《新心界》: 第七章 「醒神早餐 A」

Image by https://everydaymarkyourlife.blogspot.com


It is the day of the Cantonese Speaking Contest in May 2019, and 陳之一Chan Chi-yat tries to get himself into the right frame of mind by organizing breakfast at one of his favourite eating places, 德興粥麵店 Tak Hing Restaurant in Sha Tin. There, with his friends Ah Luk, the New Zealander Ah Ki and Ah Luk’s daughter Fu-cheui, he introduces them to the Second Music of Hong Kong, an Anthem to Progress only a confident international city could choose as its “theme-song”. Afterwards, they make their way to Central for a visit to the Man Mo Temple on Hollywood Road, followed by a simple lunch at a well-known dai pai dong, 勝香園 Shing Heung Yuen in Mei Lun Street.

Soundtrack: “God is not the name of God . . .”


為咗好好應付演講比賽呢件事,陳之一嘅安排十分周到,甚至可以話係一絲不苟。首先,佢一早約咗阿綠、阿奇同埋孚翠,於當日八點鐘去到沙田德興粥麵店食早餐。同平常一樣,一定會嗌一份「醒神早餐A」。對佢嚟講,醒神係最重要。不過至於佢呢三個朋友嚟講,食唔食早餐都所謂,純粹為咗過過口癮、同朋友傾傾偈計,聯絡一下感情,所以佢哋都係隨便亂!呢種環境份外輕鬆,阿奇就失驚無神提出一個有趣嘅問題:

「阿一,香港第一種音樂 . . . 你講過已經 . . . 第二種呢? . . . 第二種係點樣? . . . 話我哋知啦,唔該! . . . 唔話啦,我就閂心。」

「好機會!」陳之一心裏諗。其實自從過年喺阿綠屋企請過杯仙以嚟,阿一一直耿耿於懷,因為當時未有機會將呢個話題講完。另外,佢又好佩服阿奇講廣東話上嘅自由表達能力:唔開心,心就唔開,唔開便等於閂,唔開心時形容為“閂心”,真係相當合情合理!

「如果話香港特有嘅第一種音樂係屬於大地,噉第二種就肯定係屬於國際城市,只有國際城市先至能夠奏出獨特嘅“主題歌”!第二種音樂同自然界一啲關係都:佢係屬於昂貴豪宅、售賣奢侈品嘅店鋪、金融中心、豪華商場同埋五星級酒店嘅。我喺2013年第一次聽到,位置係九龍塘又一城,我仲記得有美國同行約我去 HABITŪ Caffé 飲咖啡,隨後就去附近嘅溜冰場欣賞一吓溜冰者嘅技巧(雖然溜冰場唔知幾時執咗笠或搬走咗)。進入商場行上扶手電梯嘅時候,有一段背景音樂偶然引起我嘅注意,令到我嘅感情受到波動。但至今都冇法攪清楚,點解當時會留下咁深刻嘅印象俾我。」

講到呢度,陳之一便停頓吓,慣常用英文同阿奇解釋頭先所講嘅主要内容。其實,阿奇最近嘅聽力奇妙哋有進步,更遠遠超過佢嘅會話水平,陳之一需要説明嘅細節實在唔多。

「然後,同朋友睇人溜冰時,我再次受到同一個旋律嘅沖擊,雖然聽落零舍簡單,但我感覺到佢表達嘅主調係自信,一種堅定不移、不可戰勝嘅自信心!隨後,任何時候,我腦海總會響起呢段背景音樂,日以繼夜、夜以繼日都聽到,而且越聽,音樂性會越嚟越豐富、變得更加複雜、更加强烈。換句話,呢個旋律已經喺我嘅内心世界,在某一個偏僻嘅角落裏,得到獨立嘅發展。而我呢,根本冇法抗拒呢種無所不在嘅膨脹力,連續兩、三個星期一直聽到佢楊楊得意、所向披靡咁驕傲頌歌。呢次經驗真係匪夷所思,但係同時又非常之難耐。」

阿綠嘅内心正在微笑,佢好欣賞阿奇透過呢種方式分散陳之一對演講比賽嘅注意力,藉此減少憂慮。到到呢個時刻,孚翠將筷子放下,半攪笑咁問:「噉,第三種呢?」

大家同時放聲大笑,令到四周嘅食客同埋服務姐姐都瞬間向佢哋望住一眼。

陳之一就煞有介事咁同朋友宣佈:「我下次介紹第三種音樂俾你哋知,好冇?」

去到上環之後,佢哋一面行一面講笑,漫不經心咁走到荷李活道嘅文武廟。陳之一忽發其想為大家講咗一個故仔,講到曾經住過香港嘅英國作家馬田。

「《鬼佬》一書中描寫馬田童年時第一次去到文武廟。廟外嘅前院聚集唔少老婆婆,佢哋喺度等緊有錢嘅西人發“感謝錢”施捨俾佢哋。見到馬田呢個鬼佬細路仔,佢哋當然都好開心。當時佢年齡太細,唔會有錢可以派發,但係呢啲老婆婆仍然蜂擁而來圍住佢,仲伸手摸摸佢啲黃金色頭髮,好似摸到黃金一樣,喻意將來有一日可以發大財 . . .」

孚翠聽到度就忍唔住插咀:「瑞典處處都可以見到呢類金色頭髮嘅人,北歐遊客肯定會受到香港阿婆嘅熱烈歡迎。」

大家都覺得好得意。不過,陳之一嗰刻心裏就諗到韓山明牧師,韓牧師於1847年三月由瑞典抵達香港傳教,隨後就“學習中文、穿華服、留髮辮,每天習漢字三百個”。不過,不到八年“韓牧師辛勞過甚,染病去世,年僅35歲”。為咗學好中文而損害健康,陳之一係可以完全理解嘅。

當時只有阿綠同陳之一進入文武廟祭拜文昌、並向佢上香。阿奇同孚翠就喺外邊傾計,傾得好埋,內容圍繞香港嘅野生動物,提到豹貓同野豬,又講到佢哋出沒嘅地方。

其實阿綠呢一次參觀寺廟啲心態有所改變,可能最近醉心於母親嘅藝術思想,所以佢特別注意廟内嘅一切文物,對廟宇設計嘅細節亦感到一種前所未有嘅好奇心。佢呢股熱情當然亦都感染到陳之一,於是阿一講埋馬田嘅另一篇故仔俾佢聽:

「馬田細細個時,拜訪過唔少寺廟,但係作爲英國人嘅佢,理所當然乜深入嘅瞭解。不過,當佢進入呢間文武廟時,身後突然出現一個年邁嘅老伯,身穿黑色長袍,頭戴烏紗帽,手執一把緊緊合上嘅摺扇。初初,馬田覺得好驚奇,冇辦法辨認出呢個老人家究竟係幽靈定係廟祝!不過,呢個人相當熱心,主動同年幼嘅馬田介紹文昌、關帝、包公同埋城隍等神祗,引發佢對香港嘅廟宇文化嘅興趣。老實講,我自己每次拜訪寺廟嘅時候,都希望能夠遇到呢一類廟祝般嘅人,聽聽佢闡釋廟内所有供奉嘅神像及其意義。不過,或者我運氣衰,未能如願以償,一路都未撞到呢啲識得“閱讀”寺廟嘅人物 . . . 」

