The third drama in three years. And it’s the best one so far.
Long ago when I decided which drama I would be watching in Art Festival Hong Kong 2017, around July-August 2016, I read the brochure and I chose this one, over Arthur Miller’s. It’s because I knew at the time this drama was about election in America. I knew at the time it’s about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. So I said, “I’m going to watch it". And I watched it just now.
it’s about Donald Trump?
A Yes and No. No, because that name was not mentioned even once in the whole drama. Yes, because the characters mentioned many names, Clinton, Meg Kelliane ( sorry I don’t know how to spell it), Berns, all those who pulled our thread in the mind to the result on 8 November 2016, and the devil who made that history. Glory or Gory, depending on which way you have come from, and which way you want to go.
No, because the story was more than that. It was, according to the playwright, in troubled and troubling times, …a portrait of the confusion, and an articulation of the ambiguities, doubts and fears of its time. The playwright also explained, in his introduction, the function of the theatre is not to argue, but an effort to create and portray human complexity, which we then share with the audience, at the same time, at the same space; human being to human being.
But yes, because in one of the most unforgettable moments in the story, the playwright did point to a hint of what happened at particular point that has led Americans to where they are today, here and now. In that Act, the son, the remaining son of the Gabriels’ family in Rhinebeck, John (maybe George is the correct one, forgive my shit listening please) recalled a guy who said, “all we’ve been through, can lead back to one single Act, on a small kitchen table, in the Oval Office, with a Pizza, and a felacio…" Everyone in the theatre, even I and my wife who are nearly ignorant of anything in US, knew he was alluding to Bill Clinton and his near impeachment.
I recalled my memory in high school, when, about the same period as the congress debate about his impeachment, our Chinese teacher led a debate/discussion about his affair and aftermath in the class. Her question then was simple, “do you think American people should support the impeachment, or indictment, of the President because of his moral slippery/mistakes/corruption?" I cannot recall much detail about the debate/discussion at the time. But I do recall one point my teacher pointed out, “Americans decided not to support his impeachment, because they valued a President’s competence over his moral integrity. They valued their country more as a representation of economic prowess than they did a holder of moral standard."
Maybe she was right. I don’t know. Because I did not read news much at the time. But now, 20 years later, in hindsight, I think that, if she was right, it explains so much what happens today. It explains why we can’t stop the man, who was videotaped bragging about his ability of grabbing whoever he wants because he is rich and powerful, carrying on his path to brazen grab of zenith power in the White House. If a president who so thoroughly insulted the White House, the Oval, so shamefully abused his power, by having felacio with his intern/interns, even could not be impeached, how could then Americans stop a man who just bragged about grabbing puzzies from striding towards the Oval? If Americans long gave up morality as a criterion to judge the suitability of a man as their president, how could they pick up such a thing again to judge against another moron while not feeling hypocritical? If there already come a consensus among Americans that success over everything else, success excuse their president from everything else, how could they fight a man whose brand has always been success? (a lot of bankruptcies disregarded)
In short, the story spoke my word. Or, more correctly put, the story spoke what I had in mind, just much clearer. Americans deserve what they have right now. One of the main reasons is they forgave something they should not forgive. The one who holds the highest post should at least uphold the strictest and highest moral standard. And they have degraded it from sine qua non to quid pro quo. I don’t want to elaborate along the line as I don’t want to offend anybody; and I am not in a position to meddle with others’ politics. I am Chinese after all.
This story also struck my memory flash, that around November, I heard a radio podcast, The State of the Union Songbook. In which a songwriter interviewed different people from different states in US in 2015. The transcripts of the interviewees were made lyrics of his song, verbatim, in his concert in 2016 before the election. When I heard it hard, I felt the smell of my failure, my doom, my pain, my forbearance, as a social democrat. Now I want to share with you readers.
其實呢篇我似想到一些東西但又不是太講得出來是甚麼來著. 畢竟我是一個頗垃圾的BLOGGER. 我大概嘗試這樣說吧. 我都跟我個女這樣說. 任何一樣你認為有生命的東西. 都會有genesis, peak, senile, expire. 這個循環. Expire嗰日, 那一樣有生命的東西要不自行消失, 要不他不消失大家看他更討厭. 你可以叫那個expire 叫死, 正如其他人一般說. 但亦可以叫其他名詞. Karma. Exegesis, Absolve, Dissolve, Resolve, Assimilate. 任你說, 意思都是差不多. 他應走的路已到盡頭.
