 | 如果你對呢啲咁在地嘅哲學問題 | 有一種好真熾嘅渴求嘅話呢 | 你唔能夠期望有一個好即食嘅答案俾到你 | 你應該有耐性慢慢一步一步咁樣思考 | 而唔應該拒絕嗰啲睇落好似好離地 | 同你人生唔相干嘅 | 形上學問題啦 . . .

● 難答 nàahn4 daap3 = difficult to answer | ● 期望 kèih4 mohng6 = a hope; an expectation; here, 期望 clearly works as a verb | ● 乍看 jaa3 hon3 = at first glance (cf. 驟眼睇 jaauh6 ngáahn5 tái2) | ● 挖出 waat3 chēut1 = to dig [out]; to excavate | ● 連繫lìhn4 haih6 = (?) connection; link | ● 睇落 tái2 lohk6 = come across as; seem; appear; look like; look as if | ● 在地 joih6 deih6 = (?) on the ground; down-to-earth | ● 真熾 jan1 chi3 = ? (I am not sure if this is what 豬文 Jyu Man says here. The subtitles have 熱熾 yiht6 chi3, which is not in my dictionaries either! But the basic meaning of 熾 is “flaming; ablaze”). | ● 即食 jīk1 sihk6 = fast food | ● 相干 sēung1 gōn1 = have to do with; be concerned with

But the problem [問題] is, these questions are in themselves real too difficult to answer. We can’t expect there to be a very simply-obvious answer. For instance, the question “What is the meaning of life?” seems quite simple at first, but the more you go into it [越問落去 = the more one asks down (into it)], you dig up some very “off the wall” [離地] issues, such as “What really is a human being?” “What is this world?” “Where does the link between people and the world reside?” “How much can human beings actually know?” “How do human languages link up with the world?” Actually, this pile of questions is seemingly very remote from everyday concerns [離地], but when start out from a very down-to-earth [在地] philosophical question about the meaning of human life, inevitably as you go on making inquiries you will end up asking [就會問到] some highly abstract, “off the wall” philosophical questions. For this reason, what I mean is that if you have a burning desire [to understand] such down-to-earth philosophical questions, you can’t expect [唔能夠期望] there to be a fast-food answer for you. You should think things through slowly, with patience, step by step, and you shouldn’t refuse those seemingly remote and metaphysical questions that have no bearing on your life . . .

【12:00】. . . 知識論問題或者語言哲學嘅問題 | 所以簡單講,我覺得哲學離地呢 | 唔係因爲佢匿埋喺個象牙塔度故作高深 | 而係其實嗰啲哲學問題本身真係好複雜 | 佢冇辦法唔咁樣去討論嗰啲問題 | 噉如果你一心只係 *jei 想追求一種人生嘅慰藉 | 好可能呢,你應該去書局買本 | 「讓你過得幸福快樂嘅十個要訣」呢啲書 | 而唔係買一本哲學書 | 噉所以其實呢條片講到尾呢,想做啲咩呢? | 就係話俾嗰啲討厭哲學嘅人聽 | 其實係你哋唔識貨 | 你哋走寳 [喇] | 拜拜

● 知識論 jī1 sīk1 leuhn6 = epistemology; a theory of knowledge | ● 匿埋 nēi1 màaih4 = to hide | ● 故作高深 gu3 jok3 gōu1 sām1 = pretend to be erudite & profound | ● 慰藉 wai3 jihk6 = to console | ● 書局 syū1 gúk6*2 = bookstore; bookshop | ● 要訣 yiu3 kyut3 = tricks of the trade | ● 識貨 sīk1 fo3 = be able to tell good from bad; know what’s what | ● 走寳 jáu2 bóu2 = miss out on something good

. . . nor those questions to do with epistemology or the philosophy of language. For this reason, to put it simply, I think that philosophy is remote from everyday life [離地] not because it hides itself away in an ivory tower pretending to be erudite and profound but actually because philosophical questions are by nature very complex. [Philosophy] cannot discuss such questions in any other way. Now if you are bent on searching out some kind of consolation for your life, you would probably be better off going to a bookstore to buy a book such as Ten Secrets for a More Fortunate, Happier You, not a book on philosophy. In the final analysis, then, what does this video want to achieve [想做啲咩呢]? To tell you people who despise philosophy that you don’t know what’s what, and that you’re missing out on a real treasure. Good-bye.

Learning Cantonese: 2021 香港約章 Hong Kong Charter 2021

“Hongkongers are a unique community with their own distinctive culture, history, experiences and values. We shall maintain our unique identity and continue to create its timely significance to perpetuate these precious characteristics; our identity, history and cultural values shall be respected and safeguarded, in writing and in recording, to be preserved in multiple ways to counter the biased perspectives fabricated and propagated by the authorities” — these are the opening sentences of the next part of the Charter, simply entitled 香港篇 Hēung1 Góng2 Pīn1 or “Hong Kong Section”.

