Pride and Prejudice: a sketchy reflection

Before I can really devote myself to my work and the society I’m in, I feel like I need to write a few words about Jane Austen’s famous Pride and Prejudice, which I gulped down in 3 days – arguably the English novel that I finished most quickly in life! (Thanks to my sprained ankle).

For some reason the two explored qualities, pride, and prejudice, both seem to be long term friends of mine however much I would want to ignore or deny. Therefore the most mesmerising scene of all was that of the two protagonists, Elizabeth and Darcy’s final reconciliation. Both had to be frank about their own faults, the hefty price they almost paid and already grieved (burying a happiest relationship possible on earth alive), and really, the part when their respective nightmares – of being shunned forever from the goodwill and company of the other – were thrown out of the window as nonsense from the other’s pov.

I guess this is something that I’d yearn for. To be unashamed and willed enough to brave injured pride, to swallow misplaced prejudice, and reconcile.

Mr. Bennet is a favourite character of mine too. Sharp eye making a satire of the domestic life that his wife was so engrossed with. Can’t wait for more Elizabeth and Mr. Bennet-inspired wittiness from perhaps Emma, a later novel by Austen. My internal urge is to just get changed and fucking buy it from the store I last saw it. (cwb CP to be exact – I bet internally I feel slightly but unjustly ashamed of visiting this red bookstore. But 誠品 stuff is so much more expensive -_-…)

It feels great to be reconnected with (leisurely?) passion of mine since secondary schools. I feel able to understand why some friends were unable to stop reading in between class – at that time I saw it as a deficiency of mine to be unable to be so purely engaged on top of making myself look cultured. But I really feel that I’m learning much needed life and personality/ society lessons from these books. Even though in real life I still use reading to shun society at relative’s gatherings …….. 😦 … Haven’t really grown up have I. I think I am not born for writing carefully plotted stuff. Like autowriting and drawing more. But it’s exciting enough to be unearthing this side of me with ease and passion. Mean it!

p.s. this has been on my mind since day 1 of reading it… I waited until this moment to watch it again lol!!

淺睡 – 5月17日記

5月17日的夜晚,從青山灣入境事務中心回銅鑼灣,到商務與誠品找突然間很想看來逃離現實世界的Pride and Prejudice,不果。

飯後,在床上極睏但淺睡的我,想通了一些事情:

。我今朝其實幾唔想出去下。又早,又攰,坐的位置又多蟻,又曬,又耐,用Q曬我D時間。又要和拍檔傾計,保持enthusiasm都頗攰。

。所以回來之後,只想忘記全日,做自己想做的事。好無搵書,好無煲返劇,好無睇戲⋯⋯但又好似無精神⋯⋯

。我仲未寫tutor report,我仲未打工會對話transcript,我仲未寫完篇醫護draft,Chris會唔會覺得我懶,但佢又好似無出咩聲。我仲未約另一個工會,我聽日仲要tut。屌但係攰都做唔到,瞓啦你好無。

。其實⋯⋯會唔會唔好搵新野填窿,回顧下今日做咩好過呢?唔⋯⋯

。今日攰都值得嘅,我一個下午少少既Disomfort(仲要lunchtime有得行黃金海岸,入黃岸酒店涼冷氣借廁所),相比幾個月甚至一年無行動自由既佢地算得係咩⋯⋯

。其實呢D在地同承受痛苦嘅群體相處,侷住同人相處,都係一件好事,可以訓練我超低的耐性。同埋見到survey每一個entry背後嘅人嘅立體面孔,都係一種dimensional嘅新認知。有好多受訪嘅印度、印尼、菲律賓、巴基斯坦,仲有哥倫比亞人,都係好容易open up,好願意同你呢個三唔識七嘅人講D頗為私隱的個人資料,可能真係覺得比左你都無野好比你呃,又或者都願意相信我地係sincere嘅。

。見到每個受訪嘅CIC detainee探訪者,都有唔同嘅性格,有D以前係detainee嘅好多嘢講,帶埋我地行去離開CIC既人會向入面既朋友揮手既位,有D戇戇直直、你叫就會好聽話簽自己個全名,又話入面叫ok幾好啦嘅男人,又有D正義感重,會同你講識得入面仲有幾多個坐左5、7、9、12到24個月不等既同鄉或前囚友。派個布口罩時,有時他們sincerely喜出望外的樣子,都會令人覺得,好像看見a bond is formed既時刻。

。其實,多在組織裡與「實然」裡的人相處,磨平自己用「應然」之刃那種高高在上、看破世情但又永遠看不破出路的目光,接受有D野就係每日發生、將會發生、並已成為日常⋯⋯那些在「實然」中最苦難處裡閃爍的「應然」之光(對應然仍保有的追求),才是真正重要的「應然」,才是the long march from「實然」to「應然」的動力來源⋯⋯

。其實CIC concern group裡面的魚和甘仔,都係我好admire既人。真的是那種已放下自己,與「受助者」sincere地平等同行,阿伍口中在「力爭下游」的組織者。尤其是甘仔,在無數次的失敗與重覆的失望裡,仍能保持希望與韌力,不像我這種一來就拉到最緊既橡筋,一遇到意料外的挫折,一啪就斷,話走就走。