接近中午時,一行四人沿住荷李活道、向附近嘅美輪街悠悠閑閑咁行過去。原來孚翠嘅朋友曾經帶過佢去呢度食晏,佢特別鍾意呢條街嘅氣氛,所以就向陳之一推薦嚟試試。佢哋揀嘅食肆叫「勝香園」,係一間大牌檔,座位都處於帆布帳篷之內,俾人嘅感覺既新鮮又舒服。雖然呢度平時迫滿顧客、坐無虛席,但係咁啱得咁橋,今日唔使等就有得坐。坐低之後,孚翠就介紹呢間老字號最受歡迎嘅食物俾大家:番茄牛肉蛋通粉,同味道甜酸酸嘅檸蜜脆脆。阿奇係一個識食嘅人,叫咗一個番茄牛肉蛋通粉。阿綠、孚翠早餐已經食得好豐富,而家只係想食甜品類,所以分別嗌咗一個咖央多士、同埋一個檸蜜脆脆。可憐嘅陳之一點呢?由於演講比賽迫在眉睫,令到佢冇乜胃口,勉强食一個芝士三文治。

進餐嗰陣時,大家隨便講東講西,好有默契咁避免提到任何嚴肅嘅話題。不過,去到呢個時候,陳之一寧願乜都唔講,暫時享受聆聽他人嘅樂趣。喺沉寂嘅時刻,佢就會從容咁睇睇四圍嘅人,包括美輪街不停經過嘅人流。期間,佢注意到有三個戴著黑色口罩嘅後生仔,令佢感到驚訝,因爲佢個好難將“黑色”同“防菌”呢兩樣嘢連埋一齊。

Learning Cantonese: 你究竟接唔接受你自己?or Can You Learn to Accept Yourself?

Is love possible in an imperfect world, or must we turn to illusions to fulfil our yearnings? In this wonderful video by The Official Curry, we are treated to an exploration of this question, accompanied by images from the recent film 《幻愛》or “Hallucinatory Love” based on the novel by 蔣曉薇 Jeung Hiu-mei (but known in English by the title Beyond the Dream), together with a haunting-mesmerizing soundtrack.

The key words in the voice-over are “perfection” [完美 yùhn4 méih5], “love” [愛 ngoi3] and “hallucination” [幻覺 waahn6 gok3]. The last of these gave me a bit of trouble when in the English translation. Although basically a psychologically term in Cantonese, 幻覺 also seems to a have a more general application akin to the word “illusion” in English. Partly for this reason — and also to avoid too much repetition in the translation — I have used both “hallucination” and “illusion” for the one Cantonese noun. Bear in mind as you read that “illusion” here may carry a hint of “ill” in it . . .

There’s an interesting pronunciation issue too in this video. As Yip and Matthews point out in Basic Cantonese, the low falling tone “can often be recognized by a ‘creaky’ voice quality as the pitch reaches the bottom of the speaker’s voice range” (12). This phenomenon is particularly noticeable in the voice-over: listen out for it in words such as the often-repeated 完美 yùhn4 méih5, as well as 同時 tùhng4 sih4, 人 yàhn4, and 為 wàih4. But just to make life interesting, there seems to be a similar creakiness with 自己, officially pronounced as jih6 géi2. I can’t say why this is.

With regard to grammar, you won’t find anything too troubling or terrifying! One rather rare feature is the use of the expression 好比 hóu2 béi2, which means something like “could be compared to”. This crops up in the sentence 你就好比一個數學世界入便嘅正號去追求完美 = “You are comparable to a plus sign in a mathematical world heading off in search of perfection”. You’ll also notice some interesting uses of the aspect marker 住 jyuh6 to suggest an on-going after-effect: 缺乏住愛 = “to lack love”; 互相抵觸住 = “to be in conflict with one another”; 幻覺嚟拯救住你 = “being saved by illusions” (that is, “saved” as an on-going state”). The nuance expressed by 住 jyuh6 seems to lend itself to on-going states, but it takes a while to get the hang of it. Finally, the resultative 得一乾二净 makes an appearance in this video, with 一乾二净 (literally “one-dry-two-clean”) suggesting something comparable to “completely; utterly” in English. Typically, it is used with verbs of forgetting, but here it crops up with 蠶食 chàahm4 sihk6 = “to nibble”, in other words, the kind of eating [食] done by a silk-worm [蠶] (hence the presence of the two insect radicals 虫 at the bottom of the character!) . . .

Needless to say, there’s also plenty of useful vocabulary to expand your range: 驅使 kēui1 sí2 = to prompt; to urge; 抵觸 dái2 jūk1 = to conflict with; to contradict; 洗牌 sái2 páai4*2 = to shuffle cards; 抛棄 pāau1 hei3 = to abandon; 渴望 hot3 mohng6 = to thirst for; to long for; to yearn for; and 困局 kwan3 guhk6 = a predicament.

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.

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世界上大多數 | 都希望可以有一個能夠同自己終老嘅伴侶 | 但係因爲人嘅不確定性 | 往往做好多不如意嘅事 | 爭執、分手、離婚 | // 事每日都發生緊 | 亦都明確知 | 愛並唔係永恆,因爲人並唔完美 | 但我哋天生就追求完美 |  所以我哋追求愛 | 但同時,世界並不完美,並且缺乏住愛 | 愛,就好似現實生活中完美嘅表現 | 幻覺幾時係真,幾時係假? | 一般嘅定義就係,現實世界存在嘅就係真 | 出現腦入便嘅,就係假,係幻覺 | 雖然啲幻覺唔存在於現實空間 | 但幻覺驅使咗人表達出情緒、言語、動作 | 幻覺會嘗試成為現實中嘅一部分 . . .

● 終老 jūng1 lóuh5 = live out one’s years | ● 伴侶 buhn6 léuih5  = a companion; mate; partner | ● 不確定性 bāt1 kok3 dihng6 sing3 = roughly, “indefiniteness”; perhaps even here “indeterminacy” cf. 確定 = definite | ● 爭執 jāng1 jāp1 = to disagree; to argue | ● 永恆 wíhng5 hàhng4 = eternal; perpetual | ● 追求 jēui1 kàuh4 = to seek; to pursue | ● 幻覺 waahn6 gok3 = hallucination | ● 驅使 kēui1 sí2 = to prompt; to urge; to spur on | ● 言語 yìhn4 yúh5 = spoken language; speech | ● 嘗試 sèuhng4 si3 = to attempt; to try

The majority [of people] in the world hope that there could be a companion out there with whom they could live out their years. But owing to the indefiniteness [不確定性] of people, many unfortunate things get done: we argue, split up, get divorced. [These] things are happening every day, and they clearly tell us that love is not eternal, because human beings are imperfect. By nature, however, we are made to seek perfection [追求完美], and so we set off in pursuit of love. By the same token, however, the world is far from perfect and lacking in love. Love, it would seem, is an expression of perfection in real life. When are hallucinations or illusions real, and when are they unreal? According to most definitions, what exists in the actual world is real, while what [only] appears in the mind is false, a hallucination. Although some illusions do not exist in the space of reality [現實空間], they impel [驅使] people to give expression to their feelings, to speech, to actions. Hallucinations can attempt to make themselves [嘗試成爲] a part of reality . . .

