Belief in the Power of Books: The Totally Unmythological Mythology Books by Charis Hung

This essay by Hong Kong writer 洪麗芳 Charis Hung Lai-fong celebrates a wonderful and forward-thinking independent bookshop run by Stephanie Chung in Sai Kung. It is called 神話書店 in Chinese, or Mythology Books, but its official English name is Dionysus Books. You can find it at G/F, 17 Sai Kung Tai Street [西貢大街17號地下]. You can visit their Instagram site here.

This essay as first published in the fourteenth issue of Cantonese-language magazine, 《迴響》 Resonate, in August 2021. You can visit their website here, and their Facebook page here for more information about writing in Cantonese.

You can find more writing by Charis Hung on Medium.


When I’d made the long-drawn out journey (this is no joke — I live in the remote north-western New Territories and the round trip takes me more than four hours) to Mythology Books in Sai Kung, I found myself standing in front of a rather unobtrusive door-way no bigger than a large window-frame which I could have easily missed and walked on past. I was momentarily assailed by a feeling of uneasiness: don’t tell I was going to leave here with nothing but disappointment? After I’d plucked up the courage to slide open the door, the Chinese expression 別有洞天 (bit yau dung tin, meaning “a hidden but beautiful spot”) written in large characters flashed through my mind. As it turned out, it was actually really roomy inside, and the décor was very stylish. The store taught me two things: that you cannot judge a book by its cover and that you can’t appraise a bookstore from its external appearance!

A “Mythology” Suited to Hong Kong

According to Stephanie, the owner of the store, it was the English name for her shop — Dionysus Books — that she thought of first (Dionysus is the God of Wine in Greek mythology). It was only later that she decided on the Chinese name San Wa (san wa means “mythology” in Cantonese). When, out of curiosity, I asked her if she was a keen on mythology, she told me that she felt that the God of Wine was very applicable to Hong Kong in its current state. This God of Wine was of mixed parentage — half human, half divine — which made it a spirit at the same time both orthodox and sacrilegious. Sometime, he would bring happiness to humanity, while at other times, misery. Nevertheless, under the influence of the God of Wine, people could break free from reality and enter a frenzied realm in which they could finally overcome their fears. On the subject of myths, Stephanie believes that they are a timely reminder: “Owing to the advances in science and technology, we tend to forget that we can’t necessarily explain everything. But does that mean that something is non-existent, just because it lies beyond our understanding? My sense is that science and technology have reached the point where they have become overly dominant.” It is for this reason that Mythology Books has opted not to have a Facebook page. Instead, it uses MeWe in order to resist a state of affairs in which one person alone has all the say. Myths can remind us of just how insignificant we are, and so make us humbler. Stephanie also mentioned another aspect of myths: they can be exploited by governments as tools for the building of nationalisms, taking historical myths and turning them into elements to justify their rule over the people as well as the establishment of collective values. “It’s just like a certain country we know, always going on about how many thousands of years of history it has . . .” It is Stephanie’s hope that the existence of Mythology Books will serve both as encouragement and as an awakening.


From Hong Kong Girl to Bookstore Boss

Stephanie does not have a background in the cultural circles. Nor does she have any connection with the publishing industry. Before she opened her bookstore, she had never previously had anything to do with this line of work. So why did she finally decide to go down the path of the book trade? It was all because of her deep sense of the power of books. At a leisurely pace, she began telling me her own story. “Ever since I was a little girl, I have always loved to read, but when it came to choosing which subjects to study at high school, I abandoned what I was interested in and choose Business out of practical considerations. During my time at university, I devoted even less time general reading. After graduation, I worked 9 to 5 for several years at a desk job, but felt very unhappy the whole time. There was such a lot of pressure. As a result, when it came to holidays, I would go on a spending-spree as a way of getting my own back, dressing up and buying things by the truckload — your typical Hong Kong girl. One day, I suddenly had this urge to start reading again, and so began re-reading a book I had once enjoyed so much, Dream of the Red Chamber. I realized that Jia Baoyu’s not wanting to sit the exams for the sake of wealth and glory was a rebellion against the establishment, and so I really got a lot out of the story. I read one book after another, and every day when I went to work all I really wanted to do was get back to my reading. Finally, I made up my mind to quit my job and have a go at doing something I really wanted to do.” After undergoing the “baptism” of 2019, Stephanie saw with even greater clarity just how important books can be. In her view, books can help people to think, containing an unlimited number of solutions and so can provide us with outlooks as well as guidance.

“When we read a history book, we can remove ourselves a little bit, and not get so completely wrapped up in what happens to be going on at that particular moment. Our moods are no longer so grey and disheartened, and our horizons can broaden out.” Having been thus enlightened by books, Stephanie finally became the boss of a bookstore in 2021, a store which offers — based on the above-mentioned reasons — mainly books in the areas of history, literature and the social sciences.


When, out of curiosity, I asked her if she was a keen on mythology, she told me that she felt that the God of Wine was very applicable to Hong Kong in its current state. This God of Wine was of mixed parentage — half human, half divine — which made it a spirit at the same time both orthodox and sacrilegious. Sometime, he would bring happiness to humanity, while at other times, misery. Nevertheless, under the influence of the God of Wine, people could break free from reality and enter a frenzied realm in which they could finally overcome their fears.


A Bookstore Imbued to the Full with Environmental Thinking

The book-shelves and décor items found in Mythology Books are things that they have brought from home or that other people have given to them, making it quite unconventional in comparison to many other places where the furnishings are all brand-new. Stephanie told me that she once helped a Sai Kung district councillor run for election and so got to know many friends who shared her views and aspirations. In addition, when she opened the shop, quite a number of local people in the neighbourhood came and gave her a hand. The clock and the sewing machine (it now serves as a reading desk) in the corner to the right of the main entrance are over a hundred years old. And before it became a bookshop, this was a general store run by the grandmother of Stephanie’s husband on his father’s side. The store’s old sign-board still hangs on the wall — 金利源 Kam Lee Yuen (meaning “Source of Fortune and Advantage”) — giving a real sense of carrying on a family tradition. A certain amount of seating has been set aside in the shop for readers to take a rest and browse, making it extremely cosy. Stephanie comments that things don’t have to be new for them to be good, it being so very easy to find second-hand furniture in Hong Kong. Looking after the environment is actually not as hard as you might imagine it to be.



The Diversity of Independent Bookstores

Stephanie shared with me something of her experiences involving making the bookstore available to various local organizations as a venue for events every now and then. It is her hope that — given its lack of available venues — Mythology Books can provide a space in which people with similar values can come together and coalesce. Such people may also have links with other small business operating in Sai Kung, so they can give one another mutual support, possibly leading to further co-operation. Laughing, Stephanie said to me: “Actually, before 2019, we weren’t at all like this. For many Sai Kung people back then, Sai Kung was just the place where you slept, and we were not really very interested about what was going on in the district. From Monday to Friday, we would all go off to work, while on our days off we would either head out very early in the morning and return late at night, or we would spend the whole time tucked up at home just to avoid all the visitors from elsewhere. But nowadays, people have really integrated into their district and, almost without realizing it, now have another very close connection in their lives.” This is probably true for many people in Hong Kong. It is hoped that in future, bookstores will go on organizing reading groups and, if this remains possible, they could also arrange film screenings or invite writers to come and give a talk, with bookshops functioning as a collective space. As Stephanie mentioned, one advantage independent bookstores have over traditional ones is that their operations can be more diverse, not just selling books but also engaging in a range of other activities, bringing out more — and more precious — voices and creating different kinds of influences.


The Book Trade Will Not Decline

Stephanie remarked that when she first decided to open a bookstore, a lot of people weren’t too keen on the idea — only her husband supported her. She herself, however, was quite optimistic: “I wasn’t too worried. I always thought that as the situation grew worse in Hong Kong, more people would want to read. It really is the case that more young people are going to bookshops, hoping to find answers in a book.” Stephanie went on to add that, although there is plenty of information on the internet, it tends to be too fragmentary, giving books a reason to exist, a reason now even more important than ever. I asked her about whether she had any concerns regarding a political investigation (as I was writing this piece, the police had just arrested five people from the General Union of Hong Kong Speech Therapists for publishing the “Sheep Village” series of illustrated children’s books). Stephanie replied that she couldn’t think that far ahead, and that the books in her shop would remain on the shelves — they hadn’t been banned, so why would there be any problem? “I don’t want to carry out my own self-investigation,” she said, and throughout our conversation you could sense her passionate conviction, not the fiery kind but a sort of ardour that still believes that it is possible to change some things in the world. At the same time — just like many other bookstore owners I have interviewed in the past — Stephanie believes that working in the book trade is something permeated with love rather than competitiveness. “We all give publicity to one another, and we all help each other out. Quite a number of bookstore owners were willing to give me a lot of practical advice — me, a complete beginner. Even the distributors were more than willing to spend time with me, answering my questions.”

Learning Cantonese: 許寶強 Hui Po-keung on Educating the Bullies


許寶強 Hui Po-keung, a professor at Lingnan University, was arrested earlier this month on the charge of “collusion with foreign forces”, a nebulous accusation the Chinese Communist Party regularly uses to bully anyone with the courage to act as a human being and not a tool. Actually, he was part of group that ran “612 Humanitarian Relief Fund”, a fund that helped arrested protesters pay for their legal and medical bills.

In this video from 2013, he addresses a different kind of bullying, this time associated with 恐同 or homophobia, and talks briefly about “emotional education” as a way of tackling the predicament. Generously, he suggests:

佢哋嘅焦慮同恐懼好多時係同我哋呢個社會係仲未完美有關嘅
That is, that the fears and anxieties at the root of bullying behaviour can be put down to the fact that society is still not perfect.

There are no great grammatical conundrums in Hui’s presentation, but watch out for the various structures he makes use of, including 或多或少 = to a greater or lesser extent and 唔單止 = not only. At 2:18 he employs 之所以, which means something like “the reason why”. And so 你哋之所以受排斥或者係欺凌 becomes in English “the reason why you are excluded or bullied”.

He also makes use of 到dóu3*2, a verb particle used to indicate “accomplishment or successful completion of an action” (Matthews & Yip: Cantonese, Chapter 11). So, at 0:51, you’ll hear 直接處理到 = “directly tackle” (with the implication of success in the endeavour), followed soon after by 放低到呢一種恐懼同埋焦慮嘅情緒, which means something like “to let go of this mood of fear and anxiety”.

Finally, at 2:46, you’ll hear 使到, an unusual (perhaps more literary) way of expression causation.

You can also add to your vocabulary with the following items: 女性主義者 néuih5 sing3 jyú2 yih6 jé2 = a feminist; 粗魯 chōu1 lóuh5 = rough; rude; boorish; 變體 bian3 taai3 = abnormal; anomalous; 受害者 sauh6 hoih6 jé2 = a victim; 欺凌 hēi1 lìhng4 = to bully & humiliate; and 改善 gói2 sihn6 = to improve; to ameliorate.

Please scroll down for my transcription, English translation and notes. You can view the video here (subtitles in both Standard Written Chinese and English). 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: 許寶強 | 大學教授

西蒙波娃等等嘅女性主義者 | 或者係佛洛依德,呃,呢一種嘅重要嘅心理學家嘅研究呢 | 佢哋會覺得同性戀嘅傾向呢,或多或少每個人都有一啲嘅 | 啫,一個男生可能會,呃,當然有時會好粗魯或者係好大意 [呢] | 但係同時亦都冇得排(除)佢有啲時候可能好細心、好溫柔嘅 | 噉因此佢唔係一個變體嘅現象,甚至可能係一個常態

Caption: 同性戀是常態

如果要,啫,有效處理呢個問題呢 | 我哋可能同時要,呃,引入一種,呃,情感嘅教育 [啦] | 有效嘅情感嘅教育 | 呢種情感教育呢,應該會,呃,能夠,呃,直接處理到 | 甚至呢,可以,呃,幫助我哋嘅教師或者學生喺學校裏邊呢,係放低到呢一種恐懼同埋焦慮嘅情緒

● 女性主義者 néuih5 sing3 jyú2 yih6 jé2 = a feminist | ● 傾向 kīng1 heung3 = a tendency; an inclination; a deviation | ● 粗魯 chōu1 lóuh5 = rough; rude; boorish | ● 大意 daaih6 yi3 = careless; negligent; inattentive | ● 細心 sai3 sām1 = careful; attentive | ● 溫柔 wān1 yàuh4 = gentle & soft | ● 變體 bin3 taai3 = abnormal; anomalous | ● 常態 sèuhng4 taai3 = normality; normal behaviour or conditions | ● 引入 yáhn5 yahp6 = ① to lead into; to draw into ② to introduce from elsewhere | ● 教師 gaau3 sī1 = a teacher | ● 恐懼 húng2 geuih6 = ① frightened ② fear; dread

Caption: Hui Po-keung | University Professor

Both feminists such as Simone de Beauvoir and Sigmund Freud — that important psychological researcher — were of the opinion that the inclination towards homosexuality was something that everyone had, to a greater or lesser extent. A man might well be . . . of course, sometimes he would be very rough or very careless, but at the same time you couldn’t rule out [排] that sometimes he could be very attentive, gentle, tender. For this reason, then it is not an abnormal phenomenon. It could even be [our] normal state.

