《新心界》:「好似斷咗線嘅風箏咁」

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

Soundtrack: “Barbarism Begins at Home


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

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

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

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

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

Learning Cantonese: Got Hang Fai, the Man Who Married Running


If you too are married to running, you will love this video about 葛行輝 Stanley Got and his passion for tung kan paau or “running to work”. This notion, first popularized by the Japanese runner-writer 關家良一Ryōichi Sekiya, gets an extra twist in a Hong Kong setting when Got realizes he can run from Sha Tin to Kowloon where he works as the boss of a clothing store, taking in some diverse mountain wilderness along the way.

If you happened to be married to Cantonese rather than athletics, you will enjoy Got’s humorous, engaging manner and vivid turns of phrase, including 合二為一 hahp6 yìh4 wàih4 yāt1 = (?) to take several things and make them into one thing; 奇妙之旅 kèih4 miuh6 jī1 léuih5 = roughly, “a marvellous journey”; 千方百計 chīn1 fōng1 baak3 gai3 = in a thousand and one ways; and 樂在其中 lohk6 joih6 kèih4 jūng1 = overwhelmed with joy; overjoyed.

The marriage of image and music is another inspiring aspect of this video: at times they meld in a powerfully evocative way.

You can watch the video here (subtitles in Standard Written Chinese only). For my transcription, vocabulary notes and translation, please see below.


旁白:跑,係因為身體嘅呼喚 | 係爲咗揾返錯過嘅生活 | 定係爲咗發現新嘅自己? | 廣闊嘅跑道上 | 我哋有住不一樣嘅追求 | 走向唔同嘅目的地 | 但信念就只有一個

● 呼喚 fū1 wuhn6 = to call to (e.g. “Our country is calling us” [祖國在呼喚我們]) | ● 追求 jēui1 kàuh4 = to seek; to pursue | ● 信念 seun3 nihm6 = faith; belief; conviction

Voice-over: Do we run in response to the call of the body, for the sake of recovering a life we have missed, or in order to discover a new [sense of] self? On the wide running track, we have our different pursuits [追求] and we move towards different destinations, but the faith is the same . . .

Caption: 有種信念叫跑 | There is one kind of faith called “running”

旁白:我哋每一集會有三個環節 | 「你跑」,改變人生嘅跑步故事 | 「佢跑」,獨男跑步育成攻略 | 「我跑」五K 名人賽真誠分享 | Three, Two, One: Go!

● 環節 wàahn4 jit3 = link; segment | ● 育 yuhk6 = to educate; to cultivate; to nurture; the addition of 成 sìhng4 here perhaps indicates result, that is, to instruct someone so that they are able to do sth. successfully (one meaning of 成 is “to accomplish; to succeed”) | ● 攻略 gūng1 leuhk6 = ① to attack & seize ② a tactic | ● 名人賽 = (?) a master in a particular sport, cf. 美國名人賽, The Masters/ Masters Tournament | ● 真誠 jān1 sìhng4 = sincere; genuine; true

Voice-over: There will be three segments [環節] in each our programs: “You Run”, stories about running and how it can change your life; “He/She Runs”, tactics to educate a single male runner [about how to be able to run well]; and “I Run”, in which masters in the 5-kilometre run truly share [some of their secrets]. Three, Two, One: Go!

Caption: 「你跑」| “You Run”

旁白:一日嘅起點,由日出開始【1:00】 | 為迎接繁忙嘅生活 | 我哋整裝待發 | 無論係趕返工定返學 | 都已經急不及待喺起步線上面奔馳 | 跑,成為我哋嘅日常 | 當大家追逐時間嘅同時 | 有人離開撲面嘅人群 | 選擇另類嘅起步途徑:通勤跑

● 整裝待發 jíng2 jōng1 doih6 faat3 = be ready to set out; fully equipped & waiting to set out (意思是整理好行装,等待出发。出自陶菊隐《北洋军阀统治时期史话》) | ● 急不及待 gāp1 bāt1 kahp6 doih6 = to impatient to wait; extremely anxious | ● 奔馳 bān1 chìh4 = to run quickly; to speed | ● 追逐 jēui1 juhk6 = ① to pursue; to chase ② to seek; to quest | ● 撲面 pok3 mihn6 = cf. 迎面 yìhng4 mihn6 = head-on; in one’s face; perhaps here “oncoming” | ● 另類 lihng6 leuih6 = ① alternative (that is, “far out; way out”) ② nonconformist | ● 起步 hei2 bouh6 = ① to start to move ② to start to do sth. | ● 通勤跑 tūng1 kàhn4 páu2 = running to work (a Japanese term)

Voice-over: The starting point for any day begins with the rising of the sun. In order to go forth to meet [迎接] our busy lives, we pack our bags and head out [整裝待發], already dashing anxiously [towards?] the starting line, either to go to work or get to school. Running has become something normal [日常] to us. While everyone is racing against time [追逐時間], there are those who leave behind the oncoming crowds, choosing an altogether different [另類] means of getting underway [起步途徑]: running to work.

「通勤跑」係日語漢字 | 係日本作家關家良一著作入便 | 跑步返工嘅意思 | 任職服裝店主管葛行輝 | 外號「史丹利店長」| 〇九年愛上跑步 | 每朝都會喺沙田河岸練跑 | 近年更加愛上跑山 | 發掘咗一條穿越山林 | 直達九龍返工嘅通勤路線

● 日語漢字 Yaht6 yúh5 hon3 jih6 = approx. a Japanese word [日語] written in Chinese characters [漢字] | ● 主管 jyú2 gún2 = ① be responsible for; be in charge of ② the person in charge | ● 店長 dim3 jéung2 = store supervisor; manager | ● 河畔 hòh4 buhn6 (the standard reading)/búhn5 (a variant reading) = river bank; riverside | ● 發掘 faat3 gwaht6 = to excavate; to unearth; to explore | ● 穿越 chyūn1 yuht6 = to pass though; to cut across |● 直達 jihk6 daaht6 = usu. through; non-stop

Note: He is called Got Hang Fai in English | 關家良一Ryōichi Sekiya is a Japanese ultramarathon and marathon runner from Sagamihara, Kanagawa.