I will tackle the remaining two parts of the Charter (dealing with mainland China and the international community) in another post, but you can view the entire bilingual document here, together with some information on the initiators. For other help with the Chinese, please consult the Sheik Cantonese on-line dictionary.


7.  香港人是一個獨特的共同體,擁有獨特的文化、歷史、經歷以及價值觀。我們應該維持獨特的身份認同,持續創造其時代意義,以傳承這些珍貴的特質;我們的身份丶歷史和文化價值應該受到尊重、保護,以各種方法書寫、記錄、保存,抗擊官方諱言捏造的史觀。

8.  香港人有權決定香港的前途和事務,包括民生丶政制丶憲制等改革。同時,香港人應享有民主、自主和自由的制度:民主包括由人民直接選出丶沒有篩選的政府和議會;自主包括本地事務免受中共干預;自由包括《世界人權宣言》丶《公民權利及政治權利公約》和其他國際公約內列明人民應享有的政治丶社會及經濟權利。

9.  香港政府應實行三權分立,司法丶行政及立法機關互不統屬。法治制度應以限制公權力、彰顯公義為最高原則,法官判決應合乎人權及法治的標準,另外本地最高法院應享有憲法解釋權,不受中共干預。

10.  港版國安法是侵害港人言論自由、人身安全、政治自由的惡法,理應馬上廢除。政府應停止以言入罪、釋放在囚的政治犯,並保障所有港人遊行、示威、結社、出版、言論的權利,並撤銷所有針對流亡人士的政治檢控。

11.  中共肆意侵蝕香港公民社會,破壞各個專業領域的價值、原則以及道德,逼使有良心的香港市民臣服於他們無理專橫的管治。我們呼籲市民盡量捍衛自身底線,不與政權同流合污。

12.  在中共的直接指揮和港府官員盲從上意下,警隊已淪為極權打壓市民訴求和權利的武器。警政系統必須改革,在人民充分的監督及授權下,建立真正為民服務的治安自理體系。

● 共同體 guhng6 tùhng4 tái2 = community | ● 身份認同 sān1 fán6*2 yihng6 tùhng4 = (?) identity cf. 身份 = status; identity + 認同 = to identify | ● 傳承 chyùhn4 sìhng4 = to impart & to inherit | ● 抗擊 kong3 gīk1 = to resist; to beat back | ● 諱言捏造wáih5 yìhn4 nihp6 jouh6 = ? cf. 諱言 = dare not or would not speak up + 捏造 = to fabricate; to concoct; to trump up | ● 事務 sih6 mouh6 = affairs | ● 世界人權宣言 sai3 gaai3 yàhn4 kyùhn4 syūn1 yìhn4 = the Universal Declaration of Human Rights | ● 公民權利及政治權利公約 gūng1 màhn4 kyùhn4 leih6 kahp6 jing3 jih6 kyùhn4 leih6 gūng1 yeuk3 = the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights | ● 三權分立 sāam1 kyùhn4 fān1 lahp6 = separation of powers (i.e. the legislative, executive and judicial powers) | ● 統屬 tung2 suhk6 = ① subordination ② to be subordinate | ● 公權力 gūng1 kyùhn4 leih6 = (?) public rights | ● 彰顯公義 jēung1 hín2 gūng1 yih6 = cf. 彰顯 = to bring out conspicuously + 公義 = justice | ● 解釋權 gáai2 sihk6 kyùhn4 = right to interpret | ● 理應 léih5 yīng1 = ought to; should | ● 以言入罪 yíh5 yìhn4 yahp6 jeuih6 = roughly, “to regard speaking out as a criminal offence” | ● 結社 git3 séh5 = to form an association | ● 撤銷 chit3 sīu1 = to cancel; to rescind; to revoke | ● 檢控 gím2 hung3 = to prosecute | ● 臣服於 sàhn4 fuhk6 yū1 = to submit oneself to the rule of; to acknowledge allegiance to | ● 捍衛 hóhn5 waih6 = to defend; to guard; to protect | ● 底線 dái2 sin3 = the base line; the bottom line | ● 同流合污 tùhng4 làuh4 hahp6 wū1 = wallow in the mire with sb.; to associate with an evil person | ● 上意 seuhng6 yi3 = (?) the wishes/will of those higher up  | ● 授權 sauh6 kyùhn4 = to empower; to authorize | ● 治安自理 jih6 [ng]ōn1 jih6 léih5 = ? cf. 治安 = law & order

7.  Hongkongers are a unique community with their own distinctive culture, history, experiences and values. We shall maintain our unique identity and continue to create its timely significance to perpetuate these precious characteristics; our identity, history and cultural values shall be respected and safeguarded, in writing and in recording, to be preserved in multiple ways to counter the biased perspectives fabricated and propagated by the authorities.