【1:00】. . . 令到人嘅經歷變得完美 | 但同時因為人嘅唔完美 | 造就咗一切追求完美嘅行為 | 都同人,呢一個天生唔完美嘅物種,互相抵觸住 | 就好似擁有所謂精神病嘅阿樂 | 嘅幻覺就係源自於希望有人愛自己 | 因為當有人真心愛佢嘅時候 | 佢嘅世界先至可以變得更完美 | 同時佢亦都可以唔使過得咁痛苦、孤獨 | 但人天生嘅唔完美 | 就令到葉嵐一開始就唔係出於真心喜歡而接近阿樂 | 錯誤嘅開始即使最後成就愛 | 亦唔係雙方共識嘅愛 | 最後變得不愛 | 經過一輪嘅重新洗牌 | 世界又重回不完美嘅平衡點上面 | 而由另一個角度咁睇,亦都可以話 | 每一個人咗獲得完美 | 亦都各自對事物制定咗唔同解釋嘅完美

● 造就 jouh6 jauh6 = to bring up; to train | ● 物種 maht6 júng2 = species | ● 抵觸 dái2 jūk1 = to conflict with; to contradict | ● 源自於 yùhn4 jih6 yū1 = roughly, “to originate from; to have (its) origins in  | ● 真心 jān1 sām1 = wholehearted; heartfelt; sincere | ● 成就 sìhng4 jauh6 = to achieve; to accomplish | ● 一輪 yāt1 lèuhn4 = roughly, “a round” | ● 洗牌 sái2 páai4*2 = to shuffle cards | ● 重回 chùhng4 wùih4 = to return to | ● 平衡點 pìhng4 hàhng4 dím2 = cf. 平衡 = balance; equilibrium + 點 = point | ● 各自 gok3 jih6 = each; respective | ● 事物 sih6 maht6 = thing; object  | ● 制定 jai3 dihng6 = to draw up; to formulate

. . . so that people’s experience can become perfect. At the same time, however, because human imperfection conditions [造就] all those behaviours [designed to] seek perfection, they are imperfect like people — this species which is by nature imperfect — and conflicts between people arise. His [that is, Ah Lok’s] hallucinations have their origins in his hope that there is someone who loves him, because it is only when someone gives him wholehearted love that he his world can get closer to perfection [可以變得更完美]. At the same time, [it means that] there is no need for him to live his life [過得] in pain and loneliness. But human beings are imperfect by nature, and this initially makes Yip Lan get close to Ah Lok without having a genuine liking for him. Although after this flawed beginning [she] achieves love, it is not a love the two of them both acknowledge and, in the end, it stops being love [變得不愛]. After a reshuffling of the cards [重新洗牌], the world goes back to that pivot-point [平衡點] of imperfection. Viewed from a different perspective, one could also say that, in order to obtain perfection, people have formulated different understandings of the thing, perfection (?).

【2:00】從而妥協獲得内心嘅平衡 | 但對於世界或者整體而言 | 始終都係缺乏住真正嘅完美,真正嘅愛 | 你眼中嘅完美,或者係等於人哋眼中嘅唔完美 | 你眼中嘅愛或者正正就等於人哋眼中嘅痛苦 | 所以,要活喺呢個大世界 | 你可以做嘅就係選擇去接受 | 或者唔接受呢一個沒有愛而且唔完美嘅世界 | 接受嘅話,咁既然人願意愛自己 | 你唯一能夠控制嘅就係你自己 | 嘗試令到自己變到完美 | 令到你自己愛自己 | 你永遠都會喺自己身邊 | 你想做啲乜,你都會陪你一齊去做 | 你更加唔會抛棄你自己 | 人哋會對你白眼係正常嘅 | 但因爲你接受咗佢哋係唔完美而且沒有愛 | 所以更加唔會去渴望喺佢哋當中得到愛同埋完美

● 妥協 tóh5 hip3 = to come to terms; to compromise | ● 整體 jíng2 tái2 = whole; entirety | ● 眼中 ngáahn5 jūng1 = lit. “in one’s eyes”, that is, “the way one sees/views sth. (in one’s mind)” | ● 大世界 daaih6 sai3 gaai3 = (?) the world at large (but perhaps with the implication of “the big wide world”, a world beyond one’s own personal sphere) | ● 抛棄 pāau1 hei3 = to abandon; to forsake; to cast aside | ● 白眼 baahk6 ngáahn5 = a supercilious look cf. 返白眼 = to roll one’s eyes | ● 渴望 hot3 mohng6 = to thirst for; to long for; to yearn for

Thus, by making compromises, one obtains an inner [psychological] balance. Nevertheless, in terms of the world or the bigger picture [整體] there is always [始終] this lack of true perfection, of true love. The perfection you see in your mind’s eye may be what other people think of as imperfection, [while] the love you see in your mind’s eye may be exactly what other people see as agony. And so, if you wish to live in the big wide world, the thing you can do [你可以做嘅] is to choose to accept [this state of affairs], or not accept this world that has neither love nor perfection in it. If you do accept it [接受嘅話], since no one is willing to love you, the only thing you have control over is yourself. You can try and make yourself more perfect, and to make yourself love yourself. You will always [永遠] be right there by your side, and whatever it is you feel like doing, you can keep yourself company in doing it together. Even less [你更加] can you abandon yourself. It is perfectly natural for people to give you disapproving looks, but because you have [already] accepted [the fact that] they are imperfect and without love, you will be even less inclined to long for love and perfection from them [喺佢哋當中].

【3:00】唔接受嘅話,咁將會係一個困局 | 現實世界唔會因為你而改變 | 噉就只好由幻覺幫助你 | 重新去建立一個新世界嚟令到你接受 | 你就好比一個數學世界入便嘅正號去追求完美 | 世界就係一個永遠嘅負號缺乏住愛 | 而最終正負得負 | 你都會被呢一個負號蠶食得一乾二净 | 最後只能夠靠擁有絕對完美嘅正號 // 即係幻覺嚟拯救住你 | 但你已經失去咗自我嘅控制權 | 唔接受得唔到嘅愛,何必呢?| 所以,所有事情不能好壞 | 到最後嘅關鍵都係:究竟你接唔接受?| 你接唔接受你自己有精神病?| 你接唔接受你自己曾經有好似葉嵐咁樣嘅經歷?| 你究竟接唔接受你自己?

● 困局 kwan3 guhk6 = a predicament; plight; dilemma | ● 正號 jing3 houh6 = a plus sign (+) | ● 負號 fuh6 houh6 = a minus sign | ● 正負得負 jing3 fuh6 dāk1 fuh6 = ? | ● 蠶食 chàahm4 sihk6 = to nibble | ● 何必 hòh4 bīt1 = there is no need; why; why is it necessary (used to form rhetorical questions)

If you don’t compromise, then there will be this predicament: the real world won’t change to fit in with you. All you can do then is to get help from illusions to re-establish a new world you can give your acceptance to [令到你接受]. You are comparable to a plus sign in a mathematical world heading off to find perfection: the world being an eternal minus sign lacking in love, in the end a positive multiplied by a negative [always] gives a negative [正負得負] and you’re liable to be nibbled away by a minus sign till there is nothing left. Finally, all you can do is rely on the absolute perfection of the plus sign [UNCLEAR], that is, being saved by illusions. But [by then] you have already lost control of yourself, so what’s the point of a refusing a love you couldn’t accept [anyway]? And so for this reason, there is no good or bad in anything. The crucial thing is: Can you accept that you have a mental illness? Can you accept the experiences you once had, experiences like those Yip Lam was subjected to? Can you accept yourself?

Savage ● Salvage

Photo by capri23auto on Pexels.com



A hovering wasp rippling fine grains of dust with the fierce fan-force of its wings
precisely
zooms into land by what’s left of a smash-wrecked moth:
one large upper flight-panel dappled
with antique swirl.
Further off,
yet another flat piece of debris
footnotes blank brick
where a post-mortem sun shines on.
The wasp now wrestles with its unwieldy catch.
Using forelegs and jaws,
it bends the sheet neatly in two,
all the better to airlift it back home to base, intact —
whole hangars there stockpiled with similar,
edible, loot.

Learning Cantonese: 捐窿捐罅 or “Every Nook and Cranny”

Every language has its rare species, words and phrases that only crop up once in a blue moon. The last time I heard the idiom 捐窿捐罅 gyūn1 lūng1 gyūn1 laa3 was in a TVB news report in 2019. There, it was described a small robot-like device that could operate “in any nook or cranny” [噉,好處係佢可以捐窿捐罅]. But here in this recent report from HK01, it has finally come back to me again, but the context is quite different: speaking out for democracy in Hong Kong.

