《新心界》: 第七章 「散塔露淇亞!」


● After his collapse during the Cantonese Speaking Contest, 陳之一 Chan Chi-yat is in a very bad state. 阿綠 Ah Luk decides to take him back to Sha Tin by taxi just to make sure that he returns safely. In his flat, she discovers how simple Chan’s lifestyle has become in recent times. What does it mean? She also hears Chan talking in his sleep. Does this crazy, fragmented speech reflect a deeply traumatised psyche, or does it suggest that Hong Kong itself is on the brink of some kind of breakdown?

Soundtrack: “Protection


阿綠同阿奇一齊扶住陳之一孚翠就負責揾翻一架的士,但係佢零舍、四圍亂行,仲感受到「想搭的士時,就一定揾唔到」呢個定律。揾咗好耐,終於揾到,佢哋三人合力將澳洲幻想者推上的士,然後經過一番討論,最後決定

阿綠一個人送陳之一返沙田屋邨單位,孚翠同埋阿奇就趁機搭地鐵去蘭桂坊飲酒,藉此放鬆一下岩岩拉到好緊嘅神經(另外,孚翠覺得嚟自紐西蘭嘅阿奇應該會比較鍾意作為紐西蘭人嘅阿奇應該比較欣賞喺咁樣嘅環境裏邊消磨一段時間)。跟住,阿綠就坐進的士,用身體緊挨喺陳之一側邊,令到男人能夠得穩陣啲。講低目的地後,阿綠就餵陳之一食頭痛藥,希望舒緩到佢嘅不適。當時半睡半醒嘅男人十分狼狽,對周圍嘅一切都冇任何反應,正因為咁,阿綠嘅心裏邊忽然湧現出一股特別熱烈嘅慈悲感。的士駛入海底隧道,終於離開港島,兩個人綳緊嘅神經先得以慢慢鬆弛過嚟,將啱先經過港島情景隨即忘得一乾二浄喇。

入𨋢後,二人粒聲都唔出。𨋢本身就係一個密封嘅空間,因此佢哋可以暫時享受搭𨋢專有嘅安全感。但一瞬間就到達阿一所住嘅樓層,行到鐵閘前,男人好辛苦咁由口袋裏拎一抽鎖匙出嚟,遞到阿綠手上。步入屋内,男人便即刻去睡房瞓低,而綠色頭髮嘅女人就行入厨房,打算為二人沖茶。因為男人過年嗰陣認真進行大掃除,全間屋都執得整整齊齊,雜物甚少!;另外呢度又冇乜人氣,幾乎可以令人以為係「吉屋」;唔使講,厨房亦唔例外,除咗一枝家用紅醋之外,工作枱空無一物。當女人望住呢枝紅醋時,忽然醒起陳之一成日將自己形容為「半瓶醋」,於是忍唔住細聲笑咗出嚟(不過,阿綠無法知道,醋瓶入面所裝嘅唔係普通醋,而係由粉嶺「添仔蝦餃」度特登買返嘅喼汁!)。喺櫥櫃入面摷嚟摷去,女人終於揾到一罐綠茶茶葉同埋兩個杯仔。用電熱水壺煲水時,全屋只有開水初初滾起嘅聲音,單位顯得更加冷清 。

等待茶葉正泡開時,阿綠覺得應該去睇一睇男人,睇吓佢係咪已經瞓著覺。行近睡房嗰時,就聽到房内傳出輕微噱噱聲,其實單憑呢個就可以估到陳之一冇可能想飲茶。不過,為防出錯,好細心嘅阿綠輕輕地推開半開嘅門,望一望房内情況:房内相當幽暗,窗簾被緊緊拉上,不過阿綠仍然能夠辨認得出床上仰臥嘅陳之一。令到阿綠驚奇嘅係,除咗張床,睡房中並無其他傢俬!「嘩!呢個人真係深受古希臘斯巴達人嘅影響,生活方式實在太過簡樸啦 . . . 」然後,為咗唔想嘈醒阿一,佢就輕輕咁用腳尖行去客廳,拎起男人喜愛嘅一張木櫈,再拎住水杯放喺張床側邊。阿綠終於可以安頓落嚟,慢慢飲住茶,陪伴低聲打鼻鼾嘅「普通話漢奸」。

喺呢間黑沉沉又唔熟悉嘅睡房内,阿綠突然醒起陳之一演講期間選用「障礙物」呢一個詞語。女人心諗:要深入了解另一種文化其實好困難,佢仲記得之前喺佛羅倫薩讀書時,日常生活經常會遇到語言障礙。不過,對阿綠嚟講,呢類障礙」或多或少數都有得意嘅成份在内,甚至乎會為人生添加唔少樂趣、魅力、人情味。連生活中最微不足道嘅活動,譬如買麵包、喺咖啡室叫嘢飲、同生埗人問路、向別人解釋點解呢朵花靚過嗰朵等等 . . . 都超乎想象、竟然可以得到前所未有嘅詩意。好多時因為生活環境太過舒適,我哋好容易對周圍發生嘅一切變得麻木不仁;日子過得重重覆覆而變得模糊,注意力亦被分散得好犀利;尋日,今日同聽日基本上係一模一樣長年累月,最終生存空間已經冇辦法帶嚟半點新鮮感。母親將呢種恐怖嘅生存困局形容為「七色均黑嘅彩虹」,係人生中非常可怕嘅經歷。

當阿綠諗到呢度,陳之一就無啦啦、細細聲咁發起開口夢。頭髮染綠色嘅女人嘅思路被迫打斷,無奈要返到眼前眼前嘅現實世界。一開始,男人講出嘅説話非常之亂,支離破碎咁,毫無邏輯,好易令人懷疑佢心裏深埋藏有一啲嚴重嘅創傷:

「. . . 人為錯誤 . . . 選民登記冊 . . . 視如草芥 . . . 一國一點五制 . . . 粵音朗讀測證 . . . 犀牛角切件 . . . 劏房調查 . . . 處於半失業嘅狀況 . . . 重金屬甲基汞 . . . 電表房 . . . 釋除疑慮 . . . 冬季流感節 . . . 孚公道,為民生 . . . 首宗非洲豬瘟 . . . 喺私地建丁屋 . . . 放款引入海外醫生 . . . 」

一開頭,阿綠就以為男人純屬於亂翕,但係聽咗一段時間就意識到,呢啲單詞同詞語都同四、五月嘅新聞報道有關,或者呢啲都係陳之一最近學識嘅詞彙。之後阿一繼續發開口夢,果真證實呢個揣測:

「. . . 三個發起人 . . . 罪名成立 . . . 聽取求情 . . . 串謀 . . . 作出公衆妨擾 . . . 煽惑 . . . 判詞 . . . 公民抗命 . . . 寒蟬效應 . . . 監禁 . . . 彰顯法制精神 . . . 政治武器 . . . 社會撕裂 . . . 罪魁禍首 . . . 極大不理想 . . . 「港獨」邪説 . . . 邪説 . . . 邪説 . . . 」

