Friday, August 08, 2014

"In my dreams, we're together."

Dom Cobb in the film, Inception, told his protege, Ariadne, that the reason why he's so desperate to be in a dream state is because in his dreams, he is reunited with his wife, who had died.

I never understood that, the comfort of seeing a loved one in my dreams.  Now I understand.

In my dreams, I see my mum.  We're having breakfast together.  We're laughing together.  She's smiling at me.  I can talk to her.  I can hug her.  I can HUG her.  She is so vivid and real in my dreams.  It's almost as if I have her with me again.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Romans 2:13-16 on Gentiles

13For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.
Romans 2: 13-16

This is very comforting.

Saturday, December 08, 2012


今天我終於看到樂隊組合最後五強的名單,感覺非常失望。到今時今日,香港的樂迷最欣賞的還是流行歌。可悲的是這幾位樂隊和組合唱的歌是很普通,什麼創意都沒有的歌。來來去去都是同一個聲音。C-All Star 和 Twins: 他們根本不懂寫歌。 Shine 和 MR. 會寫歌,但是前者大部分的歌都是別人幫他寫的。後者的歌有多麼“自創”的成分都不斷被樂迷質疑。Rubberband:他們可以算是最後五強裡面最有創意的樂隊。但到最後,他們對香港音樂有什麼的貢獻呢?

如果現在在香港沒有Kolor, Clozer 或者農夫,那都算了。但是現在除了他們還有Dear Jane, Supper Moment,還有很多的會創作不同聲音的音樂的樂隊。怎可能大眾樂迷聽不懂呢?



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

So upset right now.

It just came to my attention that a band from Hong Kong released an album two years ago called "RedVolution."  Their album cover is black, with a red band on the right side.  On top of the red band is a white circle.  Inside that circle is a black swastika.  The swastika is arranged in the traditional Buddhist fashion, not in the Nazi fashion.  However, with those colours surrounding it, how could it not conjure up the idea of Hitler and the Nazis?

I came across it while viewing another unrelated video on YouTube, and I read some of the comments that people had posted.  Naturally, some users posted messages that questioned the motives behind using that symbol, including the symbol itself.  These posts were not an attack on the band members or their music; rather, they were pointing out the negative associations the symbol inherently evokes.  What upset me were the responses posted by other users.  And by the band itself.

To those who questioned the use of the Nazi image, they said that these users were ignorant, and they called on people to focus on the music and not their appearance.  Their defence was that the swastika they used is not the one used by the Nazis: this one is inverted.  The Buddhist swastika has positive connotations, means the sun, etc.

Wait!  Of all the symbols they could have chosen to represent the Sun god, or goodness, or positive energy or whatever, they chose the swastika?  Not only that, they had to put it on red band?  And then put it on top of a black background?  Do they really expect people to buy their argument that they meant well?

If that was not convincing enough, later they tried to defend their actions by talking about the angles and the direction of the image.  They're quibbling over details instead of looking at the bigger picture--literally!

And if that still isn't convincing enough, they want people to ignore the image completely.  It's as if they're saying: "Okay, we hurt some people's sensitive feelings, but why don't they just ignore it?"  

Apparently, a lot of their supporters have ignored it, and have tried to defend it by insulting other users of YouTube.

Recently, a friend told me that Hitler liked animals, as if this were a redeeming quality.  WFT?!

To be honest, I don't think the band is anti-Semitic.  Extremely insensitive, for sure.  Ignorant, even.  What makes me say this?  There is a picture on the inside of the CD that shows the band members standing in front of said-offensive-image.  It is a black and white image, reminiscent of the poster for the film "Valkyrie" (2008).  The historical characters from that story were actually trying to stage a revolution--against Hitler.  Hence, I believe the people who are behind the album package design meant to use the image to refer to the idea of "revolution," and not "anti-Semitism."  And this practice of stealing other people's music, posters, logos, images, etc. is common practice in Hong Kong.  People who do this are sometimes lauded for their creativity instead of being chastised as one would expect.

An example of this is Edison Chen's album from many years ago where it says: "Please Steal This Album."  This was a complete rip-off of System of a Down's cover.  How ironic.  Anyhow, I highly doubt many music listeners in Hong Kong even know who System of a Down is.

Often, I believe that these so-called designers steal other people's material without even knowing what they are stealing.  If they do know what they are stealing, they still don't care how it impacts on the industry, and society at large.  In the case of Red Noon's album cover, I believe it is a combination of the two.  The band, their management & their design team were simply too ignorant of the impact that viewing such an image would have on people who are more familiar with WWII history (namely most of the Western world).

That being said, all it would have taken was for the band to acknowledge that their design is in bad taste at the least, and better yet to simply apologize for their ignorance.  Admit ignorance even if they weren't.  The point is that the damage is done.  It's too late to try and explain it away with fine details and asking people to focus on their music, not on their appearance.  They put the image on their album cover, and that's what people will see first thing before they even buy the CD and listen to the songs.  The damage is done.

If only they understood this.

Friday, February 17, 2012

As I Lay Dying--Movie?

About 15 years ago, I read Faulkner's As I Lay Dying for school. I was enraptured from the beginning to the end.  While I was reading, I kept picturing Brad Pitt as Jewel, the youngest of the brothers in the novel, and to this day one of my favourite heroes in literature.

A movie version of the novel was released in 1956, but I can't find any pictures of Robert Lansing as a young man playing Jewel.  Now, if they were to make a movie now, I don't know whom they would cast to play this character.

I am not even sure why my mind was so fixated on Brad Pitt.  I'm not even a fan.  Well, I wasn't at the time.  Can't say that I am one now, but I definitely was not one then.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

BBC 100 Best Loved Books of the UK

No where on their website do they make any sort of presumption about how well-read a person might be based on their list.  Like "Pro-Science," I will put an x next to a book I have read, and + next to one that I love.

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien      +
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen       +
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling         x
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee      +
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis      x
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë       x
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë     +
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier      +
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger      +
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens      x
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott      x
19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy      
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling     x
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling     x
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling     x
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien      x
26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy     x
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald     x
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell      x
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher

51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck      x
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky      x
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding       x
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar      x
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie 

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Abstract Expressionism--I get it, but I don't get "it" (click)

I've been to the New York Abstract Expressionist exhibit twice now, and although I did get a lot more out of it the 2nd time around, I still find myself speechless; not because I am stunned by the beauty and truth of the artwork, but rather because I still don't get "it."  "It" meaning the paintings.  When looking at a Gorky painting or a de Kooning painting, I can't find any emotional connection to them.  My imagination isn't stimulated.  I don't hear music in my ears and I don't seem to be able to find any reference point to what I've read or seen.  Jackson Pollock's paintings look really pretty because of all the colours.  Their patterns on the canvas makes my eyes dance and I think, "This is a nice painting."  However, I don't walk away feeling anything.

Perhaps I have not suffered enough in life?

Perhaps my thinking is still too attached to the literal and the concrete?

What I did come away from the exhibit with is an interest in astract expressionist photography, especially the works of Henry Callahan and Charles Sheeler.  As for painters, I liked Mark Rothko and Frank Kline the most.