Wednesday, February 28, 2018

20180228 TO MY MOTHER RIP 一路順風



Over the years, I have written a lot abt my Mom. She has finally moved on to join her mother, her husband and all those who are in the great beyond. RIP Mom 一路順風

I would like to dedicate to her this Chinese poem that I learnt when I was in primary school:

白居易: 花非花,霧非霧,夜半來,天明去,來如春夢無多時,去似朝雲無覓處。

My explanation in English:

In the morning fog
We cannot discern
Where flowers begin
And where mist ends

Life, like a spring dream
Arrived silently here at night
And gone traceless by morning

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And the song goes like this:

黃自作曲: 范宇文演唱花非花





Related link:  http://lotusandcedar.blogspot.ca/2008/04/in-memory-of-haricot-senior.html

Friday, April 22, 2016

20160422 MAY YOU ALWAYS


TO ALL MY RUNNING FRIENDS




May you always have

Wind on your back,

Wings on your feet !!!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

20151128 EU FILM FESTIVAL: "A Pigeon Sat on a Branch"



"A Pigeon Sat on a Branch" by Roy Andersson, Sweden 2014.

Existentialism is not an easy subject to digest. I would put "A Pigeon Sat on a Branch" in the same category as Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Goddard". I am not too crazy abt it because my rational mind keeps on looking for a storyline when there is none.

Au contraire, I love Brad Pitt's "The Tree of Life" as well as Harrison Ford's "Blade Runner" (loosely based on the book "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?") because I can relate to the characters and follow the storylines of both movies.

But that's not to say I am not charmed by the Swedish film's segmented presentations and the faint veins that link them together.

Notwithstanding my preference for "realism" (whatever that means in the context of existentialism), there are still some scenes that resonate with me and I can't help but laugh at the absurdities of our everyday routine life.

For example: The bus-stop scene in which a guy said: "You gotta know today is Wednesday; because Wednesday follows Tuesday, and Thursday follows Wednesday, etc. Without that order, everything is chaos."

Perhaps that is my problem. I haven't been wearing a watch for over six months now.

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References:

1. Wikipedia:
" ..... A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (Swedish: En duva satt på en gren och funderade på tillvaron) is a 2014 Swedish comedy-drama film directed by Roy Andersson. It is the third part in his "living"-trilogy, following Songs from the Second Floor and You, the Living.
It premiered at the 71st Venice International Film Festival where it was awarded the Golden Lion for Best Film. It was selected as the Swedish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards. ....."

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Pigeon_Sat_on_a_Branch_Reflecting_on_Existence

2. YouTube trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGwGyo5Ywpo

Thursday, November 26, 2015

20151126: AMERICAN THANKSGIVING - "JAMESTOWN - SECRETS OF THE DEAD"

(Photo and text from PBS)

As they set sail from London to the distant shores of America in December 1606, the men and boys onboard the Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery surely expected the best from their adventure. They’d establish a British settlement, find gold and silver, a passage to the Orient, and, perhaps, the lost colony of Roanoke. The explorers, funded by a group of London entrepreneurs called the Virginia Company, could not have anticipated the fate that actually awaited most of them: drought, hunger, illness, and death.
Their journey started off as badly as it ended. The three ships were stranded for weeks off the British coast, and food supplies dwindled. Over the course of the voyage, dozens died. But 104 colonists — many gentlemen of privilege, but also artisans, craftsmen, and laborers — survived to reach the shores of Virginia. On May 13, 1607, they decided to make landfall on the swampy ground of what was then a peninsula (and now an island) along the James River, some 60 miles from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Within a month the settlers had constructed a triangle-shaped wooden fort, for protection against the Spanish, who did not want the British to establish any kind of foothold in the New World.
The settlers of the new colony — named Jamestown — were immediately besieged by attacks from Algonquian natives, rampant disease, and internal political strife. In their first winter, more than half of the colonists perished from famine and illness. Eventually, more colonists and new supplies were brought from Britain, and, despite a fire that wiped out the original fort, the settlement found some stability under the leadership of Captain John Smith. Smith, with the help of Pocohontas, daughter of the Algonquian chief Powhatan, managed to broker an uneasy peace with the natives before leaving the colony and returning to England in September 1609.
The following winter, disaster once again struck Jamestown. Only 60 of 500 colonists survived the period, now known as “the starving time.” Historians have never determined exactly why so many perished, although disease, famine (spurred by the worst drought in 800 years, as climate records indicate), and Indian attacks took their toll. On June 7, 1610, Jamestown’s residents abandoned the hapless town, but the next day their ships were met by a convoy led by the new governor of Virginia, Thomas West, Lord De La Ware, who ordered the settlers back to the colony.
In 1612, John Rolfe — who would later marry Pocohontas — began to grow tobacco, finally giving the colony a cash crop and hope for survival. The first representative government in the New World was convened in Jamestown in July 1619, the same year that African slaves — then indentured servants — were first brought to America. Jamestown was the capital of Virginia until 1698, when its statehouse burned down. The following year, the capital moved to Williamsburg, and Jamestown began its slow decay ....
Source:
* Text from PBS: http://www.pbs.org/…/secre…/death-jamestown-background/1428/
* Video: WPBS TV program: www.PBS.org The American Experience series)