。突然想到,如果CIC嘅visit我係帶唔情願地去,領匯D會又係,寫工會訪談紀錄又係,見frd有時又係,做黎緊嘅Fairwork又係帶住果種唔完全想做嘅感覺,咁其實我平時真係有好撚多野都係唔想做,但係迫自己做架喎。

*畫了一個下顎和天的女孩,全身手腳軟巴巴,頭頸與關節位有Matrix般的插口,被繩索牽扯著才勉強垂直著身子,眼目無珠強行張開。頭箍一鬆,整個人跌下來後,由跪下再變成向下躺著,亂髮遮著半臉。*

和那個長年被疲勞轟炸、疲憊不堪的內在自我重新連結,就算依家係雜亂無力到瞓在地上,都值得。

。當然,果D「唔想做」,more precisely係唔知點解要做,但係又commit左要做。有原因既,只係要倒返轉,花D時間沉澱,諗返點解我會做左。

You didn’t come here to make the choice. You’ve already made it. You’re here to try to understand why you made it.

Oracle, The Matrix Reloaded

。還是常常按捺不住要push件事forward,量化成果再推進,很想分析D資訊,分門別類再跟進,下星期同邵家臻開會present、有晒未來步驟咁。有其好處,也要check住這個自己⋯⋯

。覺得自己常常biased against people,有少少唔好嘅地方就會放大,再在相處時變得很defensive,拒絕開放。有時我覺得同我平時習慣好efficient地scan文,心態同出一轍⋯⋯scan剩有用果一千零一句去support我想要的結論,其他全L部都係垃圾,唔需要知唔需要理⋯⋯。今日我get irritated的時候,都有提醒自己beware,儘量對人寬容,不要劃地為牢⋯。

。行經銅鑼灣,在想如果要推CIC這個議題,有點不想成為目前的媒體議題轟炸的一部分,用令人譁然的醜聞與慘況,去迫出同情心同悔咎感,去moral shame個authority,等bureaucracy 9覆,另一單野蓋過,再等下一個media時機,etc. etc.。。。

如果比我想,我想在銅鑼灣行人專用區起一個模擬囚室,只能容納一人的,比人排隊入去。入前心口貼一個號碼,入去單獨地坐5至10分鐘,不准帶任何隨身電子產品/讀物。這樣的裝置體驗藝術,能讓人更profound地明白到,每一天都有幾百個人、全球幾百萬人因居留資格而被羈留囚禁者,一日24小時就是活在這般的平行時空裡嗎?

從心的改變,可能比一時一地成為焦點,更能改變香港地非常sticky嘅現實嗎?

Sweet dreams,

Anna

Low Roar 樂評 – 自我軟弱的溫柔昇華

接觸 Low Roar的音樂,由朋友推介下玩PS4遊戲”Death Stranding”〈死亡擱淺〉開始。故事講述在「死亡擱淺」這神祕事件造成大量死亡與國家崩解後,一個獨立送貨員在不情不願下,接下將美國各地下市重新連接到網絡上的任務,過程基本上是徒步由東岸走到西岸。第一次聽見Low Roar,就是那首很Iconic的〈Don’t be so serious〉。我(代入主角Sam)背著貨物走過滿是石塊的草地,沿河流走到山巒之間、朦朧看見山峰上的目的建築頂,音樂放起,鏡頭拉遠。當時我感到很新奇,但還沒有fall in love with遊戲中的音樂,只是聽親有歌播,就知道前面的一段路可以放心行,無大障礙。

後來讓我驚艷的是,無聊上網聽Death stranding大碟其中一首〈Bones〉。男主角代入Sam, 女的對答聲很像遊戲中一角色Fragile,兩人一起和唱 “I’m a long way from home”的時候⋯⋯同個遊戲的氣氛配合得天衣無縫:路上的Sam,真係a long way from home、甚至可說是始終無家。之後,我隨機播Low Roar其他也有被收入Death Stranding的歌曲(在遊戲中能逐步unlock),開始覺得十分舒服,間中循環play下。漸發覺,它們有清洗自己雜念的感覺。It’s like bathing in safe, cool-warm fire that very gradually reinvigorates。

Low Roar的男主唱有一把Folksy、轉音悠長美滿的聲音,高音空靈如煙、中低音沉實圓潤。今次想集中講一首對我意思特別悠長的:〈Breathe In〉。

*

最近認真些聽,好似睇畫一樣,會開始isolate得出、見到唔同的音效如筆觸,如何交織出overall那種流動、flow的效果。

歌首以低吟、與弦樂器的梵音(即係條弦線本身個音既高1或更多個八度)起始,不同的梵音響起來,有點像交響樂團試音時的無序不一,但交織起來,製造了一個極地般玄妙的異樣時空。男音一起,就像極光緞帶順滑、朦朧地亮起。新句起音或中段音,採用溢出Major Scale、出軌的高音製造眩光位,每一個consonant(輔音,非vowel,如b、p、d、k 等)雖小但異常明亮。

第三句 is my favourite:

/Time, it creeps and crawls and reels me in

(喻時間為滑溜的蛇狀異物纏身,just a perfectly觸動感官的暗喻⋯⋯⋯

而且樂句的緩慢、拉長嘅節奏,同漸上再下再上行嘅音階,係完全reflect到呢一個比喻嘅每一下蠕動⋯⋯

Not to mention果句’creeps’, ‘crawls’, ‘reel’ 本身都係有類似half-rhyme嘅美感⋯⋯)

Sinks its rusty hooks in my skin/

Chorus將人同歌手一齊帶去一個禪境—男音把自己的深呼吸,幻化成一支笛般繞樑幾重的長音:

/I breathe ————in

I breathe———— in

N————o /

到中段,結他與輕鼓加入,為歌曲加入向前的脈搏與動力,也amplify煙般chorus拉長一個音時的張力。當中有Minor key的結他聲,像前行時走到棘手處,再由major化解。後來加入弦樂—本來弦線上用力拉弓,就最擅長展現音的張力。

最後以主音同一段波浪般的吟唱,巴洛克式Fugue般定點加入,交疊前面未完的吟唱,和音交織出一個能包實聽者的溫柔搖籃。

聽了無數次,最後撰文前看歌詞,才發現這歌是一段非常能產生共鳴的內心對話:

When the dream controls my attitude/ Tells me what to say and to do / Spare or never see the same sun twice / Oh / I breathe in / I breathe in / No

當腦海泛起外來的力量,想要控制我的所思、所想、所做——我深呼吸、深呼吸,說不。

當腦海泛起外來的力量,想要控制我的所思、所想、所做的時候——聽者我,也要深呼吸、深呼吸,向這個並不是真正的我,說不。對於目前漸漸發現內化的自我監控者 vs. 真實的疲憊我來說,唱呢一句嘢,是最好不過的方法,日常提醒自己:the choice is in me。

*

有聽Low Roar的其他歌曲(極度推介就咁播有以上幾首的playlist),就會知道主唱在歌裡,寄以很多日常中憂鬱的小念頭、不自覺地蠶蝕著的自我質疑。如〈Slow Down〉裡他就說: “I’m a man of my word I could say/ Probably, maybe not/…/ I’m a bastard, a self-centered Jim/ I’m a loaded gun⋯⋯”。或〈Patience〉裡,他說: “I’m sick of losing /my patience / …./ barely concious /oversensitised / feeling weaker/ as I stumble around”,後來重句裡,甚至直接叫這種感覺去 “Get out of my mind”。乾看起來,可能覺得很無病呻吟(為賦新詞強說愁?),但聽起整個編曲與唱腔,你會真切地感受到,那些被分享出來的個人痛苦,是很真實的。有時歌者不斷為逝去的感情追悔,有時為自己的軟弱而自我鞭韃,所有野都很日常。

這是音樂超然地連結人的能力:光聽,世界這端的我已能分享這些,因著自己不同的backstory,都感受過的孤單、自責,如何重複一次又一次敲門、纏身。不需要有什麼情緒問題,我甚至想assert,這應該是現代發達國家裡,在原子化家庭或關係裡生活、打著追著意義不完全明確的工作或學業,每一個情感匱乏的個體,都經歷過的時刻。或深或淺。

而Low Roar如實地表達、分享這些集體皆有的個人私密之餘,總是紀錄他自己應對這些時刻的過程,也溫柔地以一般在末端重覆的、以大調為主、音律和諧、升調後的樂器(instrumental)句,轉化、昇華前段。聽起來的感覺,就像從迷茫的空中起一條樓梯,重建溫柔的秩序,一步一步接你返落地面。最後首尾呼應,像一輛駛過再漸漸駛走的車,將煙般縷縷的樂絲駛走,回復它出現前世界的沉默。

我最喜愛的作曲家——奇斯洛夫斯基的拍檔配樂家Zbigniew Preisner曾說過, silence is necessary in music。所有的音符組合,都是為了昇華樂句之間的靜默。

In Low Roar’s music, the criterion is met for the second time.

過勞的個體/失「望」的集體

(短期個人檢視,無必要詳細看。如在生活上有同感,歡迎私下找我share下)

承認是接受與轉化的第一步,所以在過去幾個月我學識去肯定的,是自己與現代很多人契合的感官、欲望。

只不過是放鬆,離開嚿西西弗斯石,吊頸抖下氣。想行開下,離開下呢個世界。

食好野,行街,無意識地consume資訊去填補工作之間的空隙,最理想的假期是躺在一鍋水裡,合上眼,熄機,讓水吸去所有日積月累的累。

我總覺得有一部分的我不屬於一個臨在的我,它是一部autopilot,每朝每晚send勁多個notification出來,告訴我還有什麼未做,今日同之前又做成點(主要是,有什麼做錯)。臨在的意識我,與這些繁重的運作我,之間有一道鴻溝。就算是我想做的事(包括這篇構想多時的反思),很多時很快會被那個運作我吸納去,成為繁重勞累的包袱之一,將人扯往地面以下。