8.  Hongkongers shall have the right to determine the future and affairs of Hong Kong, including any social, institutional and constitutional reforms. Hongkongers shall enjoy a democratic, autonomous and free system. Democracy entails a government and legislature directly elected by the people. By autonomy, it means local affairs are free from the Chinese Communist Party’s interference. Freedom entails the provision of social and economic rights for the people as stipulated by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

9.  The Hong Kong government shall implement separation of powers. The judiciary, the executive and the legislature shall not be subordinate to one another. The legal system shall have restricting public power and manifesting justice as the supreme principles. The judges shall adjudicate in accordance with human rights and the rule of law. The highest court shall enjoy the power of interpretation of the constitution.

10.  The Hong Kong National Security Law is a draconian law that violates Hongkongers’ freedom of speech, freedom of the person and political freedom, and shall be repudiated immediately. The government shall stop criminalizing speeches, release all political prisoners and guarantee Hongkongers freedom of demonstration, protest, association, publication and speech. The government shall drop all charges against the political exiles.

11.  The Chinese Communist Party has been arbitrarily encroaching on Hong Kong’s civil society, destroying the values, principles and moralities of each professional sector, and forcing conscientious Hongkongers to submit to its despotic governance. We urge citizens to hold their bottom line, resist association with the Chinese Communist Party and its evil deeds.

12.  Under the Chinese Communist Party’s direct orders and the blind submission of Hong Kong officials, the police force has become an arsenal used by the totalitarian regime to oppress people’s aspirations and rights. The police system must be reformed. A democratic policing system, which truly serves the people, has to be established under the people’s supervision and with the people’s mandate.


Perhaps it’s just that the human mind is incapable of imagining anything that doesn’t begin.

— Diana Athill, “Whistling in the Dark”

He says, “Latch the old door well
before we both catch cold, son. . . .”
Seated in a square of light spitting image of the frost
we watch together through a warped timber window-frame
Moon muse in a museum of stars
and dark artefacts:

Something beginning with . . .

Somewhere foxes do their rounds regardless,
marking with telltale brown turds highlights of the chill territory
and hares lope nose down over scent-trails,
doubling back where the smell ties itself in knots —
no, a hare is never tangled by such tricks.
After the moon has gone, the house cracks
loudly of its own accord —
it doesn’t split our connection with concentration,
but it’s hard not to get lost in imaginary after-shocks
courtesy of the head’s echo-chamber.
I hear him ask me in a hoarse whisper,
as he nudges me with a boot, “Hey, you still all there?”
The way I say nothing through the air
gives him just as good as the answer he expects:

Something beginning with . . .

Learning Cantonese: 2021 香港約章 Hong Kong Charter 2021

Recently, mainland China unilaterally terminated its “One Country, Two Systems” arrangement with Hong Kong. This, its failure to abide by the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which states that the “basic policies of the People’s Republic of China regarding Hong Kong . . . will remain unchanged for 50 years”, and its refusal to fulfil the terms of the Hong Kong Basic Law, especially Instrument 23, which envisages that “the selection of the Chief Executive and the election of all members of the Legislative Council by universal suffrage will be realized in accordance with the Hong Kong Basic Law and this Decision” has caused great dismay and concern in the Special Administrative Region. In response, a group of Hongkongers now living in exile have formulated the 2021 香港約 章Hong Kong Charter 2021 in the hope of finding a way to ensure the honouring of promises made to the people of Hong Kong.

Below, you can read the first part of the Charter in Chinese and English, together with some notes on vocabulary and grammar. The English reads more like a separate version rather than a translation, and you can learn a lot about how written Chinese works by pondering the differences in the two texts.

I will tackle the remaining two parts of the Charter in another post, but you can view the entire bilingual document here, together with some information on the initiators. For other help with the Chinese, please consult the Sheik Cantonese on-line dictionary.