跟住,一片沉默。然後,阿綠耳邊再傳嚟一連串新聞單詞。再一段徹底沉默。再然後,陳之一居然唱起歌嚟,只有短短嘅一部分: 「散塔露淇亞!散塔露淇亞!」阿綠當然好熟悉呢首意大利歌,甚至知道「散塔露淇亞」又係地名,又係一位女性聖人。另外,因為「露淇亞」本來具有「光明」嘅意思,令到發暗家嘅佢聯想到類如「神光」、「天澤」呢啲喺香港天后廟常見到嘅字眼。

最後,男人只係低聲重複:「凍呀。好凍呀。凍死喇。凍死我喇。」

因為夜晚一早降臨,阿綠亦都好攰,同時又擔心男人嘅情況突然發生轉變,所以佢決定留低喺沙田,伴隨陳之一一晚。當下決心之後,佢先打個電話俾孚翠,吩咐佢幫手餵蛾鬼。跟住,阿綠連人帶衫喺陳之一身邊瞓低。男人漸漸唔再亂講嘢,但呼吸聲依然好唔安穩,有時甚至聽唔到任何動靜,冇乜氣息。喺呢間空無一物嘅睡房内,阿綠耐仔細聆聽另一個人由肺部呼吸聲,欣賞吸入並呼出氧氣嘅奇跡般工作,同一時間又聽到自己嘅沙沙呼吸聲。忽然間,女人腦海出現一首婆婆曾經唱過嘅催眠個,跟住佢就低聲哼起嚟,結果令到男人安神落去:

尋晚媽問乜野叫
蚊仔叫
蚊仔點樣叫
蚊仔 mmm-mmm-mmm-mmm
貓仔叫
貓仔點樣叫 . . . 」

過咗一陣時,呢兩種截然不同嘅呼吸節奏,喺無人聽到嘅情況下,便逐啲逐啲咁進入同步狀,相當奇妙。

當然,陳之一成晚都冇機會知道,深夜時有人發出重要電郵俾佢。

Close Calls, and Even Closer Callings

Paul Strand: Mr Bennett, Vermont, 1944

Four decades ago — tentatively — he summoned me with his nineteen years.
Who was he to know? How vague the calibre of his yearning!
Yet “vague” here is just the right verve
in the beginning
for the future fortune-telling of a whole other life to come . . .
There are times, at fifty-nine
when I would gladly swap back to his shapeless vagabond longing,
vitaller than worldly wisdom’s common commonsense
and without misadventure’s ramshackled failings.
At the next death,
as I wend my way out of this breathtaking Earth,
perhaps his will be the image that comes bashfully towards me
in greeting — some level of touching distance in his face —
and, at the moment me meet,
in turn — together — we will conjure between us an unequivocal third,
the one that language can only gnash its syntactic teeth at grimly
and that makes rude, raucous angels and devils alike
hoot aloud out of heart- and head-felt GLEE.

Learning Cantonese: 余頌恩 Grace Yu on Art as Life-force

「我覺得有生命力嘅音樂同藝術背後係有 message、有訊息嘅 | 有魄力嘅藝術家、音樂人佢哋生命都可以流露出一份有生命力嘅 message | 而呢個世界已經有太多冇生命力嘅生命㗎喇」


余頌恩 Grace Yu Chung-yan is a concert pianist and teacher at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. In her view, the reason why we need art is because it transmits生命力 sāng1 mihng6 lihk6 = “life force; vitality”. This “power of life” is essential to every human being, especially at a time when, as Yu points out, “there are already too many lives in this world lacking in vitality”. As a musician, she is also committed to the idea art as (potentially) a supremely authentic expression of life, as well as a kind of flow [流動] that enables an exchange of happiness, sincerity and love between one human being and another. Her short presentation in this video is like a whole creative manifesto in miniature.

In this Kongstories video, you will hear Yu use the structure 冇得+ Verb at 1:10. I discussed this grammar topic in the previous Learning Cantonese post on the landscape painter 黃進曦 Stephen Wong Chun Hei, speculating that it might be used to convey an absolute inability. I think Yu’s use of it here reinforces the hypothesis: the phrase 分享音樂帶出嚟嗰份歡樂、真實同埋愛嘅流動係冇得呃嘅 = “there can be no duplicity in the flow of happiness, sincerity and love that the sharing of music brings” does seem to indicate absolute 100% improbability.

With regard to vocabulary, there is a wonderful example of the Cantonese use of 齋 jāai1, the basic meaning of which is “to abstain from meat, wine, etc. (when offering sacrifices to gods or ancestors)”. In spoken Cantonese, the basic sense of “abstinence” is extended in some very interesting ways. 《香港粵語大詞典》gives a few examples, including 齋啡 jāai1 fē1, the word for “black coffee” with neither milk nor sugar in it, and 齋坐 jāai1 chóh5, which means something like “to sit in a restaurant without ordering any food”. At 1:10, Yu uses it to modify 彈 tàahn4, the verb used for “playing” the piano. 齋彈冇靈魂 literally means “to play abstainingly, without soul”, suggesting that 齋 also conveys a sense of something not being done to its fullest possible extent, or perhaps without giving oneself fully. I also once came across 齋聽 jāai1 tēng1 = “to listen (to a conversation) without contributing to it in any way”.

In addition, listen out for the following useful vocabulary items: 孭 mē1 = to carry on the shoulders; 魄力 paak3 lihk6 = daring & resolution; boldness; 劏房 tōng1 fóng4*2 = a subdivided flat, unit & apartment; 獨一無二 duhk6 yāt1 mòuh4 yih6 = unique; unparalleled; unmatched; and 呃 āak1 = to cheat; to deceive; to dupe.

