One-minute Wonderful Short Cantonese Videos: I Am a Porcupine!


In this magical one-minute deleted scene from周冠威 Kiwi Chow’s 2019 film 《幻愛》(literally “hallucinated love”, but officially rendered into English as “Beyond the Dream”), the two main characters try to get to know one another. 阿樂 Ah Lok, who has suffered from a mental breakdown that causes him to have hallucinations, is all sweetness and circumspection, while the psychologist 葉嵐 Yip Lam (the character 嵐 is pronounced làahm4 and means “haze; vapour; mist”) is the prickly one — having been damaged herself as a child, she strives to find security in her professional persona . . .

The Cantonese word for “porcupine” is 箭豬 jin3 jyū1 or “arrow pig”. And it is true that the spines can really stab (㓤 gāt1 in Cantonese). Martin Booth describes his encounter with one in Chapter 7 of his Hong Kong memoir, Gweilo:

The porcupine stopped at the roadside and faced me. Now that I could see it clearly, it was huge, three feet long and bulky. Its nose was blunt, like a beaver’s, its quills black and white. It shivered. The quills rattled. Then it was off, running clumsily down Harlech Road and into the twilight. It was only later that a Chinese friend of my mother’s told me that porcupines could kill a leopard cat with their quills.

Needless to add that, in the end, Yip Lam’s expert armour is no match for Ah Lok’s sincerity or for the purity of his affection.

You can watch the video here


阿樂:你輔導嘅時候呢 | 好似變咗另一個人咁喎

葉嵐:我其實鍾意輔導時嘅我多啲 | 幫人分析問題 | 我可以好清晰 | 但係冇咗呢個身份 | 有時我都唔知自己 *je 想點 | 我鍾意見 client 嘅感覺 | 多過見朋友

阿樂:你好鍾意幫人 | 但係你會怕同人太親密

葉嵐:好似隻箭豬咁 | 行得太近會㓤嚫對方

阿樂:同我唔怕咩?

● 輔導 fuh6 douh6 = to give guidance in study or coaching; to coach; to counsel | ● 清晰 chīng1 sīk1 = distinct; clear | ● 親密chān1 maht6 = close; intimate | ● 箭豬 jin3 jyū1 = a porcupine | ● 㓤 gāt1 (or 拮) = to stab; to pierce; to prick

Note: Yip and Matthews refer to 嚫 chān1 as an adversative particle. It is added to verbs and means “to one’s misfortune, whether physical or psychological” (Intermediate Cantonese: 79). Yip Lan adds it to the verb 㓤 gāt1 to give the sense of “stabbing” or “jabbing”, with the clear implication that hurt is inflicted.

Ah Lok: When you are counselling, it’s as if you become a different person.

Yip Lam: I prefer the me [I am] when I am counselling. I can be very clear when analyzing [other] people’s problems, when I am not in that role [呢個身份 = lit. “this status”], sometimes I don’t know what is going on in my head [想點]. I like the feeling I have [when] seeing a client more than the feeling I have [when] seeing friends.

Ah Lok: You like to help people, but you’re afraid of getting to close to them.

Yip Lam: [I’m] just like a porcupine: if I get too close I can jab the other person [對方].

Ah Lok: But aren’t you afraid being with me?

Learning Cantonese: Chiang Hiu-mei’s Tuen Mun Character


What is the relation of place to personality? In this video, writer 蔣曉薇 Chiang Hiu-mei speaks at length of her feelings for Tuen Mun, a new town “developed” in the 1970s. She argues that the relative isolation from both business and fashion pressures can result in a more independent character, one with a rhythm and speed all of its own.

The best proof of this is in Chiang’s writing. The novel she talks about here, a literary adaption of Kiwi Chow’s film Beyond the Dream, is a finely-paced love story about a young man who falls in love first with a hallucination and then with a psychologist who resembles his imaginary lover. Her most recent book, 《秋鯨擱淺》(roughly, “The Stranding of Autumn Whales”), takes the mass beaching of 400 whales in New Zealand as a metaphor for the current predicament of the people of Hong Kong and sees in the human effort to save these marine mammals a ray of hope for a Hong Kong renaissance.

There are some splendid vocabulary items for, if you’re keen to improve your Cantonese: 氣質 hei3 jāt1 = ① temperament; disposition ② qualities; makings; 餵貓 wai3 māau1 = to feed a cat; 甜蜜 tìhm4 maht6 = sweet; happy; 願景 yuhn6 gíng2 = an aspiration; 零用錢 lìhng4 yuhng6 chín4*2 = pocket money; 養份 yéuhng5 fahn6 = nutrient; and 時尚 sìh4 seuhng6 = ① fashion; fad ② fashionable.

You can watch the video here. If you are interested, you can also look at these two other posts on Chiang Hiu-mei:

● Learning Cantonese: 蔣曉薇 Chiang Hiu-mei on Hongkongers — Leaving, Staying or Stranded?

● Learning Cantonese: A Tuen Mun Love Story . . .

Beyond the Dream by Chiang Hiu-mei (Part 1 Ah Lok: 1-6)


蔣曉薇:其實呢度都係好,好塑造到一個人嘅氣質嘅,係啦! | 你有你自己步伐嘅,有自己節奏嘅

Caption: 我的繆思 | 青山碧海 —— 作家蔣曉薇

記者:電影《幻愛》以屯門做背景 | 發掘咗呢個社區好多動人嘅畫面 | 而小説版嘅作者蔣曉薇本身 | 都係喺屯門長大嘅 | 佢喺創作裏面 | 投射咗好多個人喺屯門嘅回憶同埋感受

蔣曉薇:你寫屯門就係我最親切嘅回憶囉 | 擺咗好多自己個人嘅感受呀 | 經驗呀,落去嘅 | 有啲中學同學睇完我本書呢 | 喺度笑呀, 喂,你真係寫中我嘅心聲呀,咁樣 | 係,我們嘅第一章呢,就寫 | 阿樂呢,就約阿葉嵐呢,就喺屯門碼頭嗰度等 | 我將我自己嘅感情擺咗落去 | 噉啊裏面講到 . . .

● 塑造 sou3 jouh6 = to mould; to model | ● 氣質 hei3 jāt1 = ① temperament; disposition ② qualities; makings | ● 步伐 bouh6 faht6 = a step; a pace| ● 繆思 màuh4 sī1 = a muse | ● 發掘 faat3 gwaht6 = to excavate; to unearth; to explore | ● 投射 tàuh4 seh6 = ① to project (a ray of light) ② to cast | ● 感受 gám2 sauh6 = to experience; to feel | ● 心聲 sām1 sēng1 (or sīng1) = heartfelt wishes; aspiration; thinking

Note: The 中 used in 寫中我嘅心聲 is pronounced in the mid-level tone (jung3). It is added to verbs to express the idea of “hit (a target); fit exactly”. In this example, it is added to the verb 寫 sé2 (to write) = “writing in a way that captures (a person’s heartfelt wishes)”.

Chiang Hiu-mei: Actually, this place really shapes a person’s qualities, yes. You go at your own pace, [with] your own rhythm.

Caption: My Muses | Green Mountains & Blue Seas — the Writer Chiang Hiu-mei

Reporter: The film Beyond the Dream is set in Tuen Mun and uncovers many moving scenes in the local community there. The author of the novel version of the film Chiang Hiu-mei also grew up in Tuen Mun. She has cast many [of her] personal memories and experiences of Tuen Mun into [the novel] she created.

Chiang Hiu-mei: You write about Tuen Mun . . . my most intimate memories [are bound up with this place]. I put a great number of my personal feelings about things [好多自己個人嘅感受] and experiences into [the book]. When people I went to high-school with read the book, they laughed and said: “You have really captured [寫中] my innermost wishes”. Yes, our first chapter [describes] how Ah Lok arranges to meet Yip Lam and waits for her at Tuen Mun Pier. I put my own feelings into [this scene]. In it, there [are certain things] . . .