According to 《香港粵語大詞典》, 捐窿捐罅 means “to go into each and every corner” [走遍每一個角落] while Sheik Cantonese has “[to sneak in and out of a hole] to search high and low for a place”. When Figo Chan calls on people to 捐窿捐罅去發聲, we can guess that he wants them to make their voices heard in whatever gaps or cracks they can find . . . This certainly adds to our understanding of the nuances of the expression. Of interest too is the fact that the video subtitles write it as 瓹窿瓹罅, using the rare character 瓹 gyūn1 which means “a hole in a basin to let the water out” [盆底之去水孔].

Although this report lasts for just over a minute, it contains a number of other very interesting things, including 較早前 = (?) “a while back; some time ago” and the two 4-character phrases 秋後算賬 = “to square accounts after the Autumn harvest” and 義無反顧 = honour permits no turning back.

You can view the video 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.

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多名民人士 | 被指前年10月1日 | 組織及參與未經批准集結 | 案件禮拜一喺區域法院開審

案中10名被告個承認一項 | 組織未經批准集結罪 | 佢哋較早前抵達法庭時候 | 已經預告會認罪

陳浩桓:希望呢,大家呢,緊無論係6月4 | 定係7月1 | 定係其他日子 | 都可以捐窿捐罅去發聲 | 可以捍衛我哋嘅自由、民主同埋公義

何俊仁:今日,政府秋後算賬 | 要將我哋係禁於牢獄 | 然後,使到市民要滅聲 | 但係,我同大家講 | 我哋唔會後悔 | 我哋絕對義無反顧

蔡耀昌:初心不改,信念長存

記者:曾藹豪 | 攝影:洪業銘 | 剪接:袁柏謙

● 泛民 faan3 màhn4 = pan-democratic | ● 開審 hōi1 sám2 = to hold a court hearing | ● 較早前 gaau3 jóu2 chìhn4 = ? cf. 較早時 = a while back; some time ago | ● 預告 yuh6 gou3 = to announce in advance | ● 認罪 yihng6 jeuih6 = to admit guilt | ● 嚟緊 làih4 gán2 = (forth)coming | ● 發聲 faat3 sēng1 = usu. “to make a sound”; here perhaps “to make a noise or “to make one’s voice heard” | ● 捍衛 hóhn5 waih6 = to defend; to guard; to protect | ● 公義 gūng1 yih6 = justice | ● 秋後算賬 chāu1 hauh6 syun3 jeung3 = to square accounts after the Autumn harvest, that is, wait until after a political movement is over to settle accounts with the leadership or the masses; bide one’s time to take revenge; wait until sth. is over to settle accounts with | ● 禁於牢獄 gam3 yū1 lòuh4 yuhk6 = (?) to be put in prison | ● 滅聲 miht6 sēng1 = (?) to extinguish all dissent cf. 滅 = to destroy; to extinguish | ● 義無反顧 yih6 mòuh4 fáan2 gu3 = honour permits no turning back; be duty-bound not to turn back | ● 初心 chō1 sām1 = beginner’s mind; original intention; first desire | ● 長存 chèuhng4 chyùhn4 = to live forever

A number of pan-democrats figures [泛民人士] were accused of organizing and taking part in an unauthorised assembly the year before last on 1 October. The case was heard at the District Court on Monday.

The ten people accused admitted to the charge [承認] of organizing an unauthorised assembly. Earlier, when they arrived at the court, they had already indicated that they would plead guilty.

Figo Chan: Regardless of whether it is 4 June or 1 July or any other forthcoming date, [we] hope that all of you can make a noise in any nook of cranny you are able to get into [捐窿捐罅] and that you can defend our freedom, our democracy, and our justice.

Albert Ho: Today, the government is engaged in settling political scores and will lock us up in prison. After that, dissent from ordinary people will be extinguished [滅聲]. However, I say to you all that we have no regrets and that in our case, absolutely, honour permits no turning back.

Richard Tsoi: Our original intention has not altered. Our faith will live forever.

Lunar Ensign

Photo by Edgar Colomba on Pexels.com



I feel the new moon long before I see its light scar;
hushed is the healing in live air;
hope grows its young skin tender within me.
I am animal again, the faint stir;
the beginning has its unexpected start in me again;
I am borrowed by the lush understatement of a Spring instinct;
this raining in the blood lives so vividly on my side now.

蔣勳 Chiang Hsün on Covid-19 (Learning How to Be Alone in Togetherness with Oneself)

For Taiwanese writer 蔣勳 Chiang Hsün, covid-19 may just be a warning to get back in touch, not with each other as we are constantly doing, but with our neglected selves — 活得很豐富 | 跟自己對話, to live much more richly in dialogue with ourselves . . .

This video from 天下雜誌 in Taiwan is in Mandarin, so I can’t guarantee the accuracy of the transcription, but Chiang’s ideas, expressed eloquently and incisively, seemed very worthy of translation into English in the hope  of reaching a still wider audience.

Please scroll down for the transcription, English translation and notes. You can see the video here. And if you wish to check anything in the transcription or find the Cantonese pronunciation, please make use of the Sheik Cantonese on-line dictionary.

You can find many videos featuring Chiang Hsün on the internet, and quite a few of them have English subtitles. I recommend this one entitled, 最簡單的生活,就是富足 Chiang Hsun: Being Rich is Having the Simplest Life.

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真的人類文明有時好難講 | 就是一個大災難的來臨 | 也許是救贖 | 新冠肺炎發生的時候 | 我反而覺得 | 是不是這個東西在逼我們 | 重新回到一個很純粹的個人 | 就是你不得不保持距離了 | 不能群聚之後 | 你有沒有機會 | 還是活得很豐富 | 跟自己對話

● 群聚 = living in groups; gregarious; social

True human civilization is sometimes difficult to talk about. The arrival of a disaster on a huge scale may be a kind of redemption. When covid-19 [first] happened, I felt that perhaps this thing was trying to force us to return once more to a very pure individual self [個人]. Now you have no choice but to maintain a certain distance. After it is no longer possible to gather socially, might you not then have the opportunity to live much more richly in dialogue with yourself?

Caption: 蔣勳:學會孤獨和自己在一起 | Chiang Hsün: Learning How to Be Alone in Togetherness with Oneself

如果我們從小 | 在比較華人的社會長大 | 然後受到儒家比較強的影響 | 非常非常不容易有孤獨感 | 那麽在漢字當中 | 「獨」跟「獨」 | 都是非常負面的意義 | 可是孤獨這兩個字 | 如果我們從西方的文字的根源來看 | 它是 solitude | 它的字根是 s-o-l | 就「太陽」| 【1:00】我就感覺到 | 兩個文化的差異很大 | 那我覺得當然 | 各有利弊 | 所以我後來對這個孤獨的定義是說 | 跟自己在一起 | 那其實張愛玲也講過 | 因爲我想她也受到西方的教育 | 隱私是不存在的 | 在華人世界 | 她說如果早上起來 | 你不把門打開 | 好像就表示你在家裏做壞事 | 我們不太容易有 | 把自己躲起來 | 跟自己對話的那個部分 | 君君、臣臣、父父、子子 | 你在這個社會裏 | 都是相對的 | 可是有時候真的好希望自己一個人 | 然後覺得一個人的那種豐富 | 對向内探索 | 自己存在的意義 | 或者價值的東西 | 儒家從來沒有探討這個 | 就是我個人要去面對 | 所有生命裏的磨難 | 我怎麽去挑戰這些東西 | 孤獨地去面對它 | 而不是群體面對 | 這個病毒【2:00】是不是一個 | 非常神奇的預告?| 對於人類過度地接觸的頻繁 | 對於人類過度地物質消耗 | 對於人類過度地 | 所有的這種社交 | 或者應酬的一個 | 最大最大的一個警告