也許像一個生產福特汽車的受命工人,生產再精密核心的引擎,都永遠不知道一輛車是什麼樣子、要駛到哪裡。

這就是「支配」的根本:不斷延續一個匱乏的狀態(就算肉體再pamper得無瑕,心理與社會上總是不斷再生產匱乏),不斷被分派或自製需填補的任務,不斷獲分發早晚變得過時的金錢或物質補償,將人以無形金剛箍,拷在既定的欲望與躁動之中。我們學會了自己代替老細或未來的假想權威,事先自我支配。

*

對於新聞裡面的「世界」,相信大家都聽說過不少次,我們如何被一宗接一宗離身的惡耗Disempower、訓練成麻木、無感、對政治不再抱有貼身感或任何希望的「觀眾」。而我想說的是一個發現,發現這現象在我身上的重重砸跡。

我還記得2014年報社傾莊camp,我哋傾社會版的時候,面對著論述能力與知識都極為強勢的上莊老鬼,我曾經弱弱地在白板上寫過,為什麼不提香港的民主運動?畢竟是社會上的頭等議題?寫完比人駁幾句應該就無左件事了。那是我入大學的初衷:我想來想去,都想不通香港面對著強勢的中共,有什麼自主的未來,那是個無解的結,只會愈扭愈實。那時候的我大概更像那些「third way」撚,會覺得畢竟要向持有實權的人作出理性說服。只嗌口號的人可以令到個世界有咩改變呢,除左拖遲淪落?

到了今天,我覺得我只是把這個問題擱置、被(報社左翼對民生問題的關注)告知我要deprioritise佢,而且變得愈來愈無力,愈來愈抗拒認識事態的發展了。傘運、反送中運動這種有公式的群眾運動(都仲L係果D唔撚會達到的訴求、仲係果種嗌的形態—當然反送中帶來了很多新形式,但很多我都give doubt the benefit of doubt,先否定後醒覺、發掘⋯⋯),沒有如何從根本上,把我這種「不反抗的清醒」、目視沉淪之必然的心態,撼動過來。

——當然很多時候,我是會有突然的一陣狂熱與力量,被某些發展深深觸動,像Mario kart抽中大炮之後鳩衝一圈的狀態。醫罷、中大員總的組織、學生報的參與裡,或多或少見到一些以往不能想像到的、不相識的人之間所能有的同情共感與力量,然後就會運作狂上身,很努力地做了一些工作。不久後,benefit of doubt to doubt又會佔回上風,Mario kart又回復第10名的力度,跑一場無心戀戰的比賽。

講到底,這是一個無「信、望、愛」的懸浮狀態:沒有可以信任的agent of change,沒有對未來臨在真切改變的希望,更重要的是無愛——對於現狀下重覆被碾壓受傷的人,磨蝕、也失卻了愛與憐憫之心,或相應的行動力。回到那個自製的日常牢籠裡,盡是基督宗教裡不信者的感受:安逸中常帶著焦躁、悔恨與匱乏。

*

對於集體,也許真正與生活與情感結合的參與,就是青山灣入境事務中心(CIC)被羈留人士權益的運動。主要是兩個因素的結合:切身與H, S兩位難民朋友入屋的相處,以及無論機會多渺茫都keep住做、又落地的示範人物甘仔。

上星期到CIC外,看見3個抱著一透明膠袋隨身物的被釋放者,上前訪問。那種膠袋,那個裝著所有家當的舊背囊,那種不理旁人目光、隨地翻找物品的姿態,都讓我想起曾在眼前、熱情的H。就算已經是最有心的參與,很多時候填問卷、做會記時,還是撇不掉把K-屎(case)量化的運作習慣。但畢竟還是讓我想有一種目光,要把我們的組織恆常化:幾年後要不要成為一個NGO,幾年後我們各散東西要如何staff,如何支援甘仔那種超級聯絡人的角色⋯⋯那些都是organic、沒有什麼外力要求下的真實想法:只係覺得,要做,無人做,就我哋做。

*

進而想到,以往睇咗咁多嘢,咁多前人思考的結晶品(無論是精密的社會或經濟學理論家,還是能把時事寫得通透解魅的現今評論家),結果絕大多數都係落咗入運作我那個,只會掉落思想鹹水海的account。寫作如睇書一樣,是一個實踐後思考、思考後再實踐的勞動過程,並不是清晰明確的一堆答案或指令,或一份上呈的作品⋯⋯寫與讀,都係一個需要ready去主動地思考參與的過程。以往閱讀時不完全明白這點,把東西很多時看成一些intellectual challenge,把設題與解題本身看成「樂趣」或「成就」所在,無疑是把很多前人辛苦的實踐、解惑再實踐的過程平面化,成一時一刻興致下的消費物。

所讀的理論唔係好對應到現實,或者只能淺層地對應到新聞上那些令人看著生愁結的「現實」,就更加令到睇左,真係唔知睇來做乜。唔知!!!!變成了另一重對匱乏的自我的深深壓迫。(2019年冬前的閱讀消化不能,所做的對人對己的創傷,還是鮮活得不想面對。)

講到現實,以往的社會參與,的確有讓我瞥見生活囚籠以外的現實。移民工在銅鑼灣生活的圈子;與不同階層職業的人坐埋一台食鹵味;與一群介乎畢業與學生/就業市場裡的個人現實;與以社運參與直面集體現實的被啟蒙者一起書寫、翻煙霧;同一班我父母年紀的前行者相對平等地坐埋一齊傾行動⋯⋯這些我都未有言語與框架去承載(遑論表達)的經驗,大概一點一滴開啓了我對自己的個人現實、社會的集體現實的想像,讓我更勇於走一些與別人不盡相同的路徑,繼承前人的一些努力。不過這些經驗,我還是沒有什麼用力將他們帶離私密/工作/圍威喂唔洗解釋的世界,讓這些改造集體現實的參與,sit uncomfortably with我的個人現實世界。即時的某一時間點上問我,我還是那個乾癟過勞、咩都唔想理的我。

只能學習覺察:實踐後思考、思考後再實踐。Relax, and wake up.