【1:00】有一啲就係,欸,一個城市人嚟到屯門碼頭嘅時候 | 佢覺得好驚訝啦 | 點解呢度會有船去出澳門嘅呢,咁樣?| 第二就係,欸,阿樂喺度等葉嵐嘅時候呢 | 佢就喺度餵貓、撩貓啦 | 噉呢個係好常見嘅一個畫面嚟嘅 | 噉因為喺電影裏面呢,欣欣係阿樂嘅幻想出嚟㗎嘛 | 噉電影嘅時間好有限嘅 | 噉所以呢,佢,你見到呢,佢同欣欣拍拖嘅畫面呢,啫,挨住欄杆啦 | 好似就係 . . . 我記得就係挨住欄杆啦 | 摸吓佢啦,咁樣嘅拍拖畫面主要都係咁樣 | 或者喺輕鐵嗰度接佢 | 啫,阿樂同欣欣拍拖嘅時候,係會做啲乜嘅呢 | 噉佢喺屯門區會做啲乜嘅呢 | 噉我第一個最直接嘅反應就係 | 嗯,佢哋一定會去食糖水咁樣囉 | 啫,好甜蜜㗎嘛,呢啲嘢 | 噉我就諗啦,屯門區最著名食糖水嘅地方就喺美樂嗰度有個糖水店咁 | 噉我喺小説嗰度冇開名嘅

● 驚訝 gīng1 ngaah6 = surprised; amazed; astonished; astounded | ● 餵貓 wai3 māau1 = to feed a cat | ● 撩 lìuh4 = to tease; to tantalize; to provoke (Sheik) | 挨 āai1 = to lean against | ● 直接嘅反應 jihk6 jip3 ge3 fáan2 ying3 = an immediate reaction | ● 糖水 tòhng4 séui2 = a dessert soup such as red bean soup or almond paste soup | ● 甜蜜 tìhm4 maht6 = sweet; happy | ● 開名 hōi1 méng2 = (?) to mention sth. by name

. . . such as, first of all, the surprise city people feel when they come to Tuen Mun Ferry Terminal — how come boats leave from here to go to Macao? The second thing is that when Ah Lok was waiting for Yip Lam, he fed the cats and tried to make them come to him [撩貓]. Now this is something you see all the time. Because, in the film, Yan Yan is an imaginary person who only exists in Ah Lok’s mind, the time [spent on this] in the film is limited. When you see Ah Lok with Yan Yan, they are leaning against the railing [of a housing estate] — I think it’s like that: as I recall, he leans against the railing and strokes her. They are the main ways the dating scenes are done. Or he goes to meet her at the light rail [station]. So [in the book], what would Ah Lok and Yan Yan do when they were dating? What would they do in downtown Tuen Men? My immediate response was: they would go and have dessert soup [together]. Such things are very sweet. I then thought that the most famous place in Tuen Mun for dessert soup is the shop in the Melody Gardens Estate. In the novel, I didn’t mention the name.

【2:00】記者:美樂花園係屯門碼頭一帶第一個非公屋屋苑 | 可以話係象徵咗呢個社區小康嘅一面

蔣曉薇:我細個係住,呃,美樂嘅 | 我覺得,呃,美樂花園個名改得好靚嘅 | 美好又快樂 | 啫,佢一個寄願就係一個新市鎮 | 有個咁嘅願景喺度 | 打風呢,其實屋企係最慘嘅 | 因為個廳就係望住個海嘛 | 噉啲風刮入嚟嘅時候呢,係成個廳係水浸嘅 | 噉屋 . . . 我爸爸媽媽就冇得瞓啦,但係我同我細佬就好開心囉 | 因爲有水玩吖嘛,又可以抹地吖嘛,咁樣 | 噉呢啲係一啲好,好特別、好快樂嘅回憶 | 但係其實生活係一啲好簡單幸福嘅小點滴呀 | 放學就會同啲同學嚟到蝴蝶灣囉 | 噉主要喺,啫,呢度比較清靜啲啦 | 同埋,呃,個空間好廣好闊吖嘛 | 噉所以就會,呃, 有陣時周末呢,咁冇嘢做呢 . . .

● 屋苑 ūk1 yún2 = housing complex | ● 象徵 jeuhng6 jīng1 = to symbolize; to signify; to stand for | ● 小康 síu2 hōng1 = comparatively well-off; comfortably well-off | ● 寄願 gei3 yuhn6 = (?) to make a wish | ● 新市鎮 sān1 síh5 jan3 = a new town | ● 願景 yuhn6 gíng2 = an aspiration | ● 刮入嚟 gwaat3 yahp6 làih4 = (of wind) to blow in | ● 抹 maat3 = to wipe | ● 小點滴 síu2 dím2 dīk1 = usu. “a tidbit” | ● 清靜 chīng1 jihng6 = peace & quiet

Reporter: Melody Gardens was the first non-public housing complex in the vicinity of the Tuen Mun Ferry Terminal. You could call it a symbol of the comparatively well-off [lifestyle] in this district.

Chiang Hiu-mei: When I was a little girl, I live in the Melody Gardens housing complex. To me, the name [美樂 Mei Lok in Cantonese] is a very pretty one: both “fine” [美好 mei hou] and “happy” [快樂 fai lok]. It is a wish for a new town. There is an aspiration of this kind in this place. Our apartment copped it badly [屋企係最慘嘅] when there was a typhoon. This was because the living room faced the sea. When the wind blew in, the whole living room would be flooded. Now the house . . . Mum and Dad wouldn’t get any sleep, but my little brother and I would be beside ourselves because we could play in the water and wipe down the floor. These are some of the very special and very happy memories. But life in fact is those very simple [but] fortunate bits and pieces [小點滴]. After school, my classmates and I would come down to Butterfly Beach. Here, it was more peaceful and quieter. In addition, there was plenty of wide-open space. For this reason, sometimes on the weekends when I had nothing to do . . .

【3:00】. . . 唔想留喺屋企咁,噉啊會嚟呢度睇書囉,係呀 | 啫,攞幾本書咁樣喺度,喺度睇吓海咁樣,睇吓書呀,咁樣 | 其實唔去市中心㗎 | 因為去市中心要俾四蚊輕鐵費㗎 | 來回八蚊㗎 | 噉,嗯,冇錢㗎,以前 | 即係一個月好似得三十蚊零用錢咁樣呢 | 噉所以如果要落街 | 就近近哋腳行到嘅地方囉 | 但係喺呢個社區,啫,喺屯門區裏面當然有好多養份俾咗我啦 | 我諗特別係嗰個人同大自然嗰個連結呀 | 因為真係好近呢 | 行五分鐘就可以去到海邊 | 係好近個天 | 個天係好廣闊嘅 | 佢唔會有好多高樓切割開咁樣 | 鍾意寫海囉 | 會好多意象可能係鍾意寫海 | 可能就係 *jai 因為細個見得多啦、望得多啦 | 或者其實就係好簡單咁你落嚟做個運動、跑個步 | 呃,行吓散吓步 | 對個海嘅觀察 . . .

● 市中心 síh5 jūng1 sām1 = city centre; downtown | ● 零用錢 lìhng4 yuhng6 chín4*2 = pocket money | ● 腳行 geuk3 hàahng4 = (?) to go on foot | ● 養份 yéuhng5 fahn6 = nutrient | ● 連結 lìhn4 git3 = to connect | ● 切割 chit3 got3 = to cut | ● 意象 yi3 jeuhng6 = image | ● 觀察 gūn1 chaat3 = to observe; to watch

. . . and didn’t want to stay at home, I would come here and read, I would. That is, I bring some books here and look at the sea for a while, read for a while. Actually, I didn’t go into town because the light-rail ticket cost four dollars, [which made it] eight dollars to get there and back. I didn’t have the money, back then. I only got thirty dollars’ pocket money a month, if I remember correctly [好似]. So, if I wanted to go out [落街], I would to places nearby that I could walk to. But this district, I mean Tuen Mun, nurtured me in many ways, especially with regard to that connection between human beings and the natural world, because [nature] was just nearby. You could walk to the sea in five minutes. [We] were very close to the sky[, too]. The sky was so wide, so spacious — it wasn’t chopped up by all these tall buildings. I like to write about the sea: it has so many images [meaning unclear]. Perhaps this is because I saw it a lot when I was little and looked at it a lot. Or perhaps it was simply just a matter of going down [to the beach] for some exercise, to jog, or to take a walk or stroll. The thing I really looked at most of all . . .

【4:00】. . . 係真係最多嘅 | 呃,喺屯門公園嗰度就有啲大媽舞呀 | 落下一啲污名呀 | 啫係你搞到污煙瘴氣 | 噉但係嚟到再遠啲喇 ,再入啲嘅地方,譬如屯門碼頭 | 噉,呃,其實呢邊又冇乜,係啦 | 呢邊都仲係保留到係好閒適㗎 | 好, 好角落呀| 好自成一體嗰一種感覺嘅 | 以前細個就覺得,呃,自己好老土嘅 (哈哈)| 特別係,啫,大家可能係行 . . . 當你啲大學同學係行尖沙咀呀、行銅鑼灣呀 | 好,好潮流呀,打扮得好時尚 | 但係自己可能係仲係好土呀 | 好鄉下妹咁樣囉| 噉但係再大啲,自己揾到自己定位 | 或者係 . . . 你諗返轉頭 | 其實呢度都係好,好塑造到一個人嘅氣質嘅(哈哈),係啦!