Voice-over: Tung kan paau is a Japanese word written in Chinese characters, used in a book written by Ryōichi Sekiya, and means “running to work”. In charge of a clothing shop, Got Hang Fai goes by the nickname “Store Supervisor Stanley”. In 2009, he fell in love with running, and would go for a training run [練跑] along the [Shing Mun] River in Sha Tin every morning. In recent years, he became even more passionate about mountain running, and managed to figure out [發掘] a route [that enabled him] to run to work, passing through mountain forests all the way to Kowloon.

葛行輝:舊年【2:00】我開始,呃,跟人行吓山啦,咁啊熟吓啲山路啦 | 發覺原來呢,喺沙田,如果沿山路出九龍呢,係好快嘅啫 | 噉我就喺上沙田坳獅子亭嗰度呢 | 噉嗰度一落山就係九龍喇 | 呢個 shortcut 呢,又唔好遠嘅啫 | 噉只要你係應付上山條山路呢 | 咁就OK 喇 | 噉大約喺幾個月前呢,噉我就開始探咗路之後呢 | 就跑步返工喇

● 發覺 faat3 gok3 = to find; to detect; to discover | ● 沙田坳 Sāa1 Tìhn4 Aau3 = Sha Tin Pass | ● 獅子亭 Sī1 Jí2 Tìhng4 = Sha Tin Lions Pavilion | ● 落山 lohk6 sāan1 = (?) to go down a mountain | ● 應付 ying3 fuh6 = to deal with; to cope with; to handle

Got Hang Fai: Last year, I started to go out hiking with people and became a bit more familiar with some of the mountain routes. I found that, from Sha Tin [喺沙田], if I followed the mountain road that went out to Kowloon, it was very quick. Going all the way down the mountain from the Lions Pavilion at Sha Tin Pass, I’d get to Kowloon. This shortcut wasn’t very far [out of my way (?)]. As long as you knew how to handle going up the mountain, it was OK. A few months ago roughly, after I’d started to explore this route, I [began] running to work.

葛行輝:噉我而家呢,就係 *jai 跑步同埋返工呢,係合二為一 | 我反而呢,就多咗啲時間

● 合二為一 hahp6 yìh4 wàih4 yāt1 = (?) to combine; to take several things and make them into one thing

Got Hang Fai: Now, I have turned running and going to work into one and the same thing [合而為一]. But as it turns out, I have a bit more time [for other things].

葛行輝:我呢條路線呢,又有平路又有上山又有落山 | 噉反而喺嗰個,呃,訓練方面呢,比較冇就咁跑平路咁單一【3:00】| 嗱,我哋平時生活呢、或者工作呢,環境 | 唔會咁大上大落㗎嘛 | 呢個你當一個奇妙之旅啦 | 喺呢十 K 裏邊呢,有經過城市啦、上到半山啦 | 又可以飽覽九龍嘅全景啦 | 跟住你就落山啦,又跑返入鬧市呢 | 即係 *je 我喺個零鐘頭裏邊呢,又經歷鬧市 | 又經歷過寧靜 | 噉個過程呢,係,係幾舒服㗎

● 奇妙之旅 kèih4 miuh6 jī1 léuih5 = roughly, “a marvellous journey” | ● 飽覽 báau2 láahm5 = to look intensively; to feast one’s eyes on | ● 鬧市 naauh6 síh5 = the bustling city

Got Hang Fai: On this route of mine, there are ordinary level roads [平路] as well as mountain roads. However, in terms of training [訓練方面], it’s not as unvarying [單一] as running on an ordinary level road [平路]. In our everyday lives, or at work, [our] environments don’t usually have such a lot of variation [大上大落]. You can treat this as a marvellous journey — in these ten kilometres, you pass through an urban centre [城市], go halfway up a mountain, feast your eyes on a complete view of Kowloon, then you go down the mountain and run back into the bustling city. I mean, in around an hour, you experience both the busy city [鬧市] and complete peace, and the process is really quite pleasant.

葛行輝:譬如話落雨,出街就唔係好方便啦 | 如果跑步嚟講呢,如果咁嘅雨呢,在我嚟講就冇乜大礙嘅 | 好天跑呢,都成個人濕嘅喇 | 噉落雨跑,都係濕㗎喇 | 不過分別就係呢,好天跑對鞋唔濕 | 落雨跑,對鞋濕埋【4:00】,咁解啫

● 礙 ngoih6 = to hinder; to obstruct; to be in the way of

Got Hang Fai: For instance, when it rains, going out is not very convenient, but when it comes to running, the rain is not much of a bother [冇乜大礙]. On a fine day when you run, you get all wet with sweat [濕], and on a rainy day you get wet too, the only difference being that your shoes don’t get wet on a clear day, while on a rainy day they do — that’s all there is to it [咁解啫].

葛行輝:跑步呢,其實呢,你話係一種運動啦 | 噉如果係恆常跑呢,其實我覺得係一個修練嚟㗎 | 因為你要克服咗自己一啲嘅惰性啦,一啲負面情緒啦 | 噉人就好逸惡勞嘅 | 你要喺個過程裏邊呢,set 一啲唔同嘅目標 | 係令我呢,係 keep 住跑步,係唔會停低落嚟

● 恆常 hàhng4 sèuhng4 = ? cf. 恆 = ① permanent; lasting ② perseverance & 常 = constant; invariable | ● 修練 sāu1 lihn6 = ? (cf. 修煉 sāu1 lihn6 = (of Taoists) to practise asceticism) | ● 克服 hāk1 fuhk6 = to surmount; to overcome; to conquer| ● 惰性 doh6 sing3 = inertia | ● 好逸惡勞 hou3 yaht6 wu3 lòuh4 = love ease & hate work

Got Hang Fai: You can say that running is in fact a type of sporting activity, [but] if you persevere with running [係恆常跑] actually I think it’s a spiritual practice [修練], because you have to overcome your own set of inertias [自己一啲嘅惰性], as well as some negative moods. Human beings love ease and hate work, [so] you have to set a few different goals in the process to keep me running and so that I won’t stop.