*

所謂理想的世界,就算前人用過多少字眼與實踐去解釋,還是一個好像離「現在」好遠好遠,遠到irrelevant的一個點。我從來沒有一個coherent的世界觀去演繹它,對自己、對人一樣。

心底裡支撐我的,是一套源自否定的世界觀:Things shouldn’t be like this. 一個合理正常人都會同意,咁樣係黐L線唔L合理。Why stand it? 那套強烈的道德觀/正義感是來自什麼呢?一個非黑即白、自以為是的「應然」觀?長年安穩的生活帶來的living standard?一套強烈而感性的情緒反應系統?

當前可以提醒自己的,就是由信、望、愛開始,慢慢改變日常的視角,tone down運作我,多聆聽無以名狀的情感與經驗,add in從來欠缺信、望、愛,從實踐中尋找行動的目標與原因。一花一世界,也許在生活中對家人多一些耐性,就是轉念即進入理想世界的一步了⋯⋯(呢一步好難⋯⋯)

重思憤怒

人會感到憤怒,通常是因為覺得尊嚴被踐踏。一個人如何評估自己的尊嚴,有很多種標準,而這些標準,通常是與「什麼是我本來有的,不被隨便剝奪的」這個概念有關,而這些介定自我的方式,又往往社會地位、政治經濟地位密切有關,也和道德倫理的判斷有關。

〈來直面憤怒,我們最不想面對的「情緒」~~寫在第九屆香港社會運動電影節之間〉— 李維怡

來到這裡,我們又重回到前文討論「背面的共同體」時,所談到的概念:「犧牲」。

這個概念,只能靠信念(而非計算效果)而行動,而信念,就是憑著一種價值觀而主動將自己的維度全盤張開,交託給一個未知/神/不能控制之事物,是一種純粹付出、不為佔有、不為結果的「非理性」行為。必須釐清的是,這種狀態,是一種主動的、以利他為慾望本位的自我完成式,也可以說是一種清醒的、具反思性的、充滿自信的行為。

另一種看似相類但其實相反的狀態:膜拜權威,為權威奉獻一切,無需思考便以權威送下來的知識為真理,進而無法反思,故一碰到未知與不能控制之事物就大為反彈、不能分析。這種自我完成式,其實核心的慾望本位是利己的,因為這不過是一種「跟大佬,受保護」的狀態──這就解釋了為何有些人明明相信了導人向善的宗教,卻還日日為惡之事了。

〈在愛情集會中尋找「更危險的事物」──真實電影與愛慾主體 〉,李維怡

維怡的文字十分溫柔易懂,她好像有幫人解一些思想的結的力量。

最近反思,自己有憤怒的時候,是為了什麼原因?想是覺得尊嚴被踐踏,被無理地扣上一些帽子,並且沒有方法反抗/自我表述。憤怒背後的需要是被明白,而只要自己想清楚一次自己的用意,就能夠抵抗面對批評的脆弱。

以往具批判性地看社會的生活方針,我覺得似「跟大佬」一樣,想找到一個「必勝法」,有能力面對種種被揭穿的社會深層不公、波譎雲詭的道德問題與生活掣肘,做應做的事。可是,我也是時候清醒起來,學習以自己的信念與方式付出,用自己的步伐走,不讓以往聽過的種種道聽途說,主宰對理想生活的想像與追求。

偶爾還是會憤怒,會介意,像一身芒刺拔不清。只要明白到,它們根本傷不了身,學習共處,希望能與亟欲保護自己的一面共存,再學習開放自己,接受世界的衝擊、與很怕面對的批評與出錯⋯⋯ ><

我想了好一會兒,有沒有必要記下以下的想法。我覺得,畢竟面對傷害的方法,總是面對它,而文字是其中一個最溫柔忠實的伙伴。還掂終於有言語能拼湊出傷害的模樣,不如讓它袒露在和煦的日光之下。

恨一個人需要很多的精神心力。恨一個人會讓你好像by default就繃緊的橡筋圈一樣,只要有任何內外的力量郁動到看似靜止、dormant的情緒torrent,就會讓軟弱/強裝無事的自己像那橡筋的邊緣勒開,斷了幾條心弦。所以我不想再恨,我想replace it with something more honest, more vulnerable, more healing。我恨不下去,我也深知恨或強忘,是一種常用但無效的保護機制。

有一個人,他的說話用詞像外科醫生割斷關鍵動脈一樣、又或者中醫針刺穴道一樣精準,能把一個人用最尖銳的言辭切開、解體,拔出要害,再像解剖醫生一樣客觀無情地,對著一班year 1的醫學生剖析其疾害、來源、解方。This is a specimen of a xxxxx species nurtured under the climate of yyyzzz, he goes rambling on and on and on.