Caption: Homosexuality is Normal

If we want to handle this issue effectively, we will at the same time have to bring in a kind of emotional education. An effective emotional education — this kind of education of the emotions, should be able to handle [this issue] directly. It might even be able to help students and teachers in schools to let go of [放低] their fears and anxieties.

【1:00】其實受害者唔單止係被欺凌嘅同學呢 | 同時係欺凌者或者係,呃,呢一種,呃,排斥者呢,本身其實都係呢一種恐懼文化或者恐懼情緒嘅受害者 [嚟㗎]

Caption: 以情感教育欺凌與被欺凌雙方

譬如一百年前魯迅先生都曾經講過 | 當佢,呃,針對回應呢個,呃,守節呢一種所謂中國傳統嘅習俗嘅時候呢 | 佢有咁嘅願望呢 | 佢就覺得呢一種守節呢,其實只不過會令人哋產生各種冇意義一啲嘅痛苦啦 | 亦都產生一啲各種嘅暴力或者係,呃,昏迷嘅 | 噉,呃,一百年之後呢,我哋喺今日嘅香港狀況裏邊呢 | 係咪都應該反思吓我哋對呢個恐同現象係咪都係一種造成痛苦嘅一啲,呃,情緒呢?| 如果係嘅話,我哋需要點樣去,呃,正面處理或者係解決呢?

● 受害者 sauh6 hoih6 jé2 = a victim | ● 欺凌 hēi1 lìhng4 = to bully & humiliate | ● 守節 sáu2 jit3 = (of a woman under feudalism) to preserve chastity after the death of her husband | ● 習俗 jaahp6 juhk6 = a custom; a convention | ● 昏迷 fān1 màih4 = a stupor; a coma | ● 反思 fáan2 sī1 = ① to recollect; to think back; to rethink profoundly ② self-examination; introspection; profound consideration

Actually, the victims [of homophobia] are not only the students who are bullied. At the same time, bullies and those who exclude others [排斥者] are themselves victims of this culture of terror or this terrified mood.

Caption: Education Both Bullies & the Bullied with Emotion

For instance, a hundred years ago when [the writer] Mr Lu Xun talked about his wish to respond to [feudal ideas about] chastity for widows — a traditional custom in China. He felt that this chastity for widows actually caused nothing but pointless suffering, as well as both violence and stupor. A hundred years on, with Hong Kong in the state that it is today, shouldn’t we be seriously thinking about [反思] whether [the way we view] homophobia is a mood [情緒] that produces suffering? If this indeed is the case, how should we positively go about handling and solving it?

【2:00】噉呢個係我而家關心一啲議題

Caption: 反恐同 | 思教育 | 反思

I AM ME 我係許寳強 | 我想同曾受或者係正受校園欺凌或者係排斥嘅同學講 | 你哋之所以受,呃,排斥或者係欺凌其實唔係由於你自身嘅問題,或者你自己唔好 | [更多可能]係反映排斥或者欺凌者佢哋嘅焦慮或者係恐懼 | 而佢哋嘅焦慮同恐懼好多時係同我哋呢個社會係仲未完美有關嘅 | 噉因此無論你係同志或者係非同志嘅朋友 | 我哋應該一齊去改善呢個社會狀況 | 使到欺凌同排斥唔再喺校園存在

● 曾受 chàhng4 sauh6 = roughly, “ever received/undergone” (Note: 曾 indicates “something ever having happened in the indefinite past” cf. 未 meih6 “something NEVER/NOT YET having happened in the indefinite past” | ● 正受 jing3 sauh6 = roughly, “currently in the process of receiving/undergoing” | ● 自身 jih6 sān1 = self; oneself | ● 改善 gói2 sihn6 = to improve; to ameliorate

These are the topics I am currently concerned about.

Caption: Oppose [反] Homophobia | Think [思] about Education | Rethink Profoundly [反思]

I AM ME I am Hui Po-keung. To any student who has been the subject — or is currently the subject — bullying or exclusion at school — I would like to say: the reason why you are being excluded or bullied is actually not because of anything to do with you personally [唔係由於你自身嘅問題] or because you are not any good. It more probably reflects the anxieties and fears of those doing the excluding or bullying. And most of the time, their anxieties and fears are connected to this society of ours still not being perfect. For this reason, regardless of whether you are gay or not, we should all work together to improve conditions in this society, so that bullying and exclusion in schools is stopped [唔再 … 存在].

Lungs Full of the Hard Smoke of Hong Kong

西貢蠔涌車公古廟

A storm-warning here gives weather
sudden celebrity: like the old days
the elements become something to reckon with
once more, briefly. Concrete covers most of the earth,
and half the indoor plants are forged
from plastic. Beneath umbrellas,
beneath artful perspex walkways,
beneath a film that shrink-wraps each thought,
we manage mostly to avoid all touch
of the rain, but can’t quite help breathing it into
deserted cells.

One-minute Wonderful Short Cantonese Videos: Kasen Tsui’s Hong Kong

Sometimes, you have to lose yourself to find yourself. In this one-minute wonder, 徐嘉蒓 Kasen Tsui tells her story of being a child of Hong Kong, profoundly shaped by the city and yet in danger of becoming engulfed by all its darkness, a darkness she experienced at close range in her work as a journalist. And yet, through creativity — an activity that involves a sifting through of all that contradictory influence Hong Kong subjects you to — she has managed to find a way through, finding not only a path for herself but a source of positive energy and cautious optimism, something she shares with us here, in the hope that, through adversity, we can all become “real flesh and blood people”.

For more on Kasen Tsui in Chinese, you can visit her Facebook page here. You can also see her images on Instagram here.


Caption: 徐嘉蒓

我之所以係我 | 係因為呢個城市 . . .

Caption: 城市

. . . 賦予我出生、成長、學習 | 我嘅生命軌跡 | 同呢個城市密不可分 | 感受呢個空間

Caption: 空間

帶俾我嘅一切好與壞 | 可愛之處、可憎之處 | 梳理、沉澱、回饋 | 佢會令你成爲更圓滿嘅人 | 有血有肉嘅人 | 我曾經係一個記者 | 書寫過呢個城市好多故事 | 但亦因此而痛苦 | 因為我失去咗自己

Caption: 痛苦

劇場係一個出口 | 我可以自由自在咁做自己 | 不論對錯 | 真誠咁做自己

Caption: 自由

自由自在咁創造 | 用身體同文字創作 | 立足每一個當下 | 我係徐嘉蒓 | 一個正喺表演創作路上探尋嘅人

Caption: 尋道 | 探尋

● 賦予 fu3 yúh5 = bestow on; endow with; vest with | ● 軌跡 gwái2 jīk1 = ① locus ② orbit ③ course ④ trajectory| ● 密不可分 maht6 bāt1 hó2 fān1 = (?) cannot be separated from; inseparable | ● 感受 gám2 sauh6 = ① to be affected by ② to experience; to feel | ● 可憎 hó2 jāng1 = roughly, “hateful” | ● 梳理 sō1 léih5 = to organize (perhaps here “to sort through”) | ● 回饋 wùih4 gwaih6 = ① to repay ② feedback | ● 圓滿 yùhn4 múhn5 = usu. satisfactory; perhaps here “fulfilled” | ● 有血有肉 yáuh5 hyut3 yáuh5 yuhk6 = usu. lifelike; vivid? | ● 書寫 syū1 sé2 = to write | ● 劇場 kehk6 chèuhng4 = theatre | ● 自由自在 jih6 yàuh4 jih6 joih6 = leisurely & carefree; free & unrestrained | ● 對錯 deui3 cho3 = roughly, “correct or incorrect” | ● 立足 laahp6 jūk1 = ① to have a foothold somewhere ② to base oneself upon | ● 當下 dōng1 haah6 = the present instant | ● 表演創作 bíu2 yín2 chong3 jok3 = lit. “performance creativity” | ● 探尋 taam3 chàhm4 = to search for | ● 尋道 chàhm4 douh6 = (?) to seek (a way/path)

Caption: Kasen Tsui

The reason I am who I am is because this city . . .

Caption: City

. . . bestowed on me [my] birth, growing up and learning [學習]. The [whole] trajectory of my life is inextricably bound up with this city. I have been affected by this space . . .

Caption: Space

. . . all the good and the bad it has brought me, parts that are loveable, and parts that are hateful. Sorting through, taking stock [沉澱], feeding back [回饋]. The city [佢] will make you more fulfilled as a person, a real flesh and blood person. I was once a journalist, and wrote many of the stories about this city. But for this reason I suffered [痛苦], because I lost [all sense of] myself.

Caption: Suffering

The theatre offered me a way out, allowing me to be myself, free and unrestrained, unconcerned [不論] with “correct” and “incorrect”, [and just] sincerely being who I was.

Caption: Freedom

Free and unrestrained, I create, creating with both my body and my words. I take my stand in every present instant. I am Kasen Tsui, a person searching on the path of performance creativity.

Caption: Seeking a Way | Searching

Learning Cantonese: Wan Chai in Words and Sketches


In the 1950s, when Francis Ommanney first visited Wan Chai in the 1950s, he described it as a sailors’ town:

By day, the whole place wears a drab, hangoverish look, like parts of Paris on Sunday morning. Some of the streets are lined with food stalls and washing flutters from upper windows. Children tumble all over the arcaded pavements and relieve themselves unashamedly in the gutters. But by night these same streets blossom with flowers of neon advertising innumerable bars, big and little, and the liberty boats arriving at the waterfront jetties pour forth their crowds of hungry males. (“Joes”, Fragrant Harbour: A Private View of Hong Kong)

A recent book on Wan Chai made me see Wan Chai in a different light. It was written by 柴宇瀚 Chàih4 Yúh5-hohn6, and is richly illustrated with drawings by urban sketch artist who goes under the name 彭啤 Pàahng4 Bē1, with the character 啤 — well-known for its use in Cantonese words for “beer” — possibly meant to stand in for the English animal-word “bear”. One feature of Wan Chai they emphasize is the large Japanese population that gathered there, even before the Second World War. The other highlight concerns the 街角樓 gāai1 gok3 làuh4 or “corner buildings”, sharply-angled apartment blocks designed to fit with Wan Chai’s rather labyrinthine streetscape.

There is little to trouble you by way of grammar in this video, but I’ve included a few brief notes at the end of the transcription for anyone interested. The main focus this time is vocabulary. Firstly, there is one use of the Cantonese verb 髹上 yāu1 seuhng6, meaning “to apply paint”, but used only for houses and buildings, without any artistic connotations.

The second thing is the noun 肉眼 yuhk6 ngáahn5. Literally it means “meat eye”, but it is used much like the English “naked eye”, often in the negative sense of something being invisible to the naked eye. In this story, it is applied to the subtly curved lines of one of the corner buildings. At 1:27, Chai Yu-hon declares: 從肉眼去睇,係成一條直線咁樣 | 但係其實佢係一座弧形大廈 = to “the naked eye, it [looks as if it is built] in a straight line, but actually it is a large curved building”.

Finally, there is the noun 縮影 sūk1 yíng2 = “miniature”. Chai uses it in a very characteristic way when, at 3:32, he says 雖然灣仔好細,但係灣仔正正係香港嘅縮影 = “although Wan Chai is very small, it just happens to be [the whole] of Hong Kong in miniature”. In other words, Wan Chai is a “microcosm” of Hong Kong, expressive of the whole despite its diminutive extent.

Please scroll down for my transcription, 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.