旁白:山巒起伏,有高有低 | 正好係店長跑步歷程嘅寫照 | 當佢挑戰多過超越自己極限嘅比賽時 | 無形間又築起咗一道屏障

● 山巒 sāan1 lyùhn4 = a chain of mountains | ● 歷程 lihk6 chìhng4 = a course; a career | ● 寫照 sé2 jiu3 = portrait; portraiture | ● 極限 gihk6 haahn6 = the limit; the maximum | ● 無形間 mòuh4 yìhng4 gāan1 = (?) imperceptibly; virtually | ● 屏障 pìhng4 jeung3 = protective screen (perhaps “barrier” in this context)

Voice-over: [In] the undulations of a chain of mountains, there are highs and lows, an exact portrait of the long-distance-running career of the store supervisor. In the contest — one with many challenges [挑戰多過] — to go beyond his own limits, imperceptibly a barrier was built [between him and his running].

葛行輝:我係跑路跑先㗎 | 噉我早幾年呢,就覺得,即係 *je,越跑,即係 就好似越冇乜動力呀 | 跑比賽【5:00】嗰陣時候呢,係慢慢覺得有壓力 | 但我初初唔係呀 | 我初初起步嗰陣時,我係渴望係鳴槍㗎 | 鳴槍嗰下呢,我係非常之希望呢,就呢,我衝線之後呢,個時間係點樣樣 | 直到有一次,喺個起步點嗰陣時,等緊鳴槍 | 我腦入便呢,就有一個諗法就係,又要跑四呀二 K | 我就覺得呢,對比賽呢,有少少厭惡喇 | 噉嗰年開始呢,我就唔跑比賽

● 路跑 louh6 páu2 = roughly, “road running” (as opposed to mountain running) | ● 渴望 hot3 mohng6 = to thirst for; to long for; to yean for | ● 鳴槍 mìhng4 chēung1 = to fire a shot (here, used to signal the start of a running race) | ● 衝線 chung1 sin3 = to breast the tape (that is, at the finishing line) | ● 厭惡 yim3 wu3 = to detest; to abhor; to abominate

Got Hang Fai: I [unclear] ran road races. [After] several years I felt that the more I ran, the less I had an impetus [動力]. At that time when I was taking part in races, gradually I came to feel that there was pressure [on me]. When I first started, it wasn’t like that. When I first began running, I longed to hear the sound of the starter pistol, and at that instant when the shot was fired, I was really extremely hopeful about what [my] time would be like after breasting the tape at the finishing-line. This went on until on one occasion [直到有一次], during that time before the race began [嗰陣時], as I waited for the starting gun to be fired, a thought popped into my head about having to run another 42 kilometres, and I felt a tinge of loathing for racing. From that year onwards, I didn’t run in races [anymore].

葛行輝:嗱,我,我覺得跑步呢,就好似,呃,同一段婚姻就好似嘅 | 噉如果你認定跑步係你個終身伴侶呢 | 噉呢,你要係 . . . 要千方百計去維繫呢個,呃,嗰個關係啦 | 噉初初我跑步嗰陣時候呢,嗰頭一兩年呢 | 就好似初初拍拖個蜜月咁喇, 係,係好開心㗎,係 | 噉同埋呢,就係呢,嗰陣時我個,【6:00】個目標好明確 | 我要係,呃,跑全馬 | 噉當你跑完全馬 | 之後呢,你好似,即係 *je,大家結咗婚 . . . 到咗手喇 | 噉不知不覺呢,你發覺呢,就係呢,唔係好,好夠動力呢 | 去 keep 住你好似以前一路維繫緊跑步嗰團火 | 噉我其實我就習慣就不斷呢,就係 *jai即係 *je,用一啲嘅新嘅方式 | 去包裝跑步呢件事 | 令我自己呢,係不斷呢,係樂在其中 | 噉我跑步返工呢,其中一個原因,都係咁樣樣 | 將返工同埋跑步合而爲一咋嘛

● 認定 yihng6 dihng6 = to firmly believe; to maintain; hold | ● 終身伴侶 jūng1 sān1 buhn6 léuih5 = a lifelong companion (referring to one’s husband or wife) | ● 千方百計 chīn1 fōng1 baak3 gai3 = in a thousand and one ways; by every possible means; by hook or by crook | ● 維繫 wàih4 haih6 = to hold together; to maintain | ● 跑全馬 páau2 chyùhn4 máah5 = (?) to run a full marathon cf. 全程馬拉松 | ● 到手 dou3 sau2 = in one’s hands; in one’s possession | ● 動力 duhng6 lihk6 = motive/driving force; impetus | ● 包裝 bāau1 jōng1 = a pack; a package | ● 樂在其中 lohk6 joih6 kèih4 jūng1 = overwhelmed with joy; overjoyed | ● 合而為一 hahp6 yìh4 wàih4 yāt1 = (?) combine into one

Got Hang Fai: Look, my feeling is that running is like getting married to someone. If you genuinely believe that running will be your lifelong companion, then you must maintain your relationship to it by every possible means. When I first started running, in that first one or two years, it was like the honey-moon period when you first start going out with someone — [I] was so happy. In addition, my objective was very clear: I wanted to run a full marathon. Afterwards, it as if you have got married — you have got your hands on what you wanted [到咗手]. But without you even realizing it, you discover that you don’t really have enough impetus to maintain the fire [團火] that you seemed to have all along before for running.

旁白:一場早課,為店長整理好工作狀態 | 雖然除低咗跑衫 | 店長仍然將跑步嘅熱情帶入去工作間入面【7:00】感染到身邊嘅同事

● 早課 jou2 fo3 = literally, “a morning class” | ● 跑衫 paau2 saan1 = running gear/attire | ● 工作間 gung1 jok3 gaan1 = literally, “work space” | ● 感染 gam2 yihm5 = to influence; to infect; to affect

Voice-over: A morning class [一場早課] [helps] the store manager to get himself into the right frame of mind for work [整理好工作狀態] and although he has changed out of his running gear, he nevertheless carries his passion for running into the work space, infecting the people he works with.