● 大媽舞 daaih6 māa1 móuh5 = “dancing aunties”, middle-aged women who dance in Tuen Mun Park and “who regularly blast songs through loudspeakers and dance suggestively while skimpily dressed” | ● 污名 wū1 mìhng4 = stigma | ● 污煙瘴氣 wū1 yīn1 jeung3 hei3 = ? cf. 瘴煙毒霧 = clouds of pestilential vapour; miasmal clouds| ● 閒適 haahn6 sīk1 = leisurely & comfortable | ● 自成一體 jih6 sìhng4 yāt1 tái2 = (?) separate; self-contained | ● 老土 lóuh5 tóu2 = old-fashioned; out of date; traditional; unsophisticated; rustic; not hip; uncool + 土tóu2 on its own has the same meaning | ● 潮流 chìuh4 làuh4 = trend; popularity | ● 時尚 sìh4 seuhng6 = ① fashion; fad ② fashionable | ● 鄉下妹hēung1 háa6*2 mūi6*1 (?) = roughly, “a country girl” | ● 定位 dihng6 wái6*2 = (指人生追求) niche (one’s position in life) | ● 諗返轉頭 nám2 fāan1 jyun3 tàuh4 = with hindsight

. . . was the sea. In Tuen Mun Park, there are the “dancing aunties”. They have given the place a bad name, made it sleazy and unpleasant [你搞到污煙瘴氣]. However, go a bit further away [再入啲嘅地方] [and you have] places such as Tuen Mun Pier. There’s not much there, but it remains leisurely and comfortable, a tucked away corner [好角落], with a feeling of being a little world in its own right. When I was younger, I was very out of touch with the fashion. Especially when we all went out . . . when you were walking with your university friends in Tsim Sha Tsui or Causeway Bay, [you] felt very with it, wearing the latest fashions, but you were probably still very uncool, an unsophisticated girl from the country. But when you were older and had found your place in the world [自己揾到自己定位], perhaps, with hindsight, this place was somewhere that could really mould a person’s character. Yes, indeed!

【5:00】而嗰個氣質就係 . . . 唔係咁商業化嘅 | 唔係咁追隨潮流嘅唔使行到好前嘅 | 你有你自己嘅步伐、有自己節奏嘅

And this character is . . . not such a commercialized one. It doesn’t go chasing after trends and there is no need to be at the forefront [of things]. You walk at your own pace and you have a rhythm all of your own.

Learning Cantonese: Liu Wai-tong’s Three Answers to Poetry


In six sweet minutes, the Hong Kong poet 廖偉棠 Liu Wai-tong talks poetry, giving you the many benefits of his long years as a writer. One of my favourite moments comes when he asks

我哋(嘅)語言點樣從一個美麗嘅事物 | 慢慢變成咗我哋日常中我哋只係將佢作為種工具嚟使用呢?

which means, roughly, “Why has our language gone from being such a beautiful thing to a mere tool we make use of in our daily lives?” Perhaps that sentence alone will be enough to start you thinking along poetic lines . . .

From the Cantonese perspective, there is plenty of vocabulary to take away from Liu’s video. Items include 覺悟 gok3 ngh6 = ① come to realize ② consciousness; 歸結 gwāi1 git3 = to sum up; to put in a nutshell; 獨一無二 duhk6 yāt1 mòuh4 yih6 = unique; unparalleled; unmatched; 瘋狂 fūng1 kòhng4 = ① insane ② frenzied; unbridled; 打磨 dáa2 mòh4 = to polish; to burnish; to shine; 素材 sou3 chòih4 = source material (of literature & art); 外星人 ngoih6 sīng1 yàhn4 = a person from outer space; an extra-terrestrial being; an alien; and 習以為常 jaahp6 yíh5 wàih4 sèuhng4 = be used to sth.; be accustomed to sth.

You can watch the video here (the subtitles are, for a nice change, in Cantonese!). For my transcription, notes and very unpoetical English translation, please see below.


Caption: 廖偉 | 詩人說詩

大家好,我係廖偉堂 | 好高興今日可以喺呢度 | 同大家分享我對詩嘅一啲覺悟 | 其實,主要想同大家解答 | 三個經常見到嘅關於詩嘅問題

Caption: 一篇好的詩歌有哪些元素?

第一個呢,就係一首好詩有啲咩要素?| 其實呢個問題嘅答案非常之多 | 噉對於我嚟講呢,可以歸結成三個要素:| 先驗嘅、經驗嘅,同埋超驗嘅 | 聽起上嚟好似係哲學問題 | 其實,對於詩人嚟講 | 先驗指向嘅係佢嘅情感 | 因為詩人嘅情感呢 | 係同成個人類嘅 | 歷史發展以嚟嘅各種情感係交織埋一齊嘅 | 我哋寫詩呢 | 就係要重視、珍惜 | 同埋挖掘自己嘅情感嘅來源

● 覺悟 gok3 ngh6 = ① come to realize ② consciousness | ● 解答 gáai2 daap3 = to answer | ● 要素 yiu3 sou3 = essential factor; key element | ● 歸結 gwāi1 git3 = to sum up; to put in a nutshell | ● 先驗 sīn1 yihm6 = a priori | ● 超驗 chīu1 yihm6 = transcendental | ● 指向 jí2 heung3 = (?) to point at; to refer to | ● 交織 gāau1 jīk1 = to intertwine; to interweave; to mingle | ● 挖掘 waat3 gwaht6 = to excavate; to unearth

Caption: Liu Wai-tong | Poets on Poetry

Hello, everyone. I am Liu Wai-tong. I am very happy to be able to share with you here today some of the things I have come to realize [覺悟] about poetry. Actually, what I mainly wish to give you answers to are three common questions about poetry.

Caption: What are the elements of a good poem?

The first question is about what the key elements of a poem are. Actually, there are many answers to this question. As far as I am concerned, it can be summed up by three key elements: that which is prior to experience, experience [itself] and that which transcends experience. This makes it sound like a philosophical issue, but actually, for a poet, that which precedes experience refers to feelings. Because the feelings of a poet are interwoven with the many different feelings of the whole of humanity in its development through history, when we write poetry, we are valuing, treasuring and excavating the sources of our own feeling.

【1:00】通過咁呢種挖掘呢 | 可以同我哋嘅讀者 | 同我哋嘅同行,同其他藝術家 | 達成一種共情 | 至於經驗呢,非常之重要 | 我哋人生在世 | 可能經過咗十幾年、幾十年嘅歲月 | 我哋遭遇過好多好多獨一無二嘅也好 | 或者係同成個城市 | 成個時代其他人一齊經歷嘅事情又好 | 噉我哋就要從理性嘅角度去 | 喺入面呢,打撈出一啲呢,屬於我哋人類共同嘅智慧 | 呢種智慧可以非常之小 | 亦都可以非常之大 | 但係呢,一定會令我哋嘅讀者 | 包括我哋自己 | 去睇翻呢首詩嘅時候 | 發現到呢,一啲呢,點樣進行我哋未來 | 我哋面對我哋嘅命運嘅,一啲「想像」喺入面

● 共情 guhng6 chìhng4 = (?) literally, “common/shared feeing” | ● 遭遇 jōu1 yuh6 = to meet with; to encounter | ● 獨一無二 duhk6 yāt1 mòuh4 yih6 = unique; unparalleled; unmatched | ● 打撈 dáa2 làauh4 = to salvage; to dredge

By means of this excavation, we can attain to a kind of collective emotion [共情] with our readers, with other poets [同行] and with artists [working in different media]. With regard to experience, this is extremely important. Living here in this world, we might have spent a dozen or so years — or several decades — meeting with both many, many unique [experiences of our own] as well as feelings common to other people in [this] city as a whole, or in this period of time. What we have to do is — from the perspective of reason — to salvage something belonging to our collective wisdom from [all this]. This wisdom can be something extremely minor, or it can be something extremely major, but it has to be able to make our readers — including ourselves — discover when reading the poem something of the “imagination” in it, about how to conduct our future [lives] [or] how to face our destinies.