很多韓粉可以拗, K-POP永垂不朽. 正如黃貫中日日講Rock and Roll never die. 我的雲畫永遠存在大家的心. 我都講過我永遠愛誰. 人人都懂說, 但人人一稍抽離, 就知這只是你心中的堅執, 頑固, 或Kellyanne 講的 alternative fact. 即係faith. 即係其實存不存在已不重要. 我只要看見成個地鐵都是NOW TV暖男暖語韓劇宣傳, 就知道K這個概念已經水尾. 就正如HERO在香港有得做第一集, 木村心知他的途都行得差不多.
這叫做潮流. 有潮漲, 有潮退. 沒有人可以改變. 亦沒有人可以堅持不變. 好多人懷緬香港的80年代流行文化, 還嘔心的說句軟實力. 這個老土到呢…..其實, 西方現在都大規模的nostalgic, 懷緬光輝的8 90 年代, 懷緬曾經存在的 La La Land. Make America Great Again. Make Cantopop Great Again. Make Oscar Great Again. Make Singin in the Rain Great Again. 但只要抬頭清醒一下, 就看清, 潮流已經過.
有個牧師曾跟我說, 我們不能造浪, 只能逐浪, 頂多能比其他人快一點嗅到浪, 快D轉, 快D掹. 生活在潮流的人, 制作的, 欣賞的, 表演的, 都要知道這個所謂潮流是怎麼一回事. 大戲曾有人認為會永垂不滅. 在任白時. 但隨著人類生活的改變, 大戲再沒有能力由其宏偉的裝置downsize去適應社會. 變成沒能力再通俗下去, 即使你有毛主席.
大家都看過Who Moved My Cheese. 大家應該是時候apply. Change, We Can…要更上一步….Change, We are forced. 改變不到對潮流的喜愛和劇毒的, 就只有轉. 否則, 不如學Keanu Reeves. 明知John Wicks 條橋Out了N代, 依然一句, 我就是喜歡. 你吹呀….
Judaz by Amos Oz has just been finished. I couldn’t stop reflecting my view about it before. I used to have one serious and raucous brawl with one Twitter, a dead pan Israel supporter, a couple of years ago when Israel bombarded Palastine and Ramallah for a month in the name of killing all Hamas and Hezbollah. In him, I was but a simpleton Muslim pacifist idiot. In me he was a ruthless and pitiless pomp pomp of Natanyehu. And both of us were in Hong Kong and from Hong Kong. You see how stupid it is. More stupid is I blocked him permanently because of the fight. Stupid self. Stupid me.
I read some interviews of experts about the issue, afterwards. They pointed out one thing I couldn’t understand at the time, that “ones have to understand two fundamentals before looking at these two states, or two races under one state. 1. The reciprocal animosity between the two; and 2. The existential threat Israelis have been feeling since AD 1, and esp. after Nazi killing of Jews en masse.
After finishing reading this book, I at least begin to understand the second. Gershom Wald, one of the characters in the book, asked, what would you do if you had 20000 heads in your troop, protecting less than a million men of your race against the siege of 1 million strong troops who wanted to kill you all in an instant. Would you still fight the fight, war the war? Even if you can withstand those 1 million, what if they brought in 1 million more to exterminate you? How long you supposed you can withstand? But you still fight?
Such questions beautifully and cruelly sum up the 2nd point above. And I still don’t know how to grapple with the issue. Too strange to me as an Asian. So, I will read more maybe. Today I read this:
One thing I am definitely sure. I won’t fight anymore. Coz’ I don’t know nothing. If I still cannot give a view of those seven policemen under sentence because of violence causing injuries to a protester who instigated the fight first hand, where the justice should be struck, I think I can’t give you anything. All I say is,
The Judge judged it, and we have nothing else but witnessed it. And that’s it. Bye.
