Monthly Archives: March 2012

325: ‘Heil, mein Führer! Mr. Leung Chun – ying’

‘Heil, mein Führer! Mr Leung Chun – ying’


325.  The play has come to the final moment.  ‘Heil, mein Führer! Let’s give a round of warm applause to our new CE, Mr. Leung Chun – ying’

‘There would be one day [when] Hong Kong would eventually need to dispatch the anti-riot police and utilise tear gas to handle protests’ said CY – an accusation made by Henry Tang in his final rebound against his arch – rival.

Can we trust Henry? My answer is Why not? He has come to his own political suicide anyway. There’s no reason not to trust a dying person.

This blatant tramping on freedom of speech by CY is not so surprising, after we have read Mdm. Ip’s article, saying CY has always been a underground communist.

Indeed PRC has long known how to play the filtration game. CY as underground communist can’t be something too far – fetched to believe in when other scholars already explored how PRC set up parallel organisations to plant their own support ( in Associations in a Bind by Jonathan Unger and Anita Chan).

Undoubtedly, PRC also masters the Shakespearian play within a play in writing the drama script for Hong Kong. Right of abode cases, Article 23, double – non issues and now CE election are all mini – plays within the grand play – the ultimate death of One Country Two Systems.

Shortly gaining his chancellorship on January 30 1933, Hitler unleashed his Night of Long Knives – purging the internal dissidents and killing off other political opponents.

CY promised to pursue the matter about accusation made by Henry Tang further after the election is over.

The only vain hope I am holding now is a deus ex machina – a totally unexpected event – that will produce enough blank votes  to make an abortive election. ABC. Anything But CY.

This hope is, however, hopeless. The red curtain will be drawn, with blood seeping beneath it. HK is dead.

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1920s – Sophisticated Elegance

Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany‘s

Casually holding her cigarette, Holly Golightly gazes at the camera with her careless confidence. Sophisticated, elegant are the words to describe her – the exact words 1920s falls into – sophisticated elegance. 

Carefully combed hair, perfectly fit tuxedo and casual decadent flappers are only ones of the many example of this sophisticated elegance. Glenn Miller’s Jazz music, Scott Joplin’s rag time (e.g. the all famous  Entertainer, originally composed as soundtrack for The Sting),  Peg Leg Bates’ one legged tap dancing show all the excitement and hype of the Roaring Twenties.

All these aren’t too far away from us when The Artist and Midnight in Paris – all set in the 1920s – found their way in nowadays cinema

The black and white silence in The Artist does not dampen any interests but only serve to remind us in this midst of vulgar CG effect or blind production of 3D movies what we want is only sincere originality – something that long ceases to exist since the 1920s.

In a slightly different context, Midnight in Paris recounted all the buzz and noise of the Americans on the French soil. Meeting writers as eminent as Hemingway and Fitzgerald in person in the movie is like taking a trip by time machine back to the 1920s

The dazzling bright light of this Roaring Twenties casts a long shadow of decadence which is all the more attractive. I can not but to lend Fitzgerald’s words in The Great Gatsby to describe it:

“Every Friday five crates of oranges and lemons arrived from a fruiteer in New York –  Every Monday these same oranges and lemons left his back door in a pyramid of pulpless halves. There was a machine in the kitchen which could extract the juice of two hundred oranges in half an hour if a little button was pressed two hundred times by a butler’s thumb.

At least once a fortnight a corps of caters came down with several hundred feet of canvas and enough coloured lights to make a Christmas tree of Gatsby ‘s enormous garden. On buffet tables, garnished with glistening hors – d’oeuvre, spiced baked hams crowded against salads of harlequin designs and pastry pigs and turkeys bewitched to a dark gold. In the main hall a bar with a real brass rail was set up, and stocked with gins and liquors and with cordials so long forgotten that most of his female guests were too young to know one from another. 

By seven o’clock the orchestra has arrived, no thin five – piece affair, but a whole pitful of oboes and trombones and saxophones and viols and cornets and piccolos, and low and high drums. The last swimmers have come in from the breach now and are dressing upstairs; the cars from New York are parked five deep in the drive, and already the halls and salons and verandas are gaudy with primary colours, and hair bobbed in strange new ways, and shawls beyond the dreams of Castile. The bar is in full swing, and floating rounds of cocktails permeate the garden outside, until the air is alive with chatter and laughter, and casual innuendo and introduction forgotten on the sport, and enthusiastic meetings between women who never knew each other’s names. “

The lavish waste, heavy percussion jazz and chaotic chats do not suggest any of the moral decay ( if there is such thing as morality) but only the beauty of decadence.