柴宇瀚:灣仔係香港十八區入面面積最細嘅地方 | 但係生活範圍就係好廣闊 | 反映咗灣仔與眾不同嘅特色

Caption: 灣仔的新舊交替:歷史與速寫下的當年今日

Caption: 柴宇瀚 | 《灣仔畫當年》作者

我係柴宇瀚 | 一直以嚟,我都好鍾意香港 | 尤其是係啲特色建築 | 喺《灣仔畫當年》入面,亦都記錄咗好多 | 灣仔特有嘅建築同埋故事 | 而我選擇灣仔嘅原因 | 最主要係因為四個字 | 「新舊交替」 | 以前跑馬地河水會沿住運河 | 流向維多利亞港 | 運河好似鵝頸咁樣 | 所以啲人就會叫佢做鵝頸澗,又稱鵝澗

● 範圍 faahn6 wàih4 = scope; limits; range | ● 與眾不同 yúh5 jung3 bāt1 tùhng4 = out of the ordinary | ● 新舊交替 sān1 gauh6 gāau1 tai3 = cf. 新舊 = the new & the old + 交替 = alternately; in turns | ● 速寫 chūk1 se2 = to sketch | ● 特有 dahk6 yáuh5 = peculiar; characteristic | ● 河水 hòh4 séui2 = a river; river water | ● 運河 wahn6 hòh4 = a canal | ● 鵝頸 ngòh4 géng2 = goose neck | ● 澗 gaan3 = a ravine; a gully

Chai Yu-hon: Of the eighteen districts of Hong Kong, Wan Chai is the smallest in terms of size. However, its range of lifestyles [生活範圍] is very broad, a reflection of Wan Chai’s unusual features.

Caption: Wan Chai’s Mingling of Old & New: Those Years Today in History & Sketches

Caption: Chai Yu-hon | Co-author of A Depiction of Wan Chai in Those Years

My name is Chai Yu-hon, and all along [一直以嚟] I have really liked Hong Kong, especially special examples of the architecture. In my book A Depiction of Wan Chai in Those Years, I have made a written record of many of the characteristic buildings and stories of Wan Chai. The reason why I chose Wan Chai is mainly because of the four characters — san gau gaau tai (“a mingling of old and new”). Formerly, the river in Happy Valley used to flow down through the canal [跑馬地河水會沿住運河] and out into Victoria Harbour. The canal was shaped like a goose’s neck, so people used to call it “Goose-neck Gully” or “Goose Gully”.

【1:00】喺1920年年代,灣仔填海 | 鵝澗就變咗暗渠喇 | 第二次世界大戰之前 | 灣仔就已經大約有一千個日本人喺呢一度 | 而景星大廈附近亦都有小東京嘅稱號 | 景星大廈嘅位置 | 曾經興建咗日本人嘅醫院,馬島醫院 | 景星大廈有趣嘅地方係 ,從肉眼去睇,係成一條直線咁樣 | 但係其實佢係一座弧形大廈 | 綠屋喺1916年建成 | 樓高四層,而家係二級歷史建築 | 以前由於個外牆係髹上咗綠色,所以會叫佢做綠屋 | 其後隨住政府嘅發展同埋保育計劃 | 綠屋先後變成咗動漫基地

● 暗渠 am3 kèuih4 = a hidden drain or sewer | ● 第二次世界大戰 daih6 yih6 chi3 sai3 gaai3 daaih6 jin3 = the Second World War | ● 東京 dūng1 gīng1 = Tokyo | ● 稱號 ching1 houh6 = a title; a name; a designation | ● 肉眼 yuhk6 ngáahn5 = the naked eye | ● 直線 jihk6 sin3 = a straight line | ● 弧形 wùh4 yìhng4 = an arc; a curve | ● 二級歷史建築 yih6 kāp1 lihk6 si2 gin3 juhk6 = Grade II Historic Building | ● 髹上 yāu1 seuhng6 = to paint; to apply paint | ● 保育 bóu2 yuhk6 = usu. “to rear” | ● 動漫基地duhng6 maahn6 gēi1 deih6 = animation & cartoon base (or perhaps “hub”)

In the 1920s, land reclamation was carried out in Wan Chai and Goose Gully became an underground drain. Before the Second World War, there were already about a thousand Japanese people [living] here, and the [area] near the King Sing Mansion [apartment building] was known as Little Tokyo. In the vicinity of the King Sing Mansion [景星大廈嘅位置], a hospital was once built for Japanese people, the Ma Tou Hospital [馬島醫院]. The interesting thing about the King Sing Mansion is that, to the naked eye, it [looks as if it is built] in a straight line, but actually it is a large curved building [一座弧形大廈]. The Green House [綠屋] was completed in 1916 and is four stories high. These days, it is [classified as] a Grade II Historic Building. Back when it was first built [以前], it was called the Green House because its exterior walls were painted green. It was only later that the Green House was turned into [變成] an animation & cartoon base, in accordance with [隨住] the government’s development and heritage protection [保育] plans . . .

【2:00】同埋而家嘅茂蘿街7號 | 灣仔有唔少嘅街角樓 | 部份係圓角設計 | 部份係銳角設計 | 厘啲嘅實際係香港1950年代嘅主要建築特色 | 灣仔大樓係一座九十度轉角嘅大廈 | 喺1959年落成 | 我啲企喺遠處嗰度厘度睇 | 就可以睇到九十度轉角嘅設計喇

彭啤: 速寫嘅重點在於勾勒景物嘅特徵 | 等觀眾可以一眼認出你畫 [嘅究竟邊一度] | 我係彭啤,係一位城市速寫畫家

Caption: 彭啤 | 城市速寫畫家 | 《灣仔畫當年》作者

喺《灣仔畫當年》入便,大大小小嘅畫作都係出自我嘅手筆

● 茂蘿街 mauh6 lòh4 gāai1 = Mallory Street | ● 街角樓 gāai1 gok3 làuh4 = corner house | ● 圓角 yùhn4 gok3 = (?) a rounded angle | ● 銳角 yeuih6 gok3 = an acute angle | ● 轉角 jyun3 gok3 = a corner | ● 落成 lohk6 sìhng4 = to be completed (usu. of a building) | ● 重點 juhng6 dím2 = ① emphasis ② with the focus on | ● 勾勒 ngāu1 la[a]hk6 = to sketch; to outline | ● 特徵 dahk6 jīng1 = a characteristic | ● 手筆 sáu2 bāt1 = ① (written or drawn in one’s own) hand ② a skill

. . . and becoming what is now 7 Mallory Street. There are many corner buildings [街角樓] in Wan Chai, some with a rounded angle, some with a sharp angle. In fact, [corner buildings] were a major feature in the architecture [主要建築特色] of Hong Kong in the 1950s. The Wan Chai Building [灣仔大樓] is a large [apartment] block with a ninety-degree angle completed in 1959. [If] we look at it from a distant [vantage point], we can see the ninety-degree corner design.

Caption: Pang Be: Urban Sketch Artist | Co-author of A Depiction of Wan Chai in Those Years

Pang Be: In [the book] A Depiction of Wan Chai in Those Years, the artworks, large and small, were all done by me.

【3:00】完成每一幅畫嘅時間通常都會唔同嘅 | 就好似我畫綠屋咁樣 | 就大概用咗一個多鐘嘅時間 | 我亦會根據唔同建築嘅結構同特色 | 去決定由咩角度去記錄低佢嘅 | 例如景星大廈喺個斜坡上便 | 我畫嘅時候都係會希望突出呢一點 | 於是我揀就喺斜坡下便向上望 | 用一啲微妙嘅弧線去展現佢嘅弧型大廈嘅特徵

柴宇瀚:雖然灣仔好細,但係灣仔正正係香港嘅縮影

彭啤: 由海岸線嘅變遷、建築物嘅變化 | 華洋共處嘅生活習慣 | 喺灣仔都可以追尋到歷史嘅蛛絲馬跡 | 而呢啲嘅痕跡亦都成爲我嘅速寫靈感 | 所以我哋都希望將呢一啲嘅感受放喺書入便 | 分享俾更多人認識

● 結構 git3 kau3 = a structure | ● 斜坡 che3 bō1 = a slope | ● 突出 daht6 chēut1 = to stress; to emphasize (perhaps here “to accentuate”) | ● 微妙 mèih4 miuh6 = delicate; subtle | ● 展現 jín2 yihn6 = to display; to unfold before one’s eyes | ● 弧型 wùh4 yìhng4 = (in) the form of an arc; arc-shaped | ● 縮影 sūk1 yíng2 = miniature | ● 變遷 bin3 chīn1 = (n.) change | ● 華洋共處 wàah4 yèuhng guhng6 chyú2 = roughly, “the co-existence of Chinese and foreign” | ● 追尋 jēui1 chàhm4 = to pursue | ● 蛛絲馬跡 jyū1 sī1 máah5 jīk1 = clues | ● 痕跡 hàhn4 jīk1 = a trace | ● 感受 gám2 sauh6 = an experience

The time it takes to finish a sketch generally varies. In the case of my drawing of the Green House, it took more than an hour [to do], roughly. I decide from which angle to record [a building] on the basis of the different architectural structures and characteristics. For instance, the King Sing Mansion is [situated] on a slope. When I sketched it, it was this point that I hoped to accentuate [突出]. And so I chose [a location] at the bottom of the slope [斜坡下便] looking up [towards the building] and, with subtle curving lines, unfolded its characteristic as an arc-shaped apartment building.

Chai Yu-hon: Although Wan Chai is very small, it just happens to be [the whole] of Hong Kong in miniature.

Pang Be: From alterations to the coastline, architectural changes, and the co-existence of Chinese and foreign life-habits, historical clues can be tracked down in Wan Chai. Now, these traces serve as the inspiration for my sketches. For this reason, we hope to put these experiences into a book and to share them with more people, who can come to know of them [認識].


Grammar Notes

A. The modal (or auxiliary) verb 會 wúih5 generally indicates a high degree of likelihood. It is added verbs much in the same way as “may” and “will” are in English. In this video however, which contains a fair amount of historical detail, 會 is used to talk about what was habitually done in the past:

0:47: 以前跑馬地河水會沿住運河 = formerly, the river in Happy Valley used to flow down through the canal
0:54: 運河好似鵝頸咁樣 | 所以啲人就會叫佢做鵝頸澗,又稱鵝澗 = the canal was shaped like a goose’s neck, so people used to call it “Goose-neck Gully” or “Goose Gully”
1:48: 以前由於個外牆係髹上咗綠色,所以會叫佢做綠屋 = back when it was first built, it was called the Green House because its exterior walls were painted green

Also prominent here is the use of 會 to speak about how one normally goes about things. 彭啤 Pàahng4 Bē1 uses it three times in connection with what you might call his “artistic practice”:

3:00: 完成每一幅畫嘅時間通常都會唔同嘅 = the time it takes to finish a sketch generally varies
3:08: 我亦會根據唔同建築嘅結構同特色 | 去決定由咩角度去記錄低佢嘅 = I decide from which angle to record [a building] on the basis of the different architectural structures and characteristics
3:17: 我畫嘅時候都係會希望突出呢一點 = when I sketched it, it was this point that I hoped to accentuate (this is perhaps a slightly different use — the artist seems to want to say that he hopes to accentuate the special feature of every building he sketches, but he transfers this sense to the one particular instance of drawing the building on the slope)

B. In Cantonese, there are several ways of expressing what an English-speaker thinks of as “from”. The most common (and totally counterintuitive) way is to employ that popular general verb of location, 喺 hái2. However, there are other options to keep in mind. The first of these is 由 yàuh4. It crops up twice in the video:

3:08: 我亦會根據唔同建築嘅結構同特色 | 去決定由咩角度去記錄低佢嘅
3:37: 由海岸線嘅變遷、建築物嘅變化 | 華洋共處嘅生活習慣 | 喺灣仔都可以追尋到歷史嘅蛛絲馬跡

In the first example, 由咩角度 means “from what angle”. In the second long sentence, it actually links up with the verb 追尋 jēui1 chàhm4 (“to pursue”) to express the idea of the source certain historical clues about Wan Chai. In English, this roughly corresponds to “clues can be found from changes to the coastline, etc.”

Another option is 從 chuhng4. This tends to be literary and, as is often the case, enters the spoken language only in certain fixed expressions and more figurative usages. 柴宇瀚 Chàih4 Yúh5-hohn6 uses it with the noun 肉眼, “the naked eye”:

1:28: 從肉眼去睇,係成一條直線咁樣 = to the naked eye, it [looks as if it is built] in a straight line (or “seen with the naked eye”)

Note too that 由 yàuh4 occurs in the moderately common expression 由於 yàuh4 yū1. This helpful structural element means something like “owing to; thanks to; as a result of; due to”. There is one instance of it in this presentation:

1:48: 以前由於個外牆係髹上咗綠色,所以會叫佢做綠屋 = it was called the Green House because [or “owing to the fact that/due to the fact that/on account of the fact that”] its exterior walls were painted green

C. Finally, a couple of minor points worth sharing. In Cantonese, 將 jēung is frequently used to deal with too much congestion around the main verb. Typically, this happens when both a direct object and a location figure in what one wants to say. To relieve the congestion, the object is moved, appearing before the verb with 將 jēung introducing it, just to let the world know what is going on. Here’s a perfect example, from the last sentence in the video:

所以我哋都希望將呢一啲嘅感受放喺書入便 = and so we hope to put these experiences into a book

Here, 呢一啲嘅感受 (“these experiences”) is moved in front of the verb 放 fong3 (“to put”), which has to be followed by the location expression 喺書入便 (“in[to the] book”).