~庭園上的果樹~ 芒果花開了，一月底二月初的時候吧，回去竹門古厝那時就見樹上黃花串串，但其實也不是純黃色的，倒像青黃淡白之間。記得去年這裡的芒果樹沒結幾粒芒果，也不知今年情況又能如何？ 倒是梨子樹今年所結的果子雖比較少，卻比較大顆，也比往年較甜。我錯過了花期，但成熟的第一顆最大的果子被我摘了，吃了，很開心！ 此外還有一株移植至此的無花果樹，去年看它長得仍不怎麼樣，但這次再看已極為壯碩、高大，且葉子肥美，最近所結的果子也多，果粒也大，想很快的這些果子將會被我們採收。 庭園上的果樹目前並不多，但常在這活躍的鳥兒卻很多，而鳥兒有時常和我們爭搶果子吃，哈！我對鳥能樂在此處停留是表歡迎的態度的，牠們吃的果子其實也有限，可是我發現其他人並不全是這麼想，另一個原因也是因覺得鳥兒時常把地板弄髒。 還有一株小桑椹樹，日前看也結了幾個小桑椹果，鮮紅色的，要等到翻紫翻黑了才會甜，但恐怕那時候鳥兒應已早先一步搶走它們。這棵桑椹樹看來還不是挺穩健的，希望過些日子能更健壯一些！ 已很久沒下大雨，這可能也多少影響到植物的成長狀況，老樹根部著地較深似乎遇到枯水期還能苦撐過去，但一些新種的或年輕小樹看來就沒那麼幸運！ 二月中旬吧，竹門小村一帶的農業用水才會開始提供灌溉用水，也因此這期的稻作一直到過舊曆年後都遲遲未見插秧，都說我們這邊的水是最晚放的，住在別處的阿姨說他們那的稻子都已經綠油油的了。 原來台南的農業灌溉水源來自曾文、烏山頭及白河水庫等，竹門小村這一帶所取用的水以來自白河水庫的水居多，但白河水庫已是一座很老的水庫了，泥沙淤積相當嚴重，一下點大雨就得洩洪，水都留不住，沒雨時自然就是水庫快見底。用白河水庫的水似乎也挺刻苦的呢！大概也因為這樣，感覺小村裡的農民都養成了一種辛勤而認命的個性！ ~庭園上的果樹~ ~yingju-Lu~
“How to build an autocracy" appears in this month’s Atlantic and may turn out to be the most important article of 2017. It’s so important that I’m putting it in a standalone post rather than including it as an item amid others in a link list. One hopes that the future David Frum imagines in it doesn’t come to pass.
But if it doesn’t, it won’t because individual people choose not to let it come to pass. Knowledge is one step in that process. Action is another.
We seem to have collectively forgotten history. We’ve seen authoritarianism before. What’s odd is seeing it again—although Richard Rorty may have predicted it twenty years ago; until the last election I complacently thought, “It can’t happen here." I was wrong.
I just finish this piece of New Yorker about Professor Elizabeth Warren.
What attracts me is her speech about relationship between Government, businesses and people; and how the best, or better, relationship should be.
“There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there, good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate.”
According to the article, this speech got over million views on Youtube. But it also got her a lot of opponents on her path to politics, to Senate. The article quoted his opponent candidate, Scot Brown, being asked what he thought about Warren’s speech, “the idea that success in business is nothing more than a by-product of government is to fundamentally misunderstand our free-enterprise system.”
My first response in my heart about her speech today was, “hers view was ideological rather than analytical." And, my second response was, “but businesses pay for the roads and education via tax as well." I then acknowledged that, smugly, I am getting ahead of my former self as a leftard already.
Used to be a self-declared Marxist, because I read three volumes of the Capital, I know how to counter-attack Professor Warren’s status boosting, iconic, speech. The main problem of her speech is that she ends her analysis of the relationship between Government, people and business at one point. And she arbitrarily, and ideologically, chose investment in roads and education as that point. While politico-economic system didn’t stop there. Or never stops at all. So if anyone wants to analyse this system, one has to analyse, and describe, the whole system. If the system sojourns at several points, like wage, revenue, credit, tax, investment, speculation, market, price, etc. one has to analyse all of them. That’s why Mr. Marx chose dialectics as a tool rather than analytics. There is no if-then in the system/model. Or, it’s equally right if we say there are too many if-thens in the system/model that nullify the if-then model.
I don’t want to make to too complex to describe the relationship between Government, businesses and people, which is already extremely complex. I try to give an analogy, Chinese Mahjong. If you think it’s too oriental, you would be equivalently fine imagining UNO the card game. They are quite similar. Four players have their own set of 13 Mahjong to manipulate, except one of them has a one more to take out to the court surrounded by 4 walls of Mahjong. Each player takes turn to pick one Mahjong from the 4 ‘walls’ on the table to arrange his/her own set of Mahjong, and then picks one Mahjong from his/her set and take it out to the court, to keep his set 13 Mahjong. By and by, players can pick a Mahjong from the court, rather than the ‘walls’, when the one they pick can form a specific pattern with the two Mahjong in their set. But the players still have to give one Mahjong back to the court to keep their sets at 13 Mahjong.