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20151126: AMERICAN THANKSGIVING - "THE PILGRIMS"


"THE PILGRIMS"
(My interpretation of the story aired on WPBS Watertown, New York on 2015-11-24)

Btwn 1630-1651, William Bradford led the pilgrims at Plymouth in an attempt to build a spiritual community in New England where they would live in peace and flourish. But when the Mayflower sailed away, they were left on their own.

Facing the harsh weather, raiding pirates, Indian attacks, dwindling food, fatal diseases, and other misfortunes, many perished and the remaining population barely survived. But a strategic alliance with some of the natives enable them to learn new skills and knowledge to live off the land and fight off hostile tribes.

Unfortunately with the arrival of new colonists at Plymouth and the establishment of new colonies along the eastern seaboard, starvation, conflicts and raids eventually took a strong toll on the relationship btwn the white men and the natives. By the time the Indians tried to eradicate the colonists off their ancestral land, it was already too late. The colonization of North America was unstoppable.

Williams Bradford's dream of a spiritual community and peaceful co-existence with their Indian neighbours did not materialize in his life time. Ironically, it was the survival news of the Plymouth pilgrims that opened the food-gate to the New World.

So without present day political bias, let's take a minute to absorb the story of the pilgrims and reflect on the meaning of Thanksgiving on Nov 26, 2015.

Attachment: A page from William Bradford's hand-written journal that had been lost for over 100 years, then was found in London, and eventually returned back to Boston.

Source:
*   WPBS TV program / The American Experience series:   http://video.pbs.org/video/2365609956/

Photo Credit:
* Wiipedia:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Of_Plymouth_Plantation

20151126: CHARITABLE DONATIONS ON THE PHONE

Someone representing the Canadian Police Association (CPA) called and asked whether I would like to support their anti-bullying campaign.

The CPA caller was polite and not pushy, but I couldn't take the chance. "Sorry I don't accept phone solicitation." I said. He thanked me and hung up.

Back in June, the Ottawa Police put out a scam alert but then had to quickly withdraw it because the Police Association of Ontario (PAO) was actually campaigning. False alarm and communications, they said.

But with so many scammers out there, the best is to quickly disengage and to make direct donations to the charities of your choice under your own terms and conditions.

Related links:

*   CBC, June 9, 2015 article:  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/ontario-police-association-fundraising-mistaken-for-phone-scam-1.3106595

*   The Telegram, Feb 5, 2014 article:   http://www.thetelegram.com/section/2014-02-05/article-3604661/Legit-campaign-resembles-anti-bullying-scam/1

Friday, February 06, 2015

EPIC CATCH!!! Dashing Thru the Snow - CN Train 406 West at Salisbury, NB...

20150206: This is a video taken by a railfan at a crossing west of Salisbury, New Brunswick. With all the snow storms hitting Eastern Canada in the last week or so, the railroad track is covered with several metres of snow. But that didn't seem to bother a fully loaded freight train which just ploughed right through the crossing.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

香港老家: 從阿巴甸街,灣仔大彿口,到北角新邨 / Growing up in Hong Kong: Aberdeen Street,Wan Chai, North Point Estate


前數天,在網上找到了一個懷舊香港北角新邨的團體,我看到「村友」貼上的照片,腦海不禁充滿了童年時代的回憶.