Another point to watch out for is the use of 以嚟 yíh5 lèih4 to indicate periods of time extending from some time in the past up to the time of speaking. It appears at 0:27, where 柴宇瀚 Chàih4 Yúh5-hohn6 says: 我係柴宇瀚 | 一直以嚟,我都好鍾意香港 = “my name is Chai Yu-hon, and all along [一直以嚟] I have really liked Hong Kong”.

You’ll often see it added to time expressions to make meanings such as “for the past x months” or “over the last x years”, always with the suggestion that the period of time extends right up to the present moment (and is very likely to continue on into the future).

Learning Cantonese: Kiwi Chow & the Children of the Revolution


On 16 July 2021, Stand News announced that Kiwi Chow had made a secret documentary about the 2019 protest movement entitled Revolution of Our Times [時代革命]. The idea came from a business person who had seen Ten Years, and wanted Chow to make a high-quality documentary that would “help Hong Kong tell her story to the world” [以助香港向世界訴說她的故事]. Although personally terrified by the violence of the clashes between police and protestors, Chow bought a film camera and began work in May 2019, before the ground-breaking million-person march. He filmed and edited in secret for two years, in the course of which he was drenched by one of the “special-use crowd-control vehicles” (that is, water-cannon trucks that the Hong Kong police had purchased and that sometimes sprayed something referred to as 催淚水劑, a kind of liquid tear-gas) as well as being hit on the helmet by a rubber bullet. The film follows seven different individuals involved in the anti-extradition protests, both frontline fighters as well as members of the so-called 和理非 wo-lei-fei, that is “peaceful, reasonable, non-violent” activists and is two and a half hours long. Although a trailer is available on YouTube, the film itself can never be screened in Hong Kong in the foreseeable future. Dissent is now a crime there.

The CUHK campus in Sha Tin features extensively in the video. It was here, in November 2019, that the so-called “Siege of the Chinese University of Hong Kong” took place. During the siege students occupied the campus and attempted to facilitate a general strike by disrupting traffic flows, throwing objects onto the train tracks near University Station as well as onto the Tolo Highway. The police, naturally, inevitably prevailed, and large numbers of students were arrested. It is for this reason that Chow reacts so strongly to his return there in the video. As he says, 而家好似 [走緊] 喺我啲傷口當中 = “Walking along [this particular road at CUHK] now is like walking into my wounds”. The experience was obviously visceral for him.

The aspect marker 咗 jó2 is used in this video quite a bit, so I have added a note on this at the end. 咗 is described as a “perfective” marker, which allies it with the perfect tenses in English. As opposed to the past tense (I did), the perfect tense (I have done) is more concerned with the realization or actualization of an action. If you ask someone “Have you done it?”, your main interest is not “when” but “whether” the matter has been accomplished. The perfect can therefore also be used to talk about future possible actualization, and so we have “I will have done” in English. My experience suggests to me that certain verbs in Cantonese tend to attract 咗. Often such verbs are absolute in meaning. For example, 失 sāt1 = “to lose” admits of no degree. You can’t partially lose something. Nevertheless, there are uses of 咗 jó2 that still seem elusive to me, and my note is merely a sketch. I hope to fill it out one day in a more detailed post.

The video also contains a rich store of vocabulary items, with a special emphasis on film. These include: 預告片 yuh6 gou3 pín3*2 = a (movie) trailer; 心裏準備 sām1 léuih5 jéun2 beih6 = be psychologically prepared; be mentally ready; 連累 lìhn4 leuih6 = to implicate; to involve; to get sb. into trouble;生命導師 sāng1 mihng6 douh6 sī1 = a life coach; and 膠子彈 gāau1 jí2 dáan62 = a rubber bullet.

In recent news, it was announced that a plan for synchronized screenings [全球同步嘅反映計劃] of Revolution of Our Times had been planned for 1-10 April. This means that some of you may be lucky enough to see the documentary in the near future.

Please scroll down for my transcription, English translation and notes. You can view the video here (subtitles in Standard Written Chinese and Japanese). 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 be interested in this other post on Kiwi Chow, Learning Cantonese: 周冠威 Kiwi Chow “How much are you willing to sacrifice for your home, Hong Kong?”.


[ … ] 我見到就喺地上便 | 我伸一隻手,我就掂到佢嘅 | 警察就壓住佢 | 佢好痛苦 | 佢眼神同我四目交流 | 我做唔到呀,我冇辦法幫佢 | 或者我只能夠幫佢, 只係 | 幫佢記錄 | 我好似唔係有勇氣先行出嚟 | 係行出嚟先生出勇氣

Caption: 勇氣不滅 周冠威

Caption: 法國康城影展宣佈 | 特別放映紀錄片《時代革命》| 周冠威是唯一具名的製作人

Caption: 自由

因為2019年呢場運動 | 佢哋嘅勇氣 . . .

● 掂到 dim3 dóu3*2 = to reach cf. 掂 = to touch | ● 壓 [ng]aat3 = (?) to push down; to hold down | ● 眼神 ngáahn5 sàhn4 = the expression in one’s eyes | ● 不滅 bāt1 miht6 = (?) indestructible | ● 法國康城影展 faat3 gwok3 hōng1 sìhng4 yíng2 jín2 = Cannes Film Festival (the Cantonese is something more like “film exhibition of the French city of Cannes [康 = kāng1 in Mandarin]) | ● 特別放映 dahk6 biht6 fong3 yíng2 = special screening| ● 具名 geuih6 mìhng4 = to put one’s name to a document, etc.; to affix one’s signature

I saw a protestor on the ground. I could reach out and touch him with my hand. The police were pressing down on him. He was in a lot of pain. When our eyes met, there was this exchange of looks between us [同我四目交流]. There was nothing I could do to help him. Or rather, the only thing I could do to help him was to make a record. I didn’t go out into the streets because I was brave. I became brave after getting out there.

Captions: Kiwi Chow Kwun-wai: A Bravery that Can Never Be Destroyed | The Cannes Film Festival announced a special screening of the documentary Revolution of Our Times | Kiwi Chow was the only individual personally named as a maker of the film

Caption: Freedom

Because of the protest movement in 2019 . . .

【1:00】. . . 佢哋犧牲 | [Caption: 電影導演 | 著有《十年:自焚者》、《患愛》、《時代革命》] | 為香港將來嘅美好而打拼 | 呢一樣嘢係交流嚟㗎 | 吸收咗呢場運動嘅勇氣 | 我想走出嚟 | (五大訴求,缺一不可)| 而當我攞起咗呢個責任 | 決定行出嚟嘅時候 | 我就應該行到底嘅

《時代革命》預告片

旁白:香港實行唔到民主嘅話呢 | 冇可能維持到香港嘅自由同法治 | 其實我只係爭取一樣嘢嘅 | 就係自由

周冠威:我應該開明呀 | 我應該負翻我嘅責任 | 曾經有一個人 | 佢為我去諗 | 呃,「你匿名啦」| 如果真係要查嘅話| 我俾名你」 | 喺53個民主派人士被拘捕當日 | 佢就同我講 | 「我願意為你坐監」| 啊,我聽完我覺得好恐怖,呢件事 | 亦都有收到恐嚇嘅電話 | 啫,叫我「即刻離開」

犧牲 hēi1 sāng1 = to sacrifice | ● 打拼 dáa2 píng2 = to go all out; to struggle to get ahead | ● 到底 dou3 dái2 = to the end; to the finish (cf. English “to see sth. through”) | ● 預告片 yuh6 gou3 pín3*2 = a (movie) trailer | ● 開明 hōi1 mìhng4 = usu. “enlightened”; here “under one’s own name; openly” ≠ 匿名 | ● 匿名 nīk1 mìhng4 [LISTEN!] = anonymous| ● 恐嚇 húng2 haak3 = to intimidate; to threaten

. . . their courage and their personal sacrifices . . .

Caption: Film director Kiwi Chow | Director of Ten Years: The Self-immolator, Beyond the Dream and Revolution of Our Times

. . . in the struggle for a beautiful future for Hong Kong. This thing is a form of exchange [呢一樣嘢係交流嚟㗎]. I absorbed the bravery of this protest movement and this made me want to go out and film it.

Chanted slogan: Five Demands, Not One Less

And when I took on this responsibility and decided to go out and make a film, I had to see it through to the end.

Footage from “Revolution of Our Times”: If democracy is not realized in Hong Kong | It will be impossible to maintain freedom and the rule of law here | In fact, I strive for one thing and one thing only | Freedom

Kiwi Chow: I had to put my name on the film. I had to assume my responsibility. There was someone concerned about me who once said: “Go on, remain anonymous. If there really is an investigation into the making of the film, use my name instead.” On the day the 53 democrats were arrested [in February 2021], this person said to me: “I would be willing to go to prison in your place”. How terrible, I thought, when I heard this. I also received a threatening phone-call, telling me to leave at once.

【2:00】「As soon as possible」| 我尋找呢個自由嘅方法 | 就係出名 | 我唔俾恐懼控制我嘅心靈 | 嗱,我講嘅自由唔係我肉身嘅自由 | 我冇犯法 | 我喺基本法長久以嚟喺香港嘅法例 | 係冇犯法 | 更何況呢個紀錄片嘅拍攝 | 係國安法之前 | 當然我有心裏準備會成爲政治犯而坐監 | 如果咁樣嘅話 | 國安法都去拘捕我嘅時候 | 我係完完全全係一個政治犯 | 而我覺得政治犯係 | 一個政權嘅自我羞辱 | 我哋有一個好大嘅信念 [吖嘛],係咪 | 啫,你追隨耶穌基督先至有自由 | 嗰個自由係真實嘅自由

我出名,我留喺呢一度 | 留喺我想留喺嘅香港嘅時候 | 呢個係我自己自由嘅選擇

尋找 chàhm4 jáau2 = to seek; to look for | ● 肉身 yuhk6 sān1 = a mortal body | ● 心裏準備 sām1 léuih5 jéun2 beih6 = be psychologically prepared; be mentally ready | ● 羞辱 sāu1 yuhk6 = 1. shame; dishonour; humiliation 2. to humiliate; to put sb. to shame | ● 信念 seun3 nihm6 = faith; belief; conviction | ● 追隨 jēui1 chèuih4 = to follow

“As soon as possible”. The way I seek freedom is to make my name public. I don’t let terror control my soul. Now the freedom I’m talking about is not the freedom of the body. I haven’t broken the law. According to the Basic Law, the law we’ve had in Hong Kong for a long time, I have not broken the law. What’s more, the filming of this documentary film was done before the National Security Law came into force. Of course, I have prepared myself mentally to become a political prisoner. If this happens, when I am arrested under the National Security Law, I will be a political criminal, completely and utterly. But in my view a political criminal is the self-humiliation of those who hold power. We have a great deal of faith that you can only be free if you follow Jesus Christ — that freedom is the true freedom.

I have gone public, and I remain in here Hong Kong, and my remaining here in Hong Kong, the place where I want to stay, is something I do so of my own free choice.

【3:00】《時代革命》預告片

旁白:佢哋覺得抗爭先至 [可以實現] 自由 | 當我決定 [走出去] 嗰刻 | 我要撇除嗮其他嘅身份 | 作為學生 | 作為我阿爸阿媽呢個仔 | 我嘅身份呢,只有 | 即時 […] 命地行出嚟嘅抗爭者

周冠威:我仔6歲大呀 | 噉我問佢,我拍呢個紀錄片 | 但係都可以離開香港 | 避免被拘禁嘅風險 | 爸爸被拉去坐監 | 會好長時間見唔到爸爸 | 佢同我講 | 「爸爸,唔好走啦 | 我哋一齊留翻香港 | 將香港變翻美麗嘅香港」

Caption: 連累

整個拍攝《時代革命》呢個紀錄片 | 我係有一個 moment 想放棄嘅 | 中文大學之後 | 呃,我身體有好多嘅反應 | 我嘅大便係黑色啦

● 撇除 pit3 chèuih4 = (?) to put aside; to leave aside | ● 拘禁 kēui1 gam3 = to take into custody | ● 連累 lìhn4 leuih6 = to implicate; to involve; to get sb. into trouble | ● 放棄 fong3 hei3 = to abandon; to give up; to renounce | ● 大便 daaih6 bihn6 = human excrement

Footage from “Revolution of Our Times”

Voice-over: They thought that freedom could only be realized through resistance. When I made up my mind to go out onto the streets. I had to put any other identities I had aside — that of a student, that of a son of a mother and father. The only identity I had was that of a protestor, ready to give my all in the streets at a moment’s notice.