旁白: 由對跑步嘅零接觸 | 巴士都追唔到 | 到近年完成咗十公里嘅公開賽事 | 店長正正就係佢幕後嘅軍師喇

● 賽事 choi3 sih6 = sporting event; a competition | ● 幕後 mohk6 hauh6 = behind the scenes | ● 軍師 gwān1 sī = usu. “military adviser”

Voice-over: She had zero contact with running. She couldn’t [even] run for the bus. In recent years, she has completed a public sporting event. Her boss is her adviser, behind the scenes.

Joanna:我而家做所有啲運動呢 | 全部都係店長教我嘅 | 以前讀書嗰陣時,紮紮跳嘅都係 | 但係做咗師奶之後就基本上唔喐㗎 | 唔喐㗎 (葛行輝:佢冇喐成廿年呀)| 冇喐廿幾年嘅喇,冇喐㗎喇 | 跟住即係今時今日做體能 . . . 學做體能呀、跑吓班呀 | 甚至學吓行吓山呀,報吓跑班嗰啲呢 | 全部都係店長 | 即係 *je . . . 佢 . . . 佢 . . . 佢半推半就(葛行輝:唔係,都要 . . .都要靠你自己嘅)| 半 . . . 唔係呀 . . . 我 . . . 即係 . . . 即係 . . . 唔係呀但係 . . .(葛行輝:我用把口吹水咋嘛,都要你自己至肯做至得嘅)

● 紮紮跳 jaat3 jaat3 tiu3= the act of jumping around | ● 師奶 sī1 nāai5*1 = middle-aged woman; married woman; housewife | ● 體能 tái2 nàhng4 = physical strength | ● 半推半就 bun3 tēui1 bun3 jauh6 = yield but with a show of reluctance

Now I do all kinds of sports. The boss taught me all of them. When I was a student, I used to be very active [紮紮跳], but after I got married, basically I didn’t move. I didn’t move. (Got Hang Fai: For 20 years she didn’t move.) [Right,] I didn’t move for 20 years, not an inch. But right now I’m doing physical strength . . . (self corrects) I’m learning about physical strength, running [跑吓班], even doing some hiking, signing up for a running group [跑吓班]. And all thanks to the boss. That is . . . he . . . he . . . he sort of half pushed me and half helped me [半推半就] (Got Han Fai: No I didn’t! You did it by yourself.) Half . . . no, that’s not it . . . I . . . that is . . . that is . . . no, but . . . (Got Hang Fai: I just said a few things to [encourage] you, but it could have happened if you hadn’t been willing.)

Joanna:我返工嗰時呢,見到我店長 | 我話點解你孭跑鞋返工 | 跟住佢話【8:00】,我跑完步先返工吖嘛 | 噉我話,如果我咁肥,我有冇得減呀 | 噉佢話,你先行吓先 | 如果唔係整嚫隻腳就麻煩喇

● 孭 mē 1 = CARRY on the shoulders

Joanna:On my way to walk, I saw the boss. I said: “Why are you carrying your running shoes to work, slung over your shoulders like that [孭]?” He said: I finish my run before I come to work. And so I said: “If I’m so fat, would I be able to lose weight?” And he said: “You could try walking first, otherwise it would be a nuisance if you hurt a leg.”

葛行輝:佢以前呢,就唔夠膽行山嘅,佢驚落山呀,吓 | 噉佢其實個體能唔得 | 但係呢,佢又成日講啲朋友去行山呀 | 一路都掛喺口度 ,我知佢好想㗎 | 噉我知道有一個,呃,山藝初班呢 | 學吓啲上山 technique 呀 | 噉其實呢,如果你係,呃,掌握到上落山嘅 technique(技巧) | 你自己就基本上呢,你個信心會大咗㗎 | 即係 *je,你可以跨出自己嗰個圈呀 | 將自己嗰個世界再擴闊啲囉 | 噉啊你要自己肯去行出第一步呢 | 噉你個世界呢,就大好多㗎喇 | 係咪呀?

● 山藝 sāan1 ngaih6 = (?) mountaineering (lit. “mountain craft”) | ● 初班 chō1 bāan1 = (?) an elementary class | ● 掌握 jéung2 āk1 = to grasp | ● 跨出 kwāa1 chēut1 = (?) to step outside | ● 擴闊 kong3 fut3 = to broaden cf. 擴闊視野 = broaden one’s vision; widen one’s horizon

Got Hang Fai: Previously, she didn’t have the courage to do any hill-climbing, afraid that she’d have a fall [落山]. Actually, her physical strength was inadequate. And yet she was always talking about her friends and how they went out hill-climbing. She was always going on about it, so I knew that she really wanted to give it a try. I knew about an elementary class in mountaineering [where she could learn] some hill-climbing techniques. If you grasp the techniques for climbing and going down hills, then your confidence will increase. That is, you can step outside [the limitations of] your own circle, and broaden your world. Now if you are willing to take the first step, then your world will be a bigger one. Isn’t that right?

Joanna:係呀!你睇吓,周圍 . . .

Joanna: That’s right! Just look around . . .

旁白:美好嘅風景 | 通常都要攀山越嶺先能夠【9:00】親身欣賞得到 | 店長不斷鍛煉强健體魄 | 令自己可以達到參與海外馬拉松 | 或者山賽嘅資格 | 藉住比賽去放眼世界

● 攀山越 pāan1 sāan1 yuht6 líhng5 = cf. 翻山越嶺 = to cross over mountain after mountain | ● 强健體魄 kèuhng4 gihn6 tái2 paak3 = ? cf. 體魄强健 = be physically strong; have a strong constitution | ● 山賽 sāan1 choi3 = lit. “mountain contest; mountain competition” | ● 資格 jī1 gaak3 = qualifications | ● 放眼世界 fong3 ngáahn5 sai3 gaai3 = to have the whole world in view

Voice-over: Often, you have to scale mountain after mountain to reach some beautiful scenery and to be able to appreciate it in person. This store supervisor constantly trains his physical strength, to the point where he was qualified to participate in marathons held overseas or mountain competitions [山賽]. He made use of sporting events to get a whole view of the world.

