Odyssey in Paper

Paper Cinema's Odyssey

Paper Cinema’s Odyssey

This article reviews Paper Cinema‘s Odyssey in 43rd Hong Kong Arts Festival

Homer’s Odyssey has been retold in many times and in many ways but have you ever thought of presenting the story in black and white papers? That’s what Paper Cinema has done: staging the heroic journey of Odysseus in paper, and paper only.

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There is no such thing as a free gift

The Gift by Marcel Mauss

The Gift by Marcel Mauss

“There is no such thing as free lunch.” To this, Mauss would add ‘free gift‘ For him, free gift is an oxymoron. A gift comes with three obligations: to give, to receive, and to reciprocate. A person must give, and the other must receive, and give back something of equal, if not greater, value.

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On Freedom of Speech

Je suis Charlie

Je suis Charlie

The Charlie Hebdo massacre causes an uproar in the western world and the subsequent “Je suis Charlie” immediately raises the campaign for freedom of speech and freedom of expression. George Clooney fueled the campaign when, wearing a ‘Je suis Charlie’ pin in Golden Club Awards, said “Millions of people – not just in Paris but around the world, Christians and Jews and Muslims, leaders of countries all over the world – they didn’t march in protest, they marched in support of the idea that we will not walk in fear. We won’t do it. So Je suis Charlie.

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Sauce: The Cultural History of McDonald’s ‘Dim Jack’

Dim Jack

Dim Jack

This article explains the cultural history of sauce, with McDonald’s Dim Jack as the starting point. 

Following the rotten meat scandal in July, McDonald’s launched several major marketing campaigns, trying to recoup the lost confidence. The first wave of marketing started with the Justice League Burger series where each style of burger is featured by a superhero. ‘Dim Jack’ represents the latest wave of this line of marketing.

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Interstellar: A Tribute to 2001: A Space Odyssey?

Interstellar

Spoiler Warning

Following Gravity last year, Interstellar, directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, is another major science-fiction film. Unlike the personal struggle in Gravity, however, Interstellar is of an epic scale. It concerns with the survival of the entire human race, and explores scientific concepts as deep as relativity, worm hole and black holes. No major scientific-fiction film has dared to embark on such an ambitious project since Stanley Kubrick‘s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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A New History of Western Philosophy: An Exhausting Read

School of Athens

This article reviews A New History of Western Philosophy by Anthony Kenny

While intellectual history is a bird’s eye view of the intellectual landscape, a history of philosophy is a x-ray version of that landscape. A Gothic church has her beautiful stained glass windows, paintings and all other exquisite adornments but they merely suggest or altogether fail to tell us the underlying structure that supports the church itself. The relation between ideas and philosophy is similar. Philosophy reveals what is the underlying flows behind the intellectual ideas. It is, therefore, an x-ray version of the intellectual history.

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Masterpieces in Intellectual History: A Panoramic Picture of Western Civilisation

The Landscape of Ideas

The Landscape of Ideas

This article reviews two masterpieces of intellectual history: From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life (by Jacques Barzun) and The Modern Mind: An Intellectual History of the 20th Century (by Peter Watson)

Reading intellectual history is like looking out at the window when the plane takes off. The colossal buildings become smaller and smaller until they are no more than little blocks of lego. It is then you realize how those distinct and individual blocks are connected through streets and roads, so that a coherent image of cityscape begins to emerge. Intellectual history is such a bird’s eye view of the whole intellectual landscape.

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Capital in the Twenty-First Century – A Review from a Layman’s Perspective

Capital in the Twenty-First Century

Capital in the Twenty-First Century

With economics knowledge only at the high school level, I am not in a position to judge the merits of Capital in the Twenty-First Century (‘Capital’) written by the French economist, Thomas Piketty, and translated by Arthur Goldhammer. Economist and Financial Times, the vanguards of free market and capitalism, have launched their, sometimes scathing, reviews of the work (also see the links in the extended readings below). Numerous other professional economists and experts must have also put forward their own learned views. What I wish to do here, however, is to review the work from a layman’s perspective; that is from a perspective of a curious reader with a keen passion to know more about the world. Although Piketty intends to write for the general audiences, the length of this work – running more than 600 pages – is formidable even for a non-fiction reader like me. This is especially so as the idea that he espouses does not seem a particularly insightful one.

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Instant Coffee – Instant Pleasure and Instant Energy

Front row (right to left):  UCC Special Blend Organic Farming and Trung Nguyen G7 Instant Black Coffee  Back row (right to left): UCC Blend 117, Pocket Coffee Espresso, Maxim Stick Black Coffee and  Khao Shong instant coffee

Front row (right to left): UCC Special Blend Organic Farming and Trung Nguyen G7 Instant Black Coffee
Back row (right to left): UCC Blend 117, Pocket Coffee Espresso, Maxim Stick Black Coffee and Khao Shong instant coffee

I use to loath instant coffee. Partly it is because I was spoiled by the huge discount offered by the Starbucks in my campus. More importantly, the bourgeois image of enjoying a finely brewed coffee somehow deluded me to look down on instant coffee – a product to be consumed by workers who are too busy or too poor to try anything more enjoyable.

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