Friday, December 07, 2007

Ch. 3: 刀斷刃,人斷腸 (Link)


Their laughter didn't appear to be heard by Fu Hongxue at all. His face expressionless, he slowly worked his way through the gap in the gate, dragging his heavy foot, going forward step by step. His clothes appeared damp again. The group of youngsters in purple robes suddenly stopped laughing--it's not known who was the first, but someone saw the footprint left on the ground, and no one could bring himself to laugh after that; because everyone discovered it then, that there was left on the ground a deep-set footprint as if it were carved by a sabre.

I remember when I was younger, I saw the series made by TVB where Hugo Ng played Fu Hongxue. This is one of the most memorable scenes, if not THE most memorable scene for me. And now, reading it in the original text, it's even more powerful! =D

Monday, December 03, 2007

The Bordertown Wanderer: Ch 2 (link)

So far, very little has happened. Some of the major characters, however, have been introduced. Ma Fongling 馬芳鈴 has appeared, and she is a friend of Xiao Bieli 蕭別離, the owner of the tavern. Yie Kai 葉開 is described as a very poor man, whose clothes are tattered and very smelly. The sole of his shoe has worn out, exposing his skin. The skin has swollen due to all the walking he's done, and instead of criticizing the shoes, he criticizes his own feet. He's very funny, but he's also very wise.

Right now, at the end of chapter 2, Yie Kai is traveling in a carriage to the Ma estate to meet the owner, Ma Kongqun 馬空群. Suddenly, Yie Kai hears someone chanting an ominous song that goes like this:
"The sky's a-flutter, the earth's a-flutter, the eyes bleed and the moon is dim. Once you've entered the Ma Estate, swords will clash and men will die. The sky's a-flutter, the earth's a-flutter. Tears like blood, men will die. Once you've entered the Ma Estate, there is no going back."


Ch. 6 誰是埋刀人 Who Owns the Hidden Sabre?

No matter whoever is standing close enough, if he struck you on the nose, the force of the blow would fracture the bone and the victim will start to feel faint. Next, the eyes will glaze over with the blood that bleeds from internally. There is no hope of avoiding the strike or to respond to the attack.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

邊城浪子 - 序: 紅雪 (Link)

The prologue to The Bordertown Wanderer by Gu Long 古龍 introduces one of the main characters, Fu Hongxue. He is a young man who is assigned the mission of avenging his father's murder of 18 years ago. His mother gives him a black sabre that is covered with red snow. This is where I find it very hard to accept the imagery, as morbidly beautiful as it is. The reason is because Gu Long describes the snow as a powder that has been sitting on the blade of the sabre for the past 18 years. Now, when the old lady unleashes the sabre, the red snow powder actually falls to the ground.

I've grown up with the Canadian winter for almost 30 years, and as far as I know, snow melts. It does not turn into a solid powder form. I'm wondering how this is possible? I'm going to ask the experts at WuxiaMania for their explanation.

Other than the snow turning into powder part, I really like the rest of the descriptions. The language is very descriptive, but not figurative. This is the main difference between Gu Long and Jin Yong that I notice so far. I kind of like it that the language is so simple. The images are clearer and more vivid.

I asked some experts at about this, and they helped me to figure out the answer. The red powder that the old lady called red snow, which she also sprinkled on Fu Hongxue, is just red powder. She's pretending it's snow, as is he. It's symbolic, and by having the red powder sprinkled on him, Fu Hongxue is symbolically bound to the murder mystery.

It is important to note that when Gu Long wrote, he wrote with Mandarin in mind, not Cantonese. In Mandarin, hong xue is a homonym of red snow and red blood. So, figuratively speaking, she described to the young man how snow was coloured red by the blood of the massacre. And when she sprinkled the red snow onto Fu Hongxue, it's as if she was splashing red blood on him.

So, I now see how the red powder works as a symbolic object to bind the young man to the murder mystery. Thus, he becomes responsible for having to solve the mystery and avenge his father and all the other members of his family who were massacred 18 years ago.