【2:00】第三點超驗呢,係指詩嘅語言 | 詩嘅語言我哋會覺得,啊,好似好瘋狂 | 或者係好難以理喻喎 | 其實,詩嘅語言呢,就同一個藝術品嘅打造一樣 | 佢係通過對我哋麻木咗嘅、功利性嘅 | 工具化嘅日常語言嘅打磨、變形 | 重新組合、構造 | 嚟帶領我哋呢,發現語言嘅秘密 | 就係我哋(嘅)語言點樣從一個美麗嘅事物 | 慢慢變成咗我哋日常中我哋只係將佢作為種工具嚟使用呢?| 噉當我哋發現到呢個秘密呢 | 我哋就可以嘗試去創造出 | 屬於自己嘅獨特嘅詩歌語言 | 嚟帶領我哋嘅讀者或者我哋自己 | 去重新認識呢個世界 | 呢首就會係一首非常之好嘅詩喇 | 如果做到呢 *nei 三種元素

● 瘋狂 fūng1 kòhng4 = ① insane ② frenzied; unbridled | ● 理喻 léih5 yuh6 = to reason with cf. 不可理喻 bāt1 hó2 léih5 yuh6 = be impervious to reason; won’t listen to reason | ● 打造 dáa2 jouh6 = to make | ● 功利 gūng1 leih6 = utility; material gin | ● 打磨 dáa2 mòh4 = to polish; to burnish; to shine | ● 變形 bin3 yìhng4 = be out of shape; become deformed | ● 組合 jóu2 hahp6 = to make up; to compose; to constitute | ● 構造 kau3 jouh6 = a structure; a construction | ● 嘗試 sèuhng4 si3 = to attempt; to try

[My] third point about that which transcends experience refers to the language of the poem. We all tend to think that the language of poetry is a bit like madness [瘋狂] or something that doesn’t listen to reason. Actually, the language of poetry is just like the making of a work of visual art. By polishing, deforming, reconstituting and structuring everyday language — a language that has become numb, utilitarian, instrumental — [we can let] it lead us to a discovery of the secret of language. Why has our language gone from being such a beautiful thing to a mere tool we make use of in our daily lives? When we have discovered this secret, we can try to create a unique poetic language belonging to us [alone], one that leads our readers — or we ourselves — to come to know the world in a new way. A poem that achieves this third element is an extremely good poem.


【3:00】Caption: 我可以從哪裏去收集寫作的材料?

第二點,我哋就經常會好困惑嘅 | 我哋點樣去攞我哋嘅寫作嘅素材呢?| 我哋生活喺呢 *nei 個非常之忙碌 | 亦都好似好無詩意嘅大都市入便 | 我哋成日都會慨嘆 | 我哋係咪要「為賦新詩強說愁」呢?| 其實根本唔係嘅 | 因為詩意無所不在 | 我哋需要嘅只不過係喺 | 呢 *nei 個城市或者呢 *nei 個當代生活中 | 去搵出可以同古代所謂嘅詩意 | 平等嘅一啲詩嘅素材 | 點樣搵出呢?| 就係我哋永遠要保持一種新奇 | 我哋經常要想像自己係一個 . . . | 比如話 | 「我係個剛剛嚟到地球 *gau(嘅)外星人」 | 比如話:「我係個未來嘅考古學家」 | 咁樣,喺呢 *nei 個我哋已經習以為常嘅生活入便 | 我哋就會覺得 | 咦,呢樣嘢 . . .

● 困惑 kwan3 waahk6 = perplexed; puzzled | ● 素材 sou3 chòih4 = source material (of literature & art) | ● 慨嘆 koi3 taan3 = to sigh with regret | ● 無所不在 mòuh4 só2 bāt1 joih6 = omnipresent; ubiquitous | ● 外星人 ngoih6 sīng1 yàhn4 = a person from outer space; an extra-terrestrial being; an alien | ● 考古學家 háau2 gú2 hohk6 gāa1 = archaeologist | ● 習以為常 jaahp6 yíh5 wàih4 sèuhng4 = be used to sth.; be accustomed to sth.

Caption: Where can we find the material for writing poetry?

About this second point, we feel constantly feel perplexed. How do we go about gathering the material with which to write our poems? We live in this extremely busy and seemingly unpoetic metropolis and we spend our days sighing with regret and wondering whether we should (as the poet 辛棄疾 Xin Qiji once wrote) “for to compose new verses”, feign our “sorrow and woe”. It is not really like this at all. Poetic meaning is everywhere to be found. All we need do is to find material in this city or in this contemporary life equivalent to what was called “poetic meaning” in bygone times. How do we find such material? We must forever maintain our curiosity. And we must be always imagining ourselves to be . . . for instance “I am a person from another planet who has just arrived on Earth” or “I am an archaeologist from the future”. In this way, in the life that we have already grown accustomed to, we will think: “Hey, this . . .

【4:00】 . . . 又好特別,嗰樣嘢又好特別 | 同時呢,我哋會保持非常之 open(開放)嘅心 | 我哋會讓呢個世界上好多元素呢,進入我哋度 | 包括現實嘅元素,情感嘅元素 | 噉佢哋呢,都會同我嘅心呢,產生一種共鳴 | 或者可以講係一種化學反應 | 因為我非常之 、、敏感 | 我保持到自己嘅敏感 | 我將呢 *nei 種反應再用語言調度出嚟 | 噉其實就係詩喇

Caption: 我可以怎樣讓自己的寫作進步?

最後一點呢,就係我哋都好想知道嘅 | 我哋點樣令我哋寫作進步 | 其實,最基本最基本就係 | 多讀多寫,細讀細寫 | 不斷咁樣磨練自己嘅手藝 | 就好似個工藝人咁樣 | 佢不斷磨練自己嘅手藝 | 又不斷去睇人哋 | 其他我嘅同行做緊啲乜嘢 | 有啲乜嘢我可以做得更好? | 有啲乜嘢係人哋冇做,我要做嘅?

● 共鳴 guhng6 mìhng4 = ① to resonate ② to respond sympathetically | ● 化學反應 faa3 hohk6 fáan2 ying3 = a chemical reaction | ● 調度 diuh6 douh6 = to dispatch | ● 磨練 mòh4 lihn6 = to practise hard; self-discipline | 手藝 sáu2 ngaih6 = craftmanship | ● 工藝人 gūng1 ngaih6 yàhn4 = craftsman

. . . is something special, and that is something special, too. At the same time, we will be extremely open-minded. We will allow many of the elements of this world to enter inside us, including elements of reality and emotional elements. Now these things can strike a chord with us or [create] what we could call a chemical reaction. Because I am extremely sensitive, I maintain this sensitivity of mine and dispatch [調度] this kind of reaction by means of language. This actually is poetry.

Caption: What can we do to improve our writing?

My final point is about something we would all like to know: how to go about improving our writing. The most fundamental thing of all is to read and write widely as well as to read and write attentively, constantly polishing our craft, just like any craftsperson, who constantly works hard at their discipline [手藝]. What things that our fellow poets are doing could we try to do better? What things can we do that others aren’t doing [yet]?

【5:00】有啲乜嘢我覺得人哋做可能仲有其他嘅選擇喎 | 呢 *nei 啲都係令我哋嘅詩呢,尋找突破嘅一個方式 | 噉當然呢,喺呢 *nei 種尋找嘅過程之中呢 | 我哋不斷咁樣去打磨自己(嘅)詩歌藝術 | 啊,美國詩人龐德呢,講過一句話,好有趣嘅,佢話: | 「如果你對詩嘅熟悉、你對詩藝嘅練習 | 比唔上一個中學嘅音樂老師對音樂嘅認識 | 你應該感到慚愧」| 噉我哋應該呢,點樣呢?| 我哋應該將自己作為一個 | 就算我哋真正喺現實生活中我哋 | 可能有其他嘅職業 | 有其他嘅生活 | 但係當我哋寫作嘅時候 | 我哋就知道我哋係進行緊呢 *nei 個專業嘅 | 一個專業嘅人 | 我哋就去用一種專業嘅眼光嚟對待自己嘅創作 | 咁樣你先係會有進步 | 要以比自己高嘅詩嚟要求自己

● 要求 yīu1 kàuh4 = a demand; a requirement

Note: Pound actually said: “Don’t imagine that the art of poetry is any simpler than the art of music, or that you can please the expert before you have spent at least as much effort on the art of verse as the average piano teacher spends on the art of music.”

In the things people do, what other options do I think there might be? All these things are ways to give our poetry the chance to find a break-through. Of course, throughout this process of searching, we must constantly work on our own poetic art. Ezra Pound once said something that was very interesting: “If your knowledge of poetry and your practice of the poetic art are inferior to a high-school music teacher’s knowledge of music, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.” How should we go about this? We should be bear in mind that, when we are writing poetry, we are exercising a profession, even if — in our real lives — we have other professions and other [forms of] living. We should view our creativity with a professional regard. Only then we can make progress, making demands on ourselves with the help of poems that [fly] higher than our own.