Kiwi Chow: My son is 6 years old this year. I asked him [what he thought about] us leaving Hong Kong to avoid the risk of arrest because of this documentary I had made. “If Daddy was arrested and sent to prison, it might well be [會] you wouldn’t see him for a very long time”. In reply, he said to me: “Let’s not leave, Daddy. We’ll stay here in Hong Kong together and make Hong Kong a beautiful Hong Kong.”

Caption: Implicating Others

During the whole filming of the documentary Revolution of Our Times, there was one moment when I wanted to give up. After what happened at CUHK, I had various physical reactions. My shit turned black.

【4:00】更加令我恐怖嘅係 | 呃,我影響咗屋企人 | 我太太有咳、我太太有濕疹 | 但我太太當其時係有BB | 佢係懷住身孕 | 係唯一次我有想過放棄 | 因為我連累咗佢哋 | 我好驚我嘅BB有事 | 好痛苦,其實當其時係好驚 | 但係掉轉返我諗翻起 | 噉啲手足呢?| 最怕連累人嘅 | 多謝太太 [呀],多謝我屋企呀 | 啫,佢哋 . . . 同我連成一體呀 | 佢哋跟住我嘅決定 | 啫,我嘅信仰係連死都唔怕 | 所以《十年:自焚者》嗰個對白 | 佢亦都我嘅信念 | 啫,我唔睇得唔得 | 我會唔會招致連累 | 我會唔會招致苦難 | 甚至會招致死亡

● 咳 kāt1 = a cough | ● 濕疹 sāp1 chán2 = eczema | ● 身孕 sān1 yahn6 = pregnancy | ● 掉轉返 diuh6 jyun3 fāan1 = cf. 調轉頭 = 1. to turn around (in direction) 2. on the contrary | ● 連成一體 lìhn4 sìhng4 yāt1 tái2 = roughly, “to come together (or “pull together”) as one” | ● 信仰 seun3 yéuhng5 = faith; belief; conviction | ● 對白 deui3 baahk6 = a dialogue | ● 招致 jīu1 ji3 = to incur; to bring about; to lead to| ● 苦難 fú2 naahn6 = suffering; misery; distress

But what frightened me even more was that I was affecting the rest of my family. My wife developed a cough as well as eczema, and at the time she was pregnant. She was going to have another baby. That was the only time I considered stopping, because I was implicating them. I was really worried that something would happen to the baby. It was painful, very painful at the time. But then on the other hand [掉轉返] I thought, “But what about those protestors?” The thing I feared most was implicating others. I’m very grateful to my wife, my whole family. They came together with me in this. They followed me in my decision. My faith is to fear nothing, not even death. And so the self-immolator’s dialogue in Ten Years is also what I believe: As a person, I’m not concerned whether something is OK or not, whether it will lead to other people becoming implicated, whether it will bring about suffering or even death.

【5:00】我睇嘅,唔係呢 [啲] 效果 | 唔係得唔得 | 我睇嘅係啱定唔啱 | 其實冇話連唔連累 [ … ] | 反而有一份平安喺當中

Caption: 拯救

梗係唔捨得啦!| 我拍戲梗係唔捨得啦,哈 | 我淨係識得拍戲 [嘅咋] | [咩都] 唔識 | 我鍾意學習 | 但係學校係迫我考試 | 所以我曾經喺中學階段 | 有閃過係想自殺嘅 | 噉但係某程度上係電影救咗我 | 學校、屋企唔會教我乜嘢叫做愛 | 但電影教我 | 電影就好似我個生命導師咁樣 | 噉我就同電影 | 去下咗一個浪漫嘅諾言 | 我終身追隨電影

Award ceremony announcement: 今年最佳電影得獎者係 . . . | 《十年》

周冠威:如果《十年:自焚者》. . .

● 效果 haauh6 gwó2 = an effect; a result | ● 拯救 chíng2 gau3 = to save; to rescue; to deliver | ● 閃過 sím2 gwo3 = roughly, “to flash (through one’s mind); to cross one’s mind” | ● 自殺 jih6 saat3 = to commit suicide; to take one’s own life | ● 生命導師 sāng1 mihng6 douh6 sī1 = a life coach | ● 浪漫 lohng6 maahn6 = Romantic | ● 諾言 nohk6 yìhn4 = a promise (Chow uses the “lazy pronunciation” 諾 lohk6 here.) | ● 得獎者 dāk1 jéung2 jé2 = roughly, “the recipient/winner of a prize”

What I’m concerned with is not these outcomes. It’s not a matter of whether something is OK or not. It’s a matter of whether it is the right thing to do. Actually, it’s not a question of implicating others. However, there is a peace [of mind] in this.

Caption: Deliverance

Of course, I was unwilling to give up the film! Of course, I couldn’t give up the making of the film! It’s the only thing I know how to do. I can’t do anything else. I enjoy studying. But my school forced me to take exams. For this reason, once during my high-school years, I thought about committing suicide. But to a certain extent film saved me. Neither school nor home could teach me what love was. It was film that taught me. Film is like a life coach to me. So between film and myself, I made the romantic promise that I would pursue film to the end of my life.

Award ceremony announcement: The winner of this year’s award for Best Film is . . . Ten Years

Kiwi Chow: If Ten Years: The Self-immolator . . .

【6:00】係一個 . . . 我嘅電影事業嘅自焚行為嘅話 | 呢個紀錄片《時代革命》| 係我得着自由嘅行為

Caption: 勇氣

呃,我對中文大學嘅記憶 | 而家都係全部充斥住2019年嘅畫面 | 行咗好多次嘅,呢一條路都喺當日 | 而家好似 [走緊] 喺我啲傷口當中 | 過到去嘅,係咪? | 通常訪問完之後 | 攝影師都要我行嚟行去 | […] 影啲鏡頭 | 但你帶我嚟呢個地方 | 實在太過分 | 我本身當然驚啦,哈 | 我唔係一個戰地記者 [啦] | 甚至紀錄片都係我第一次拍攝

● 勇氣 yúhng5 hei3 = courage; nerve | ● 充斥 chūng1 chīk1 = to flood; to congest; to be full of; to be replete with | ● 傷口 sēung1 háu2 = a wound; a cut | ● 鏡頭 geng3 tàuh4 = 1. camera lens 2. a scene; a shot | ● 戰地記者 jin3 deih6 gei3 jé2 = war correspondent

. . . was my own act of self-immolation in terms of my film career, then the documentary Revolution of Our Times was the act by which I obtained my freedom.

Caption: Bravery

My memories of CUHK are now completely filled with scenes from 2019. Back then I walked along this road many times. Walking along it now is like walking into my wounds. You want me to walk across the bridge? Usually when an interview has finished, the camera person usually asks me to walk around a bit for a bit of [extra] footage, but you bringing me here to this place is really too much. When I was filming of course I was very scared. I am not a war-zone reporter, and this was the first documentary I’d ever made.

【7:00】有一句説話就係 | 啲「手足」幫我擋子彈 | 當我第一次喺現場嘅時候 | 我就 physical [感到] 佢哋喺我前邊 | 砰!砰!砰!| [佢哋] 幫我擋子彈 | 我感受到佢哋嘅勇氣 | 感受到佢哋嘅抵擋 | 噉呢 [種] 抵擋好似都幫到我一齊抵擋 | 最危險我覺得係一次中膠子彈 | 一次再一次嘅受傷 | 最後都過渡,最後都治療咗 | 我自己諗,呢個過程 | 我好似唔係有勇氣先行出嚟 | 係行出嚟先生出勇氣 | 我諗同政權講嘅其實 […] | 你唔能夠借助我去傳遞恐懼 | 你只能夠借助我 | 去強調 [ … ] 香港人幾咁有勇氣 | 我希望如果 | 假設我一日被拘捕嘅話

● 擋 dóng2 = to keep off; to ward off; to block | ● 砰 pīng1 = bang; thump cf. 嘭paahng4 = bang (I am not sure what the right character should be for “bang” here!) | ● 抵擋 dái2 dóng2 = to keep out; to ward off; to check; to withstand | ● 膠子彈 gāau1 jí2 dáan6*2= a rubber bullet | ● 過渡 gwo3 douh6 = usu. “to transit”; here, perhaps, “to get through (a difficult experience)” | ● 治療 jih6 lìuh4 = to treat; to cure | ● 借助 je3 joh6 = have the aid of; draw support from | ● 傳遞 chyùhn4 daih6 = to transmit; to deliver; to transfer | ● 假設 gáa2 chit3 = to suppose; to assume; to presume

There’s a phrase that goes “my fellow protestors shielded me from the bullets”. The first time I was out there on the scene, physically I could feel these other protestors in front of me. Bang, bang, bang! They shielded me from the bullets. I sensed their courage, their protection. This shielding seemed to help shield me with them. The most dangerous thing I think was being hit by a rubber bullet one time. One wound after another. In the end you get through it, you are healed. And so I thought: In this process, It’s not as if I went out into the streets because I was brave. I only became brave after getting out there. What I’d like to say to those in power is: You can’t use me to spread terror. The only thing you can use me for is to underline how brave the Hongkong people are. If one day I am arrested, my hope is that . . .

【8:00】帶俾人嘅訊息係呢一樣

● 訊息 seun3 sīk1 = a message

. . . this is the message that will be conveyed to others

記者 | Reporter:莫坤菱
影像製作 Video Production:劉子康
美術設計 Design: Joyce Lo


Grammar Notes

In this video, Kiwi Chow gives the aspect marker 咗 jó2 a good work-out, so I thought it might be worth reviewing its main uses. Generally speaking, 咗 is added to a verb to indicate “perfectiveness”, something akin to “completion” but also linked to “actual realization”. Cantonese does have a verb particle 完 yuhn4, which indicates completion perfectly well, a factor that we should keep in mind when approaching 咗. Yip and Matthews make the point that adverbs “such as 已經 yíh5 gīng1 ‘already’, 啱啱 ngāam1 ngāam1 ‘just’ and 頭先 tàuh4 sīn1 ‘just now’ also favour jo2” (93). Their idea of favourable “contexts” favourable to the use of 咗 should be kept in mind: as with other aspect markers, it helps to try and recognize the kinds of typical situations in which 咗 is used, rather than relying on some cast-iron grammatical rule.

One of these common contexts is when the verb is followed by a number and a measure-word (or some other equivalent mode of quantification). During the 2019 protests, the Hong Kong police purchased three new water-cannon trucks. This was conveyed by a TVB report as: 警方一共買咗三架「水炮車」 = “The police have bought a total of three water canon trucks”. A friend of mine, reporting on her latest culinary exploits, wrote in an email: 今晚煮咗一個日本甜品,日文叫大學芋,英文candied sweet potato! In the phrase “last night [I] cooked a Japanese dessert”, the quantification 一個 provides the favourable conditions for the use of 咗. The time it takes to do something can also function as a kind of quantification. So, in a report about a giant lizard on the loose in a housing estate in Tuen Mun, we were told 警方到場用咗大約十五分鐘捕足蜥蜴並帶走。= “After arriving at the scene, police took approximately fifteen minutes to catch the lizard and [並] take it away.” Here, the time expression 大約十五分鐘 quantifies the verb, and so 咗 is added. It is not added to the second verb 帶走.

We can find similar instances in Kiwi Chow’s comments. Firstly, at 5:40 he makes the memorable statement 去下咗一個浪漫嘅諾言 | 我終身追隨電影 = “I made the romantic promise that I would pursue film to the end of my life”. Here, the quantification 一個 is used in the phrase meaning “a romantic promise”. A bit later on, at 6:12, he talks about how many times he walked along a certain campus road at CUHK: 呃,我對中文大學嘅記憶 | 而家都係全部充斥住2019年嘅畫面 | 行咗好多次嘅 = “my memories of CUHK are now completely filled with scenes from 2019. Back then I walked along this road many times”. In this case, 好多次 hóu2 dō1 chi3 (“very many times”) provides the conditions favourable to the addition of 咗.

Another common context, fairly easy to spot, involves a kind of clause a bit similar to the English “after doing something”. Perhaps the most important remark made in the video uses this kind of structure. At 1:07, Chow says 吸收咗呢場運動嘅勇氣 | 我想走出嚟 = “having absorbed the bravery of this protest movement, I wanted to go out and film it”. Here, 咗 is added to the verb 吸收 kap1 sau1 = to absorb to indicate that the absorbing has been realized. This realization of the first verb paves the way to the main clause. Chow goes on to use this structure a second time in 而當我攞起咗呢個責任 | 決定行出嚟嘅時候 | 我就應該行到底嘅, where it means something like “and with my taking up/assuming of this responsibility.” In such instances, the realization of the first action serves as a precondition for the second.