可惜我這具活屍首不像別人,我比較脆弱。每一隻刀刃般的用詞,都在我心上刺上razor sharp的裂痕,讓它撕裂更甚。可能我天生有一種白血球,一種抵禦外侵的時候,反過來會攻擊自身的武器:它會infect那些被exposed的傷口with guilt, with remorse, with indignation,with 無限的自我質疑,無窮無限的自我bug fix的慾望,再去向內挖深、同時向外加固表面的防禦力。Maybe it’s called ego, or it’s the inability to be flawed.

基本上,一個不請自來的醫生,對著一個患癌的人講佢患癌既inconvenient truth,當然是客觀無錯,一切的情緒暴戾乖張,責任在於不能接受事實的病人。可是那是心病。更不論有沒有「診」對或錯的定義(he makes everything sound absolute)。而那人往往在精準地刺破一百個洞以後,話鋒一轉跳到一個共同進步的可能、未來之遼闊、改變後世界之宏大,他自己征服緊的是一個什麼山,佢又想像我地可以點樣一齊在一個時空裡征服那個山、那個山是什麼模樣、他與他人探險的過程中有了些什麼得著⋯⋯

而我往往是呆著頭,窒息地、muted,無法用言語表達自己傷口被挖開放大的痛、無法表達對「痊癒」的無限追慾、無法表達對自己不夠努力、過份醜lou6可恥(as diagnosed)的憎恨厭惡與不知所措⋯⋯就這樣在日常,抱著這些不完整療程後的傷,每天發炎流膿、潰爛。

也許那種張(非常之close-up地看你刺你)、弛(自己問題自己解決,各自修行、得閑10年後交流),將我推向了極限。pushed me too far。 我的軟弱與他的insensitivity,令到我們之間的溝通總是內爆地disastrous。那些爆炸,我總是要在心裡自己一個人啃掉。愈炸愈空。直至崩塌成,被自我質疑全面接管的頹垣敗瓦。

事實上,我都見到他有不同的嘗試,去所謂make himself understandable, approachable. 甚至花很多時間,帶團把我們帶進一些理論領域、日常討論的腹地,或建設實實際際的平台造就生活,這些都是讓我應該很感激的地方,我相信事實上,無可否認,也改變了我一生的進程 for the better。

但上面那種對人的uprooting、destabilising,之後的aftercare (to use the SM community jargon) only on his terms.. 很抱歉,我沒有你想像中的強大,我承受不到這種被轟炸重建的相處模式。

講緊既係,一句對白裡面已經可以有最少一個詞,刺穿扭傷我的心臟正中央。

Goodbye language, Goodbye your fucking language.

Let’s meet again when one day we speak a mutually intelligible and fair tongue.

這裡有恨意,也有期盼,但我都不敢再想望太多。最少我需要好一段時間的休養,別的一些療法,有了足夠的自信與自我,再回首面對我們的現在與過去。

Book review: Rise and Smothering of Radical Labour in Hong Kong, 1938-58

I actually enjoyed the book a lot! Gives me some real interest in colonial history of South-east Asian states that worked towards decolonisation, as well as 1960-90 labour politics of HK. What seemed distant once played out on Russell Street (outside Time Square), Hennessey Road and Canal Road East, just some 50-70 years ago. It’s there, laying silently, for us to rediscover.

*****

Loss Decades of Militant Unionism in Hong Kong: Perspectives from Workers, Parties and Colonial Government

Lu, Y. (2019). Crossed Paths: Labor Activism and Colonial Governance in Hong Kong, 1938-1958. Cornell University East Asia Program.

Interweaving the perspectives of the British colonial government, Chinese political parties (Chinese Communist Party, CCP and Guomindang, GMD) and the working Chinese, Lu provided a well-grounded chronicle of Hong Kong labour politics in the turbulent years of 1938-1958.

Narrative

The time period was chosen carefully to mark the ‘crossed paths’ treaded by those on top and at the bottom of the political hierarchy in Hong Kong. There was a short period of time when the two paths went hand-in-hand, and the establishment of a British-style industrial relations in Hong Kong, with strong unionised labour through reformist intervention by the government, seemed possible.

In the late 1930s, London was pressurised into creating more balanced industrial relations in British colonies, in view of labourers’ dire working conditions. Such reform involved empowering trade unions in Hong Kong, which however was prevented becoming the law through resistance by a reluctant local administration and legislature. Immediately after the Japanese invasion, the colonial government required labour cooperation to rebuild business and counter-balance GMD (then heading the National government) influence. Thus the government adopted a lenient and even supportive stance towards left-wing trade unionism.

Meanwhile, Chinese ground-up mass organisation had evolved from the anti-Imperialist National Salvation Movement in the 1930s, to active anti-Japanese guerrilla resistance during the occupation and then colony-wide, democratic and self-initiated trade union movement in 1946-50. As Lu demonstrated, union leadership shifted from employer-friendly, GMD-led organisations into a network of seasoned underground Communist activists. They won popular support by their demonstrated dedication to the cause of ‘improving employment conditions’ (then a frequently invoked slogan) through militant unionism.