1.  自1980年代中英談判起,香港人一直爭取民主制度,以期選出代表香港市民的首長以及立法機關。惟中共一黨專政本質不變,除了阻撓香港人商討香港未來,自九七主權移交後,中共更屢次破壞《中英聯合聲明》和《基本法》精神,從未兌現承諾,落實民主與自治。直至二零一九年反送中運動爆發,港人奮起爭取民主自由,卻被暴政以赤色恐怖打壓,數以萬計示威者被捕。《港區國安法》實施後,港人言論、集會自由盡失,在港者動輒被囚,被政治逼害者流亡海外;2021年中共強加的政制改革更摧毀了香港選舉僅餘的民主成份,一國兩制名存實亡。

● 以期 yíh5 kèih4 = roughly, “in the hope of”; cf. 期望 kèih4 mohng6 = hope; expectation | ● 立法機關 lahp6 faat3 gēi1 gwāan1 = legislative body | ● 惟 wàih4 = but | ● 專政本質 cf. 專政 jyūn1 jing3 = dictatorship + 本質 bún2 jāt1 = essence; nature; innate character; intrinsic quality| ● 阻撓 jó2 nàauh4 = to obstruct; to thwart; to stand in the way of | ● 主權移交 jyú2 kyùhn4 yìh4 gāau1 = transfer of sovereignty | ● 屢次 léuih5 chi3 = time & again; repeatedly | ● 兌現 deui3 yihn6 = to honour (a commitment, etc.); to fulfil; to make good | ● 暴政 bouh6 jing3 = tyranny; despotic rule | ● 赤色恐怖 chik3/chek3 sīk1 húng2 bou3 = (?) red terror | ● 數以萬計 sou3 yíh5 maahn6 gai3 = by the tens of thousands; numbering tens of thousands; cf. 計 gai3 = to number | ● 盡失jeuhn6 sāt1 = cf. 盡 = to the utmost; to the limit + 失= to lose | ● 動輒 duhng6 jip3 = easily; frequently; at every turn | ● 囚 chàuh4 = ① to imprison ② prisoner; convict | ● 逼害者 bīk1 hoih6 jé2 = cf.  迫害 bīk1 hoih6 = to persecute | ● 強加 kèuhng4 gāa1 = to impose; to force | ● 摧毀 chēui1 wái2 = to destroy; to smash; to wreck | ● 僅餘gán2 yùh4 = roughly, “(those) few remaining” | ● 名存實亡 mìhng4 chyùhn4 saht6 mòhng4 = cease to exist except in name; exist in name only

1.  Ever since the Sino-British negotiations in the 1980s, the people of Hong Kong have been striving for a democratic political system, the right to elect truly representative legislators and Chief Executive. Notwithstanding, despite barring Hongkongers to determine their future, the Chinese Communist Party, with its unchanging one-party dictatorship, has been also tightening its totalitarian grip on Hong Kong. Sino-British Joint Declaration and Basic Law have been repeatedly breached by the Chinese Communist Party after the handover in 1997, and their promises of democracy and autonomy – have never been fulfilled. Hongkongers gathered in resistance to the Anti-Extradition Bill Movement in 2019. Facing more atrocious oppression than ever, tens of thousands were arrested. After the imposition of the National Security Law, Hong Kong’s freedom of speech and assembly has been exsanguinated. Numerous Hongkongers have no choice but to leave in exile, while those remaining in their city are living with the constant fear of being politically persecuted on any day. The 2021 electoral reform imposed by the Chinese Communist Party further annihilated the democratic elements in our elections, putting the last nail in the coffin for “One Country, Two Systems”.

2.  港人的勇敢和犧牲使國際社會尤其關注香港的民主運動,國際倡議工作如雨後春荀,港人離散族群無不為建立民主香港而爭取國際盟友支持,護港抗共。在二零二一年之初,我們希望透過《香港約章》來凝聚港人國際戰線的力量,團結海外港人社群,為光復香港的長遠之路籌謀和準備。我們矢志對抗中共霸權及壓逼,爭取港人民主自由;守護並延續海內外港人的自主意志;呼籲國際社會對抗中共威權擴張,共同守護民主自由的價值。

● 倡議工作 = advocacy cf. 倡議 cheung3 yíh5 = to propose | ● 如雨後春荀 yùh4 yúh5 hauh6 chēun1 séun2 = spring up like bamboo shoots after a spring rain | ● 離散族群 lèih4 sáan2 juhk6 kwàhn4 cf. 離散 = (?) to leave & become scattered + 族群 = ethnic group | ● 盟友 màhng4 yáuh5 = ally | ● 護港抗共 wuh6 góng2 kong3 guhng6 = roughly “to protect Hong Kong and to resist the communists | ● 凝聚 yihng4 jeuih6 = ① to condense ② to crystallize | ● 社群 séh5 kwàhn4 = community; social grouping | ● 光復 gwōng1 fuhk6 = to recover (lost territory) | ● 籌謀 chàuh4 màuh4 = to devise strategies | ● 矢志 sāt1 ji3 = to pledge one’s devotion | ● 霸權 baa3 kyùhn4 = hegemony; supremacy | ● 壓逼 [ng]aat3 bīk1 = to oppress; to repress | ● 自主意志 jih6 jyú2 yi3 ji3 = cf. 自主 = act on one’s own; decide for oneself + 意志 = will | ● 威權 wāi1 kyùhn4 = authority; power | ● 擴張 kong3 jēung1 = to expand; to enlarge; to extend | ● 守護 sáu2 wuh6 = to guard; to defend