A more subtle context seems to involve the specific meaning of the verb: I get the impression that there are certain verbs which tend to go with 咗 because realization or actualization is somehow integral to their meaning. After 4:01, Kiwi Chow uses 咗 twice in the following sentences:

更加令我恐怖嘅係 | 呃,我影響咗屋企人 = but what frightened me even more was that I was influencing/affecting the rest of my family

係唯一次我有想過放棄 | 因為我連累咗佢哋 = that was the only time I considered stopping, because I was implicating/making it hard them

The two verbs in question are 影響 ying2 heung2 and 連累 lihn4 leuih6? and with the addition of 咗, Chow indicates that he had influence and implicated his family members.

An Eye on Hong Kong by Keith Macgregor (1999)

Keith Macgregor: “Central 1990”











The Consummate Panorama

It was Martin Booth who once revealed that the view of Victoria Harbour regularly reduced friends to the verge of tears, either because they were moved by the magnificence of the vista or because they were only able to fit one-fifth of it into the view-finder of their cameras. In An Eye on Hong Kong, you feel that photographer Keith Macgregor is absorbed by this problem of the panorama and what it means for our understanding and appreciation of Hong Kong.

The urban panorama is the obvious place to start, and Macgregor understands its idiom perfectly. “Central 1990” captures the mixed ruthless geometry of the harbour-side skyline set against a deep-blue sky only partially softened by cloud. This is one of the founding dreams of Hong Kong, in which no individual human being matters (you see none in this image) and where wealth and power solidify themselves with a breath-taking yet cold-blooded aplomb.

More lively and endearing are the nightscapes, often shot with long exposure-times to create vivid light-trails inscribed by ferry-boats and land traffic in motion. Colour here intrudes on the otherwise imperturbable architecture, and softens the harsh angles and plate-glass glare of the day-time city environment. There is a garish vitality to the light, as contradictory as the night itself with promises of leisure — if not pleasure — alongside our instinctive terror of the dark. Macgregor’s masterpiece in this type of photograph is the three-page fold-out “Island 1996”, taken from Hung Hom on the Kowloon side. It shows Victoria Harbour all the way from North Point to Sheung Wan, lit-up by neon and the complementary red and yellow lights of the boats. But beyond it all, under a late-twilight sky, the mountains on the eastern coast of the island remain featureless, forbidding, presences.

A different kind of panorama characterizes the Kowloon pictures. It is not horizontal sweep that matters but depth in a streetscape filled with what Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze calls “city poetry” — that is, the collage of signage that transforms main roads into textual fields. One typical example is “Tung Choi Street Market, Mong Kok 1994”. With the exception of the words “PARK’N SHOP in the foreground and an upper-case GROOVY in the middle distance, what follows down the length of the road is a galaxy of Chinese writing, much of it done in red, some it reading right-to-left, in other cases top-to-bottom. If you read Chinese, you could spend an easy half-an-hour deciphering what you see (I spied a shop-sign for a Buddhist vegetarian restaurant tucked in amongst the linguistic barrage).

Naturally, night scenes of a neon-lit Nathan Road lend themselves perfectly to photography, too. No language glows in the dark like Chinese does.

Once we leave the built-up centres of Hong Kong behind, we come to a third mode of panorama, this time composed of sea, mountains and sky, the whole unified by the light that transforms the blues and greens into jewel-like azure and emerald. The eastern New Territories is a favourite location for Macgregor in this regard, examples including “North Sai Kung 1995”, “Sai Kung Peninsula 1995”. Other shots have a tourist-brochure feel to them, but at their best they distil the overpowering natural beauty of the Hong Kong landscape and convince us that there must be something altogether remarkable about the feng-shui of the place.

Apart from the panorama, you will find many photographs in An Eye on Hong Kong concerned with the life of fisherfolk. Of course, pictures of junks are a stock item in many books on Hong Kong, but Macgregor goes well beyond this, with numerous pictures of working life at sea and of the dragon boat races. Like the wonderful Barbara E. Ward before him, Macgregor seems to feel a close affinity for the Tanka people, and has gone out of his way to document what he can of their seafaring lifestyle. Late in the book (pages 114-116), there are even shots of celebrations for the birthday of Hung Shing on Kau Sai Island, not far from where the locals have put up a plaque in commemoration of Ward for all the work she did for the local community, including the creation of a new Kau Sai Village in Hebe Haven.

This affinity for the Tanka also results in some very special photographs of female heads, a minor strand in Macgregor’s work that serves as a tender counter-balance to all the sweep and impersonality essential to his panoramas. There is a full-page photograph in the introductory section of the book of a woman dressed in her best clothes and wearing a number of elaborate silvery ornaments in her hair, with all the vibrant colours of some temple decoration in the background. It is the epitome of festivity, summed up in a couplet I once saw in Tsz Tin Tsuen Village in Tuen Mun — 神人共樂, Gods and Human Beings, Enjoying Themselves Together. Of this type of image, the most memorable one for me is “Fisherwoman”, taken in Aberdeen in 1986. It is certainly not a photograph that leaps out at you the first time you see it, but there is something in the woman’s appearance and expression that is like an enigma, drawing you back again and again.

Keith Macgregor: “Fisherwoman”

Collages and contrasts are two other elements in Macgregor’s photography that diversify his appeal. Subject-matter for the former include temple decorations, smiling faces, various dry goods, aerial views, seafood, and salt-dried fish, as well as children taking part in the annual float procession held on Cheung Chau. Contrasts generally involve two photographs of the same scene taken at different times. The prime example is “The Harbour and the City”, which juxtaposes a panorama taken by Mee Cheung in pre-skyscraper 1948 with one by Macgregor taken in 1970. Quieter (and, for me, sadder instances) include the shot of a “typical old building in Eastern Street, Kennedy Town” from 1977 placed next to that imperious photograph of Central in 1990, as well as two pictures of Sha Tin, before and after it was new-towned out of existence into its present Legoland form, racecourse dominant in the foreground beside the extensive sewage treatment works.

And if this is not enough for you, Macgregor also includes some important images from the Sau Mau Ping Monkey God Festival. In one, a young male medium possessed by the Monkey King’s spirit prepares to dip his feet in a wok filled with boiling oil, while in another he sprints down a road made of hot burning-coals past the exclusive area set aside for VIPs.

The book ends on a glorious-sombre note, with a finale panorama entitled “Sunset over Lantau Island 1996”. From somewhere above Central we look out west over the darkened waters towards a yellow-gold conflagration of light and monumental cloud, beneath an expanse of sky still lit up enough to show faintly blue. An era has come to an end, it suggests, and with it, perhaps, an extraordinary way of life that will never be repeated anywhere in this world again.

You can see more of Keith Macgregor’s work at Keith Macgregor Photography and at Blue Lotus Gallery.

Learning Cantonese: Tonyee Chow Hang-tung’s Letter to Hong Kong’s Secretary for Security


鄒幸彤 Tonyee Chow Hang-tung is a genuine Hong Kong Hero. Born in 1985, she originally studied geophysics at the University of Cambridge, but later discovered a passion for human rights and switched her studies to law. She was also very actively involved as vice chairwoman of the Hong Kong Alliance, the group that for many years organized annual vigils and other activities to commemorate the 1989 Tian’anmen Massacre.

In this brilliant letter to Chris Tang, Secretary for Security, written after the ruthless crackdown on any form of remembrance of the events of 1989 in Hong Kong, she argues with great lucidity and wit that any denial of the murderous crackdown on the Pro-Democracy Movement is a simply a refusal to face the facts. The sad thing is, virtually any one of importance in the Hong Kong government, from the Chief Executive down to minor civil servants, is now officially required to be a Tian’anmen Massacre denier in order to prove his or her “loyalty” to the regime.

However, as she states so magnificently, 權力再大,亦無法改寫事實真相 = Were they even more powerful [than they already are], the Chinese Communist Party would be powerless to rewrite the truth of this event, and this leads her on, with many passionate flourishes, to the unforgettable concluding sentence.


鄧先生:

茲收悉你於2021 年 9 月 10 日發出的信件,稱將向行政長官會同行政會議建議將支聯會自公司登記冊中剔除,並給予了支聯會「機會」於9 月 24 日前提交反對剔除的申述(『該信件』)。本人感謝鄧先生的「寬大」,然而相信你亦了解,在你向本人發出該信件及其厚達數吋的附件時,本人及所有支聯會常委均身處西九龍裁判法院的羈留室中,其後在控方反對保釋的情況下,所有常委均一直處於懲教看管之中。在此等情況下,支聯會的決策層根本無法商討如何回應閣下的信件及其大量附件,亦無法翻看本會的任何記錄,以作具體核證,懲教院所亦未提供任何便利,以處理你所提供的大量沒有列明頁碼的文件,或是給予支聯會的常委們任何機會去互相溝通。因此,本會實難言有公平機會去作出回應,而本人在這裡所提供的陳述,僅反映本人記憶所知及個人意見,並未經本會其他常委討論,僅此聲明。

● 茲 jī1 = now; at present | ● 收悉 sāu1 sīk1 = (?) to have received cf. 悉 = to know; to learn; to be informed of | ● 公司登記冊 gūng1 sī1 dāng1 gei3 chaak3 = registry of companies | ● 申述 sān1 seuht6 = to state; to explain in detail; to expound | ● 寬大 fūn1 daaih6 = lenient; magnanimous | ● 羈留室 gēi1 làuh4 sāt1 = cf. 羈留 = to detain; to keep in custody | ● 懲教 chìhng4 gaau3 = roughly, “to punish & to educate” cf. 香港懲教署 = Hong Kong Correctional Services | ● 看管 hon3 gún2 = to guard; to watch | ● 決策層 kyut3 chaak3 chàhng4 = (?) decision-making level cf. 決策 = to make a strategic decision | ● 翻看 fāan1 hon3 = (?) to look through cf. 翻閲 fāan1 yuht6 = to browse; to look over | ● 核證 haaht6 jing3 = (?) to certify cf. 核 = to examine + 證 = evidence; proof; testimony | ● 懲教院所 chìhng4 gaau3 yuhn6 (?) só2 = correctional institution | ● 便利 bihn6 leih6 = usu. (adj.) convenient; easy | ● 列明 liht6 mìhng4 = roughly, “to set out clearly” | ● 實難言有 saht6 nàahn4 yìhn4 yáuh5 = roughly, “it would truly be impossible to say/claim” | ● 陳述 chàhn4 seuht6 = to state; to declare | ● 僅此 gán2 chí2 = (?) perhaps “[I am] merely stating [this] here

I am now in possession of your letter of 10 September 2021, which states that you will recommend to the Chief Executive and to the Executive [行政會議] that the Democratic Alliance be deleted from the registry of companies [公司登記冊], and that you have given the Alliance “the opportunity” to submit a statement opposing the deregistration before 24 September (referred to as “the letter”). I would like to thank you, Mr Tang, for your “lenience”, but I am sure you are well aware that, at the time you sent out your letter to me together with appended material [amounting to] several inches in thickness, I together with all the other members of the standing committee of the Alliance were in custody in the detention facility at the West Kowloon Magistrates Court. Since then, bail having been opposed by the prosecution, all members of the standing committee have been under guard in a correction facility. Given these circumstances, the decision-making level [決策層] of the Alliance has basically no way of discussing how to respond to your letter and the material accompanying it, nor of consulting [翻看] any of the Alliance’s own records in order to make a concrete examination of the evidence [以作具體核證] and, to date, none of the correctional institutes [懲教院所] have provided any form of dispensation [任何便利] to allow us to deal with the large amount of unpaginated documentation you have provided, nor have they given the members of the standing committee of the Alliance any opportunity to communicate with one another. For these reasons, it cannot be said that [實難言有] the Alliance has been granted a fair opportunity of making a response, and the statement which I am providing here is only a reflection of my own knowledge from personal recollections and my individual views. None of it has been discussed with other members of the standing committee. I merely wish to make such matters clear here [僅此聲明].

鄧先生的決定,主要基於一份國安處洪毅先生所簽發的 56 頁建議書(『該建議書』)。該建議書羅列大量證據以證明本會一直堅持五大綱領,並詳細列出本會 32 年來的活動,包括燭光晚會、六四紀念館、歷年大大小小的遊行、公開信、展覽、研討會、講座、甚至「愛心寄秦城」、「中秋民主燈火行動」、「民主風箏行動」、「釋放劉霞街站」這些小行動,也逃不出國安們的法眼,被列作「罪證」之一。我們感謝國安處如此巨細無遺地梳理本會的歷史足跡,然而國安處大可不必如此費心,我們從不否認我們一直堅持五大綱領,並以此自豪。可是,我們亦必須申明,我們多年的維園燭光晚會,以及建議書第 21 至24 段所列舉的 32 年來所有的活動,均是合法舉行的活動,並往往獲得警方及相關政府部門的大力協助,如提供場地、安排交通改道、疏導人流、發出不反對通知書等。國安處如今將此等活動描繪為危害國家安全之活動,豈非有指責同僚為協助危害國家安全之共犯之嫌?