● 儒家 = the Confucianists; the Confucian school| ● 根源 = a source; an origin; a root | ● 字根 = literally “word root”, roughly “the root of the word; etymology”| ● 各有利弊 = each one has its advantages and disadvantages (or “its pros & cons””) | ● 隱私 = one’s secrets; private matters one wants to hide | ● 相對 = relative | ● 探討 = to inquire into; to probe into | ● 磨難 = a tribulation; a hardship; suffering | ● 群體 = colony (a biological term); a group | ● 預告 = advance notice; a herald | ● 頻繁 = frequently; often | ● 物質消耗 = roughly, “material consumption” | ● 社交 = social contact | ● 應酬 = to have social intercourse with | ● 警告 = to warn; to caution; to admonish

If, from an early age, you grow up in a fairly Chinese kind of society, and are then subject to a fairly strong influence from Confucian culture, then it is extremely difficult to have a feeling of aloneness [孤獨感]. The two characters 獨 and 獨 that make up the word for “alone” in Chinese both carry an extremely negative meaning. But the word for 孤獨, if we look at it in terms of the etymology of Western writing, is “solitude”, the root of which is “sol”, the Latin word for “sun” [1:00]. In my view, the differences between the two cultures are considerable [很大], and I think that, of course, each one has its own strengths and weaknesses, so later my definition of this [word] “solitude” was “a being together with oneself”. In actual fact, [the writer] Eileen Chang has also spoken about this. The reason being, I think, that she received a Western-style education. Secrets do not exist in the Chinese world. She said that if you get up in the morning and do not open your door, people would get the idea [好像就表示] that you are doing something you shouldn’t be doing inside. To hide ourselves away and to hold a dialogue with ourselves — that part is not so easy for us [as Chinese people]. Rulers, ministers, fathers, sons — in this society your [position] is relative [to those of others]. Sometimes, however, we long to be on your own, and then to feel that richness in being alone. Exploring your inner world, the meaning of your own existence or things like values — these are things that Confucianism has never inquired into. That is, I have to face all these tribulations of human existence on my own. How do I challenge [挑戰] such things, face to face with them on my own and not as part of a group? Is this virus [2:00] an extremely mysterious [kind of] advance notice about the excessive frequency of contact between human beings [接觸的頻繁]? About the excessive material consumption of human beings? Or the greatest possible warning [最大最大的一個警告] about the excessiveness of all types of social contact or social interaction between human beings

Caption: 從倫敦囘台隔離中找到安靜 | The Tranquillity I Found in Quarantine after Coming back to Taiwan from London?

三月十號 | 大概從倫敦逃回來的 | 因爲其實一大堆的計劃 | 倫敦這樣一個城市 | 我住在那個 London Bridge 倫敦橋旁邊 | 門口全部每天聽到 | 意大利遊客講話 | 西班牙遊客講話 | 那個時候那兩個國家 | 已經非常嚴重 | 可是我所有的英國朋友 | 都覺得沒有問題 | 然後我偶然戴口罩 | 就會被他們笑 | 我説三月十號 | 我覺得不對了 | 有點像逃回來一樣 | 那些英國朋友 | 最後跟我吃飯都在笑我說 | 大驚小怪 | 現在他們有時候寫信給你就說 |你真是先知 | 可是我就想說【3:00】| 這個病毒是不是來 | 警告所有人的自大

● 逃 = to run away; to escape; to flee | ● 大驚小怪 = be surprised or alarmed at sth. perfectly normal; make a fuss | ● 先知 = ① a person of foresight ② a prophet | ● 自大 = self-important; arrogant

On the tenth of March, [I] practically [大概] fled back [逃回來] [here] from London. Because actually I had a whole heap of plans. London is such a city. I lived near London Bridge, and everyday all [the voices that I] heard were of tourists speaking Italian or Spanish. At that time, [the covid-19 situation] in those two countries was already extremely serious. However, none of my English friends felt that there was any problem. Afterwards, I would occasionally wear a face-mask and they would laugh at me. As I said [我説] on the tenth of March I thought that things weren’t right — it was a bit like I was escaping. Towards the end [最後], when eating with those English friends of mine, they’d laugh at me and saying I was making an unnecessary fuss. Now, sometimes they write to me and say: Wow! You really are a person of foresight. But the thing I want to say is [3:00]: Has this virus come along to warn all human beings against being [too] self-important?

我反而是三月十號以後 | 回到台灣 | 忽然沉靜下來 | 那,過,過了幾天 | 區公所就打電話來說 | 因為要追溯隔離 | 那,所以那兩個禮拜當中 | 我也覺得很棒就是 | 你被强迫 | 你就是在家裏 | 然後你會發現 | 好久沒有翻的書又翻出來 | 好久沒有聽的音樂又拿出來聽 | 然後好久沒有自己 | 好好去把黃瓜切成細細的絲 | 欸,我就覺得,欸,好有趣 | 好久沒有做這些事了 | 可是 | 為什麽不可以回來 | 回來跟自己在一起 | 我也很想問很多朋友說 | 你有多久沒有跟自己在一起 | 甚至到最後 | 會不會害怕跟自己在一起

● 區公所 = district office | ● 追溯 = to trace back; to date from | ● 隔離 = to keep apart; to isolate; to segregate | ● 强迫 = to force; to compel; to coerce | ● 翻 = ? cf. 翻閲 = to leaf through | ● 絲 = a threadlike thing; a sliver

However, after 10 March, I returned to Taiwan and suddenly clamed right down. Then, after a few days, the district office rang, because they needed to track me down about staying in quarantine [要追溯隔離]. Now during those two weeks, what I thought was really wonderful was that you were forced to stay at home. Suddenly, you discovered books you hadn’t looked at for ages you read through again, and music you hadn’t listened to for a long time, you got out and listened to. Then [然後], you went and cut up a cucumber yourself into very fine slices, something you hadn’t done for a long time. Hey, I thought, this is interesting. It’s been ages since I have done any of these things. But why is it that we can’t go back, go back to being with ourselves? I would really like to go and ask a lot of my friends the question: How long have you been away from yourself? And even perhaps: Could it be that you are afraid to be with yourself?

Caption: 爲什麽要這麽快 | 能不能慢下來反省 How Do Things Have To be So Fast? | Can [We] Slow Down and Reflect?