葛行輝:嗱,噉我而家今年就係五呀七歲啦 | 噉就嚟緊呢,呃,過咗六十呢,我都要考慮,即係 *je,我個,呃,六十歲之後呢,噉可能呢,就要係退落職場喇 | 噉,即係 *je,要考慮我嘅退休生活啦 | 首先就要呢個係身體健康先啦 | 有氣有力至可以做得成㗎嘛 | 噉所以而家呢個時候呢 | 我覺得操山呢,係一個好好嘅方法嚟嘅 | 噉啊噉可以做返啲自己,呃,好想做嘅嘢喇 | 例如呢,就係我好想做呢個 back-packer 㗎 | 即係 *je 呢,即係 *je,用腳慢跑去,去觀光 | 好好玩㗎 | 即係 *je,你可能就係我六十歲後呢 | 就真係可能以咁嘅形式呢,走去,走去環遊世界㗎

● 退落職場 teui3 lohk6 jīk1 chèuhng4 = to withdraw from the work arena | ● 有氣有力 yáuh5 hei3 yáuh5 lihk6 = (?) strong cf. 有氣無力 = weak | ● 操山 chōu1 sāan1 = (?) to walk mountain trails | ● 慢跑 maahn6 páau2 = jogging; to jog | ● 觀光 gūn1 gwōng1 = to go sightseeing; visit; tour | ● 環遊世界 wàahn4 yàuh4 sai3 gaai3 = to travel the world

Got Hang Fai: Look, I am now 57 and what’s coming . . . when I’ve turned 60. I have to think about withdrawing from the work arena and about my life when I’ve retired. The first [priority] is that I stay healthy. You can only keep active if you’ve strong. So now at the moment, I’m thinking that trail walking [操山] is a good option. I can go back to doing some of the things I’d really like to do. For example, I’d like to be a back-packer, I mean, [combining] jogging with sight-seeing. It’d be a lot of fun. After I’ve turned sixty, I could really go and travel round the world in this way.

Learning Cantonese: I Am Lam Eman


“A fat girl singer. I think this is revolutionary in itself!” says 林二汶 Lam Eman in this short video challenging both gender and body stereotypes. Although she was bullied at school for the way she looked, and was called all kinds of terrible names (she shares some of these in her presentation), ultimately, she had the last laugh, becoming successful in the duo at17 in the early 2000s, and then continuing as a celebrated solo artist. If you’re interested, I’ve also added a rough translation of one of her songs, 《我變成我》, with music by 盧凱彤 Ellen Loo and lyrics by the inimitable 周耀輝 Chow Yiu Fai. Give it a listen: any song that uses the words 哲學 jit3 hohk6 (philosophy) and 美學 meih5 hohk6 (aesthetics; the study of beauty) in it must be considered out of the ordinary . . .

You can watch the video here (it has subtitles in both English and Standard Written Chinese).


Caption: 林二汶 | 歌手、專欄作家

親愛嘅林二汶 | 中學嘞 | 大家都開始發育嘞 | 你發嘅肉呢,就多過人好多 | 你有好多名嘅 | 奶王包啦、世紀巨乳啦、水塘啦、死肥婆啦 | 好具畫面嘅名嚟㗎,呢啲 | 你記唔記得嗰個男仔呀?| 第一個叫你同佢出街嗰個男仔呢 | 佢個日問你,佢話:「喂,你不如同我去街呀?」| 你都未嚟得切反應,你淨係轉身咋 | 佢就直接話:「你就 *ya 想呀!」

我細個因為係肥妹呢 | 所以,嗯,加上我有一個好叻嘅阿哥 | 呢樣嘢我諗係好影響我細個嘅時候點樣建立自信心㗎 | 肥妹歌手,我覺得呢一件事已經好革命性㗎喇 | 我竟然可以喺度唱咗十年 | 但係個個都要零號嗮士 | 但係我知道有好多肥妹仔 | 或者有好多其實個形狀唔係一個標準靚女嘅人

● 發育 faat3 yuhk6 = growth; development | ● 發肉 faat3 yuhk6 = lit. “to put on flesh/meat” | ● 奶王包 náaih5 wòhng4 bāau1 = usu. “steamed creamy custard bun” | ● 世紀巨乳 sai3 géi2 geuih6 yúh5 = (the most) enormous breasts of the century | ● 水塘 séui2 tòhng4 = usu. “a pool; a pond” | ● 死肥婆 séi2 fèih4 pòh4 = an insult for an overweight woman | ● 具畫面 cf. 具 geuih6 = to possess + 畫面 waah6 mín62 = scene | ● 出街 cheut1 gaai1 = to go out (to town, shopping, etc.) | ● 去街 heui3 gaai1 = 出街 | ● 建立gihn6 laahp6 = to build; to establish; to set up | ● 自信心 jih6 seun3 sām1 = self-confidence | ● 革命性 gaak3 mihng6 sing3 = revolutionary | ● 嗮士 sāai31 sí62 = size | ● 形狀 yìhng4 johng6 = form; appearance; shape | ● 標準靚女 bīu1 jéun2 leng3 léui25 = a standard pretty girl

Caption: Lam Eman | Singer, columnist

Dear Lam Eman,

You were in middle school now, and everyone was going through a growth spurt [發育 faat yuk]. You put on weight [發肉 faat yuk], much more than other people did. You were called a lot of names: “creamy custard bun breasts”, “boobs of the century”, “wobbling titties” and “rotten fatty” — very picturesque names, these. Do you still remember that boy? He was the first boy to ask you to go out with him. On that day, he asked: “Hey, why don’t you go out with me?” Before I had time to give him an answer, and was only just turning around, he added said at once: “In your dreams!”

The fact I was plump as a little girl, and also had an elder brother who was very clever, affected my ability to establish any self-confidence when I was younger. A fat girl singer. I think this is revolutionary in itself! I’ve actually managed to sing for ten years, when everyone else is desperately trying to be a size zero. But I know that there are many large girls out there, as well as girls with body shapes that don’t fit the typical “pretty girl” standard.