● 簽發 chīm1 faat3 = to sign & issue a document | ● 建議書 gin3 yíh5 syū1 = roughly, “a letter proposing (a certain course of action”) | ● 羅列 lòh4 liht6 = 1. to set out 2. to enumerate | ● 五大綱領 ngh5 daaih6 gōng1 líhng5 = five operational goals | ● 愛心寄秦城 [ng]oi3 sām1 gei3 chèuhn4 sìhng4 = an activity involving the sending of Christmas cards to jailed dissidents | ● 法眼 faat3 ngáahn5 = a Buddhist term meaning “a mind which perceives both past & future” | ● 罪證 jeuih6 jing3 = evidence of a crime; proof of one’s guilt | ● 巨細無遺 geuih6 sai3 mòuh4 wàih4 = roughly, “big & small, with nothing omitted” | ● 歷史足跡 lihk6 sí2 jūk1 jīk1 = lit. “historical footprint” | ● 疏導人流 sō1 douh6 yàhn4 làuh4 = (?) to relieve congestion (caused by crowds of people) | ● 描繪為 mìuh4 kúi2 waih4 = to be described as; to be portrayed as | ● 同僚 tùhng4 lìuh4 = usu. colleague; fellow official (dated) | ● 豈非 héi2 fēi1 = isn’t that? (rhetorical) | ● 共犯 guhng6 faahn6 = an accomplice

Your decision, Mr Tang, is primarily based on a 56-page letter of proposal (“letter of proposal”) which was signed and issued by a [certain] Mr Hung Ngai. In it, a large amount of evidence is set out to prove that the Alliance has, throughout the course of existence, upheld its five operational goals, and has meticulously listed [詳細列出] all the activities of the Alliance over the past 32 years, including candlelight vigils, the 4 June Commemorative Museum, large- and small-scale demonstrations held over the years, open letters, exhibitions, forums, and lectures. Not even minor events such as the sending of Christmas cards to jailed dissidents [愛心寄秦城], democracy lantern parades for the mid-Autumn Festival, democracy kite-flying events, and a street stall [organized] for the release of Liu Xia escaped the Dharma Eye [法眼] of the National Security Department, and have all been listed as one [part of the] proof of [our] guilt. I would like to thank the National Security Department for having set in order [梳理] the historical footprint [歷史足跡] of the Alliance, but there was really no need for the Department to go to all that trouble — we never denied that we have all along upheld the five operational goals, and we are proud of the fact. However, we must also spell out [我們亦必須申明] [the fact] that the candlelight vigils held at Victoria Park as well as all the activities held over the past 32 years and listed in the letter of proposal in sections 21 to 24 were carried out legally, and in many cases [並往往] with the extensive assistance of the police and other government departments, [assistance] such as the provision of venues, the re-routing of traffic, crowd congestion relief [疏導人流], and the issuing of letters of support [發出不反對通知書]. If the National Security Department now describes such activities as being a threat to national security, then doesn’t that suggest that you are accusing your colleagues of being accomplices aiding [協助] such threats?

本會行事向來光明磊落,從不會否認我們所持守的綱領和曾舉辦的活動。然而,我們必須強烈否認以下指控:

1. 八九年的「天安門事件」是一場意圖推翻中國共產黨領導和顛覆社會主義的中華人民共和國的反革命暴亂(Tiananmen Incident…was a counter-revolutionary rebellion that sought to overthrow the CPC’s leadership and subvert the socialist PRC)
2. 六四燭光晚會以及「釋放民運人士」「平反八九民運」「追究屠城責任」三個綱領合理化及歌頌(legitimized and glorified / justified)「天安門事件」
3. 「結束一黨專政」「建設民主中國」兩個綱領,因為挑戰中共領導,要求建立與憲法不相符的政治制度,因而危害國家主權、領土完整及國家的獨立性(The Alliance’s goals to “結束一黨專政” and “建設民主中國” endanger the leadership of CPC and the socialist system of PRC under the leadership, and hence the state power and sovereignty which would ultimately endanger the territorial integrity and the independence of the PRC)
4. 支聯會拒絕應國安處要求提交資料,因而顯示其無意維護國家安全,並公開宣揚故意違法的行為

● 行事 hàhng4 sih6 = 1. to act; to handle matters 2. behaviour; conduct | ● 光明磊落 gwōng1 mìhng4 léuih5 lohk6 = open & aboveboard | ● 暴亂 bouh6 lyuhn6 = a riot; a rebellion; a revolt | ● 追究 jēui1 gau3 = to look into; to find out; to investigate | ● 合理化hahp6 léih5 faa3 = usu. “to rationalize” | ● 歌頌 gō1 juhng6 = to sing the praises of; to extol; to eulogize | ● 無意 mòuh4 yi3 = have no intention of doing sth. | ● 宣揚 syūn1 yèuhng4 = to publicize; to propagate; to advertise

The conduct of the Alliance has throughout its existence [向來] been open and aboveboard, and [so] we would never deny the operational goals that we uphold, nor the activities we have conducted. However, we must deny the following accusations [指控] in the strongest possible terms:

1. That the Tian’anmen Incident of 1989 was a counter-revolutionary rebellion that sought to overthrow the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and subvert a socialist People’s Republic of China.

2. That the June 4 Candlelight Vigils together with the three operational goals of “Release the dissidents”, “Rehabilitate the 1989 pro-democracy movement” and “Demand for accountability for the June 4 massacre” both legitimize [合理化] and extol the Tian’anmen Incident.

3. That the operational goals “End one-party dictatorship” and “Build a democratic China” endanger state power, territorial integrity and the independence of the People’s Republic of China because they challenge the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and call for the establishment of a political system which is not in accordance with the constitution.

4. That the Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements’ refusal to comply with the National Security Department’s request for the handing over of material [拒絕應國安處要求提交資料] shows that it [that is, the Alliance] has no intention of safeguarding national security, and that it publicly propagates behaviour that deliberately breaks the law.

一、八九民運絕非暴亂,且絕不能藉此合理化六四屠城

八九民運是一場全民參與、和平地要求政治改革的民主運動,我們絕不能容忍國安處將之誣蔑為「反革命暴亂」,從而合理化其後的血腥鎮壓。當年的學生、市民、工人,本著為國為民的拳拳之心,以最溫和的方式,遊行、靜坐、絕食、對話,希望推動國家走向民主,卻換來最殘暴的屠殺,平民遭軍隊無差別掃射,學生被坦克無情碾壓。中共多年來藉污名化八九民運合理化自己的暴行,千方百計地阻撓受害者及難屬發聲,嚴刑打壓任何悼念的行動,然而,全世界曾共同見證這場運動的興起與鎮壓,留下過無數的影像記錄,證人證詞。權力再大,亦無法改寫事實真相。

● 容忍 yùhng4 yán2 = to tolerate; to put up with; to condone | ● 誣蔑 mòuh4 miht6 = to slander; to vilify; to smear | ● 血腥 hyut3 sīng1 = reeking of blood; bloody | ● 鎮壓 jan3 [ng]aat3 = to suppress; to repress; to put down | ● 為國為民 waih6 gwok3 waih6 màhn4 = for the country & for the people | ● 拳拳之心 kyùhn4 kyùhn4 jī1 sām1 = a sincere heart | ● 掃射 sou3 seh6 = to strafe | ● 碾壓 níhn5 [ng]aat3 = (?) to crush; to flatten | ● 污名 wū1 mìhng4 (?) = (?) to tarnish/sully the name of; to stigmatize | ● 暴行 bouh6 hàhng4 = savage act; outrage; atrocity; acts of brutality | ● 阻撓 jó2 nàauh4 = to obstruct; to thwart; to stand in the way of | ● 難屬 naahn6 suhk6 = (?) a family member of a victim | ● 證人證詞 jing3 yàhn4 jing3 chìh4 = ? a witness & her testimony

Note: According to Sheik Cantonese, the phrase 為國為民 is part of a longer saying: 為國為民,俠之大者 hahp6 jī1 daaih6 jé2 = for the country and for the people, the biggest of all heroes (that is, “those who act for the sake of the country and its people are the biggest/greatest of all heroes“).

1. The 1989 Pro-democracy Movement Was in No Sense a Rebellion, and Can in No Sense be Used to Legitimize the Beijing Massacre

Conducted peacefully and involving people from all walks of life [全民參與], the 1989 Pro-democracy Movement was a democratic campaign that demanded political reform. We refuse to condone the National Security Department’s vilification of it as a “counter-revolutionary rebellion”, which legitimizes its subsequent bloody suppression. Sincerely wishing to serve their country and the people [本著為國為民的拳拳之心] students, citizens, workers at that time employed the mildest of methods — demonstrations, sit-ins, hunger strikes and dialogue — in the hope that they could push the nation in the direction of democracy. In turn, they were brutally and savagely slaughtered, with ordinary people being strafed indiscriminately and students mercilessly crushed under tanks. For many years, the Chinese Communist Party has sullied the name of the 1989 Pro-democracy Movement in order to rationalize the savagery of its own actions, resorting to every possible method [千方百計地] to prevent victims and their family members [難屬] from speaking out, and by criminalizing and repressing any commemorative activities. Nevertheless, the rest of the world collectively witnessed from this movement from its inception to its suppression, and kept countless visual and documentary records [of what took place] [留下過無數的影像記錄], with eye-witnesses and their testimony. Were they even more powerful [than they already are], the Chinese Communist Party would be powerless to rewrite the truth of this event.

我們非常遺憾國安處對中共扭曲事實的說法照單全收,不作任何的分析和判斷,連「反革命」這樣不知所云的形容也直接套用。不知道國安如此用詞,是否表示其認同革命有理、反革命有罪?我們建議國安處認真閱讀他們在調查本會時所收集的大量資料,本會的網頁及社交媒體平台上,均有大量關於八九民運及六四屠城的歷史資料,只要有半點求真之心,不難知道真相為何。

● 扭曲 náu2 kūk1 = to distort (facts); to twist| ● 照單全收 jiu3 dāan1 chyùhn4 sau1 = accept/take sth. at face value (lit. “accepting the lot on the basis of the bill of delivery (without checking what has actually been sent) | ● 套用 tou3 yuhng6 = to apply mechanically; to use indiscriminately | ● 屠城 tòuh4 sìhng4 = usu. “massacre the inhabitants of a captured city” | ● 求真之心 kàuh4 jān1 jī1 sām1 = roughly, “a wish to know the truth”

We find it extremely regrettable that the National Security Department accepts the Chinese Communist Party’s distortion of the facts at face value, making no analysis or judgements [of its own]. Even the description of [the 1989 Pro-democracy Movement] as “counter-revolutionary” — a term that seems to have no meaning at all [不知所云的] — is taken on-board without a moment’s reflection [直接套用]. Could it be that in the use of this term, the National Security Department acknowledges that revolution is reasonable, and that to oppose a revolution [反革命] is a crime? We would like to suggest that the National Security Department make a conscientious study of the large volume of material it has collected in itsinvestigation of the Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements, together with [other material] on its website as well as other social media platforms, all of which have a vast amount of historical material concerning the 1989 Pro-democracy Movement and the June 4 Massacre. All it takes is the slightest willingness to learn the truth and you will without difficulty discover what really happened.

我們要求國安處收回其歪曲八九真相的不實言論,並希望鄧先生及行政會議不要犯上同一錯誤,以一個錯的實施基礎去判斷本會的存立問題。相信以鄧先生及眾高官的智慧,斷不可能沒有獨立判斷的能力,而輕易被中共的謊言所蒙蔽。

● 不實言論 bāt1 saht6 yìhn4 leuhn6 = roughly, “erroneous view” | ● 行政會議 hàhng4 jing3 wuih6 yíh5 = usu. “executive council” | ● 斷不可能 dyuhn6 (?) bāt1 hó2 nàhng4 = roughly, “absolutely impossible” | ● 蒙蔽 mùhng4 bai3 = to hoodwink; to deceive; to hide the truth from

We must ask the National Security Department to retract its erroneous view which distorts the reality of the 1989 Pro-democracy Movement. It is our hope, too, that Mr Tang and the executive [行政會議] do not make the same mistake, making judgements about the question of the Alliance’s existence on the basis of a flawed foundation [實施基礎]. Given the wisdom of Mr Tang and a host of other high-ranking officials, there is absolutely no possibility of you lacking the capacity to make independent judgements and of being readily duped by the lies of the Chinese Communist Party.

Learning Cantonese: Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze and His City Poetry


When I went to Hong Kong for the first time, I didn’t speak the local language. Knowing Chinese characters, however, I could read the city everywhere I went — it was like living in a four-dimensional book, every turning in time and space showing me new characters, words, phrases, messages, warnings, appeals . . . In this glorious short video from the Blue Lotus Gallery, French photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze captures this graphological Hong Kong with engaging intensity, and intensifies that pervasive powerful contrast between “ancient text” and “hyper-modern” cosmopolitanism.