2.  With unwavering courage and altruistic sacrifices, Hongkongers have placed the Hong Kong democratic movements under the international spotlight, and Hongkongers have increasingly engaged in international political advocacy. Diasporic Hongkongers will always be garnering support from global allies, to further our cause for freedom and democracy in Hong Kong and to resist the Chinese Communist Party. With the 2021 Hong Kong Charter, we shall unite the diasporic communities, to come together at the international front, for the eventual Liberation of Hong Kong. We vow to stand against the oppression from the Chinese Communist Party, to strive for freedom and democracy in Hong Kong, to continue safeguard our determination for Hong Kong’s autonomy both locally and overseas, to advocate for international collaboration in countering the Chinese Communist Party’s global aggression, and to safeguard the universal values of freedom and democracy.​

離散港人信念 | The belief of the Diasporic Hongkongers

3.  離散港人會繼續為香港人整體福祉着想,為香港人共同利益出發。離散港人亦應善用海外的自由空間,積極發聲及倡議香港議題,尤其是因政治暴力而難以在香港發表的言論。

4. 抗爭運動應積極尋找更多盟友支持,團結更多香港人,避免派系之爭和海外運動泡沫化,將能量消耗在內部角力。

5. 離散港人發揮互助精神,協助被逼離港者在各地建立並融入在地的互助社群,匡扶個人及同儕的身心體魄,使香港精神不滅。

6.  政治倡議工作以港人利益為依歸,旨在促進香港的政治轉型,體現港人珍重的自由、自主和民主精神。

● 福祉 fūk1 jí2 = blessings | ● 善用 sihn6 yuhng6 = be good at using something | ● 發聲 faat3 sīng1/sēng1 = usu. to make a sound | ● 言論 yìhn4 leuhn6 = opinions on public affairs; expression of one’s political views | ● 團結 tyùhn4 git3 = to unite; to rally | ● 派系之爭 paai3 haih6  jī1 jāng1/jāang1 cf. = 派系 faction + 爭 = to contend | ● 泡沫化 póuh5 muht6 faa3 = (?) to turn into foam cf. 泡沫 = foam; froth | ● 角力 gok3 lihk6 = to have a trial of strength; to wrestle | ● 發揮 faat3 fāi1 = to bring into play; to give play to; to give free rein to | ● 被逼離港者 beih6 bīk1 lèih4 góng2 jé2= those who have been forced to leave Hong Kong | ● 在地 joih6 deih6 = (?) local (lit. “on the ground”) | ● 匡扶 hōng1 fùh4 = to assist | ● 同儕 tùhng4 chàaih4  = usu. “a peer” | ● 身心體魄 sān1 sām1 tái2 paak3 = ? | ● 旨在 jí2 joih6 = for the purpose of | ● 轉型 jyún2 yìhng4 = to be in transition | ● 珍重 jān1 juhng6 = to highly value; to treasure; to set great store by

Notes: The text uses some written expressions involving the co-verbs 為waih6 and 以 yíh5. Firstly, 為 . . . 着想 means “to consider (the interests of sb. or sth.)”, with the somebody or something coming after the 為: 為香港人整體福祉着想 = “to consider all that is good for the people of Hong Kong”. Secondly, 為 . . . 出發 is roughly equivalent to “to start from/proceed from”: 為香港人共同利益出發 = “to proceed from the common good of the people of Hong Kong” or even “to proceed with the common good of the Hong Kong people as our starting point”. Finally, 以 . . . 為依歸 is a similar kind of expression, and means “taking sth. as both the starting point and destination”, perhaps with the suggestion of dependence (依歸 yī1 gwāi1 can mean “to depend on”): 以港人利益為依歸 = “take the interests of the people of Hong Kong as the starting and the end point (for one’s work)”. Expressions of this kind play a big part in more formal, written Chinese and probably have their origins in Classical Chinese.

3.  The diasporic communities shall put Hongkongers at the core and work for our wellbeing, for our common interests and values. Diasporic Hongkongers shall speak what cannot be spoken in Hong Kong now, utilizing the precious freedom we have, to voice out for those silenced by the rule of terror in Hong Kong.

4.  The Hong Kong resistance shall be making allies and not enemies. Diasporic Hongkongers shall stand united and not fall into the trap of internal conflicts.

5.  Diasporic Hongkongers shall lend our helping hands to one another, facilitating the integration of other Hong Kong exiles. Having one another’s back, with the strongest will and the greatest strength, we shall perpetuate the spirits of Hong Kong resistance, until the day we see the Liberation of Hong Kong.​

6.  Hongkongers’ wellbeing and values shall be the core of our political advocacy work. We strive for Hong Kong’s democratic transformation, to realize the freedom, autonomy and democracy that were promised to Hong Kong.