你就可以有彈性地去思考說 | 我們的文明其實好脆弱 【4:00】| 一切東西 | 是不是應該要 | 踩一下刹車 | 就是什麽要這麽快 | 可不可以更慢一點 | 為什麽是一定跟人的接觸 | 而不能夠自己孤獨地去| 處理自己的這個空間 | 所以那十四天對我好重要 | 好久沒有整理的東西 | 我去整理了 | 然後忽然發現抽屜裏便 | 其實有那種 | 堆了好久的老照片 | 好珍貴 | 我父親二十五歲的一張照片 | 我發現它後面好工整地小字 | 講哪一年他在做什麽做什麽 | 而我在想 | 欸,我都沒有對照片做這樣的注記 | 可是因爲他們東西很少 | 可是你知道 | 現在手機裏的照片 | 簡直不知道怎麽辦 | 我的學生跟我說 | 嘩,簡直濫 | 因為你隨時都在拍 | 本來以爲是記更多的東西 | 記錄更多東西 | 最後很可能是 | 反而變成零 | 我覺得人類 | 在這一次的事件當中 | 其實可以做好多好多的反省 | 好有趣喔 【5:00】| 你如果從料理來講 | 好多東西的消失 | 大概是我們不自覺 | 比如説我們去小火慢慢 | 燉一個菜的燉 | 還有我曾經交了學費 | 去跟天香樓的保師傅學的叫做 | 蔥開煟麵的煟 | 最小最小的火 | 去把所有的湯底煮四十八個小時 | 用這個湯底 | 來下麵的麵叫做煟麵 | 將來當然不會存在 | 因爲誰要去花怎麽多的時間 | 而且你能夠吃得出 | 煟麵跟泡麵不同嗎?| 如果吃不出來 | 它當然就不存在 | 大家都不愿意做 | 比較長久的耐煩的事 |  可是很有趣 | 新冠肺炎 | 我好多朋友跟我 mail | 跟我隔離的時候 | 然後跟我 What’s App | 我才發現 | 欸,他們就開始做菜了 | 而且開始做時間很長的菜 | 我忽然覺得好有趣喔 | 因爲他多久都在外食 | 他根本已經很久沒有在厨房裏【6:00】| 他又開始做 | 自己又重新做這個東西

● 刹車 = to brake | ● 工整 = carefully & neatly done | ● 注記 = (?) to annotate; to add a note| ● 泛濫 = literally “to spread unchecked”; perhaps sth. like “to be out of control” | ● 料理 = ① to cook ② cuisine| ● 不自覺 = unconscious; unaware | ● 燉 = to stew | ● 蔥開煟麵 = (?) slow-stewed noodles with scallions and dried shrimps | ● 煟 = to cook over a slow fire; to stew; to simmer| ● 泡麵 = (?) instant noodles | ● 湯底 = (?) soup base| ● 耐煩 = patient

You can reflect on things flexibly and say that our civilization is actually very fragile [4:00]. Shouldn’t we perhaps put on the brakes as far as everything is concerned. I mean, why does everything have to be so fast? Could things be a little bit slower? Why is it that our contact has to be with other people, and that we can’t go and deal with this space called the self on our own? And so, those fourteen days [I spent in quarantine] were very important to me. Things that I hadn’t put in order for ages I went and put in order. Later, out of the blue [忽然], I discovered all these old photographs stacked away in a draw, very precious [photographs]. There was one of my father at the age of twenty-five and, on the back — in very neat, small handwriting — he had written [講] the year [in which it was taken] and the things he was doing then. I have never made any notes [注記] on the photographs [I have taken]. Perhaps it was because they had so few material possessions [東西很少], but you know, [we] have so many images on our mobile phones that [we] simply wouldn’t know where to start. [One of] my students said: “It’s completely out of control” [簡直泛濫], because you’re always taking snaps”. [We] tend think of it as making a record of more things, of recording more things, but in the end maybe all we wind up with is zero, however. My sense is that, [faced with] the event [of covid-19], [we] human beings can do a whole lot of soul-searching. It’s very interesting [5:00].  Take cooking, for instance [你如果從料理來講]. Many things are disappearing that we aren’t even aware of. For example, to cook food slowly, to dun it, the dun used in “to dun a meal”. I once paid to learn how to wei food, the wei used in the dish called “slow-stewed noodles with scallions and dried shrimps”, with Master Bao, a chef at the Tien Hsiang Lo Restaurant [in Taipei]. Using the lowest possible heat, you cook all [the ingredients] in the soup base [湯底] for forty-eight hours. When you cook the noodles [下麵] in this soup base, this is called wei mian or “slow-stewed noodles”. This [way of cooking] will no longer exist in the future, because who is going to spend that much time? What’s more, could you taste the difference [能夠吃得出] between slow-stewed noodles and instant noodles? If you can’t taste the difference, then naturally it will not survive. No one is willing to do things that a rather time-consuming [比較長久的] and [require] patience. But what is interesting is that [with] covid-19, when friends emailed me or, during quarantine, or later when they got in touch through What’s App, I discovered that they have begun to cook again, making things that require a lot of time. All of sudden I realized how very interesting this was. Because for ages they had eaten takeaways; they hadn’t gone near their own kitchens for a very long time [6:00]. They had begun to do this, they had started over again.

Caption: 做孤獨的自己與自己對話 | A Lone Self in Dialogue with Itself

這一次的流行病 | 也許是一個方法吧 | 就是逼迫你靜下來 | 而且沒完沒了 | 你現在根本不知道什麽時候結束 | 它也許是 | 重新去救人類回來 | 重新去開始發現說 | 我幹嘛要真麽急 | 我在想説 | 每個人回來做孤獨的自己 | 也許是一個起點 | 重新再去建立 | 自己跟這個地球的對話 | 或者跟自己的對話 | 跟時間的對話 | 或者跟 . . . 歷史的對話

● 流行病 = epidemic disease | ● 逼迫 = to force; to compel; to coerce

Perhaps this epidemic is a means: it is forcing you to calm down. What’s more, it goes on and on, now we have no way of knowing of when it will end. Perhaps it will save humanity once again, helping us to start to realize just why we are in such a hurry. What I’d like to say is: let us go back [每個人回來] to being alone with ourselves. This may be a starting point to go an re-establish a dialogue between ourselves and the Planet, or with ourselves, or with time, or history.

Serpentine

You couldn’t stand it ―
crawling hour after hour
down the famished tunnel of your hunger
mostly for a mouthful of dust.
At first sight,
do I rightly get under that skin
you are absolutely certain
never to wriggle out of? Legless,
lipless, no browed,
ruthless ― my denudity
creepily never fails to unnerve.
Of course, I am poison’s
Greatest Living Treasure
and venomously adverbs
every single move I make
to the point where
I, alone, am the sinuous hairline crack
that fractures and flaws
even the most generous “Love
of Nature”. Slithering
or coiled, I bring you lightning
Sudden Death, and am always
prepared to pull ― despite
decades of cautious caretaking ―
just that light from under your feet.

Hong Kong Flow

“Highest good is like water [上善若水],” it says in Chapter VIII of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, and it is a wonderful thing to read the phrase quoted again here, 2500 years later, in the 創刊宣言 or “Publication Manifesto” of a new Hong Kong magazine called 《如水》[Flow HK].

The purpose of Flow HK is 通過歷史論述、理論框架以及對未來路線的思考,我們希望連結每位參與這場光復運動的香港兒女,為他們作思想充權 — that is, “By means of discussions of history, theoretical frameworks, and a consideration of future ways to proceed, we hope to connect with every daughter and son of Hong Kong who is taking part in this movement to liberate Hong Kong and to empower them intellectually”, and anyone concerned for the fate of Hong Kong will be stirred by the words 在每個漆黑無聲的夜晚,不要忘記還有人從未放棄心中所有 — “In every pitch-black night in which nothing stirs, one must not forget that there are still individuals who have never given up on what they hold dear in their hearts”.

The theme of the first issue is 絆 buhn6, a verb that usually means “to trip up”, and which occurs in the compound 絆石 or “stumbling block”. It seems like a fairly reasonable place to set out from. For more information, you can visit the Flow HK website here.

Please scroll down for the Manifesto with an English translation and notes. If you wish to check any of the Chinese in the text, please consult the Sheik Cantonese on-line dictionary.