Please scroll down if you want the transcription, notes and my own English translation. Otherwise, you can view the video here (subtitles in 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.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Caption: 音樂人生 | A Life in Music

香港係其中一個最多人學樂器地方 | 你一出街,周圍都有孭住樂器嘅學生 | 但係有幾多個學上唔係浄係齋彈靈魂 | 而係尋找到屬於獨特嘅聲音同埋生命力嘅呢?| 我覺得有生命力嘅音樂同藝術背後係有 message、有訊息嘅 | 有魄力嘅藝術家、音樂人佢哋生命都可以流露出一份有生命力嘅 message | 而呢個世界已經有太多冇生命力嘅生命喇 | 所以無論係世界上唔同嘅音樂廳表演同埋講學 | 喺演藝學院同每一個學生互動交流 | 定係喺深水埗嘅劏房教小朋友彈琴 【1:00】| 都係生命影響生命獨一無二嘅機會 | 分享音樂帶出嚟份歡樂、真實同埋愛嘅流動係冇得呃嘅 | 呢啲都係生命最真誠嘅表達 | 呢個世界需要音樂,需要藝術 | 呢個世界更加需要有傳遞生命訊息嘅人 | 我叫余頌恩,香港土生土長,七百萬個故仔成就一個香 . . . 港故仔

● 孭 mē1 = to carry on the shoulders | ● 魄力 paak3 lihk6 = daring & resolution; boldness | ● 流露 làuh4 louh6 = to reveal; to betray; to show unintentionally | ● 音樂廳 yām1 ngohk6 tēng1 = a concert hall | ● 講學 góng2 hohk6 = to give lectures | ● 互動 wuh6 duhng6 = an interaction; interactive | ● 劏房 tōng1 fóng4*2 = a subdivided flat, unit & apartment | ● 獨一無二 duhk6 yāt1 mòuh4 yih6 = unique; unparalleled; unmatched | ● 歡樂 fūn1 lohk6 = happy; joyous | ● 流動 làuh4 duhng6 = ① to flow ② mobile | ● 呃āak1 = to cheat; to deceive; to dupe | ● 真誠 jān1 sìhng4 = sincere; genuine; true | ● 傳遞 chyùhn daih6 = to transmit; to deliver; to transfer

Hong Kong is a place in which so many people are learning to play a musical instrument. Just step outside your door and you’ll see students everywhere [周圍都] carrying musical instruments on their backs. But how many of these students are looking for a voice that belongs to them alone and a vitality, rather than merely going through the motions devoid of soul [浄係齋彈冇靈魂]? It is my feeling that behind any music or art there is a message. An artist or musician with daring and resolution has the capacity to reveal [流露] a message of vitality — and there are already too many lives in this world lacking in vitality, in life-force. So no matter whether [I] am performing in different concert halls around the world or giving lectures, interacting [互動交流] with every single student [studying] at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, or teaching a child in a subdivided flat in Sham Shui Po how to play the piano, these are all unique opportunities for one life to influence another. There can be no duplicity [冇得呃] in the flow of happiness, sincerity and love that the sharing of music brings. All these things [呢啲都] are the most authentic expression of life. This world needs music; it needs art. Even more, it needs people who can transmit messages of life [生命訊息]. My name is Grace Yu Chung-yan. I was born and raised in Hong Kong. Seven million stories go to make up [成就] one [of the] Hong . . . Kong Stories.

Albert Wan, the Temperate Bookseller at Bleak House Books

I felt deeply saddened to hear that Bleak House Books will close down on 15 October. I hope everyone with an interest in Hong Kong and literature will rally at this difficult time. This Kongstories video on Albert Wan and Bleak House Books is a moving tribute . . .

Chinaman Creek

溫敬豪 Wān1 Ging3 Hòuh4 or Albert Wan is the founder of Bleak House Books. He truly is a Mr John Jarndyce of the book-world, housing not only a collection of second-hand books, many of them out of print, but providing a shelter for anyone curious in what old print might have to offer them. He says some heart-stirring things about his profession: “I started Bleak House Books,” he declares, “not to sell books but to serve the community” [我開清明堂其實唔係爲咗賣書 | 反而希望係 serve the community]. Such spirit in this world of money-driven entrepreneurs is a rare as it is refreshing.

You can enjoy this video even if you’re not interested in Cantonese: it has good English subtitles. However, if you are a committed learner, then items of vocabulary to make you own in this video include 殘舊 chàahn4 gauh6 = tattered; 斷版 tyuhn6 báan2 = (?) to be out…

View original post 879 more words

Steady Gaze

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


A prayer of twin palms pressed up right against a window
forms an impromptu cage. Next —
moth-wings stutter inside tight cupped hands
as the insect begins tap-dancing six feet over vulnerable
stiff scared skin. In a moment of inattention,
it escapes past the interlocked knuckles of my thumbs
and flits forthwith to an adjacent white house-wall.
There, moth-eyes in gloom
blink instantly open cross a whole wide wingspan,
their mackerel-blue irises pinpricked with star-sparkle gold.
Now, they outstare me — the non-plussed observer —
awed and outclassed by this fearless and unflinching stare.

Learning Cantonese: Painting Hong Kong Landscapes with 黃進曦 Stephen Wong


有陣時都會驚有一啲地方係會畫唔翻嘅 | 噉但係呢樣嘢我覺得係冇得驚嘅 | 啫,我意思係唔到我控制嘅呢樣嘢,本身係 | [因為] 風景畫家其實就係你去 capture 一個你眼見,啫,或者當下嘅一個,一個景象


Hong Kong landscape painter 黃進曦 Stephen Wong Chun Hei is a very thoughtful artist, and he says some intriguing things in this 5-minute Ming Pao video about painting during an epidemic and the time for greater creative reflection it enables. He also muses on the distinctive qualities of the Hong Kong landscape (“Wherever you go in Hong Kong, as long as you can see a mountain that you recognize, it helps you to some degree to get your bearings”), and on the anxiety everyone feels about the sacrifice of landscape to so-called “development”: perhaps many of Hong Kong’s existing natural scenes will one day only exist within paintings.

In terms of grammatical riches, the most interesting thing to listen out for is Wong’s use of the aspect marker 開 hōi1. You will hear it at around the 1:13 minute mark in the phrase 噉我就都第一次就嘗試將我平時用開嘅大畫嗰啲canvas呢, and it crops up again at 2:31 in 因爲睇開嗰啲風景畫家嗰啲或者鍾意嘅風景畫都係一啲外國嘅風景咁樣嘅. In Intermediate Cantonese, Yip and Matthews state that it generally has “a habitual meaning” and this is certainly the case here, with the first meaning “those canvases that I usually use for big paintings” (note how 平時 pìhng4 sìh4 explicitly underscores the habitual nature of the act), and the second, “because those landscape paintings I usually looked at by those landscape painters I may have liked”.

There is also one use of the structure 冇得 + Verb to indicate inability. I am still puzzled by this usage, but my current thinking is that it expresses a universal inability, covering all those nuances involving physical ability, know-how, permission, etc. It crops up at 3:46 in the phrase 呢樣嘢我覺得係冇得驚嘅, where 冇得驚 means something like “cannot fear that” or “cannot be frightened about”. You’ll hear it again at 4:14 in 冇得要求 = “cannot demand”. You will also encounter a couple of examples of that very useful aspect marker 翻 fāan1, concerned with repetition. It is used by Wong in 見唔翻 = “unable to see again” and, more creatively, 畫唔翻 = unable to paint again”.