Learning Cantonese: A Tuen Mun Love Story . . .

Beyond the Dream is a novel by the Hong Kong writer 蔣曉薇 Jéung2 Híu2 Mèih4. The thing that first got me interested in it was the setting: there aren’t too many books in any language set in the new town of 屯門 Tuen Mun! To me the place evokes a discordant mix: the concrete river channel that splits the town geometrically in two, the massive architecture of the MTR stations, both at Siu Hong and the terminus, the incessant traffic streaming down the vast Tuen Mun road, the shuttling, metal clatter of the light-rail trains, and towering over it all in the distance, the jagged green ridge of the Tsing Shan Mountain (Castle Peak).

In this 4-minute video put together by 文化者 The Culturist and 網上閲讀平台 the SHKP Reading Club, Jeung gives us some insight into the themes of the book, its two main characters, the young woman 葉嵐 Yihp6 Làahm4 (嵐 means “haze; vapour; mist”) and 阿樂 Aa3 Lohk6, and its subsequent transformation into a very successful film. The Chinese title 《幻愛》 is much more interesting than the English version: to me it suggests a kind of hallucinated love, the word echoing 幻想 “fantasy” (literally, “an unreal thinking”) and 幻聽 “hearing voices” (“an unreal hearing”). You can see how it might have defeated even the most determined translator . . .

The Cantonese highlight in this video is an example of the verb 㧬 [ng]úng2 = “push forward with both hands or body” — you don’t hear it that often, so every encounter is a treat! My trusty 《香港粵語大詞典》 gives two examples of its use, 㧬開度門 = to push open the door, and 㧬㧬去 = (roughly) to push and shove one another. Other treats include the word 鎅 gaai3, used both as a verb meaning “to cut” and in the compound noun 鎅刀, a kind of small knife, somewhat like a Stanley knife (at least, in some contexts); 抌 dám2, a verb with a number of meanings including “to throw away (rubbish)”; and the very Cantonese 第時 daih6 sìh4 = “in the future, another day”. Jeung also reads a passage from her novel at the 2-minute mark. Learning to understand Standard Written Chinese read aloud in Cantonese is a real challenge, and any opportunity to work on this (uneasily mastered) skill is worth taking.

You can watch the video here (Chinese subtitles only). If you want to take a look at the (rough in places) transcription, notes and English translation, please scroll down.

And if you would like to take a look at the trailer for the film with English subtitles, you can view that here.

And remember, if you want the standard jyutping romanization or to check any of the Chinese in the text, please consult the Sheik Cantonese on-line dictionary. You might also like to make use the Ekho Text to Speech Converter if you have trouble matching any part of the transcribed Chinese text to the spoken version. Just make sure you select “Cantonese” under the language menu before you paste cut and text into the relevant box.


蔣曉薇:呢個好糾結内心世界係 | 啫,係我去寫嘅時候我自己都覺得痛呀

● 糾結 gáu2 git3 = to entangle; to tangle together; to be in a knot

Jeung Hiu-mei: This tangled-up inner world is one that give me pain myself when I set out to write [about it].

Caption: 幻愛 | 小説作者 | 蔣曉薇 Beyond the Dream | Fiction Writer | Jeung Hiu-mei

我覺得電影其實都係主要係阿樂嘅視點嘅 | 去到我自己作爲創作嘅時候呢 | 我覺得,呃,葉嵐呢個角色呢 | 喺個電影度仲有好多發揮嘅空間 | 可能係因爲自己係女性 [㗎嘛] | 我係好容易去代入到女性嘅角度同埋視點去寫 | 好多時候,葉嵐嘅内心世界 | 佢,佢嘅過去係點樣成長㗎 | 佢同媽媽之間嗰個命運嘅連擊係點樣㗎 | 呢度我係花咗啲心思去,去諗啦,去構思啦【1:00】

● 視點 sih6 dím2 = perspective | ● 發揮嘅空間 faat3 fāi1 ge3 hūng1 gāan1 = (?) room to give free play to | ● 代入 doih6 yahp6 = (?) to put oneself into the shoes of another person | ● 連繫lìhn4 haih6 = (?) connection; link | ● 心思 sām1 sī1 = ① thought; idea ② state of mind; mood | ● 構思 kau3 sī1 = (of a writer) work out the plot of a literary work

It is my feeling that the film is in fact mainly [from] the perspective of Ah Lok. To me, as the creator [去到我自己作爲創作嘅時候呢], I think that in the role of Yip Lam there is still plenty of room in the film for development [發揮嘅空間]. Perhaps because I am a woman too, it is very easy for me to insert myself when I write into a female role and perspective. I spent a lot of time thinking about and plotting Yip Lam’s inner world — what her past was like when she was growing up, and what kind of destiny linked her and her mother together.