Reaching the peak, this Golden Age, like all other advanced civilisations, is destined to a downfall – opening the door for Wall Street Crash, the Great Depression, chaos, bloodshed and massacre from the Second World War.

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A Rendezvous at 謝記魚蛋 and 美而廉

山窿謝記魚蛋

This is no industrialized production of the Tsui Wah  fish noodle (翠華) – where the food ingredients are made in bundles of plastic bags at a factory somewhere in the Mainland.

This is 山窿謝記魚蛋 (literally Tse Kei Fish Ball at Cave). Carefully selecting three kind of fishes, Mrs. Tse makes fish balls, fish slice and fish skin everyday which will all be sold out by midday.

The ones I like the most, and also the one I have to fight for before they are sold out again, are the fried fish balls and fried fish slice. The crispiness at the outermost layer just works hand in gloves with the fresh fish meat to produce the ‘springy’ texture within your mouth.

The good and old fashioned menue

Sadly, this place is going to close by the end of this March due to inflation, lack of fresh fish supply and lack of people with the same insistence to continue the business anymore.

Another truly representing Hong Kong food, 美而廉 (literally Good and Cheap) is sliding into sunset as well. In there, you see old folks running here and there, busy serving dishes, piling glass and heavy metal plate on top of their arms – an acrobatic feat akin to performances in La Cirque du Soleil. 

And here they are – delivering my mélange of sausage, grilled pork and  sirloins steak, along with a glass of lemon coke, on a hot cow – shaped metal plate. When the old folk pour the pepper sauce, the metal plate sizzles, with vapour and smoke rising up in the air.

The unpretentious melange

My mom said when she was at my age, 美而廉 was a fashionable place where young people went to have a steak after clubbing. Now the long queu of people at the front, most of them in 20s or early 30s, testifies after 20 or 30 years, this is still the fashionable place where people go to have a steak.

I look back. With briskness, the old folks move but with sadness, they’ll leave jobless, sooner or later. This place, like 山窿謝記魚蛋, is going to close soon – at late April.

With the old culture fading, what will fill this up? With the industrialized mass production of fast food from Café de Coral (大家樂) or with the army of amorphous waiters at Tsui Wah? I know not.

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Le Voyage dans la Lune

The restored version of the well – known moon with the spaceship on his eye

As the only celestial body shining as bright as the sun at night, moon has spurred imagination since the first human and many generations thereafter. The ancient Egyptians have even explained the moon wanes every night all because of a gamble. 

To win extra days, Thoth gambled with Khonsu, the moon, who lost so much light to Thoth, that Thoth used those light to gain 5 days and that, of course, explained why the moon wanes every night.

This fascination toward the moon had continued well beyond  the centuries and found its way to marry with poetic scientific spirit to produce Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon and  H.G Wells’ The First Men in the Moon. 

George Méliès, the French illusionist and the greatest fantasy filmaker of all time,  in turn based on these two works to make  Le Voyage dans la Lune in 1902, the pioneer of modern fantasy film, and also the origin of the most memorable cinematic picture of the spaceship landing on the eye of the moon.

In Le Voyage dans la Lune, you not only see the moon with an bleeding eye but also scientists in astronomer robes, spaceship like bullet, umbrella turning into giant mushroom and Selenites (green moon men) vanishing into red gas.

Scientists in astronomer robes

This once black and white silent film is not black and white and silent anymore when Méliès’s hand – painted footage was found and was painstakingly restored into full coloured version with new original scores from the French band, Air.

Air with its already distinctive electronic music in Moon Safari seems like a little ironical twist to complete the circle in composing music for Le Voyage dans la Lune. Indeed the band fully took advantages of the silence in the film and made the bombastic music for the ‘trip’ to and adventure in the moon (Sonic Armada) while dream – like music for the wonder of night and stars (Who am I now?).

Umbrella turns into mushroom

Wonderful though the music is, it can never overshadow the innovative film techniques that Méliès dared to experiment during the fin de siècle.

The special effect for which the umbrella transforming into giant mushroom and Selenites turning into a puff of red gas is done by stop – camera technique (which is to film the object, turn the camera off, remove the object, and then turn the camera back on – the object will seem disappear for the viewer)

The landing of the spaceship is done by moving the moon closer to the static camera, so that this could achieve a long forward travelling effect. All these techniques were so innovative at the time that they were comparable to the 3D effect in the Avatar. 

The actual landing of the moon in 1969 (67 years after the film)  has done nothing to dampen imagination toward the moon (for example – Apollo 18 made in 2011, a movie about alien life on moon). The moon voyage goes on.

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