There are also some gems in the domain of vocabulary, the pick of the crop being the verb 打戙 dáa2 duhng6 = to set vertically/upright. Other worthwhile items include 環遊世界 wàahn4 yàuh4 sai3 gaai3 = to make a round the world trip; 寫生 sé2 sā[a]ng1 = to paint from life; to draw, paint or sketch from nature; 草原 chóu2 yùhn4 = grasslands; prairie; 辨認 bihn6 yihng6 = to identify; to recognize; 定位 dihng6 wái6*2 = to orientate; to position; 景象 gíng2 jeuhng6 = a scene; a sight; 然之後 yìhn4 jī1 hauh6 = after; subsequent; later on; and 演繹 yín2 yihk6 = usu. to elaborate.

Please scroll down for my transcription (it’s not perfect, but most of it is accurate), English translation and notes. You can view the video here (subtitles in Standard Written Chinese only). 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 can view another post on 黃進曦 Stephen Wong Chun Hei here.

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黃進曦:而家畫風景好似有種責任 | 去,去記錄一覺得自己,呃,會遲早見唔翻

Stephen Wong Chun Hei: [I] would have this one extra feeling, the feeling that a landscape painter now seems to have a responsibility to record things that he or she feels that, sooner or later, will never be seen again.

Caption: 收藏香港風景的人:以畫作為我城留下印證 The Man who Collects Hong Kong’s Landscapes: Leaving Confirmation [印證] Our City in Painting

Caption: 黃進曦 | 風景畫家 Stephen Wong Chun Hei | Landscape Painter

其實呢張畫畫係今次我六月尾有一個個展呢 | 就做關於喺疫情開始以呢 | 我就用 Google Earth 去環遊世界 | 去唔同世界各地嘅風景去畫畫嘅 | 其中一張大畫嚟嘅 | 呢個地方呢,其實係喺美國嘅一個地方,叫做 Big Trees Trail 咁樣 [呀] | 噉而我【1:00】諗緊嘅係點樣可以到觀衆睇一張畫嘅時候 | 都有嗰種好高大嘅感覺 [呢] | 噉我就都第一次就嘗試將我平時用開嘅大畫嗰啲 canvas 呢,就打戙咗佢 | 第一次畫一張三米高嘅,嘅作品

噉但係當有停落嚟嘅時間 | 你就會發現原來人係需要有放 break 嘅時間 | 喺呢一段時間裏邊,我反而係更加享受到創作嘅 | ,以前都創作 | 但問題以前嗰種呢,就係 . . . 好似冇咁多反思嘅時間 | 噉而家反而係疫情關係呢 | 噉令到我諗,究竟點樣利用創作去面對呢一段咁樣嘅時間呢 | 會開始覺得所有都唔係咁必然 | 去到而家嚟講,就算我行出去 . . .

● 個展 go3 jín2 = (?) a solo exhibition; a one-man show cf. 個人展覽 | ● 環遊世界 wàahn4 yàuh4 sai3 gaai3 = to make a round the world trip | ● 高大 gōu1 daaih6 = lofty | ● 利用 leih6 yuhng6 = to use; to utilize; to make use of | ● 打戙 dáa2 duhng6 = to set vertically/upright cf. 戙 = to erect; set upright; lift up | ● 創作 chong3 jok3 = creative work; creation | ● 必然 bīt1 yìhn4 = inevitable; certain

Actually, this painting is (?) [part of] (?) a solo exhibition at the end of June. Since the beginning of the covid virus, I have been making a round-the-world trip with the help of Google Earth, going off in search of landscapes in various parts of the world in order to paint them. One of [the paintings] is a large painting. This place is in America and is called Big Tree Trail. Now what I have been thinking is how to give viewers a lofty emotion even [都] when they are looking at a large painting. For the first time, I have tried taking those canvasses I normally use for big paintings and tipping them on their side. The first painting is a work three metres tall.

However, at a time when things have come to a stop [當有停落嚟嘅時間], you will find that it turns out that people need to take a break. In this period of time, I find that I am nevertheless enjoying [my] creativity more. I mean, I was creating too before, but the problem was that I didn’t have much time to reflect on things. Now, on the contrary, owing to the virus, I have been made to wonder about how to make use of creativity to confront just such a period of time and I have begun to think that nothing is so certain. Up till now, even though I have headed out . . .

【2:00】  . . . 香港嘅地方,去行山都好啦 | 我都真係會有多咗一個感覺,就係唔知,啫,有冇下一次嘅,其實好多嘢都 | 但係呢一個珍惜呢,其實往往係令到我去觀察一個地方會嚟得更加深入嘅

最開頭呢,我以為我會好鍾意外國嘅風景嘅 | 因爲睇開嗰啲風景畫家嗰啲或者鍾意嘅風景畫都係一啲外國嘅風景咁樣嘅 | 噉但係當我去過外國去寫生之後 | 就會發覺原來我自己掛住嘅係香港嘅風景 | 因望到外國嘅 // 大嘅草原啦 | 或者一啲一望無際嘅山脈 [啦] ,咁樣嘅時候呢,你會覺得好陌生 | 噉 [呢個] 嘅陌生感係令到我個腦裏邊 | 啫,會諗住:嗯,香港嘅風景 . . .

● 珍惜 jān1 sik3 = to treasure; to value; to cherish | ● 寫生 sé2 sā[a]ng1 = to paint from life; to draw, paint or sketch from nature | ● 草原 chóu2 yùhn4 = grasslands; prairie

. . . to go places in Hong Kong and gone hiking, there is really something extra in my feelings — that is, actually for a lot of things I don’t know whether there will be a next time. But this [sense of] cherishing actually usually makes me scrutinize a place all the more deeply.

Back when I first started [最開頭], I thought I would really like the landscapes in other countries, because the landscape paintings I genuinely admired by the landscapes painters I looked at were all foreign landscapes. However, when I went overseas to paint from life [寫生], I discovered that it was the Hong Kong landscape that I was missing. The reason is that when you look at sweeping grass plains or a chain of mountains stretching as far as the eye can see, it feels alien to you. This feeling of alienation makes me think [instead] about Hong Kong’s landscapes . . .