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《創刊宣言》| Publication Manifesto

我們活在最好亦是最壞的年代。過去的抗爭讓我們看見香港人無限的可能性,亦讓我們對香港共同體生出了美好的想像。然而,中共及其設於香港的傀儡政權對港人的打壓日益趨厲,因抗爭及政見而流血及入罪者不計其數。隨著中共政權強行通過國安法,香港真正進入威權時代,縱使民間發起各種反極權的抗爭,香港人的自由空間卻不斷收窄。面對前所未有的歷史試煉,流散於各方的我們決心要維繫香港人這個獨特的共同體,希望承傳抗爭的火種。​

● 共同體 guhng6 tùhng4 tái2 = community | ● 傀儡 faai3 léuih5 = a puppet; a stooge | ● 日益趨厲 yaht6 yīk1 chēui1 laih6 = gets fiercer by the day | ● 不計其數 bāt1 gai3 kèih4 sou3 = countless; innumerable | ● 強行 kéuhng5 hàhng4 = to force | ● 威權 wāi1 kyùhn4 = authority; power | ● 收窄 sāu1 jaak3 = to narrow | ● 歷史試煉 lihk6 sí2 si3 lihn6 = (?) an historical test/trial | ● 流散於各方 làuh4 saan3 yū1 gok3 fōng1 = to scatter in all directions | ● 維繫 wàih4 haih6 = to hold together | ● 承傳 sìhng4 chyùhn4  = (?) to inherit & to impart cf. 傳承 chyùhn4 sìhng4 = to impart & to inherit

We live in the best, and the worst, of times. Over the course of the past resistance, we have seen the boundless possibilities of the Hong Kong people, and this has also enabled us to have some fond imaginings about the Hong Kong community. However, the repression carried out by the Chinese Communist Party and its puppet authorities [政權] in Hong Kong is getting fiercer by the day, and the number of those who have bled or who have been charged with a criminal offence because of their resistance or their political views is too numerous to count. In the wake of the Chinese Communist Party’s forcing of the passage of the National Security Law, Hong Kong has now truly entered an era of authoritarian rule [威權時代], and even though many acts of resistance opposing totalitarian power have been initiated among the common people [民間], the space of freedom for people in Hong Kong is constantly being narrowed down. Faced with this unprecedented historical test, we (people who have left Hong Kong and now live in various countries around the world) are determined to try and hold together this unique community [made up] of Hongkongers, in the hope that we can impart and hand on the sparks of resistance.

在如此焗促不安的政治環境中,我們可以重新思索運動的初心﹕「如水」。「如水」取其義即水進杯則成杯之形,入壺則成壺之狀。反送中運動之所以能夠取得突破,正因為抗爭者能如水般靈巧應對強權的策略,既能堅穩如冰,亦能流動若水,甚或化為空氣擴散而去。但隨著政權的打壓不斷升級,我們若要延續抗爭如水的精神,必須先通澈理解我們的容器,亦即我們身處的局勢以及定義我們的思維世界。我們面對的是何樣的地緣及世界格局?我們心目中的香港及香港人是由誰的論述構成?我們所謂的「常識」有多少是滲透著中共殖民香港的意識?

● 焗促不安 guhk6 chūk1 bāt1 ōn1 = cf. 局促不安 = feel ill at ease | ● 重新思索 chùhng4 sān1 sī1 sok3 = roughly, “to rethink” (cf. 思索 = to ponder; to think deeply) | ● 初心 chō1 sām1 = one’s original intention (Sheik Cantonese: 初心 is a Japanese term that means “beginner’s mind”) | ● 取其義 chéui2 kèih4 yih6 = roughly, “to take as its meaning” | ● 靈巧 lìhng4 háau2 = dextrous; nimble; skilful; ingenious | ● 強權 kèuhng4 kyùhn4 = power; might | ● 甚或 sahm6 waahk6 = even; (go) so far as to | ● 擴散 kong3 saan3 = to spread; to diffuse | ● 通澈 tūng1 chit3 = ? (cf. 通徹to understand thoroughly) | ● 容器 yùhng4 hei3 = container; vessel | ● 地緣 deih6 yùhn6 = relations formed through geographical links; geo- (as a prefix) | ● 格局 gaak3 guhk6 = a pattern; setup; structure | ● 論述 leuhn6 seuht6 = to discuss; to expound

In such an uneasy political environment, we can rethink the “original intentions” of the movement: “to be like water” [如水]. “To be like water” means that when the water goes into a cup or glass, it takes the form of the cup/glass, and when it goes into a jug [壺] it adopts the shape of a jug. The reason why the anti-extradition movement was able to achieve a breakthrough was precisely because activists [抗爭者] were able to respond with ingenuity to the tactics of those in power, just like water — capable of being both firm and stable [堅穩], and flowing like water, and even able to evaporate and vanish away into thin air [擴散而去]. But following on from the constant escalation in repression on the part of the regime, if we wish to go on in the spirit of being like water, we must first gain a thorough understanding of our containers, that is, the state of affairs in which we find ourselves and the global setup [世界格局]. Whose discourse is it that constitutes the Hong Kong and the Hongkongers we are to have in our minds? To what extent is our “common knowledge” saturated with the mindset [意識] of a Chinese communist colonial Hong Kong?

人要如水,先要清淨如水、清空心智,審視自身的盲點及未圓之處。這並不代表我們要超越歷史或摒棄舊有的一切思想框架。反之,我們必須重新考證歷史,批判現有權威的論述,並建構我們自己對這個共同體的論述,從而思考未來可能的路線。香港的歷史長河從何而流,又應往何流去?這是時代對我們的拷問。

● 清空心智 chīng1 hūng1 sām1 ji3 = (?) to empty one’s mind | ● 審視 sám2 sih6 = to examine; to scrutinize | ● 未圓之處 meih6 yùhn4 jī1 chyu3 = roughly, “those places which are not satisfactory” | ● 摒棄 bing3 hei3 = to discard; to reject; to throw away; to abandon | ● 考證 háau2 jing3 = usu. textual criticism; textual research | ● 拷問 hāau1 mahn6 = usu. “to torture” (?) to interrogate

If we wish to be like water, we must first empty our minds and scrutinize ourselves for blind spots and imperfections [未圓之處]. That does not mean that we should try to go beyond history or set aside all the old intellectual frameworks. The opposite is true: we must once again examine [考證] history, criticize the utterances [論述] of the existing power structure, and establish our own discourse about this community, in order to reflect on future possible ways forward. Where does the long river of Hong Kong first begin to flow, and in which direction ought it to flow [next]? This is how the present era interrogates [拷問] us.

水滯則濁,流則不腐,我們若想在日後關鍵的時候能夠如水知所進退,便不能夠任由單一規範成為鐵則束縛自己。當掌權者把謊言奉為圭臬,往往殘暴地抹去相左的異議,送葬民間自由發展的可能性。集體行動若要成功,大眾團結尋找合作基礎和發展方向是不可缺少。上善若水,只有我們在革命中放下自我,攜手前行,才能澤被我們深愛的共同體。與茲同時,只有當我們願意一起積極地討論共同體的事務,令各種辯論川流不息,不同意見得以對撞契合並產生火花,香港共同體才能保持生機,為未來運動提供思想養分。

● 知所進退 jī1 só2 jeun3 teui3 = roughly, “know when to advance and when to retreat” | ● 任 yahm6 = to let; to allow; to give free rein to | ● 單一規範 dāan1 yāt1 kwāi1 faahn6 = roughly, “a single standard/norm” | ● 鐵則 tit3 jāk1 = an iron rule | ● 束縛 chūk1 bok3 = to tie; to bind up; to fetter | ● 奉為圭臬 fuhng6 wàih4 gwāi1 yiht6 = hold up as a model | ● 相左的異議 sēung1 jó2 dīk1 yih6 yíh5 = lit.  相左 = conflict with each other + 異議 = objection; dissent| ● 送葬 sung3 jong3 = to take part in a funeral procession; to attend a funeral | ● 合作基礎 hahp6 jok3 gēi1 chó2 = a foundation/basis for co-operation | ● 攜手 kwàih4 sáu2 = ① hand in hand ② to co-operate | ● jaahk6 = to benefit | ● 川流不息 chyūn1 làuh4 bāt1 sīk1 = flowing past in an endless stream; never-ending | ● 對撞契合 deui3 johng6 kai3 hahp6 = lit. 對撞 = colliding + 契合 = to agree with; to tally with