【6:00】「我幾時可以追得上佢?」| 咁樣就係一個不斷進步嘅過程 | 多謝大家!

● 追得上 jēui1 dāk1 seuhng6 = to catch up to

“When can we reach the same level as [such poems]?” Such is the process of a constant improvement. Thank you!

Learning Cantonese: Ho Ngok, Champion Stone-skimmer


Here’s a wonderful new addition to your Cantonese vocabulary: 片石仔 pín2 sehk6 jái2, which means “to skim stones”. Actually, if you watch to the end, you will realize that there is a difference between “stone skimming” and “stone skipping”, something that I have been blissfully ignorant of my entire life . . .

The speaker 何岳 Ho Ngok laughs at himself for taking stone-skimming so seriously, but I guess there is an abiding fascination with the simple magic of making a stone glide across water without (immediately) sinking. Hence the fascination with the angle at which the stone hits the water, and the way it spins over liquid surfaces. And, as Ah Ngok makes clear, even the selection of the stones used in the sport goes a long way to determining success.

Ah Ngok skims his Cantonese with equal facility, his passion for the subject leading him to some rather colourful turns of phrase, including 屎窟痕 sí2 fāt1 hàhn4 (literally, “[with] an “itchy arsehole”), which means something like “not able to sit still”! Listen out too for 達人 daaht6 yàhn4 = expert; 心得 sām1 dāk1 = what one has learned from work, study, etc.; 講究 góng2 gau3 = be particular about; pay attention to (perhaps even “be fussy about”); 有朝一日 yáuh5 jīu1 yāt1 yaht6 = one day; some day (indicating a hope for the future); 消耗 sīu1 hou3 = to complete; to use up; to deplete; to expend; and 得心應手 dāk1 sām1 ying3 sáu2 = for one’s hands to work in perfect coordination with what one wishes to do. Oh, and the 岳 ngohk6 in the speaker’s name means “high mountain” and is sometimes written as 嶽.

You can watch the video here (it has very partial subtitles in Chinese only). My transcription, vocabulary notes and translation follow below.


Caption: 片石仔 | 奧義非一般 | 港達人盼能辦本土比賽

旁白:片石仔可能每個人都玩過 | 但係原來世界上有好多高手都會認真練習同埋參加比賽 | 香港就有一位達人曾經到日本參加比賽 | 亦都會常常喺唔同嘅節目出現 | 分享片石仔心得

Caption: 片石達人 | 阿岳

何岳:我叫阿岳啦 | 噉我就其實係,呃,19年4月就有一次我做嘢嘅時候,噉我影結婚相嘅 | 噉我去到泥涌嘅海邊嗰度呢,噉我同我老闆呢,見到啲石仔好得意,咁呃 | 啊抌落海,咁樣樣 | 其實嗰陣時都係片石仔囉 | 啫係,唔係齋抌,咁樣囉,試吓片咁 | 一片完之後呢,就屎忽痕呢,就諗住睇吓有冇啲,呃,世界上有冇啲其他人玩得好勁呀咁 | 跟住就上YouTube搵囉

● 奧義 ou3 yih6 = roughly, “inner meaning” | ● 高手 gōu1 sáu2 = past master; master-hand; ace | ● 達人 daaht6 yàhn4 = expert [Sheik = 專家,佼佼者,精通於某樣事物的人 = expert; someone who is above the average or outstanding; a person with a good command of something] | ● 心得 sām1 dāk1 = what one has learned from work, study, etc. | ● 抌 dám = ① to beat (with fist); to bang; to pound ② to smash; to shatter; to stamp (a chop) ③ to throw; to discard; to abandon | ● 屎窟痕 sí2 fāt1 hàhn4 = not able to sit still (lit. “itchy arsehole”)

Note: 齋 jāai1 is frequently used in Cantonese with verbs to indicate that the action is done in a plain or unadorned manner. The last time we came across it was in the Kongstories video on the musician Grace Yu: 但係有幾多個學上唔係浄係齋彈冇靈魂 | 而係尋找到屬於佢獨特嘅聲音同埋生命力嘅呢?= “But how many of these students are looking for a voice that belongs to them alone and a vitality, rather than merely going through the motions devoid of soul”. Here, 齋 jāai1 is added to 彈 tàahn4 (to play a stringed musical instrument) to suggest a superficial playing or a going through the motions. I’ve also heard 齋聽 jāai1 tēng1 = “to listen (to a conversation) without contributing to it in any way”.

Caption: Skipping Stones | The Inner Complexities [奧義] Are Beyond the Average | A Hong Kong Adept Hopes To Be Able To Organize Local Competitions

Voice-over: Probably everyone has had a go at skipping stones. It turns out that there are many elite performers [高手] who practice conscientiously and take part in competitions. Hong Kong has one outstanding exponent [達人] who has competed in Japan and who often pops up on various programs sharing what he has learnt about skimming stones.

Caption: An Outstanding Exponent of Stone-skimming | Ah Ngok

Ho Ngok: My name is Ho Ngok. In April 2019, in the course of my work (I work as a wedding photographer), I went down to the sea at Nai Chung. Both my boss and I noticed some interesting-looking stones there so we [started] throwing them into the sea. Actually, at that time, we were skimming stones. We weren’t just chucking them into the water [齋抌] but trying to make them skip. After this one [time] of skipping stones, I couldn’t sit still and wanted to see whether there were people in other parts of the world who could really do this well. And so I looked on YouTube.

【1:00】旁白:何岳每星期大約會花一整日嘅時間去練習 | 由選取地理環境、石頭、以及一整套嘅動作都十分講究

何岳:我可能我就係因為覺得佢唔係無聊事所以先認真做㗎 | 如果係無聊事我真係會HEA 做,哈哈 | 因為我見到佢,呃,有得練嘅地方囉 | 啫,我見到佢有得練習同埋有得進步嘅地方 | 尤其是你睇完外國嗰啲人呢 | 你會 . . . 你好有興趣知道佢點樣做到嘅咁樣樣囉

Caption: 釐定 | 成功

旁白:噉又點樣去釐定片石仔嘅成功?| 原來姿勢並唔係準則之一

何岳:所以片石仔你見佢哋好少討論姿勢嘅 | 因為個個人姿勢唔同你冇得討論 | 噉所以所謂嘅成功呢 | 反而係你粒石嗰個入水嘅角度 | 啫係,呢個就係,呃,最,呃,最 critical 要講嗰樣嘢,最關鍵嘅 | 因為你粒石如果呢,落水嘅時候唔靚個角度 | 我當啦,你旋轉好勁都好 | 你個水面喺度嘅時候呢 | 如果你落水嘅時候過於平坦呀

● 一整日 yāt1 jíng2 yaht6 = one whole day | ● 講究 góng2 gau3 = be particular about; pay attention to (perhaps even “be fussy about”) | ● 無聊 mòuh4 lìuh4 = ① bored ② senseless; silly; stupid | ● 釐定 lèih4 dihng6 = (?) to rectify; to formulate (rules, etc.) | ● 準則 jéun2 jāk1 = a norm; standard; criterion

Voice-over: Every week, Ho Ngok spends roughly one whole day on practising. He is very particular about everything, from choosing the right geographical location [地理環境], to the stones [he uses] and all the movements [involved].

Ho Ngok: Probably I am very conscientious about [skimming stones] because I don’t think of it as being a frivolous activity. If it were frivolous, then I would go about it in a very laid-back way. This reason is that I could see where there was room to practise, room to practise and room to make improvements. Especially when you have watched people overseas — then you . . . you will interested to figure out how they manage to do it.

Caption: Formulating Rules for Success

Voice-over: How do you go about formulating the rules [釐定] for success in stone skipping? As it turns out, the posture [you use to throw the stone] is not one of the criteria.

Ho Ngok: There’s not much discussion at all about posture in stone-skimming. There’s nothing to say, because everyone’s posture is different. For that reason, when it comes to so-called “success”, it is the angle at which your stone hits [入] the water [which matters]. That is, it is the most critical thing that needs to be talked about. If the angle at which the stone hits the water is not good [唔靚], [even if] your stone is rotating wonderfully well [好勁], if it is too flat when it touches the water . . .