Since the video is in English, I haven’t taken the trouble to translate the Chinese in this post, so skip here to the video here if you wish. But if you are interested in Chinese, I have added notes on the vocabulary and the structure of the Chinese subtitles, just to give you a better idea of what is going on in terms of the grammar (needless to say, there are some interesting differences between the Chinese and English versions). For more information about Jacquet-Lagrèze’s work, you can visit the Blue Lotus Gallery here, and the photographer’s personal website here. Both are well worth your visit.


《城市詩意》

當我穿梭於香港街道當中時 | 我非常欣賞 | 店鋪招牌及大夏名稱上 | 獨創的繁體中文字體 | 他們都各自擁有其獨有的特質 | 特別在舊區 | 每個字體都會使用不同的方法設計 | 例如木刻或者石刻、手工吹製的霓虹燈管 | 拼貼紙皮石、又或者手繪的字體 | 什麽因素讓每個招牌變得真正獨一無二 | 就是隨著時間流逝的見證 | 其剝落的油漆、生鏽的金屬 | 失落的瓷磚或破碎的霓虹燈 | 人們設計招牌以資訊性和吸引力為前提 | 而我認為日漸的磨損 | 反而將它們轉化為更深層次的事物 | 歲月侵蝕的痕跡

● 穿梭 chyūn1 sō1 = to shuttle back & forth | ● 招牌 jīu1 pàaih4 = a shop sign; a signboard cf. 招 = “to beckon” | ● 名稱 mìhng4 chīng1 = usu. “name of a thing or organization” | ● 獨創 duhk6 chong3 = an original creation | ● 擁有 yúng2 yáuh5 = to possess; to have; to own | ● 吹製 cheui1 jai3 = to blow (glass) cf. 吹 = to blow; to puff + 製 = “to make; to manufacture” | ● 拼貼 ping3 tip3 = roughly, “to stick or arrange side by side” cf. 拼 = “to put together; to piece together” + 貼 = “to paste; to stick; to glue” | ● 紙皮石 ji2 peih4 sehk6 = tessera; wall tile | ● 手繪 sáu2 kúi2 = roughly, “to paint or draw by hand” | ● 獨一無二 duhk6 yāt1 mòuh4 yih6 = unique; unparalleled; unmatched | ● 流逝 làuh4 saih6 = (of time) to pass; to elapse | ● 見證 gin3 jing3 = usu. (noun) “witness; testimony” | ● 剝落 mok1 lohk6 = to peel off | ● 生鏽 sāang1 sau3 = to get rusty | ● 資訊 jī1 seun3 = information | ● 日漸 yaht6 jihm6 = with each passing day; day by day | ● 磨損 mòh4 syún2 = wear & tear | ● 侵蝕 chām1 sihk6 = to corrode; to erode | ● 痕跡 hàhn4 jīk1 = a mark; a trace; a vestige

Notes: (1) Written Chinese often expresses location with 於yū1 rather than 在 joih6 or the spoken equivalent 喺 hái2: 穿梭於香港街道 = “to shuttle back & forth in/along the streets of Hong Kong”. It is used again at 2:00 in 我太太出生於香港 = “my wife was born in Hong Kong”. (2) The word 會 wúih5 seems to have a range of meanings. Often, it suggests what is normally the case, even a universal truth. In English, the present tense is often used for the same purpose, so 每個字體都會使用不同的方法設計 = “every Chinese character is designed using different methods”. There are also a couple of uses at 2:00: 她都會幫忙檢查所有字體 = “she helps check every character”, followed soon after by 她會解釋它們的原本意思 = “she explains their basic meaning”. (3) In written Chinese, 其 kèih4 can be used as a third-person pronoun, often expressing possession. At 0:18 we come across it in 他們都各自擁有其獨有的特質 = “they each of them have their own unique qualities. Later, at 0:37, it crops up in 就是隨著時間流逝的見證 | 其剝落的油漆 = “they are witnesses to the passage of time, [and] their peeled paint . . .”It also has this meaning in the four-character phrase 名副其實, which roughly translates as “the name matches its actuality”. (4) The word 以 yíh5 can be used to express the means by which something is done, and can also have the related meaning of “taking (something as a means)”. It often works in conjunction with 為, as in 以資訊性和吸引力為前提 (0:47), which literally means “taking informativeness & attractiveness as a premise”. It also crops up in the next section at 1:54 in 以相機與語言互動 = “taking a camera to interact with language” or “engaging with language by means of [my] camera”.

【1:00】為字體增添了另一層意義 | 它們不再僅僅是牆上的名字 | 而是變成了時間的詩歌 | 繁體中文是其中一種仍然 | 被採用的歷史語言 | 我們很幸運能夠在這個超現代的城市中 | 被這種古老的字體所包圍 | 這些招牌是名副其實的藝術品 | 結合了人、時間 | 和元素的技術 | 我決定用相機捕捉它們 | 由於我對中國書法的藝術形式非常著迷 | 我想把不同的字體組合 | 去創作成詩詞 | 透過拼湊在不同地方拍攝的字體 | 來賦予它們意味 | 當我決定學習廣東話時 | 我很自然地 | 尋找到一個方法 | 便是以相機與語言互動

「我們很幸運能夠在這個超現代的城市中被這種古老的字體所包圍」 | “We are so lucky to be surrounded visually by this ancient text in such a hyper-modern city.”


● 幸運 hahng6 wahn6 = fortunate; lucky | ● 超現代 chīu1 yihn6 doih6 = hyper-modern (lit. “super modern”) | ● 包圍 bāau1 wàih4 = to surround; to encircle | ● 名副其實 mìhng4 fu3 kèih4 saht6 = the name matches the reality; be worthy of the name | ● 結合 git3 hahp6 = to combine; to unite; to integrate | ● 元素 yùhn4 sou3 = element [In this context, “elements” refers to (經受)風吹雨打] | ● 捕捉 bouh6 jūk1 = to catch; to seize | ● 著迷 jeuhk6 màih4 = be fascinated; be captivated | ● 組合 jóu2 hahp6 = to make up; to compose; to constitute | ● 拼湊 ping3 chau3 = to piece together | ● 賦予 fu3 yúh5 = to bestow on; to endow with; to vest with | ● 意味 yi3 meih6 = a meaning; a significance; an implication | ● 互動 wuh6 sēung1 = usu. “an interaction”; here, “to interact”

Notes: (1) The coverb 為 waih6 has all sorts of uses in written Chinese, mapping onto various prepositions in English. At the beginning of this section, it appears in 為字體增添了另一層意義, literally “for/to written characters adding another level of meaning”. The situation is complicated by the fact that wàih4 is a commonly used verb. One of its uses is to operate as a verb-suffix to indicate becoming. In 反而將它們轉化為更深層次的事物 in the previous section, it links up with the verb 轉化 jyún2 faa3 = “to change; to transform” to introduce the result of the transformation: “but changes them into something with greater depth”. (2) In the example just discussed, the character 將 jēung1 appears. Sometimes described as a “disposal marker”, it is commonly used in Cantonese and formal written Chinese to move the direct object from its usual position after the main verb to a position before it, so that you get something like “but them [it] changes into something with greater depth”. In this section, another character with the same function is also used: 把 báa2. At 1:38 you’ll see 我想把不同的字體組合 = I would like to put different characters together (or “I would like to combine different characters”). As far as I know, 將 and 把 can both be used in written Chinese with the same structural function, but there may be differences in nuance.

【2:00】我太太出生於香港 | 她都會幫忙檢查所有字體 | 每次我拍攝完畢後回家 | 她會解釋它們的原本意思 | 以及提供建議 | 去賦予它們新的詩意 | 這項目是她首次如此投入參與 | 讓我加深在香港的根基 | 並更加融入她的文化

● 檢查 gím2 chàah4 = to check (up); to inspect; to examine | ● 完畢 yùhn4 bāt1 = to finish; to complete; to end | ● 詩意 sī1 yi3 = poetic quality of flavour | ● 項目 hohng6 muhk6 = a project | ● 加深 gāa1 sām1 = to deepen | ● 根基 gān1 gēi1 = a foundation; a basis | ● 融入 yùhng4 yahp6 = roughly, “to blend in; to integrate”

Notes: Although 讓 yeuhng6 does get used in spoken Cantonese, it is frequently replaced by the more colloquial 俾 béi2 (also written 畀). It has the meaning of “to let; to allow”, often with a sense close to the English “to enable”. In the final parts of this section, we find 讓我加深在香港的根基 = to allow/enable me to deepen my roots in Hong Kong and to get deeper into her culture.

One-minute Wonderful Short Cantonese Videos: Tommy’s Halfway Coffee


For one minute, take time out to listen to Tommy talk about his Halfway Coffee shop, where aromatic coffee is served in exquisite traditional Chinese tea-cups. That astonishing fusion between East and West at the heart of Hong Kong is the world’s most incredible and precious cultural heritage, reminding us of Elizabeth Chow’s provocative, thought-provoking words:

Look at us, and envy us, you poor, one-world people, riveted to your limitations. We are the future of the world!

And while you’re enjoying your imaginary drink, boost your stock of Cantonese vocabulary with a few new items: 巷 hohng6 = a lane; 隱約 yán2 yeuk3 = indistinct; 情懷 chìhng4 wàaih4 = feelings; 收藏 sāu1 chòhng4 = to collect; 沖茶 chūng1 chàah4 = to make tea; and of course that all-important 中西融合 Jūng1-Sāi1 yùhng4 hahp6 = roughly, “a fusion of Chinese & Western (elements)”. You can also pick-up some phrases to impress colleagues and friends, including 隱約充滿咗舊香港嘅情懷 = “filled with a faint feel of the old Hong Kong”, 成間咖啡店,我最鍾意厘個位 = “this is my favourite spot in the entire café” and, last but not least, 假如有人經過,我哋就會同佢微笑 = “if someone happens to be passing by, we smile at them” . . .

You can watch the video here.


摩羅街行落幾步呢 | 就會搵到我哋呢間咖啡店㗎喇 | 間鋪呢,成條巷咁樣嘅 ,前後都打通| 隱約充滿咗舊香港嘅情懷 | 我哋呢度收藏咗大約三百隻中式嘅茶杯 | 魚鱗紋呢,可以話係我最鍾意嘅一隻杯 | 唔好以爲依啲杯只係沖茶喎 | 其實我哋係可以攞嚟做咖啡架喎 | 中西融合沖起嚟嘅咖啡 | 飲落去都有香港嘅情懷 | 成間咖啡店,我最鍾意厘個位 | 喺度沖咖啡嘅時候,可以望到唔同嘅客人 | 假如有人經過,我哋就會同佢微笑 | 邀請佢哋入嚟飲杯咖啡、傾吓偈 | 感受吓舊香港嘅情懷 | 我叫 Tommy | 係一間咖啡店嘅隊長

● 摩羅街 mō1 lòh4 gāai1 = (?) Lascar Row | ● 巷 hohng6 = a lane; an alley | ● 打通 dáa2 tūng1 = to get through; to open up | ● 隱約 yán2 yeuk3 = indistinct; faint | ● 情懷 chìhng4 wàaih4 = feelings | ● 收藏 sāu1 chòhng4 = to collect; to store up | ● 魚鱗紋 4*2 lèuhn4 màhn4 = (?) a fish-scale pattern | ● 沖茶 chūng1 chàah4 = to make tea cf. 沖咖啡 | ● 中西融合 Jūng1-Sāi1 yùhng4 hahp6 = (?) a fusion of Chinese & Western (elements] | ● 假如 gáa2 yùh4 = if; supposing; in case | ● 邀請 yīu1 chíng2 = to invite | ● 感受 gám2 sauh6 = to experience; to feel | ● 隊長 deuih6 jéung2 = team leader

Just take a few steps along Lascar Row and you will find this coffee shop of ours. Now this shop is on a lane way — you can come in through the front and walk out through the back [前後都打通] and it is filled with a faint feel of the old Hong Kong. Here we have collected around three hundred Chinese-style tea-cups. The cup with the fish-scale pattern on it is probably my favourite. Don’t imagine [唔好以爲] that these cups are only used for tea; actually, we can use them to make coffee in, too. Fusing Chinese and Western elements, this way of drinking coffee has a Hong Kong feel [to it]. This is my favourite spot in the entire café: when I’m making coffee here, I can look at the various customers and, if someone happens to be passing by, we smile at them and invite them in for a cup of coffee and a chat, [so that, in the process, they can] experience something of the old Hong Kong. My name is Tommy, team leader of a coffee shop.