【1:00】我相信佢哋係有得到一啲啓發 | 噉呢樣嘢係我覺得,我入行好有 意義嘅一樣嘢

但係其實你亦都從來冇諗過呢啲咁難過嘅日子、呢啲你唔需要忘記嘅日子 | 係會令你成為今日大家都尊重嘅人 | 你要為自己驕傲,因為你從來都冇放棄 | 從來都冇

I AM ME 我係林二汶 | 你選擇令到呢啲經驗去教你成為一個更加好嘅人 | 你唔叫佢哋做傷痕 | 你叫佢哋做徽章 | 呢一生,呢啲就係你嘅徽章

● 啓發 kái2 faat3 = to arouse; to inspire; to enlighten | ● 入行 yahp6 hòhng4 = to enter the profession | ● 驕傲 gīu1 ngouh6 = ① arrogant; conceited ② be proud; take pride in | ● 傷痕sēung1 hàhn4 = a scar; a bruise | ● 徽章 fāi1 jēung1 = usu. “a badge”

I’m sure that they have gained some inspiration. The fact that I got into the music industry is very significant.

But you never thought that all those very difficult days, days that you must not forget, could make you into the kind of person that people respect. You must be proud of yourself, because you never ever gave up. Never for one minute.

I AM ME. I am Lam Eman. You chose to let these experiences teach you how to become a better person. You don’t call them “scars”. You call them “medals”. These are the medals you will wear throughout your life.


Here are the lyrics for 《我變成我》. You can find the MV here . . .

錯的對 對的錯 | Down-wrong rights, and down-right wrongs
為了太多太多歪理願意學 | Because of too much illogic, I was willing to learn
然後學到識説謊 | Later, I learned just enough to tell lies
我的殼 我的角 | My thorns, my horns
為了太多太多經濟及數學 | Too much economics & too much mathematics
然後學到想正常過 | Taught me to want to lead a normal life

幾多工作 | The more work I do
幾多操控著我 | The more it takes control of me
難道沒法不説謊 | Is there really no way not to tell lies?
一刻閃過 | In a lightning flash
想學掂行掂過 | I wanted to learn how to walk right on by
寧願讓我不正常過 | Preferring to let myself live a non-normal life

歡呼 存在過 | Hooray! I’ve managed to exist
記住沉默容易容易沉默過 | Just remember: keeping quiet makes it easy to go along quietly
從未這麽感覺我 | I’ve never felt myself this way before
一身 存在過 | Without help, by myself I’ve existed
記住麻木容易容易麻木過 Just remember: keeping numb makes it easy to go along numbly
從未像這刻敏銳過 | I’ve never been so sensitive as I feel right now

過一秒 老一秒 | Another second, another second older
問我那些那些一秒便脫落 | Each second asks me about my these & those, then falls away
靈魂熱到想脫光 | My soul is so hot it wants to shed light (or “strip itself bare”)
我的世 我的界 | All my uni- and all my -verse
被我那些那些統統改變過 | Have been transformed utterly by all my these & those
時候遇到想變成我 | What time brings I want to turn it into me

歡呼 存在過 | Hooray! I’ve managed to exist
記住沉默容易容易沉默過 | Remember: silence is easy, it’s easy to get by being silent
從未這麽感覺我 | I have never felt myself this way before
一身 存在過 | Without help, by myself I’ve existed
記住麻木容易容易麻木過 | Remember: numbness is easy, it’s easy to get by being numb
從未像這刻敏銳過 | I’ve never been so sensitive as I feel right now

歡呼 誰是我 | Hooray — so this who is me
記住明白然後承認誰是我 | Remember: when I’ve understood then I’ll acknowledge who I am
從未這麽感覺我 | I have never felt myself this way before
一刻 存在過 | For an instant I’ve existed
記住凝望時代時代凝望我 | Remember: as you look at the times, the times look back at you
從未像這刻敏銳過 | I’ve never been so sensitive as I feel right now

喜歡哲學 | I’m fond of philosophy
喜歡思索更多 | I’m fond of more and more thoughts
來吧!在這刻變成我 Come on! I want to become me in this moment

喜歡美學 | I’m fond of aesthetics
喜歡風格更多 | I’m fond of more and more styles
來吧!在這刻變成我 | Come on! I want to become me in this moment

時候遇到想變成我 | What time brings I want to turn it into me

Learning Cantonese: When in Doubt, Take a Walk


黃宇軒 Sampson Wong and 曾梓洋 Eric Tsang made their first “When in Doubt” walking video back in October 2020 and since then have gone from strength to strength. In their work, they combine urban geography with beautiful (don’t take your eyes off what’s happening in the background) images accompanied by a powerful piano soundtrack — at times the fusion is breathtakingly powerful and expresses with verve something of Hong Kong’s elusive city spirit. Recently, they have been experimenting with an added element, conversation, and this led me to transcribe the following video which shows Sampson and his friend Sammy walking through Kai Tak in search of the Kai Tak River. Throughout their journey, Sampson muses on the theme of 重組自然 or “reworking nature”. After finding the Kai Tak River, he comments:

我哋而家呢,見到嘅啟德河、新蒲崗嘅呢一段呢,其實都經歷過個咁樣嘅過程。原本呢,居民呢,未必咁留意到佢嘅存在。喺過去十幾年呢,各方嘅努力之下呢,重新將佢變為咗新蒲崗呢一帶呢,特別靚嘅一個城市景觀。經過美化啦、活化啦,同埋潔淨之後呢,大家都越嚟越鍾意呢條河。
The section of the Kai Tak River which we now see in San Po Kong did in fact undergo this same kind of process. Once upon a time, the residents of the area didn’t necessarily take much notice of its existence. Over the past ten or more years, thanks to the efforts of various parties, it has been transformed into a particularly beautiful part of the urban landscape in San Po Kong. After being beautified, brought back to life and cleaned up, this river is now liked by an ever-increasing number of people.