However, in Lu’s narrative, the years 1948-50 marked the divergence of the two paths, gearing them towards a head-on conflict. As the political situation in China sharply turned against the GMD since 1948, London and Hong Kong eventually agreed that rising loyalty towards a communist, unified China could jeopardise stability of the empire in South-east Asia, and affect entrenched British interests in the city. Deploying Cold-war rhetoric and branding all unions as purely ‘political’, the colonial government began to revise a series of repressive legislations in 1949, expanding the Emergency Regulation Ordinance and limiting working Chinese’s freedom to strike, freedom of association and right of abode.

In the meantime, grassroot militant unionism reached new heights. ‘During the years between the spring of 1946 and early 1950, rarely a month passed without collective labour action in the colony’ (p. 152). Industries like mechanics, dockyard workers, female knitters and taxi drivers demanded pay rise, more reasonable working hours and conditions under inflating living costs. Labour action often involved popular mobilisation from National Salvation movement traditions, such as ‘one-dollar donation campaign’ originating from street hawkers and high-profile celebrity support. To consolidate power, the Hong Kong Federation of Unions was formed in Mar 1948, combining 25 best organised and CCP-leaning unions. In response, GMD-led Trade Union Council was formed by combining craft unions in Sep 1948.

The Russell Street Bloodshed of 1950 – the incident when the police forcefully broke down a congregation of pro-China Tramway Union strikers and sympathisers on 31 January, 1950 – marked the inevitable collision of the two paths. Waves of detention and deportation, as well as trial against pro-China newspapers followed. As Beijing, mindful of retaining British support for the regime, gave a non-confrontational order, left-wing unions voluntarily retreated into the role of welfare provisioner for workers, marking the end of an era of militant unionism.

Contribution

In weaving this narrative, Lu refuted two major misinterpretation of the failure of Hong Kong working Chinese unionism: impediments to solidarity from traditional ties like dialect and kinship groups, or pure puppeteering of unions for ideological purposes by the CCP or GMD. She rightfully highlighted the exceptional agency and solidarity of the working Chinese, even at points of crises from Japanese occupation, shown by her chapter-long description of how the East River Guerrilla gained the trust of rural villagers in Hong Kong and western politicians. The arguments that unions were formed out of a humanistic spirit for a dignified life, and that labourers’ allegiance to the CCP was an outcome of the party’s efficient response to immediate needs of workers in wartime and the workplace, were well-supported by her portrayals of the roles played by many dedicated, on-the-ground organisers from the 1930s to 50s.  

To identify the cause of the failure of Hong Kong unionism, Lu instead focused rightfuly on critical decisions made by the colonial government at different points in time, and singled out their initial relaxation and subsequent repression over collective labour action as a major factor in the story. The argument was made while carefully avoiding overgeneralisation – Lu took pains to reconstruct debates at the time, by marking important voices of dissent in British ruling class circles on issues like reoccupying Hong Kong and attitude towards unions. Lu also provided sufficient details of decision-makers’ background that explained their worldviews and decisions, such as governor Grantham’s experience with labour stifle in other colonies that marked his deep distrust of labour. In accouting for the eventual political outcome, the balance between the role of grand geopolitics, organisational calculation and individual decision-making was well struck.

Yet, the important question that remained was what happened next to the legacy of labour activism in the 1930-50s. Lu provided a generally positive portrayal of militant unionism, led by communist leaders that eventually joined the FTU. Their voluntary retreat from militant politics since 1950 was attributed to external causes of colonial repression and PRC’s order to restraint. To what extent were the activists’ compliance responsible for stifling labour politics? When and how did the FTU turn from a genuine representative of labour interests to a partisan apparatus obedient to the PRC’s political orders?

Perhaps the question went beyond Lu’s scope of focus, but the answer would greatly assist us in recovering the full picture to Hong Kong’s lost tradition of labour radicalism. Regardless, Lu’s chronicle of Hong Kong’s decades of militant unionism – from the perspective of workers, party organisation and colonial government – provides invaluable insight in rediscovering the under-estimated potential of labour politics in the city.

Waking Dreams in 1984: A Brief Review

前進進戲劇工作坊《午睡》
2020年3月25日 星期三晚8:30 
Stagetv Theatre Fans 劇場粉絲 專頁直播

故事簡介︰(演出含吸煙情節)
//火紅年代過後,幾個人的微塵往事,那些年的未竟歌吟

七十年代學運成為過去,激盪的熱情也逐漸退潮,像微塵一樣只能黏附在衣袖,又隨著時代的步履而慢慢散去。昊與曦,兄弟二人從火紅路上被拋擲至時代的斷層,繁華得無路可退的八十年代;弟弟自我放逐後回流,從沉睡中轉醒過來,兄長則轉身躍入電影業,浮沉間渴求一個奮鬥夢。他們在追憶與展望裡角力,在大時代的清醒與迷濛間,抵抗著某種粗暴的、卻還沒有顯影的力量侵蝕、轉變,這股力量據說有個名稱,叫作「歷史」。//

《午睡》榮獲第二十六屆香港舞台劇獎「最佳劇本獎」及提名「最佳音響設計獎」!