(一) 阿巴甸街

(The following article was first posted on Dec 8, 2008)


母親說她和父親結了婚之後,由九龍油麻地搬往鴨巴甸街住,当年父親入息不高,与年輕的配偶,兩口子租了一間狹窄的板間房,母親「佗」 着我的時候,在鴨巴甸街上斜落斜,什為辛苦吃力,但可幸我的袓父母住在附近的荷李活道,所以有緊急事也可以大家互相照应。

我記得年幼時阿嫲常帶我往文武廟処玩,又去上環街市買餸,回到祖父母処就和「中間房」木匠的兒子阿榮玩拍「公仔紙」, 但是我們孩子是不准去「尾房」玩,因為那对夫婦住客是吞雲吐霧的(鴉片?)「煙精」。

我記得在騎楼望開对面是「飛髪舖」,顧客有兩個選擇,「陸軍裝」或「花旗裝」。楼下是賣柴丶炭丶雜物的舖頭,常常擠滿了買餸的家庭主婦,她們与老板伙記討價還價,或像「開墟」的說一堆不着边際的話兒,或大家閒話家常,和在街上的行人丶小販丶街坊丶小童鬧哄哄的噪声混在一起。

鴨巴甸街是我的出生地點,荷李活道是我的玩耍地方,現在看見這些相片,帶來了很多童年的回憶,令我在那天真無邪的歲月中流連忘返。

攝影图片 Photo Credit: Wikipedia

* 香港鴨巴甸街是一條很鈄的路 Aberdeen Street on Hong Kong Island is fairly steep
* 鴨巴甸街和皇后大道中交界 Intersection of Aberdeen Street and Queen's Road
* 荷李活道的文武廟 The ManMo Temple on Hollywood Road, Hong Kong

References:

1. Aberdeen Street 鴨巴甸街:
"... 鴨巴甸街於1840年代規劃,作為華人與洋人的聚居界線。華人需要居住於街道以西的太平山街地區,即上環和西營盤一帶,街道以東則發展成為維多利亞城的市中心。這條道路與香港仔一樣,都是以當時的英國外交大臣鴨巴甸勳爵命名。..."
(References: Aberdeen Street      鴨巴甸街 )

2. The ManMo Temple on Hollywood Road, Hong Kong 荷李活道的文武廟:
"... Man Mo Temple or Man Mo Miu (traditional Chinese: 文武廟) is a temple in Hong Kong, China, that reveres the God of Literature, Man Tai (文帝), Man Cheong (文昌)and the God of War, and Mo Tai (武帝) or Kuan Ti, Kwan Yu(關羽). It was built in 1847 after two gods, Man the god of literature and Mo the god of war..." "... 東華三院文武廟位於香港上環荷李活道,是香港開埠早期的中式廟宇及於開埠早期於港英政府批准下可以用中國方法進行「斬雞頭,燒黃紙」的宣誓及裁決華人之間的糾紛。文武廟亦為香港一級歷史建築。..."
(References: Man Mo Temple (Hong Kong)   東華三院文武廟

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(二) 灣仔大彿口

阿媽「佗」我的時候,父親入息不高,只能在阿巴甸街租了間尾房為家. 我出世之後,父母担心隔鄰樓下山寨廠的工業染污惡毒環境,就決定搬遷,在灣仔大彿口租了個「板間房」. 那時母親恐怕我会迷途,所以要我牢記地址,至今我仍可以閉眼唸出﹕「我蕩失咗路,唔該您帶找返屋企啦,我係住响皇后大道東+一号三樓」.

以前香港唐樓很寬濶,所以業主会築建頭房、中間房 、和尾房收租. 我們住在約12X12呎的板間房,除了煑食在業主廚房外,如廁、洗身、玩耍等都是在四壁之內. 我開學前一年,弟弟出世,一家四口一張牀,地方見少,業主婆又討厭「細路仔」喴嘩鬼叫,由此與母親生口角打架,兩老公常要護妻談判講數!

...... 待續 to be continued.
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