【2:00】啫係,你唔得,有少少斜嘅角度 | 通常斜呢, 我哋都係以10度至20度做為標準,咁樣樣喇 | 噉你咁樣落水呢,佢先可以前進到 | 如果你太平嘅話呢,佢會頭嗰兩下就已經沉咗落水

旁白:何岳有提到,片石仔主要會以距離或彈跳次數計分

Caption: 距離或彈跳

佢自己就比較鍾情距離賽 | 因為彈跳嘅話容易有人手失誤 | 佢曾經到日本比賽 | 認為日本比香港更加普及 | 會有全國性嘅比賽 | 希望疫情之後可以到唔同國家吸取更多經驗 | 有朝一日喺香港舉辦比賽 | 但係提到片石仔係難以做到全民參與嘅

何岳:啫,我提醒自己兼提醒人 | 其實呢,首先呢,片石仔唔係一種 . . . 而家你即時話參與,就 . . . 啫 . . . 全 . . . 全民參與呢 | 就呢樣嘢就可以興起一種運動嚟嘅 | 因為佢本身係好受環境因素影響 | 呃,唔同運動界別嘅人嚟 join 嚟玩

● 以 . . . 計分 yíh5 . . . gai3 fān1 = roughly, “to calculate points according to” | ● 彈跳次數 daahn6 tiu3 chi3 sou3 = the number of skips | ● 失誤 sāt1 ngh6 = a fault; muff | ● 吸取 kāp1 chéui2 = to absorb; to draw | ● 有朝一日 yáuh5 jīu1 yāt1 yaht6 = one day; some day (indicating a hope for the future)

. . . then you are not doing it right. [The stone] has to be inclined at a bit of an angle. Usually, the standard for the angle of inclination is between 10 and 20 degrees. It is only when you [throw the stone] onto the water like this that it is able to more advance. If [your angle] is too flat, it will skip a couple of times and then sink.

Voice-over: Ho Ngok also mentioned [the fact] that scoring for stone-skimming is based either on distance or on the number of skips.

Caption: Distance or Skips

He himself prefers distance competitions. The reason is that it is easy to make a mistake if you try to make the stone skip (rather than skim along the surface) [有人手失誤]. He has been to Japan to compete, and thinks that [the sport] is more widespread in Japan than in Hong Kong, [since] there are competitions there involving people from all over the nation. When the covid pandemic is over, he hopes to visit various different countries to get more experience and to organize [舉辦] a competition in Hong Kong. However, [on this subject] he mentioned that it is difficult to get everyone involved.

Ho Ngok: I am saying this to remind myself as well as others. Actually, first of all, stone-skimming is not something that you can immediately join in. It’s is not something for everyone (?). It can [not?] be made into a sport, because the environment has a big influence on it. People involved in other sports come and join in.

【3:00】噉佢為咗興趣嚟玩係可以 | 因為每一次佢都會睇到我哋執,甚至佢會參與我哋執咁樣樣咁囉 | 但係如果你話一大棚人咁樣湧過嚟玩呢 | 其實就會有個問題就係佢哋唔了解呢個生態環境嘅 | 佢 . . . 甚至佢哋可能,呃,抌咗好多其他冇篩選過嘅石頭落水 | 噉就會真係做到過分消耗喇 ,咁樣樣囉

旁白:佢提到唔同浪潮下 | 所需要嘅石頭唔同 | 但係主要都會以扁身嘅石頭為佳 | 或者我哋下次玩片石仔嘅時候 | 可以先上網查好資料 | 自然可以更加得心應手

● 棚 pàahng4 = usu. “shed; shack; hut” | ● 湧 yúng2 = to gush; to surge | ● 篩選 sāi1 syún2 = to screen | ● 消耗 sīu1 hou3 = to complete; to use up; to deplete; to expend | ● 扁身 bín2 sān1 = (?) flat[-bodied] | ● 浪潮 lohng6 chìuh4 = wave, tide, trend | ● 得心應手 dāk1 sām1 ying3 sáu2 = for one’s hands to work in perfect coordination with what one wishes to do

Note: The word 身 sān1 = “body” is sometimes added after adjectives. We came across this in Alfred Chan’s video on fried food, in which both 乾身 gōn1 sān1 = “dry” (?) and 厚身 háuh5 sān1 = “thick” (?) are used. Here, the reporter makes use of 扁身 bín2 sān1 = “flat[-bodied]”. This use of 身 sān1 only seems to occur in colloquial, spoken Cantonese.

Ho Ngok: They can come and skim stones for interest’s sake, that’s fine. Because every time they watch us picking up [stones], they might even join in this with us. But if you talk about a whole bunch of people coming down in droves [湧] to skim stones, the problem is that they don’t understand the natural environment. They might even throw heaps of other kinds of stones [into the water], stones that haven’t been [properly] selected and this can really do a lot of damage.


Voice-over: He said that you need different stones for different [kinds of] tides [浪潮], but the main thing is that flat[-bodied] stones are best. When next we do some stone-skimming, we should go on-line and have a good look at the information there [so that] as a matter of course [our stone-skipping skills] will improve.

Learning Cantonese: Zen, Nature, Art


Buddhist monks and nuns play an active role in Hong Kong society and some of them, such as the subject of this video, are frequently seen on YouTube. 常霖法師 The Venerable Chang Lin (the Mandarin pronunciation is conventionally used; in Cantonese, it becomes Sèuhng4 Làhm4 Faat3 Sī1) has been very active in recent times, partly on account of his having been a very successful photographer in Hong Kong before becoming a Buddhist monk, a process referred to as 出家 chēut gāa in Cantonese, which literally means to “go out of the family”. In this piece, he provides a very simple introduction to zen as 身心合一 sān1 sām1 hahp6 yāt1, a unity of body and mind, and contrasts it with our usual state of 人在心不在 yàhn4 joih6 sām1 bāt1 joih6, that is “physically present but otherwise absent”. He then goes on to relate zen to his practice as a photographer.

The video already has English subtitles, so you can go ahead and watch the video here. If you’re interested in the Cantonese details, please take a look at my transcription, notes and more literal translation below. Some of the vocabulary worth taking on board includes 三日三夜 sāam1 yaht6 sāam1 yeh6 = roughly, “till the cows come home”; 體驗 tái2 yihm6 = to learn though one’s personal experience; 療癒 lìuh4 yuh6 = to heal; 斑駁 bāan1 bok3 = mottled; motley; 攝影 sip3 yíng2 = photography; to take a photograph; and 定律 dihng6 leuht6 = (natural) law.

I once heard a radio interview with another prominent monk, 衍空法師 the Venerable Yan Kong. Although he had a successful career and a happy marriage, his interest in Buddhism eventually led him to make the decision to 出家 chēut gāa, and finally he had to break the news to his wife. In an extraordinary twist, his wife announced in response that she would become a Buddhist nun, joining him in the spiritual realm, even as they left one another in the secular world . . .


常霖法師:人之所以有好多煩惱呀,有好多問題出現呢 | 其實就係失咗平衡 | 最容易失平衡嘅原因呢 | 就係因為人在心不在 | 如果我哋身心合一嘅話呢 |就會好自在 | 自在呢,就係開心嘅時候自在 | 噉於是呢,你就唔會刻意去不斷追求開心㗎 | 而唔開心嘅時候亦都自在 | 噉咪即係話冇乜唔開心囉

「禪」呢一個字呢,講三日三夜你都講唔完嘅 | 禪係一種體驗,你一定要體驗過你先至真係去了解 | 用一個比較簡單啲嘅形容詞呢 | 就係話喺適當嘅時候做適當嘅事 | 亦都係話,係喺嗰個當下 | 噉所以呢 . . .

● 平衡 pìhng4 hàhng4 = balance; equilibrium | ● 人在心不在 yàhn4 joih6 sām1 bāt1 joih6 = roughly, “physically present but mentally absent” | ● 身心合一 sān1 sām1 hahp6 yāt1 = roughly, “unity of body & mind” | ● 刻意 hāk1 yi3 = often “painstakingly” but also “deliberately; on purpose” | ● 三日三夜 sāam1 yaht6 sāam1 yeh6 = roughly, “till the cows come home” (lit. “three days & three nights”) | ● 體驗 tái2 yihm6 = to learn though one’s personal experience | ● 適當 sīk1 dong3 = suitable; proper; appropriate

The Venerable Changlin: The reason why people tend to have so much trouble and why so many problems crop up is actually because they have lost their balance. What causes people to lose their balance most easily is because their mind wanders off [人在心不在]. If our minds and our bodies work as one, then we feel free and easy, comfortable [自在]. You feel free and at ease when you are happy, and so you don’t have to go out of your way so much to seek happiness; when you are unhappy, you can also be at ease, which means that you won’t feel much in the way of unhappiness.