主辦︰前進進戲劇工作坊
導演/文本︰陳炳釗
演員︰朱柏康、梁天尺、張君洳、邱頌偉、葉嘉文、黃漢樑、馬嘉裕、吳鳳鳴

*

What the play is about:

In search for a reconstruction of the lived, intimate (blood-tied) experience of the ‘old Hong Konger’.

Intercepting from an activist into an awkward, uncomfortable, aloof (from the lives and consciousness of the masses) culture consumption goods producer.

Becoming part of the daily dust dotting the new Hong Kong through alienated work (newspaper columns, films, undecipherable art, ‘aimless’ exercises).

Two ventures: to creep through the thick, swarmy ‘reality’ consciousness and production circuit and professing one in the modern coded language, or to leap into a mix and remix of one’s subconscious and previously lived experienced into a lucid re-creation of reality, in a form of devil’s contract, selling one’s soul and consciousness for excitement eliciting.

The clash of these two roads taken – in a head-on regret of that particular turning point of events (that Victoria Park demo that resulted in an exile and a premature death).

All are struggling to reveal and assimilate a muted past, and in embracing the dawn of a new age, under Margaret Thatcher’s hypnotically elegent prose that declared the ‘return to the motherland’, 19 December 1984. Hong Kong’s 1984.

*

I think I really appreciated the layers and all-roundedness in each character. (The bordering on hateful, pretentious, distant-keeping personalities, that gradually resolved into something more rounded and humane, and also fresh employment and action settings of each character). At first I was not too comfortable with their theatre-way of unnatural speech and intonation, but gradually I got used to it, and in the final few scenes the intonation and emotions became a lot of naturally flowing, I think.

Also I really appreciate the juxtaposition of the climatic conflict – between a pair of brothers bearing the same history 6 years apart but overlapping in some experience of key scenarios and characters. The other-worldly faith in communicating through dreams vs. inevitability of speechlessness in this era provided a dreamy yet sharp, and also fresh (relative to many dramas) means of dramatic conflict. I think I thoroughly enjoyed the second last scene when the two brothers wielded swords over the final say/ decision over recounting their shared past.

I also really liked the juxtaposition of characters and props on the stage (stage setting?), mainly of the final scene. That half-waking-up, detachment of body from consciousness and reality from dreams, the way they all completely succumbed to the dreamy world that only Hei was able to enter in all scenes before, showed a silent triumph of the ‘bounded consciousness’ in revenging against a will once succumbed to the ‘new’ HK reality. To the extent that losing the score writing opportunity, which meant everything and was the sole engine driving the drama forward, meant literally nothing anymore. This was a brilliant plot move.

I’m not too sure what to make of Xu Yianfeng, but I am sure I enjoyed the lucid dream version description of her. And the photo shots that kind of represented how one is being forcibly capture in history by inevitably incomplete and dishonest snapshots.

Reflecting on myself, the drama deployed a subcontext of ’70友’, something that 報社友 can identify with. Is this a prophecy of how we’ll interact in the future? However I find this representation of ‘us’ lacking in a crucial dimension: what were ‘we’ fighting for? ‘Decolonisation’? Right to lay claim on ‘the people’? When all these became mystified/ insider-ed into ‘study groups’ and ‘protests’, this is inevitably a yearning within the circle of intellectuals who are now relatively aloof from real material struggles.

This also asks another very important question for my life: is a future as a cultural product producer appealing? Or is it bound to go into ‘champagne socialist’ directions? What is the role of activist-veterans in times unfavorable to taking onto the streets and shouting in loudspeakers? How to avoid empty self-begging in the future?

I think Fa in the drama provided a better illustration of the balance between 入世 and 出世。You can be a 7am-5pm worker without compromising the fire lit in your spirits at some point before. You can ride the modern tides and still stay true to yourself and remind veterans around you to do so.

For me, I think I inevitably want to act and be on the negotiation tables at some point. Even though I am rash, easily startled by even the smallest opposing moves and criticisms, I do feel like the way to press things forward is to be on the institutional frontlines. The point however is to learn to observe before acting and gain some social, people skills. But I do not need to act like some dominating predecessors. And I have learn to accept the differences of members in a team. There are many more aspects of a person for development than sheer, perfecting political-economic grand theories and making clever points for clever people to read and amaze themselves with.

Though when lost it might be good to take an afternoon nap and hope the dive into one’s subconsciousness can bring some already known answers afloat.

*

遊走於夢與真實之間——《午睡》觀後感 23/1/2016

https://maliushuipost.wordpress.com/2016/01/23/%E9%81%8A%E8%B5%B0%E6%96%BC%E5%A4%A2%E8%88%87%E7%9C%9F%E5%AF%A6%E4%B9%8B%E9%96%93-%E3%80%8A%E5%8D%88%E7%9D%A1%E3%80%8B%E8%A7%80%E5%BE%8C%E6%84%9F/

Is this part of the ‘betrayal’, the forgotten years?

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