Ignoring the game will have a winner picking the golden 14th Mahjong to form a definite pattern of all the 14 Mahjong in one set, either he/she picks it him/herself from the walls or he/she picks it from the court the last player has just put in the court from his/her set. We ignore this. Still, we can see the relationship among the four players quite clearly, if too schematically. Every one picks something from either the pool, or from the player next to him/her. At the same time, every one takes something out of his set/wealth/possession, which either goes to the court as a wastage, or to the next player to form his/her set/wealth/possession. After several rounds of such process, it’s easy to sum up the game in one Chinese idiom, 你中有我，我中有你. Some of you form part of me, and some of me you. And the public goods/common possession deplete by players’ continuous picking. The relationship among politics, Government, businesses, workers, basically fits in the above Mahjong model. No player in this model can claim another player suck the hell out of me while giving out nothing back to me. It’s not true at all. Every player takes something from one another while gives something back to one another. If every one plays strictly by the rules, there would be no exploitation, no taking advantage of one another, every one has a chance to win according to one’s wit and technique. No one would be worse off from start, except the common possessions/public goods. Because it’s meant to be exploited in the game. It’s set in the rules.
So we come back to Professor Warren. What she has done after her iconic speech was right. Picking players who foul play and keep taking advantage of other players. Or picking players who collude with each other to fix the game at the expense of others. She has been absolutely right to do that, and fit in the above interdependency model fine. But her iconic speech was not right, and by no means based on sound analysis. It’s polemic, hyperbolic and rhetoric. It makes some working class tickling their skin hair and emotion. But it’s not true. Or it’s part of the truth that, when you present it separately, serves only to obscure the truth rather than clarifies it. It’s a populist tricks to set her path to politics.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not going to insinuate that she is hypocritical or sly politician. I really respect what she has been doing, esp. those she did and say since DJT inaugurated. And I really think criticising a politician as sly or hypocritical is anaemic and off the point. What I rather want to do, is smugly telling myself, or those who know her, one word.
“I know you are playing populist trick. And I’ve just got ahead of you Beth."
~小憩~ 蝴蝶慢慢輕緩地飛，掠過我窗外的陽台前，晃蕩的身姿顯得纖細而柔弱，怎飛到這麼高的地方來？ 這個冬季時節田野上應有數不清的蝴蝶漫飛，尤其鮮黃嫩綠的油麻菜田上黃、白色的蝴蝶總參差飛舞，田野爛漫！ 好久了，似乎沒這樣留心著蝴蝶飛來的模樣，不免也猜疑著初春的訊息將至，抑或者依然持續著冬天？ ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 有些愛睏的午後，坐在酒紅色大木椅上假寐，把眼睛輕輕閉上。 在自己的寢室也極少有個冗長的午休時間，一方面是不習慣，非得身體疲倦不已時才會讓自己無所謂地睡上一覺，但大都時候也僅是閉目養神，休息約一刻鐘的時間而已。 記憶中，從小學開始的午休時間，沒幾次真正熟睡的，因為趴著睡覺實在太不舒服，就像有些睡姿我也適應不來一樣，比如趴睡、側睡，足讓人窒息的睡法，可真有人能擺著這樣的姿勢一覺到天亮，這些人對我而言無異是身賦異稟了吧！ 但偶爾的午間小寐，其實也很不錯，能讓眼睛適時放鬆休息，寧靜的午間頗適合養精蓄銳，而我貪的更是這段喧囂的午後來臨前的沉靜，是白日中似乎唯一的一段安靜時光，一段戲劇中場的休憩！ ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 看見久違老同學們的相片，那藏在記憶中很深的心情便浮動了出來，然而，現在的我們卻彷彿只能站在時間的肩上，重新回顧、回想那些停頓已久的，已呈片段的記憶。還是，只有我有這種感覺？ 不只過去停頓的一切，我們須試著努力重新開啟，但好像開啟運轉後，我們早也已在不同的世界了。我有時，確實會這樣深深感慨，但想想，這個世界裡的人又何嘗不是多樣，所行的路何嘗不是繁複？該是，又是自己想多了吧！ 前行的日子與時間繼續往後拋下諸多難以計數的回憶，人生就是這個樣子，然而，這些留下的記憶卻好似也並非十分管用…。 ~小憩~ ~yingju-Lu~
To view more of my photography please click on http://www.rakmilphotography.com None of these photos would work particularly well in Black and White. Color in circumstances like this has power, but it has the power to overwhelm and become the story. To overcome that increasing contrast and more application of detail extraction than normal help. Both […]
認為應該要嗰幾百個選委, 甚麼300+, 投白票的朋友. 我講一個好有趣的故事, 雖然未必關你事, 但肯定唔關我事.