I still remember the first time I saw a “When in Doubt” video. It featured 石硤尾 Shek Kip Mei and when, after slowly winding his way through the Nam Shan Estate, Sampson reaches Tai Hung Sai Street, my heart nearly skipped a beat as he mooched along past the 彩龍大酒樓 Lucky Dragon restaurant, whose takeaway outlet round the back I visited frequently for lunch back in 2013. There’s something exhilarating about reconnecting with a place in this way, especially when you haven’t seen it for a long time. I felt the same in the video on 屯門Tuen Mun, when special guest Chong Suen strolls past the river channel in the vicinity of Tuen Tsz Wai. How many times have I done the same thing!

You can enjoy the Kai Tak video here. Follow the link to their channel and you can discover more of these walks for yourself. Even in places you might not be familiar with, you will still discover moments of the Hong Kong mystique, when music, image and the rhythm of movement come together in synergy — or perhaps even a sensuous “syn-energy”. You can also read up on the creation of the series in a Zolima Citymag article by Christopher Dewolf entitled “Sampson Wants You to Take a Walk“.


我係《懷疑人生就去》嘅 Sampson。平時我哋 channel 嘅散步片呢,多數都係一個人行嚟行去,而且冇人講嘢嘅。今次我哋試吓做一個新嘗試。

Caption: 懷疑人生就

我約咗 Sammy 出去散步,諗住由啟德行到去新蒲崗。

我哋成日都會話呢,其實城市裏便呢,冇嘢係唔自然嘅,因為即使係最人工嘅東西呢,佢都要用到自然嘅元素,例如呢,係起樓嘅混凝土啦,其實都係嚟自大自然嘅事物嚟嘅。噉所以呢,我哋反而呢,從城市研究嘅角度呢,會話呢,城市呢,就好似喺度 reworking nature 咁,即係重組自然,將大自然嘅一啲元素呢,變成我哋鍾意嘅一個安排,成為咗我哋呢個城市裏便見到嘅事物

● 嘗試 sèuhng4 si3 = to try | ● 元素 yùhn4 sou3 = an element | ● 混凝土 wahn6 yìhng4 tóu2 = concrete (building material) | ● 事物 sih6 maht6 = a thing | ● 重組 chùhng4 jóu2 = to restructure; to reorganize

I’m Sampson, from “When in Doubt, Take a Walk”. In most of the walking videos on our channel there is usually one person walking around here and there. Nobody speaks. But this time we would like to try something new.

Caption: When in Doubt, Take a Walk

I arranged to go out for a walk with Sammy with the intention of going from Kai Tak to San Po Kong.

We are always saying that in a city nothing is unnatural, because even the most artificial things made by humans make use of natural elements. For example, the concrete used in construction comes in fact from natural things. So for this reason, from the perspective of urban research, we tend to say that the city is reworking nature, changing elements from the natural world into arrangements that we like, into the things we see in our city.

【1:00】平時我哋可能會覺得呢,啟德係一個好高密度啦、好多人住、好多樓嘅地方,但我哋散步嘅時候呢,如果細心一睇呢,其實樹木無處不在,而且以唔同嘅形式呢,被種植嘅

另外一個呢,大家成日講嘅大自然嘅元素喺城市裏便出現嘅呢,就係水同埋河流喇。喺香港我哋更加多講嘅係海啦。去到啟德嘅時候呢,我成日都想搵呢,係北邊嘅一段啟德河呢,其實喺邊一度。但係因為最近呢,啟德大興土木呢,有時呢,佢成日都會被一啲圍板圍住嘅。今次呢,我帶 Sammy 呢,行到去呢個圍板望出去呢 . . .

● 河流 hòh4 làuh4 = a river | ● 大興土木 daaih6 hīng1 tóu2 muhk6 = go in for large-scale construction | ● 圍板 wàih4 báan2 = (?) temporary fencing (used for construction sites) | ● 圍 wàih4 = to enclose

Usually, we may perhaps think that Kai Tak is a high-density area, with a lot of people and a lot of buildings, but when we were out walking and if we looked carefully, there were in fact trees everywhere, planted in different ways. Other elements that everyone always talks about as appearing in cities are bodies of water and rivers. In Hong Kong, we talk more about the sea. When I went to Kai Tak, what I really wanted to find was the northern section of the Kai Tak River, which was somewhere here. But because just recently there is a lot of construction work going on in Kai Tak, the view of the river is generally blocked by temporary fencing. On this occasion, I took Sammy to look through the little holes in the fencing . . .

【2:00】 . . . 發現原來呢,喺啲窿仔裏便都見到啟德河嘅存在。第時呢,佢都會成為咗啟德呢一帶呢,最重要嘅風景呀。而家呢一刻呢,可能好多人都唔知道呢,其實北邊呢一部分啦¬——喺啟德呢一部分呢——都有一段啟德河。我哋呢,當日喺啲圍板後便呢,通過啲窿呢,望出去嘅時候呢,發現呢,有好多朋友呢,都跟住我哋一齊去望。佢哋都發現咗呢,原來有一條啟德河喺呢一度。有時呢,觀察城市就係咁呀——你開始去望呢,亦都會引導身邊嘅一啲人去望。原本見唔到嘅城市裏便嘅一啲嘢呢,都會因為你開始去望呢,可以引導其他人一齊去睇。

● 窿仔 lūng1 jái2 = a small hole | ● 第時 daih6 sìh4 = in the future, another day | ● 觀察 gūn1 chaat3 = to observe; to watch; to survey | ● 引導 yáhn5 douh6 = to guide; to lead

. . . and we found that we could see the Kai Tak River. One day, it will become the most important scenic spot in this area. At this point in time, many people may not be aware of this section of the Kai Tak River on the northern side of Kai Tak. When we looked through the holes in the fencing on that day, we found that many like-minded people were taking a look with us. They too discovered that here they could see the Kai Tak River. Sometimes, observing a city is like this. When you start looking at things, this can lead others to look, too. Others can be led to look at things in the city that were once invisible, just because you started to look at them.