【3:00】. . . 係點嘅呢 | 於是我自己就會覺得同我自己生活有關係嘅風景 | 先至係我最想去用,用創作去描寫佢嘅 | 例如 ,今日嚟到呢一度嘅時候,我,呃,望到八仙嶺 | 跟住我而家面對住嘅馬鞍山咁樣 | 噉都係 . . . 對我嚟講,係香港好獨特嘅一種山型嚟㗎 | 無論你去到香港嘅邊一度 | 只要你望到某一座你辨認到嘅山 | 某程度係幫到你定位 | 知道自己去咗邊咁樣嘅 | 有陣時都會驚有一啲地方係會畫唔翻嘅 | 噉但係呢樣嘢我覺得係冇得驚嘅 | 啫,我意思係唔到我控制嘅呢樣嘢,本身係 | [因為] 風景畫家其實就係你去 capture 一個你眼見,啫,或者當下嘅一個,一個景象

● 山型 sāan1 yìhng4 = (?) mountain-type | ● 辨認 bihn6 yihng6 = to identify; to recognize | ● 定位 dihng6 wái6*2 = to orientate; to position | ● 眼見 ngáahn5 gin3 = (?) here, “to see” | ● 景象 gíng2 jeuhng6 = a scene; a sight

. . . and what they are actually like. And so, I myself tend to think that the landscapes that have some connection with my own life are the only ones [先] that I want most of all to make use of, to portray [描寫] them by making use of [my] creativity. For instance, here today, we can see the Pat Sin Leng mountain range and then now I am facing Ma On Shan. Such [sights] [噉都係], as far as I am concerned, [involve] a type of mountain that is special to Hong Kong. Wherever you go in Hong Kong, as long as you can see a mountain that you recognize, it helps you to some degree to get your bearings [定位] and you know where you have got to. Sometimes, I’m really worried [都會驚] that I won’t get to paint some of these places ever again but, on the other hand, I think I can’t be afraid of such an eventuality. What I mean [我意思唔到] is that I am unable to control such things, in themselves [本身]. [Being] a landscape painter [means] in fact that you go off and “capture” a scene that you see, something in the moment.

【4:00】你係做一個決定。噉然之後你亦都用你自己嘅手法嚟到去演繹你所見嘅嘢 | 你,你唯一去保留佢嘅就係用你嘅作品 [去] 保留佢嘅 | 噉真係冇得要求佢係不變嘅 | 係會有多咗一種感覺 | 係而家畫風景好似有種責任 | 去,去記錄一啲覺得自己會遲早見唔翻嘅 | 個變化,啫,自己都預咗係唔知幾時嚟嘅 | 噉所以我,我就係畫多咗一種感覺 | 係一種更加珍惜當下嗰刻嘅,嘅嘢 [喇]

● 然之後 yìhn4 jī1 hauh6 = after; subsequent; later on | ● 演繹 yín2 yihk6 = usu. to elaborate, but perhaps here “to interpret” | ● 不變 bāt1 bin3 = not to change

You make a decision. After that, you make use of your own personal methods to interpret the things that you see. The only way you can hold onto them is by means of the work of art that you make [用你嘅作品嚟保留佢]. You really can’t demand that things mustn’t change. [I] tend to have this one extra feeling, the feeling that a landscape painter now seems to have a responsibility to record things that he or she feels that, sooner or later, will never be seen again. You cannot know in advance when that change will come. For this reason, there is an added feeling in my painting [我就係畫多咗一種感覺], one of cherishing the things of the present moment more.

記者:許莉霞
拍攝:劉錦欣、姚旨豐
剪接:劉錦欣

Learning Cantonese: 7.21 尋源 Seeking the Sources of 21 July

Yuen Long, c. 1960

This is neither pleasant nor easy watching, but if you are concerned about what is going on in Hong Kong then this Stand News video on the 2019 21 July Yuen Long Mob Attacks is essential viewing.

The “revised” view of the incident as a clash between protestors and pro-government forces is precisely what the video wants to challenge. This challenge involves four aspects, two of which are covered in this first part (the first 7 minutes). Firstly, there is the testimony of Mr So, who was attacked by a stick-wielding mob on his way home from work. Given the fact that he was unarmed and alone calls into question the idea that the attacks were an act of self-defence on the part of locals. Nothing about Mr So suggests that he was part of pro-Hong Kong plot to overrun Yuen Long in order to liberate [光復] it.

The second aspect is the influence of the pro-Beijing group “Safeguard Hong Kong” [守護香港]. One of the “men in white” [白衣人] was seen wearing a marshall’s token [糾察牌] on which the name of the organization was written. Also of possible relevance are the comments of 石鏡泉 Arthur Shek Kang Chuen who, at a large rally organized by Safeguard Hong Kong at Tamar Park on 20 July, urged members of the audience to find a cane rod or a length of water piping “to teach the kids a lesson” [教仔]. Also relevant here is the woman 李璧而 Sandy Li Pik Yee, the convenor of a pro-Beijing group called [珍惜群組], who led a small demonstration in Yuen Long on the night of the attacks and who, by her own admission, had worked as a marshall at Safeguard Hong Kong events. Recently, Sandy Lee also filed a complaint against Eddie Yip, the judge who sentenced seven of the men in white so far charged over the Attacks.

The third very important aspect concerns a poster allegedly circulated by protestors carrying the inflammatory wording “Capture Yuen Long and You’ll Gain the Whole Empire” [得元朗得天下]. In the second part of this video, we will see that evidence uncovered by Stand News shows that, although the origins of this poster are impossible to determine, its earliest traceable appearance was on a Weibo page called “Dust in the Wind” [風中微塵] run by a woman married to a Hong Kong policeman and known for her active support of the police force. The final aspect involves the role of certain organizations in the New Territories, especially the various Rural Committees [鄉委會] and also a “New Territories Working Group” attached to the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government 中聯辦新界工作部部長, headed by a man called 李薊貽 Li Jiyi.

I hope to post the remaining two parts in the coming weeks.

Please scroll down for my transcription (unfortunately, the remarks of both Mr So and Sandy Lee are a bit unclear, so I have transcribed the Chinese subtitles as well), English translation and notes. You can view the video here (subtitles in English and Standard Written Chinese only). 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.

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旁白:7.21 [七二一] 元朗襲擊事件兩周年 | 過去連儂牆已經空白一片 | 只係剩低每個月嘅21號 | 有大批警員駐守

蘇先生:(字幕)香港人沒有忘記7.21事件| 只係形式上不同了,不在牆上,在心中(粵語)香港人呢,都係忘記7.21呢件事 [呢] | 只係 [形式]可能 // 形式上唔同 [啦], 唔度,// 心入便咁樣

白衣人:(字幕) 不聽話就打

蘇先生:我最想知嘅唔係邊個打我 [嘛] | 我最想知嘅係點解會打 | 後邊 [邊]個 策劃成件事係點樣發生嘅

李璧而:(字幕)他們(示威者)吹得好犀利 | 說「得元朗得天下」| 整件事是爲了守護元朗 | 守護自己的家園而被迫還手 | 這就是真相(粵語) 佢哋吹得好緊要 | 話「得元朗得天下」| 成件事呢,[都係咗] 守護元朗[咋嘛] |守護自己嘅家園被迫還手 | 呢個就係真相

● 連儂牆 lìhn4 nùhng4 chèuhng4 = Lennon Wall | ● 空白一片 hūng1 baahk6 yāt1 pin3 = roughly, “completely blank” | ● 駐守 jyu3 sáu2 = to garrison; to defend | ● 策劃 chaak3 waahk6 = to plan; to plot; to scheme; to engineer | ● 家園 gāa1 yùhn4 = home; homeland | ● 還手 wàahn4 sáu2 = to strike back; to hit back; to retaliate

Voice-over: It is the second anniversary of the 21 July Yuen Long Mob Attacks. The Lennon Wall that was once here is now completely blank and the only reminder of the incident [只係剩低] is the large police presence [大批警員駐守] here on the 21st of every month.