You could talk about the word “zen” until the cows come home. Zen is a personal experience: you really have to experience it yourself before you can really understand it. A simple description of zen goes like this: doing the appropriate thing at the appropriate time. You could also put it like this: being in the moment. And so for this reason . . .

【1:00】 . . . 呢個就同大自然就係完全一樣嘅 | 譬如話,嗰樖樹,佢如果係有太陽曬嘅時候,佢唔會話 | 覺得好慘呀,嘩,好曬、好熱呀咁 | 落雨嘅時候,哎吔!做咩成日落雨呀咁?| 佢完全冇呢樣嘢 | 佢當下係咁就係咁

大自然係有一種療癒嘅能力嘅 | 如果我哋平時喺市區裏邊覺得好繁忙呀、好多嘢影響呀 | 其實我好鼓勵大家去大自然嗰度行一行 | 你會比較容易啲釋放自己 | 比較容易做得到心在又自在嘅

我比較鍾意呢,就係影一啲歲月嘅痕跡呀 | 有啲斑駁呀、有啲污跡呀 | 噉我 . . . 我好多時我會睇到呢,佢唔係污跡 | 我會睇到係藝術品,好似 . . . 好似一幅畫咁 | 不過呢個畫家係大自然 | 我喺影相嘅時候呢 | 個腦裏便係 . . .

● 療癒 lìuh4 yuh6 = to heal | ● 繁忙 fàahn4 mòhng4 = busy | ● 鼓勵 gú2 laih6 = to encourage to urge | ● 釋放 sīk1 fong3 = to release; to set free | ● 歲月 seui3 yuht6 = years | ● 斑駁 bāan1 bok3 = mottled; motley | ● 畫家 wáa6*2 gāa1 = painter; artist

. . . it is the same thing as being completely the same as nature. For example, if the sun happens to be shining warmly, that tree [over there] won’t say “I think this is awful! Gosh, it’s so sunny and hot!” or when it rains “Oh no! Why is it always raining?” It wouldn’t do anything like that. It is whatever it is in the moment.

Nature has the capacity to heal. If we generally feel ourselves to be busy in the city, affected by many different things, then I encourage you to go out into nature and take a walk. There you can find release for yourself comparatively easily as well as becoming mindful [心在] and at ease.

I prefer taking photos of the traces left by time — blotches and stains. To me, most of the time I don’t see such things as stains. I see them as works of art, as if they were paintings. [In this case,] however, nature is the painter. When I take my photographs, I don’t have anything . . .

【2:00】. . . 冇嘢諗嘅 | 但係唔係一片空白喎 | 即係話我仍然係感受到當時個環境 | 譬如話,我見到一樣嘢我覺得有一種感動嘅 | 噉我就會攞個相機出嚟影低佢 | 噉但係影嘅時候我唔會諗,話「啊,呢張相我可以表現乜嘢 | 啊,我要加一句咩句子落去 | 又或者我將會係要嚟出書還是係做展覽」| 全部冇呢啲嘢諗 | 我就純粹喺個當下 | 百分之一百放咗落去個感覺

今次展覽嘅特色呢,就係話 | 我啲攝影作品係印喺一張透明膠片上便 | 噉而嗰張透明膠片係好大張 | 喺欣賞嗰個作品嘅時候呢,你會穿過嗰個膠片 | 你會睇到後邊周圍嘅大自然環境 | 呢一個展覽會係喺日曬雨淋嘅情況 | 啫係話,係喺 outdoor 嗰度擺嘅 | 噉所以呢 . . .

● 空白 hūng1 baahk6 = a blank space | ● 感受 gám2 sauh6 = to experience; to feel | ● 相機 seung3 [or séung3*2] gei1 = camera | ● 出書 chēut1 syū1 = to put out a book | ● 純粹 sèuhn4 seuih6 = pure; unadulterated | ● 攝影 sip3 yíng2 = photography; to take a photograph | ● 透明 tau3 mìhng4 = transparent | ● 膠片gāau1 pín3*2 = usu. “film”; here perhaps “a piece of plastic” | ● 日曬雨淋 yaht6 saai3 yúh5 làhm4 = be exposed to the sun and the rain

. . . in my mind, but it’s not just a total blank. What I mean is that I’m still experiencing my surroundings at that time. For instance, if I see something and feel moved by it, I will get out my camera and take a photo of it. But when I am photographing it, I am not thinking [to myself]: “I could use this photo to express such-and-such. I could add some words to accompany it [as a caption], or I could put out a book or hold an exhibition.” None of these things occurs to me. I am simply in the moment, putting myself 100% into the feeling.

The special thing about this exhibition is that my photographic works have been printed on transparent sheets of plastic, very large sheets of transparent plastic. When you’re enjoying one of the works, you can look through the plastic at the surrounding natural environment. This exhibition is exposed to the sun and the rain. That is, it has been set up [擺] outdoors. So for this reason . . .

【3:00】. . . 就再響應埋大自然嗰個定律 | 就係話,一切嘅嘢都會成、住、壞、空 | 噉我哋係一齊去體驗呢一啲展品 | 喺一個大自然環境之下一路 . . . 一路不停咁樣變化

● 響應 héung2 ying3 = to respond; to answer | ● 定律 dihng6 leuht6 = (natural) law | ● 成、住、壞、空 sìhng4 jyuh6 waaih6 hūng1 = to come into being, to abide, to run down, to become empty

. . . it again responds to that law of nature: all things come into being, abide, run down, and become empty. Together we experience the works in this exhibition in a natural environment that is always constantly changing.

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.

《新心界》:「立法會已經死咗喇!」


● It is the 1 July 2019, and the big glass door of the Legco building is being battered by protestors repeatedly ramming it with an old metal trolley. As the glass begins to crack, our main characters — 阿綠 Ah Luk, the New Zealander 阿奇 Ah Ki, Ah Luk’s daughter 孚翠 Fu-cheui and the hapless Australian陳之一 Chan Chi-yat — all react to what they see in the direct broadcast of the events, projecting their personal concerns onto this pivotal moment in Hong Kong’s history.

Soundtrack: “Thank you Disillusionment”


2019年七月一日,當立法會大樓被抗爭者衝擊嗰一刻,阿綠正喺辦公室一邊用手機偷睇直播,一邊諗緊辦法想揾返生父莊梓。吊詭嘅地方係,當面對呢件大事,佢唔會喺人前做正式嘅決定,反而會鬼鬼鼠鼠咁處理。呢種矛盾嘅心情,可能只有需要尋找生母生父下落嘅人先會體味到:一方面,渴望將自己命運同身世有關嘅秘密徹底解開;另一方面,又好擔心萬一真相同自己嘅想象差天共地,一定會極度失望。阿綠深明,如果將幻想同真相相比,幻想當然更有希望同埋活力!正因為咁,佢好難全情投入尋找生父之事,到而家亦未曾同其他人公開講過。不過,互聯網好易俾人一種錯覺,就係無論任何人或者任何事,都係可以喺網上揾得到嘅。不過對於呢個染綠色頭髮嘅女人嚟講,咁強烈嘅誘惑真係好難抵擋,尤其係當佢已經蒐集到一啲蛛絲馬跡。小事成就大事!阿綠心諗。當時直播嘅畫面奇妙地同佢嘅心情一樣:啱啱有班示威者喺度重複大嗌「香港人加油、加油!」。

冇耐之後,一點幾嘅時候,阿綠嘅手機屏幕上出現一個戴住帽同埋口罩嘅黑衣男人,佢右手揸住鐵通,跑到立法會大樓門前,不停撞擊玻璃門。喺圍觀嘅人群入面,有唔少人試圖阻止,包括幾個議員(黑衫人:「立法會已經死咗喇!」 胡志偉:「你咁樣撞落去,連你都死呀!」),可惜呢啲勸告一啲作用都冇,玻璃門嘅裂痕越打越長,慢慢呈現類似蜘蛛網般縱橫交錯嘅幾何圖像。「突破 . . .」阿綠喃喃自語。「我而家想有一個細微嘅突破!」同一時間,手持鐵通嘅男人繼續大力咁向玻璃門打落去。