【3:00】水呢,以種種唔同嘅形態呢,喺城市裏便存在,亦都係我哋觀察嘅一個目標。由啟德行到去新蒲崗呢,我哋就可以去到新蒲崗呢一邊南段嘅啟德河。呢條河呢,其實好有啟發性嘅,因為呢,十幾年前開始呢,全世界嘅城市呢,都開始覺得河流呢,應該係我一個我哋珍惜嘅資源,唔再係應該將佢覆蓋啦。例如係好似南韓呢,有一個特別著名嘅例子呢,就係清溪川一條呢,原本大家唔鍾意嘅河流呢,幾乎要將佢覆蓋㗎喇。而家呢,重新將佢打翻開變成大家都見到嘅一啲景觀。 我哋而家呢,見到嘅啟德河、新蒲崗嘅呢一段呢,其實都經歷過個咁樣嘅過程。原本呢,居民呢,未必咁留意到佢嘅存在。喺過去十幾年呢,各方嘅努力之下呢,重新將佢變為咗新蒲崗呢一帶呢,特別靚嘅一個城市景觀。經過美化啦、活化啦,同埋潔淨之後呢,大家都越嚟越鍾意呢條河。原本河流好功能性咁樣 . . .

● 形體 yìhng4 tái2 = 1. shape (of a person’s body) 2. form & structure| ● 資源 jī1 yùhn4 = resources | ● 覆蓋 fūk1 goi3 = to cover | ● 著名 jyu3 mìhng4 = famous; celebrated; well-known | ● 景觀 gíng2 gūn1 = a landscape | ● 美化 méih5 faa3 = to beautify | ● 活化 wuht6 faa3 = (?) to vivify; to inject life into (a place)

Water exists in the city in all kinds of different forms and is one of the objectives of our observation. From Kai Tak to San Po Kong, we can get to the southern section of the Kai Tak River in San Po Kong. This river really has a lot to teach us. This is because more than ten years ago cities all over the world began to think that rivers ought to be a treasured resource and should no longer be covered over. For instance, there is the very famous example of the Cheonggyecheon River in South Korea, a river which originally no one like and which people wanted to cover over. Now, it has been opened up again to become a landscape everyone has seen. The section of the Kai Tak River which we now see in San Po Kong did in fact undergo this same kind of process. Once upon a time, the residents of the area didn’t necessarily take much notice of its existence. Over the past ten or more years, thanks to the efforts of various parties, it has been transformed into a particularly beautiful part of the urban landscape in San Po Kong. After being beautified, brought back to life and cleaned up, this river is now liked by an ever-increasing number of people. In the old days, the river linked the local community . . .

【4:00】 . . . 去連結呢個社區。喺好耐之前呢,大家會喺度洗衫啦、打水啦,但係去到今時今日嘅城市河流呢,作為景觀話唔定呢,有另一種聚集街坊、俾大家喺度相遇嘅功能。

我同 Sammy 散步呢一次呢,剛好係榆木盛開嘅季節。我哋都遇到幾樖好靚嘅榆木。唔知大家有冇見得到呢?呢次散步遇上咗好多植物、動物,遇到好多雀仔,亦都呢,透過去觀察水呢,我哋經過咗啟德河。

最後呢,去到彩虹道體育館 . . .

● 連結 lìhn4 git3 = to connect | ● 打水 dáa2 séui2 = to fetch water| ● 話唔定 waah6 mh4 dihng6 = perhaps; maybe | ● 聚集 jeuih6 jaahp6 = to gather; to assemble | ● 街坊 gāai1 fōng1 = neighbourhood | ● 相遇 sēung1 yuh6 = to meet each other | ● 榆木 yùh4 syuh6 = elm | ● 盛開 sihng6 hōi1 = in full bloom

. . . in very functional ways. A long time ago, people would wash their clothes in it and fetch water, but an urban river in today’s world may perhaps, as a scenic landscape, have another function of bringing together the local people.

On this walk with Sammy, it was the season for the elm trees to flower and we encountered several very beautiful elm trees. I don’t know whether you’ve noticed them. On this walk, we came across a lot of plants, animals and birds. In addition, by observing water, we passed along the Kai Tak River.

Finally, we arrived at the Choi Hung Road Sports Centre.

【5:00】. . . 同埋公園附近呢,遇上呢一個我好鍾意嘅一個噴水池。同 Sammy 介紹呢一度嘅時候呢,亦都講到呢,除咗呢一個噴水池呢,一個被人觀賞嘅元素之外呢,呢一帶呢,有好多好好嘅公共空間,好多人喺度休息,入夜之後呢,我同佢繼續行多一陣呢,就結束咗我哋今次嘅旅程。如果你從來未去過啟德,未去過新蒲崗,我建議你呢,跟我哋呢個路線去行吓。唔單止呢,可以用城市與自然做一個切入點,亦都可以留意吓呢一帶有啲乜嘢公共空間同埋公園。可以觀察一下啟德呢個急劇變化中嘅地帶,亦都可以睇吓呢,新蒲崗呢個老區。跟住我哋呢一個題目「城市與自然」周圍睇吓之餘呢,亦都可以發現一啲呢,你感到有趣嘅風景。希望你都去呢一帶散步,然後話返我哋聽,你鍾意睇啲乜嘢啦

● 噴水池 pan3 séui2 chìh4 = a fountain | ● 觀賞 gūn1 séung2 = to enjoy; to admire (a view) | ● 旅程 léuih5 chìhng4 = a journey | ● 切入點 chit3 yahp6 dím2 = (?) entry point | ● 急劇 gāp1 kehk6 = drastic | ● 周圍 jāu1 wàih4 = around; round; about

. . . and in the vicinity of the park, we came across a fountain that I really like. When I was introducing this place to Sammy, I also mentioned that, apart from the fountain, which was one element that was admired in this area, there were many excellent public spaces, which many people used for relaxation. After dark, we went on walking a bit longer, bringing an end to this journey of ours. If you have never been to Kai Tak or San Po Kong, I recommend that you follow the route we took. You can use “City and Nature” as your entry point. In addition, you can also pay attention to the public spaces and parks in this area. You can observe Kai Tak, this area in the midst of drastic change. You can also take a look at the old district of San Po Kong. In addition to having a good look around in accordance with out topic “City and Nature”, you can also find some scenery that you think is interesting. I hope you will come to this area for a walk, then afterwards tell us what you liked.

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 was 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.