噉我記得喺電影裏面呢,有一幕呢,就係 | 葉嵐同阿樂呢,就喺屋企樓下撞到 Uncle Wong | 然後佢哋就觸發咗一個衝突 [喇] | 就係葉嵐,呃,啫,覺得自己好 . . .  [佢] 嘅過去好不濟好不堪 | 佢覺得自己好唔配得,呃,阿樂嘅愛 | 然後佢就㧬咗阿樂出,呃,屋企嘅 | 噉然後葉嵐瞓到半夜嘅時候就扎醒咗 | 然後佢就望住手上面嗰條紅繩 | 就,呃,鎅刀鎅,鎅斷佢 | 然後抌咗落垃圾桶 | 啫,呢一幕,呃,可能係好短 | 大概十秒八秒咁樣呢 | 噉但係,啫,我都要一個,賦予佢一個心理狀態,就係 | 佢做乜醒咗之後係要做呢件事 [嘅] 呢,咁 | 噉我就寫咗喺書裏面嘅【2:00】

● 一幕 yāt1 mohk6 = an act (in a play); perhaps here “a scene (in a film)” | ● 屋企樓下 [ng]ūk1 kéi5*2 làuh4 haah6 = lit. “downstairs of one’s home”, but in the case of a housing estate probably “outside the building one lives in” | ● 撞到 johng6 dóu3*2 = to bump into; to encounter | ● 觸發 jūk1 faat3 = to spark; to trigger | ● 不濟 bāt1 jai3 = useless | ● 不堪 bāt1 hām1 = cannot bear; unbearably; cannot stand; “have had it up to here” | ● 好唔配得阿樂嘅愛 hóu2 mh4 pui3 dāk1 Aa3 Lohk6  ge3 [ng]oi3 = not at all worthy of Ah Lok’s love  | ● 㧬 úng2 = push forward with both hands or body | ● 扎醒 jaat3 séng2 = wake up suddenly; wake up with a start; startle from sleep | ● 紅繩 hùhng4 síng4*2= a red cord/string | ● 鎅刀 gaai3 dōu1 = a knife blade, a razor blade; a paper cutter | ● dám2 = ① beat (with fist); bang; pound ② smash; shatter; stamp (a chop) ③ throw; discard; abandon | ● 賦予 fu3 yúh5 = to bestow on; to endow with; to vest with

I remember that there is a scene in the film in which Yip Lam and Ah Lok bump into Uncle Wong outside the building she lives in [屋企樓下], which sets off conflict between the pair. Yip Lam feels that she is quite . . . // in the past she was both useless and fed up [過去好不濟好不堪]. She felt that she was quite unworthy of Ah Lok’s love for her. After that, she pushes Ah Lok out of her house. After that, she suddenly wakes up at midnight and, seeing the red cord on her wrist, picks up a knife, cuts the cord and throws it in the rubbish bin. This scene may be quite brief, lasting around 8 to 10 seconds, but in it I invest her with [a certain] psychological state. Why it is that she wakes up and does this is something I wrote about in the book.

最教她無法原諒的 | 是母親任憑自己的男朋友 | 隨便進出她們的家裏 | 任由他們隨便在自己女兒的身上摸 | 並沒有及時出來保護她 | 當 Uncle Wong 的事被母親揭發 | 她以爲自己有救了 | 母親卻是狠狠地摑了她一巴掌 | 葉嵐不斷哭著 | 不是,不是這樣的 | 但母親卻不容她解釋 | 直罵她的祖宗 | 罵她的基因 | 罵她生來就注定是個便宜貨 | 她跪在地上看著母親的眼神 | 那裏只有暴戾與嫉妒 | 再沒有關懷、真誠與愛 | 佢諗返呢個過去 | 佢 [都係] 覺得佢無辦法原諒媽媽 | 所以佢就用鎅刀鎅咗嗰條手繩仔 | 媽媽答應佢同佢祈福,就係 | 第時佢哋將來會過好日子嘅一個承諾 【3:00】

● 任憑 yahm6 pàhng4 = at one’s convenience; at one’s discretion | ● 任由 yahm6 yauh4 = to allow sb. free reign; jumping over; ignoring | ● 摑 gwaak3 = to slap; to smack | ● 暴戾 bouh6 leuih6 = ruthless & tyrannical; cruel & fierce | ● 嫉妒 jaht6 dou3 = to be jealous; to envy | ● 第時 daih6 sìh4 = in the future, another day