與此同時,喺嘉道理農場值班嘅阿奇,帶住悠閒嘅心情,漫步前往觀音山頂峰。除咗耐唔耐留意一下立法會衝擊嘅直播之外,佢個腦冇辦法停落嚟,無時無刻都諗住自己愛得神魂顛倒嘅嗰個「佢」。過年時雖然喺阿綠屋企請教過杯仙,但阿奇都唔肯定係咪可以捉緊對方,擔心對方有冇同樣嘅心意。但係最近,經歷咗一個既彎曲又奇妙嘅過程之後,終於水落石出,阿奇亦得到佢夢寐以求嘅答案。去到呢個時候,揮動鐵管嘅人已經唔見咗,替佢接力嘅係一班示威者,佢哋唔知喺邊度揾到一架裝住紙皮嘅鐵籠車,來來回回不停咁撞擊佈滿裂縫嘅玻璃門。「係啦!」紐西蘭男人突然精神起嚟,自言自語咁話:「要揾到真愛 . . . 一定要 . . . 一定能夠堅持落去!」呢個時候,另一位立法會議員梁耀忠企喺玻璃門前,盡力勸阻示威者唔好衝擊立法會。但係經過一番理論之後,佢最終被人拉倒,於是嗰架鐵籠車繼續一次又一次咁撞落去。立法會大樓入面嘅警員提高警戒級別,舉起紅旗,試圖透過呢個手段叫停示威者。見到紅旗,阿奇又諗起愛情呢股抵擋唔住嘅魔力。仲記唔記得裸體女模特兒嘅相片?「花花弗弗、冷酷無情」嘅阿奇喺呢一刻,一早已經將被摺埋、擺埋一邊嘅黃小姐忘得一乾二淨。

至於孚翠,佢當時咁啱又一次坐喺前往萬佛寺嘅梯級上面,一邊俯視山麓嘅沙田新城市,一邊撥弄佢近排成日戴住嘅自製頸鏈。鏈咀係馬騮「送」俾佢嘅鎖匙同埋一個馬騮形嘅護身符。好可惜,唔知點解,今日啲馬騮都匿埋嗮,連一丁點嘅馬騮叫聲都聽唔到。用手機隨意瀏覽新聞嗰時,孚翠亦都恰巧睇到直播,略略知道衝擊立法會呢單國際大事。平時,孚翠好少睇新聞,但自反送中運動展開以嚟,佢對呢場社會運動慢慢產生興趣,吸引佢嘅正正係後生示威者嘅活力。事實上,孚翠擁有豐富嘅想像力,對佢嚟講,衝擊立法會就好似孫悟空大鬧天宮一樣,兩者都係出於一種唔順從、唔聽話、唔驚權力嘅反抗心態。當面對生活時,孚翠越嚟越覺得,自己需要嘅唔係一份工作或者一個男朋友,而係象徵馬騮嘅活力。而呢種活力比起其他任何嘢,無疑係最重要。

陳之一呢?佢坐喺辦公室偷偷地睇緊直播,越睇越覺得痛苦。佢嘅苦難主要係因為眼前嘅嘢,睇嚟只會引起更加多暴力同埋絕望,但係仲有一部分原因係因為喺六月尾,佢嘅一隻大臼齒突然裂成兩半,一半留咗喺原位,另一半由個嘴跌咗落喉嚨,令到啱啱喺南山邨南寷餐廳食揚州炒飯嘅澳洲馬騮乾差啲鯁嚫!時間去到下晝三點,立法會嘅玻璃大門經過多次反反復復嘅撞擊之後,終於抵擋唔住。鐵籠車卡咗一半係喺大樓入便,裏面嘅警察同埋包圍外面嘅示威者持續對峙。令到陳之一迷惘嘅係,部分示威者擁有一種激烈嘅破壞慾望。照男人所知,香港社會一般好強調穩定、秩序同埋平安,但係自反修例《逃犯條例》運動發動以嚟,襲擊嘅對象正正係穩定、秩序、平安,而且呢個事實好似係反映緊人類所渴求嘅係冇辦法用平安等手段去滿足。諗到呢度,男人不禁諗起香港歷史博物館一個令人難忘嘅立體造景。呢一個塑造新石器時代先民嘅場景,地點係大浪灣一段平滑嘅沙灘,上面有啲原始人喺度做緊一啲有關日常生活嘅活動,例如生火煮食、起屋同埋打製石器、飾物等等,每個細節都塑造得栩栩如生。好明顯,除咗一啲簡陋嘅木製建築物之外,人嘅物質水平真係低到冇得再低!

回味緊新石器時代嘅真實寫照,陳之一朦朦朧朧咁意識到,為咗穩定、秩序、平安等等,人類已經付出咗好沉重嘅代價。文明進步帶嚟各種心理上嘅壓迫,再加上本來物質簡樸嘅人間亦塞滿數唔清嘅消費品,令到我哋同地理、自然環境、動植物、星空、神祗等等喪失接觸,陷入一種雖然安全但卻嚴重缺乏生命力嘅生存模式當中。(呢個時刻,澳洲奀挑鬼又不禁諗到《香港古石刻》作者秦維廉嘅一句說話:「也許現代的科技、高水平的生活已多少削弱我們欣賞自然界的鬼斧神工的能力了。」)「正因為咁,人類内心深處到而家積累咗太多煩惱,所以當我哋遇到呢類社會動蕩,有人會好似火山爆發咁一定要出嚟表示不滿。其實,我哋或多或少都渴望擺脫數字化文明日益增強嘅窒息感,千方百計要活得更加自由自在!」不過,陳之一又好難相信破壞舊有嘅秩序一定會導致新社會嘅到來。

令我成為創作人嘅天花板 (Martin Booth)


當我哋行入銀行轉彎上樓梯嗰陣,阿媽就話俾我知:「其實呢個先至係後門。正門,即係呢間銀行用嘅正式地址,係喺位於對面嘅。」

呢句說話聽起嚟好荒謬,於是我就話我唔明白。

阿媽跟住答:「呢件事同風水有關。正門一定要面對山,背向大海,咁樣可以確保海龍入唔到嚟,又可以防止啲錢往海洋嘅方向流出去。」

佢呢個解釋更加令我一頭霧水。

銀行大堂嘅空間非常之廣闊,連人談話嘅聲音都會被佢壓低。一排排巨大嘅深啡色正方形大理石柱支撐住個天花板,真係何其壯觀!天花板係筒形穹頂式嘅,上面嵌有一大片馬賽克。馬賽克中央有一個精美嘅金黃星形圖像,而周圍係一片蔚藍色作為星形圖像嘅背景,起到襯托嘅效果。穹頂四圍嘅馬賽克塑造咗唔同嘅人物,佢哋代表各種事業——工藝也好,其他行業也好,無論係東方定係西方都有,樣樣俱全。我每次見到呢個天花板,都會被深深震撼。由頂纜車落去天星碼頭返屋企嘅時候,我通常會刻意兜一段路,經過呢間銀行,目的就係為咗可以享受到滙豐馬賽克所散發嘅微光。

有一次同阿爸一齊去銀行,我語氣隆重咁話俾佢知,我已經定下決心成為創作人。

「你呢個咁荒謬嘅念頭究竟喺邊度嚟㗎?」佢驚叫一聲,同時繼續喺櫃面搬弄本支票簿。

我望住天花板上面嘅馬賽克話:「嗰樣嘢。」

佢冇𩓥高個頭。

「噉你死咗條心啦!做藝術家肯定發唔達㗎。」

我反駁一句:「生活嘅富足唔單止同金錢有關嘅。」

交咗張支票俾銀行職員之後,佢就另轉身,好簡明扼要咁話:「緊係唔係啦!咁樣諗嘅人一定好鬼死蠢!」

我話:「其實係媽咪話我聽㗎!」

佢即刻答話:「係呀——不過佢冇必要成日返工去賺錢囉。」

等到佢將攞到嘅紙幣放咗入銀包,我就勸佢:「你望吓頭頂啦!」

佢毫不在意咁向上瞄咗一下,之後好冷淡咁補充:「犀利喎」。

出咗銀行,行返去泊咗喺皇后像廣場架車嗰陣,我一路沈思緊,突然間靈機一觸:「創造穹頂馬賽克嘅嗰個藝術家一定賺咗好多錢。」

我爸爸話:「係呀,跟住用嗮全部錢嚟飲酒,之後成世人再冇創造過任何其他作品。」

我深知爸爸係一個經驗豐富嘅紅杜松子酒飲者,所以聽到呢段説話,我覺得實在太荒唐喇!不過,嗰刻我仲忍得住冇俾反應——我已經差唔多學識幾時可以講嘢,幾時應該合埋把口。正如爸爸成日鍾意講,我已經掌握到「收皮」嘅技能。

原文:Martin Booth, Gweilo (2004)