其實我想講的是, 我突然想到. 嗰幾百個入圍的選委之所以可以入圍好大程度上是因為protest vote, 所謂對已稱霸的制度, 的一種憤慨的宣洩. 是非常emotional的. 可以沒有特定的原因的, 可以是沒有特定的政策要求的, 如減稅、增加土地供應、港人港地、Kill the XL Pipeline、Burn those coal….但又好奇怪, 暴燥的選民又不是很喜歡那些巧言怜色的政客口號, 唔喜歡all talk, 要在政客的政綱上看到他是實實在在的幹的. 選民的矛盾和政客的計算,就成了很微妙的game theory了. 如何用比較易完成比較實在比較有指向的政策對應/包攬最多最大圍散亂的選民情緒及指望. 而呢個matching最經典的例子, 而我知的就是Brexit. 所以左膠們, 客觀講, 唔好只話Brexit政客講大話. it’s more than that. Brexit正正是一個比較具體的方案去match最多Protest Voters的情緒/信念/期望.
可是更有趣的事還在後頭. 當政客藉著這些protest vote 撈到油水, 上到檯一刻, 他們就會看見所謂protest vote會自己變質的. 變成非常實在的願望. 實在得令他們不得不照這實在的願望去行. 因為政客是主動的去把protest voters用那個具體政策連起來的. 或簡化概括起來的. 再抽象一點就是, 未投票時, 準備投票, 到投完票那刻, 都可以是protest vote. 但選票結果一出現那刻, 那種有,或被方向化的protest vote就不再是protest vote, 而變成mandate, 變成合約, 令藉此勝出的政客們不能不跟那個合約去做. 所以衞報的左翼記者/稿人, 今次我是不同意你的. Labour怎可能反其道而行, 去對抗這個mandate呢. 那些認為Labour四分五裂是因為某人的領導能力, Brexit正是一個很好的路標,或指南針, 去把各有喜好的選民清析的分類出來. 代表們的政客, 變相簽了這份同意書, 又怎會有不分裂的本錢/本事呢:
更有趣的是: 有人會問的. 投Brexit的既然是protest vote, 咁即係他們未必是同意Brexit啦? 那猜想有理. 有點賴皮, 但都不重要了. 因為偉大的Game Theory又來了. 票就投左了. 就正因為Brexit是一個比較具體的方案去match/summarise最多Protest Voters的情緒/信念/期望. 有誰又有能力去決定/猜測有多少投Brexit的人是真心, 有幾多是一時性充血呢? 你去估啦, 出問卷啦. 又點呢? 結果即使顯示有超過60%的Brexiter是其實不想脫的, 你是否就有信心充足的講, Brexit不是他們所想呢? 那個60%有幾多機率是錯誤的呢? 萬一真是信60%這個數而出事, 個風險有多高呢? 投了票的選民亦一樣面對這些很困難的選擇. 我當時即使是protest vote, 即使是一時意氣. 我有否這個勇氣去講我講過唔算數呢? 好樣衰喎. 尤其是我怎樣知道有幾多講吓算唔係真是咁想做脫星的志同道合呢? 但如果個政客真是話唔脫啦, 因為知道選民很多不是真是想做脫星的, 選民又會否覺得那個政客誠信不夠, 會否其他事未來都是講左唔算呢? 那樣會否更危險呢?
再簡單一點: 頭已濕. Too much is at stake.
看似唔太關那300+選委事. 但300+選委會否清楚投你的protest vote當時是match緊一個具體的政策願望呢? ABC? ABC2.0? 定ABC3.0 (Anyone /Anything But those from the election Committee)? 而入去投白票又是否能反映到那些散亂而複雜的情緒呢? 如果人地冒住生命危險來投你, 他的願望變成mandate, 你做唔到, 你又會否覺得是too much is at stake呢?
我真是唔知. 因為我真是唔多睇報紙. 你們想吓啦. 唔啱睇真是可以唔睇的.