Mr So: The people of Hong Kong haven’t forgotten the 21 July Yuen Long Attacks. It’s just that [we] remember it in a different form — not on a wall but in [our] hearts and minds.

Attacker: (Subtitles) If you disobey, we will hit you.

Mr So: What I really want to know is not who hit me. What I really want to know is why they did it, who the people were behind it were, and how it happened.

Sandy Lee Pik-yee: They (the anti-extradition protestors) were talking up things [吹] in the most exaggerated fashion, saying that if they captured Yuen Long they would then have taken all of China [得元朗得天下]. The whole incident was merely a matter of protecting Yuen Long. We were forced to protect our homeland. That is the truth of it.

【1:00】遭襲擊嘅市民: (字幕)不要打呀 | 只是放工回家呀 | 把眼鏡還給他

旁白:7.21 兩周年 | 事件由最初公認嘅白衣人襲擊市民 | 變成建制所講有「暴徒」| 帶人入元朗掀起雙方衝突 | 究竟7.21係點樣發生呢?| 白衣人背後有冇組織呢?| 「得元朗得天下」厘個消息 | 又係點嚟呢?| 立場新聞翻查當日嘅閉路電視同網絡片段 | 分析互聯網歷史數據,追尋新線索

Caption: 7.21尋源 Seeking the Sources of 21 July

旁白:做厨師嘅蘇先生 . . .

● 建制 gin3 jai3 = (a) pro-establishment or pro-Beijing (organization) | ● 掀起 hīn1 héi2 = to set off (a movement, etc.); to start | ● 翻查 fāan1 chàah4 = roughly, “to look through” | ● 追尋 jēui1 chàhm4 = to pursue; to search; to track down

People being attacked: (Subtitles) Don’t hit [us]. We’ve finished work and we’re just going back home. Give him back his glasses.

Voice-over: On the second anniversary of the 21 July Yuen Long Attacks, the incident has gone from being an attack on civilians by the men in white to what pro-Beijing groups [call] the taking of thugs into Yuen Long to provoke conflicts between the two parties [that is, pro-Beijing parties and pro-Hong Kong parties]. Why in the final analysis did 21 July happen? Was there a particular organization behind the men in white? And where did the news [concerning] the “capture of Yuen Long” come from? The Stand News [team] has looked through footage from closed-circuit TV and the internet from that day, and analyzed historical data from the internet in pursuit of fresh clues.

Mr So, who works as a chef . . .

【2:00】. . . 2019年7月21日,夜晚9點幾收工嘅時候 | 喺元朗鳳攸北街 | 被一班白衣人用藤條襲擊 | 一年後,警方先至安排認人手續 | 蘇先生兩次都認唔到

Caption: 蘇先生 | 7.21襲擊事件傷者 | Mr So | A Victim of the 21 July [Yuen Long] Mob Attacks

蘇先生: (字幕) 爲何事隔一年後才找我認人?| 一年了,甚麽記憶也衝淡了 | 怎會認到人?| 我自己嘗試過找線索找資料 | 方向是7.21(襲擊)前有一個小遊行 | 圍繞元朗行一圈 | 主題和之後的7.21襲擊都好相似 | 都是穿白色衫、手持藤條之類 (粵語)點解要隔咗一年先我認人呢?| 一年 [喇] 喎,我咩記憶都衝淡咗啦 | 唔會認得人 [吖] | 我自己我都 試過去揾一啲線索囉,揾一啲資料囉 | [主要] 方向就係因爲當時7.21之前係有一個叫做遊行仔咁樣 [啦],係呀 | 噉啊圍繞元朗繞 [轉一週] // | 其實個主題同 // 之後7.21襲擊都好相似 | 都係白色衫呀、可能攞啲,啫,藤條咁嘅嘢囉

● 藤條 tàhng4 tíu4*2= (a length of) cane | ● 認人手續 yihng6 yàhn4 sáu2 juhk6 = (?) an identity/identification parade | ● 衝淡 chūng1 daahm6/táahm5 = ① to dilute ② to water down; to weaken; to play down | ● 線索 sin3 sok3 = a clue; a thread | ● 圍繞 wàih4 yíu2 = round; around

. . . was attacked by a group of men in white wielding cane rods [藤條] some time after 9 p.m. on 21 July 2021 after work in Fung Yau Street North. A whole year went by before the police organized [two] identity parades, but on both occasions Mr So didn’t recognize any [of the participants].

Mr So: Why did a whole year go by [隔咗一年] before I was contacted about identifying suspects [認人]? A whole year! Any memories I had had begun to fade; it was unlikely that I’d recognize anyone. Off my own bat [我自己] I once tried to search for a few clues, a bit of material [UNCLEAR] the direction [of the search being] a mini-demonstration [遊行仔] that did a circuit of Yuen Long before [the] 21 July [Yuen Long Attacks]. The theme (?) of the demonstration was similar to that of the later 21 July Attacks. There were people wearing white and maybe some of them were carrying things like cane rods.

【3:00】根據鳳攸北街商戶提供嘅閉路電視片段 | 7.21當日下晝6點幾開始 | 有白衣人聚集同派口罩 | 直至8點幾,更開始有大批白衣人聚集 | 其中一支閉路電視影到 | 三分鐘内有大約二百名白衣人行過 | 差唔多8點嗰陣,仲有一個小型遊行 | 佢哋二、三十人住「保衛元朗 | 保衛家園」嘅標語同區旗遊行

蘇先生:發現咗另一個建制派人士呢 | 叫李璧而 [啦],係一個叫做「珍惜群組」嘅召集人 [啦]

旁白:蘇先生話,自己喺連登討論區 | 出貼討論呢個索,點知有網民留言 | 話有條片聽到李璧而

Gladys Hou 香港突發事故報料區

十萬火急!!!大家麻煩將消息傳出去,元朗雞地有大量黑社會全部白衫,佢哋會係(喺)雞地近西鐵站一帶伏擊遊行完返泥(嚟)嘅示威者,係真係會圍打!呢個消息係100%確定,麻煩大家廣傳叫住元朗嘅手足小心,遠離個(嗰)邊一帶!

Gladys Hou Zone for the Reporting [報料] of Unexpected Incidents in Hong Kong (Screenshot from the LIHKG website)

I’m terribly worried!!! Could I please trouble you all to pass on this news: in Kai Tei in Yuen Long, there are large numbers of triad members wearing white, near the Western Rail Station, waiting to ambush protestors returning from demonstrations. They really could beat people up! This news is 100% definite. I ask you to spread [the news] widely, and tell fellow protestors [手足] to be careful and steer well clear of the area.