“What she found most difficult to forgive was that her mother let her boy-friends come and go as they pleased, and put up with their touching her whenever they felt like it, never appearing in time to protect her. When her mother found out about her and Uncle Wong, she thought she would be saved, but instead her mother slapped her hard. Weeping, Yip Lam kept repeating, no, no, it’s not what you think, but her mother had no time for her explanations, cursing her ancestors, her genes, cursing that fact that she gave birth [to a child] who was destined to become cheap goods. She knelt down on the ground and looked into her mother’s eyes, but all she saw there was cruelty and jealousy. There was no more care, sincerity or love.” She thinks back over her past, and also thinks that she cannot forgive her mother. And so, she takes the knife and cuts the cord on her wrist. Her mother accepts Yip Lam’s (?) promise to pray for her, and for a future in which they can live together happily (I am not sure if I have understood this sentence correctly).

好多,呃,影迷係好錫,呃,《幻愛》呢套戯 | 噉啊因爲疫情嘅緣故呢 | 呃,啫,戲院唔開 [喇] | 噉大家得入戲院去支持啦 | 呃,知道大家係好失望啦 | 或者係好著急嘅 | 好想戲院快啲開 | 就繼續可以支持導演 | 支持成個《幻愛》嘅團隊 | 噉嗯噉我諗《幻愛》團隊除咗電影之外 | 都包括,呃,小説創作嘅一部分嘅 | 噉大家都可以,呃,花啲時間去閲讀小説嘅 | 我覺得都係一個,一個思考嚟㗎 | 你睇完之後可以之後將佢 *jeui 同電影做返一個對讀對比 | 都係一個有趣嘅經驗 [呀]

● 影迷 yíng2 màih4 = film fan | ● 緣故 yùhn4 gu3 = cause; reason | ● 著急 jeuhk6 gāp1 = to worry; to feel anxious | ● 導演 douh6 yín2 = ① to direct (a film, a [play, etc.] ② a director | ● 團隊 tyùhn4 déui6*2 = a team; perhaps in this film context, “a crew” | ● 思考 sī1 háau2 = to think deeply; to ponder over; to reflect on | ● 對讀對比deui3 duhk6 deui3 béi2 = (?) to compare and contrast the book with the film

Many film buffs are very fond of the movie Beyond the Dream. Owing to the Covid-19 situation, cinemas are not open. No one can get into a picture theatre to show their support. I know that everyone is very disappointed about this, or worried, and hopes that the cinemas reopen soon so that they can continue to be able to support the director, and support the whole crew of Beyond the Dream. Apart from the film [side of things], I think that the crew for Beyond the Dream also includes the creation of the novel, [so] everyone can spend some time reading the book. My sense is that this reading is also a kind of deep thinking about things. When you’ve finished the novel, you can make a comparison with the film version — another interesting experience.

探訪:張美珠 Jēung1 Méih5 Jyū1  | 攝影、剪接:陳昶達 Chàhn4 Chóng2 Daaht6 (Note: 昶 chóng2 = long day)

《新心界》: 第七章 : 「“我”不過係一道門:伸手推開便是全世界」




「. . . 結婚之前,真係覺得我真正嘅生活即將開始,好似啱啱化咗嘅美眼蛺蝶咁,心界充滿一種又熱烈又辦法用言語表達嘅盼望,動作遴迍嘅幼蟲經過呢一次蛻變之後,就一定會達到前所未有嘅境界、一種七彩繽紛嘅嶄新世界 。令人極度失望嘅係,等我由嗰隻裂開蛹殼露出唔耐嘅時候,便發現自己畢竟並未有蛻變,反而係被困於一種比蟲仔嗰樣更狹窄更愚蠢嘅生存空間之中 . . . 」

「. . . “富與貴,是人之所欲也”呢一諗法對於我講係我曾經完全讚成過嘅主張。邊個都唔想享有富貴,成日沉溺於奢侈生活當中?同我結婚嘅嗰個男人(其實,原先應該係“結魂”,事後先之發現佢好似乜“魂”願意同我“結”!)成日鍾意話“我個收入”、“我間公司”、“我間豪宅”、“我架私家車”等等,理所當然,亦都喐啲話“我個老婆”,主要嘅係呢個“我”,後面只不過係一啲嘅裝飾呢個“我” 嘅優越感,包括可憐嘅我在内 . . . 」

「我突然間意識到一件事:除發明家以外,人類仲需「發暗家」。我完全唔適合過呢種過度光明嘅生活,心裏渴望嘅恰恰係幽暗、朦朧、無知、本能、喺最爲黑暗時刻先見到嘅星星般嘅燦爛。我想活得更加模糊啲,咁樣令到自己擺脫電燈、熒光、屏幕、時間表、豪華酒店嘅毫無人情味嘅照明 . . .」