When unable to flow, water becomes turbid; when able to flow, it is never stagnant. If, during key moments in the days to come, we wish to be able to be like water — knowing when to advance and when to retreat — we cannot allow any single norm [單一規範] to become an iron rule with which to limit ourselves. When those holding power hold up telling lies as a model, as a matter of course [往往] they brutally obliterate any views that object to their own, and take part in the funeral for the possibility of the development of freedom among the people. If collective movements are to succeed, it is indispensable for public groups to seek out bases for co-operation and directions for development. Highest good is like water — only as long as we put ourselves to one side in the course of the revolution and advance hand in hand can we benefit the community we so deeply love. At the same time, it is only as long as we are willing to positively discuss issues affecting this community together that the vitality of the Hong Kong community can be maintained, providing intellectual nutrition to future movements.

面對政治寒冬,香港人要靈活如水,還要剛強如冰,以不屈的姿態,力求破除中國夢魘。當政權嘗試將一切公共辯論空間抹殺,作為一班流散在外的香港人以及深愛香港的人,我們決不選擇沉默。我們決定利用在海外的自由空間,建構並保存一個公共議論香港的媒介,為在香港內外的人整合各種有關香港政治、歷史、社會和文化面向的論述。通過歷史論述、理論框架以及對未來路線的思考,我們希望連結每位參與這場光復運動的香港兒女,為他們作思想充權。我們要在人類歷史中弘揚香港人追求自由之聲,要讓世界看見香港。

● 政治寒冬 jing3 jih6 hòhn4 dūng1 = roughly, “a severe political Winter” | ● 剛強 gōng1 kèuhng4 = firm; staunch; unyielding | ● 不屈 bāt wāt1 = unyielding; unbending | ● 破除 po3 chèuih4 = to do away with; to get rid of; to eradicate; to break with | ● 夢魘 muhng6 yím2 = nightmare | ● 辯論 bihn6 leuhn6 = to argue; to debate | ● 抹殺 mut3 saat3 = to remove from evidence; to expunge; to suppress; to wipe out, to obliterate (also written 抹煞) | ● 建構 gin3 kau3 = to construct | ● 整合 jíng2 hahp6 = to reorganize & consolidate | ● 面向 mihn6 heung3 = ① to turn in the direction of; to face ② be geared to the needs of; to cater to | ● 論述 leuhn6 seuht6 = to discuss; to expound | ● 連結 lìhn4 git3 = to connect | ● 作思想充權jok3 sī1 séung2 chōng1 kyùhn4 = (?) to carry out ideological/intellectual empowerment | ● 弘揚 wàhng4 yèuhng4 = to develop & expand

Faced with this severe political Winter, Hongkongers must be flexible like water, and they must also be staunch like water, striving to do away with the Chinese nightmare. When political power obliterates all space for public debate, we cannot choose silence, we Hong Kong people who are scattered abroad as well as those who deeply love Hong Kong. We have decided to make use of those spaces for freedom outside of Hong Kong to construct and maintain a medium for the public discussion of Hong Kong, as well as to reorganize and consolidate discussions geared to [面向] [issues such as] politics, history, society and culture for Hongkongers inside and outside Hong Kong. By means of discussions of history, theoretical frameworks, and a consideration of future ways to proceed [未來路線], we hope to connect with every daughter and son of Hong Kong who is taking part in this movement to liberate Hong Kong and to empower them intellectually. In the course of human history, we would like to develop and amplify the voice of Hongkongers in their quest for freedom, as well as let the world come to see Hong Kong.

歷史已經進入轉捩點,思想革命正在發生。香港是屬於香港人的香港,我們不欲成為失根的浮萍,是故絕不容許香港在我們手中白白流逝。在每個漆黑無聲的夜晚,不要忘記還有人從未放棄心中所有。黎明來臨之前,我們都會長夜相伴,以文字書寫出我們的信念和堅持,在黑夜中為大家提供希望的憑藉。爭取民主與自由是跨世代香港人的共同夙願,我們深信追求命運自主是歷史的呼聲。時代召喚我們,我們便挺身而出,不負時代,勢要讓獨裁暴政在這代終結。我們期待民主的果實在香港破土而出,遊子可以歸家,受困之人可以解困,香港人可以早日一起共建美麗新香港。這是我們共同的希冀。​

● 轉捩點 jyún2 liht6 dím2 = turning point | ● 失根的浮萍 sāt1 gān1 dīk1 fàuh4 pìhng4 = roughly, “duckweed which has lost its roots/identity” | ● 白白流逝 baahk6 baahk6 làuh4 saih6 = 白白 = in vain; to no purpose; for nothing + 流逝 = (of time) to pass; to elapse | ● 漆黑 chāt1 hāk1/hāak1 = pitch-dark; pitch-black | ● 心中所有 sām1 jūng1 só2 yáuh5 = roughly, “that which is in one’s heart/mind” | ● 憑藉 pàhng4 jihk6 = to rely on; to depend on | ● 夙願 sūk1 yuhn6 = a long-cherished wish | ● 跨 kwāa1 = to cut across; to go beyond | ● 呼聲 fū1 sēng1 = a cry; a voice | ● 召喚 jiuh6 wuhn6 = to call; to summon  | ● 挺身而出 tíhng5 sān1 yìh4 chēut1 = step forward bravely; come out boldly | ● 不負 bāt1 fuh6 = (?) not to betray | ● 獨裁暴政 duhk6 choih4 bouh6 jing3 = cf. 獨裁 = dictatorship + 暴政 = tyranny; despotic rule | ● 破土而出 po3 tóu2 yìh4 chēut1 = (of a seedling) break through the soil | ● 遊子 yàuh4 jí2 = a person travelling or residing in a place far away from home | ● 解困 gáai2 kwan3 = to resolve difficulties | ● 希冀 hēi1 kei3 = to hope for; to wish for; to aspire to

Notes: ① The expression 是故 has the meaning of “for this reason” in Standard Written Chinese. ② I’m not exactly sure what 勢要 sai3 yiu3 means in the phrase 勢要讓獨裁暴政在這代終結. Usually, 勢 refers to “momentum” or “tendency”; it can also mean “state of affairs; circumstances”.

History is now at a turning point, and a revolution in thought is in the process of taking place. Hong Kong is the Hong Kong that belongs to the Hong Kong people — we have no wish to become [like] floating duckweed that has lost its roots, and for this reason we will absolutely not allow Hong Kong to slip out of our hands to no purpose. In every pitch-black night in which nothing stirs, one must not forget that there are still individuals who have never given up on what they hold dear in their hearts [心中所有]. Before the coming of the dawn, we will keep one another company through the long night, and with written words give expression to both our faith and our perseverance, providing in the darkness of night a basis for our common hopes. The striving for democracy and freedom is the long-cherished wish of Hongkongers cutting across a number of generations, and we are convinced that the pursuit of determining our own fate is something that History calls on us to do [追求命運自主是歷史的呼聲]. History is summoning us, so we must come out boldly, not betray the age, and continue the momentum [勢要] by which dictatorship and tyranny is coming to an end in this era. We look forward to the fruits of democracy breaking through the soil of Hong Kong, [so that] those residing far from home may return, and those in difficulty may resolve them [so that] together Hongkongers can build a beautiful new Hong Kong, as soon as possible. This is our shared aspiration.