● 標語 bīu1 yúh5 = slogan; poster + here perhaps “a placard; a sign” (usu.  標語牌) | ● 連登討論區 Lihn4 Dāng1 tóu2 lèuhn4 kēui1 = LIHKG discussion area; meeting area | ● 嗌咪 = cf. 嗌 aai3 = to shout; to yell + 咪 māi1 = microphone (cf. 咪高峰 māi1 gōu1 fūng1)

Notes: LIHKG is a multi-category forum website based in Hong Kong. The website has gained popularity since its launch in 2016, and is often referred to as the Hong Kong version of Reddit (Wikipedia).  雞地gāi1 deih6 or Kai Tei (meaning “chicken land”) in English is located is a place in the south-east part of Yuen Long. The name derives from the fact that there was once a poultry market there that sold chickens and ducks.

Voice-over: On the basis of [根據] CCTV footage provided by traders in Fung Yau Street North, on the day of the 21 July [Yuen Long Attacks], from around 6 p.m., men dressed in white began to assemble and hand out face masks. This went on till around 8 p.m., when large numbers of men dressed in white joined those already assembled. One of the CCTV cameras recorded [影到] the approach of around 200 men dressed in white in the space of 3 minutes [三分鐘内]. At around 8 p.m., there was also a small-scale demonstration, of around 20 to 30 people. They held up placards on which was written “Defend Yuen Long, Defend Our Homeland” and Hong Kong flags as they marched.

Mr So: I came across another pro-Beijing figure by the name of Sandy Li Pik Yee. She’s the convenor of something called the Cherish Group [珍惜群組].

Voice-over: Mr So said that he posted something about this clue on a discussion forum on LIHKG. To his surprise, a netizen said that there was a video of Sandy Lee shouting [slogans] into a microphone.

【4:00】李璧而:(字幕)元朗保衛軍、志願軍

旁白:而畫面見到呢一個男人 | 身上帶住「守護香港」嘅糾察牌 | 閉路電視亦見到呢個男人 | 曾經同一大班白衣人一齊出入

蘇先生:(字幕)這個人跟另一張相片中在九樓内 | 手持藤條影相的男子非常相似 | 「守護香港」糾察牌 | 我一看便記得之前一個「守護香港」集會 | 一班親政府人士在添馬公園舉辦集會 | 這些容易令人聯想,像所有東西都有關連(粵語)呢個人我原來同另一張相喺個酒樓度 | 唔知攞住藤條影相個係好似 | 「守護香港」個糾察牌 | ,我睇 . . . 記得就喺早排一個叫做「守護香港」嘅集會 [嘛] | 係一班,啫,親政府人士啦,舉行嘅集會,喺添馬公園 | 啫 // 呢啲 [咪] // 容易令人聯想到呢,[或者] 原來,啫,好似所有嘢都有關係嘅

旁白:喺7月20號守護香港大聯盟 | 攪嘅撐警集會上,石鏡泉咁講:| 屋企有藤條呀?(有 !). . .

● 糾察 gáu2 chaat3 = to maintain order at a public gathering | ● 早排 jóu2 pàaih4/páai4*2 = a while ago; a few days ago | ● 親政府人士 chān1 jing3 fú2 yàhn4 sih6 = pro-government people cf. 親 = in favour of; pro- | ● 聯想 lyùhn4 séung2 = to associate; to connect in the mind

Sandy Li Pik Yee: (Subtitles) Yuen Long’s Army of Defence, [its] Volunteer Army

Voice-over: In one moment in the footage [畫面], a man is visible wearing [身上帶住] a Safeguard Hong Kong marshall’s tag [糾察牌]. In the CCTV footage, this man was also seen coming and going with a large group of men in white.

Mr So: This man resembles a man in another photograph [taken in a] restaurant. I’m not sure [唔知] if he is the same man, the one holding a cane rod. [As for] the Safeguard Hong Kong marshall’s tag, I think [我睇] I remember a while ago there being a rally for Safeguard Hong Kong, a bunch of people who are in favour of the government, and they held this gathering in Tamar Park. These [UNCLEAR] can easily be linked up in one’s mind — it seems as if all these things are somehow connected.

Voice-over: Safeguard Hong Kong held a rally in support of police on 20 July. At this rally, Arthur Shek Kang Chuen made the following comments: “Do you have a cane rod at home? (Crowd: Yes!)

【5:00】(字幕)屋企有藤條呀?(有)| 找藤條出來!找長一點來打仔!| 屋企沒有藤條如何呀?| 我們去五金鋪,買直徑 20 毫米的水喉通 | 我們要來做什麽?教仔(粵語)石鏡泉:. . . 攞 [條] 出!揾長 // 打仔! | 屋企冇藤條點呀?| 我都去 // 間五金鋪,買條 20mm 嘅水喉通 | 我哋要 // ?[啫],教仔

旁白:石鏡泉之後撤回言論同致歉 | 表示不贊成任何暴力 | 並且事前對7.21 襲擊毫不知情 | 守護香港大聯盟回覆我哋話 | 喺7.21冇舉行任何活動 | 又話,「守護香港」字樣喺2019年嘅時候 | 「黑暴分子」都有使用 | 叫我哋問「黑暴分子」點解要策動當晚嘅暴亂

李璧而:(字幕)這牌我也有 | 在添馬公園做保安,是大型活動 (粵語)呢個牌我都有 [啦] |  呢 // 保安,// 喺添馬公園做個大型嘅活動吖嘛 | 噉呢,就係,呃 . . .

● 五金鋪 ngh5 gām1 póu3*2 = hardware store | ● 水喉通 séui2 hàuh4 tūng1 = usu. a length of metal water piping | ● 撤回 chit3 wùih4 = to retract | ● 致歉 ji3 hip3 = to apologize; to express regret | ● 毫不知情 hòuh4 bāt1 jī1 chìhng4 = completely unaware of (the facts of a case or the details of an incident) | ● 字樣 jih6 yéung6*2 = printed or written words | ● 策動 chaak3 duhng6 = to instigate; to engineer; to stir up | ● 暴亂bouh6 lyuhn6 = a riot; a rebellion; a revolt

Arthur Shek: Take out [your] cane rods, a nice long one, and beat the brats! Don’t happen to have a cane rod lying around at home? Then we’ll head off down to the hardware store and buy a length of 20mm water piping [水喉通]. What for? We want to teach those brats a lesson.

Voice-over: Arthur Shek later retracted his remarks and issued an apology, expressing [the view] that he did not condone violence of any kind, and saying that he had no prior knowledge of the 21 July Attacks. Safeguard Hong Kong responded to our questions, saying that they did not organize any activities on the day of the attacks, adding that the words “safeguard Hong Kong” were also used by “black violent elements” [黑暴分子] in 2019. They told us to go and ask those “black violent elements” why they instigated that evening’s riot [暴亂].

Sandy Li Pik Yee: I’ve got one of those tags. I worked as a marshall at the big event held at Tamar Park which was organized by . . .

【6:00】. . . (字幕)是何律師(何君堯)舉辦的 | (記者:是守護香港大聯盟舉辦的)| 是守護香港大聯盟 . . . 記錯了 | 這牌 . . . 我也有份做糾察 (粵語)何律師攪嘅嘛,噉 [因為] . . . |(記者:// 香港大聯盟攪嘅) | 啊,啊,守護香港大聯盟,係,[記錯咗, 記錯] | (係,係)| 咁樣呢,就,呃,呢個牌,我都有一份糾察 [喇]

旁白:我哋訪問到7.21白衣人襲擊前 | 喺行帶頭嘅李璧而 | 話,當日遊行係元朗一班街坊自發攪 | 同守護香港大聯盟 | 或者其他建制組織都冇關係

李璧而:(字母)這些糾察牌與當日無關,沒必要掛上 | 我不知道爲何他會掛上,我不知道 | 大家是鄰里,不能排除他 | 一起來幫忙控制秩序,不奇怪 | 7.21那晚我們一班人約在這裏 | 在這裏張貼橫額,物資放這裏 | 我看見他們預備了藤條(粵語)呢牌唔關 [嗰件事,我想話] (記者:哦)亦都冇必要掛喺度 | 噉我唔知點解佢會掛喺度呢,我唔知 [喇] // | 大家鄰里呢,當日嚟講唔係 // 佢就 | // 幫手控制個秩序,都唔奇嘅 | 7.21嗰晚呢,// 我哋呢,都成班呢,就約咗喺呢一度 | ,我哋呢,就貼橫額,喺度貼。嗱,啲物資呢,就擺 [到] 呢度嘅 | 噉 // 佢哋 // 見到佢哋呢,就係,呃,呃,預備咗啲藤條,我見到 . . .

● 自發 jih6 faa3 = spontaneous | ● 橫額 wàahng4 ngáak6*2 = horizontal hanging placard; banner; streamer | ● 鄰里 lèuhn4 léih5 = neighbour | ● 物資 maht6 jī1 = (?) goods

Sandy Li Pik Yee : . . . [Junius] Ho [Kwan-yiu], the lawyer organized. (Reporter: That event was organized by Safeguard Hong Kong.) Oh yes, Safeguard Hong Kong. My memory is playing tricks on me. Now as for this tag . . . I’ve also worked as a marshall.

Voice-over: We spoke with Sandy Li who marched at the head of the protest before the 21 July Attacks by the men in white. She said that the march held on that day was a spontaneous event organized by a residents’ group in Yuen Long and that it had no connection whatsoever with Safeguard Hong Kong or any other pro-Beijing organization.

Sandy Li Pik Yee : This tag has nothing to do with the march. There was no need to wear it here. I don’t know why he was wearing it. We are all local people. Perhaps he was helping out with the crowd control [控制秩序] — there’s nothing odd about that. On the night of 21 July, the whole lot of us gathered here, put up banners. We put them up here. Various other bits and pieces [物資] were put here. As for those [men], I saw them coming prepared with cane rods, and when I saw them . . .

【7:00】(字幕) . . . 我問,為甚麽會預備藤條?| (他們指)示威者有槌子之類的武器 | 他們被迫守衛家園 | 你們卻說他們是黑社會 | (示威者)不入元朗有怎會有此事?| 今次希望大家要明白 | 其實看看網上之前的資料 | 「得元朗得天下」. . . 嘩,真的嚇死人(粵語)我 // 點解你預備藤條嘅 | // 對方呢,話,呃,呃,嗰啲,嗰啲武器有鎚仔、有 // 吖嘛 | 佢哋被迫守衛家園 | 而你哋話佢哋,呃,咩?,呃,黑社會 | 你唔入嚟 [點] 會有嘅事呀? 係咪先?| 所以呢,今次我 [哋]希望大家要明白到呢 | 呃,其實睇翻網上呢,以前嘅網上嘅資料 | 「得元朗得天下」,嘩,真係呀嚇死人呀,真係

旁白:李璧而話,7.21前夕 | 網上流傳「得元朗得天下」嘅圖 | 佢哋知道有人要入元朗「光復」| 所以先至集合出嚟守衛元朗

李璧而:(字幕)之前(有圖)刻意放大這些字 | 令到我們都很擔心 | 因爲這張海報,他們這樣鼓吹 | 整條街都站滿白衣人 (粵語)[佢] 之前呢,[就] 刻意呢,就放大呢啲字呀 | 噉呢 // [講真呢],我都好擔心呀 | 因爲 [嗰] poster 啦,同埋佢哋咁樣吹法啦 | 呢度成條街全部白雪雪

● 預備 yuh6 beih6 = to prepare; to get ready | ● 鎚仔 chèuih4 jái2 = roughly, a little hammer | ● 係咪先 haih6 maih6 sin1 = don’t you agree with me? | ● 前夕 chìhn4 jihk6 = eve | ● 流傳 làuh4 chyùhn4 = to spread; to circulate | ● 光復 gwōng1 fuhk6 = to recover; to liberate (lost territory)

Sandy Li Pik Yee: I asked them, why have you come prepared with cane rods? They replied [that the protestors had] weapons [such as domestic hammers [UNCLEAR]. They were forced to protect their homeplace. You people, on the other hand, say they are — what was it, again? — triad gangsters. How could anything [like that] had happened if you hadn’t come [to Yuen Long], right? And so for this reason, this time I hope everyone will be clear about this. Actually, if [you] go back and look at the internet, at material on the web from before, [you’ll see an image saying] “Capture Yuen Long and You’ll Gain the Whole Empire”. This really gave [us] a terrible scare, really.

Voice-over: Sandy Li said that on the eve of 21 July, an image circulated over the net [bearing the words] “Capture Yuen Long and You’ll Gain the Whole Empire”. It was only after they learned that people wanted to come to Yuen Long to “liberate” it that they banded together to safeguard Yuen Long.

Sandy Li Pik Yee: Before, they deliberately enlarged these words. To tell you the truth I was really worried. Because of that poster, and the way they were talking things up [吹法], the streets here were just a whole mass of white [成條街全部白雪雪].

To be continued . . .

Tailor’s Apprentice (After a Photograph by Paul Strand)

Paul Strand: Tailor’s Apprentice, Luzzara, Italy, 1953

Dressed in black, jet buttons staring darkly at the lens,
the tailor’s apprentice practises a superb adult look in her face —
its sheet complexion absolute
with all that is opposite to shadow,
but it is the straw broad hat she clasps in hidden hands
that rounds up best a strong sense of “human”
against lush, phantasmal beauty;
against cold cruelty;
against all that Winter hard at work beneath our tranquil skins.