2005-08-31

China in delicate trade game ...

... with U.S. and EU (International Heral Tribune, 31/8/05)

-- China and the WTO --

Celibidache's slow boat to the New World

Just finished watching Sergiu Celibidache conducting Dvorak's Symphony No.9 with Munich PO. Took well over 50 minutes. What a slow boat!

I like interpretations which are more energetic and sunny. Like Kubelik's.

陳凱歌能否再創高峰

林超榮一本正經,在亞洲時報在線評論陳凱歌( 陳凱歌鏡頭中最重要的一點 | 陳凱歌失控中撫摸傷痕),頗有可讀之處。

不過,他認為《邊走邊唱》是他寫意的巔峰之作,這點值得商榷。與其說是巔峰(《黃土地》當之無愧),我倒認為《邊走邊唱》是他寫意的「偏」峰之作。《邊走邊唱》是一部很特別亦很矛盾的電影。一言以概之,它是一部刻意求工的高額寫意之作(高額=high brow),也因此是入魔之作。

所以,當林超榮說:「之後的《霸王別姬》也是重複同樣的主題,不過是扮演了火神的任務,將他那高高在上的藝術涵意,下凡傳給普羅大眾」時,我無異議,但卻認為這對陳凱歌本人及「中國新電影」都有重大的意義,不應一筆略過。

或許,《霸王別姬》的成功,又引領陳凱歌走到另一偏峰,拍出《風月》這一失敗之作。且看《無極》能否令陳凱歌走出長長的低沉尋覓期。

欲罷不能 再遊港迪

Irina帶您暢遊香港迪士尼,行程安排妥善,景點超多,保證樂不思家。





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2005-08-30

再談我的紅樓因緣:俞平伯《紅樓夢研究》大批判

我曾說過,俞氏紅學對我有特殊意義。因為我是先接觸俞平伯的《紅樓夢研究》,才讀《紅樓夢》的。「三十年前,我是個初中生,因要練習書法,於是常到書局買大陸價廉但印刷粗糙的詩詞選書。一次偶然發現一本由棠棣出版社出版,俞平伯著的《紅樓夢研究》,價廉、粗糙、雖對內容所知不多,但買得起...從此展開一段紅樓夢因緣」。

其實,俞氏紅學還間接讓我開始了解過去幾十年大陸發動的大大小小政治運動的可怕與可悲,和對人性的摧殘。在剛上了《紅樓夢》癮不久後,我在書店發現一套有關《紅樓夢》和俞平伯的書:《紅樓夢問題討論集》(作家出版社,一至四集,1955年出版,1974年重印)。書中收集的原來是1954年所謂「批判俞平伯《紅樓夢研究》」的政治運動的相關文章。

從文章可以清楚感到,文學歸邊,政治當頭,參與的知識分子有的盛氣凌人,有的看風駛舵,有的卑躬屈膝。今天有些論者每每喜歡質難知識分子因何在以往的政治風暴中不能仗義執言,反而退縮忍讓,甚或同流合污。我自問,若自己處身其中,恐怕也可能同樣地喪失道德勇氣。當然,我希望所有人包括自己都無需如那一代知識分子一樣經歷此等「道德考驗」。

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關於這場由於毛澤東的介入,令文學論爭演變為政治運動的「大批判」的前因後果,在網上可參閱紅學1954網頁和以下幾篇文章:政治介入學術的悲劇:1954年批判俞平伯紅學研究 | 歷史上研究《紅樓夢》的風波實錄 | 《紅學:1954》:知識分子悲歌 | 舊時月色下的俞平伯

《紅樓夢研究》全文我未能在網上找到,但卻找到《紅樓夢辨》的全文。《紅樓夢研究》是在1952年出版,主要是根據1923年出版的《紅樓夢辨》作一定增刪。

至於關於這場運動的專著,我有孫玉明的《紅學:1954》。
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2005-08-28

觀鳥小記3:一家七口

上網訂購了一個小型望遠鏡,經過電話和電郵催促後,終於在三週後亦即昨天收到了。有了望遠鏡,觀鳥可以看得更清楚,但卻容易令眼睛疲勞,遠不如直接觀看那麼悠然自得。

剛才,忽然聽到高音量的kookaburra叫聲,連忙往外望,竟見一家七口停在天線桿上!在這之前,我只見過單獨的kookaburra。今次經驗,絕對難得!



(2017-3-17補加) 剛上傳一張流氓鳥noisy miner滋擾笑鳥圖,翻看過往相關貼圖才發覺,這篇搬到布里斯本一年多寫的“一家七口”,原來搞錯了,錯得很嚴重!根本不是kookaburra一家七口,而是四隻noisy miner在滋擾三隻kookaburra!

爛賤食品人人愛

讀過Eric Schlosser的Fast Food Nation一書的,或有留心所謂McLibel Case的進展的,都會對光潔明亮的快餐連鎖店背後的黑暗面有一定了解。

這些快餐連鎖店賣的無疑是junk food,但卻不代表其他店鋪賣的是甚麼好東西。以香港為例,當你見過街邊小食的店前店後的光景時,就不期然要承認,相比之下,「老麥」出品,幾乎是健康食品了。

趙來發在今天的明報,筆伐香港的爛賤小食文化。但他也不得不承認,這些幾元一串的街邊小食,「雖然又「爛」又「賤」,但很受年輕人歡迎」。

在美國也好,在香港也好,爛賤的食品又平又快又方便,深得顧客喜愛。這才是悲哀所在。

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補加幾句:
爛賤食品固然人人愛吃,爛賤文化何嘗不是令人如痴如醉?
爛賤reality TV shows不分國界人人追看。
新浪網的所謂文化首頁,其實只是爛賤文化集中地。
石琪從港產片中,悟出香港的「爛撻撻」特色。
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2005-08-27

Europe's great multicultural experiment seems to be unravelling

Blind Faith (Sydney Morning Herald, 27/8/05)

The writer says that "In the face of the threat [of radical Islam], European countries are adopting similar strategies: crack down hard on extremists, attempt to engage the moderate Muslim majority and try to do more to reduce endemic disadvantage."

Let's hope so. But I can sense a worrying trend that increasingly "mainstream" Europeans are giving up hope that they can live peacefully with Islam, and are losing faith in multiculturalism in general. Some of the recent proposals by the Blair Government seems to have reflected, and even reinforced, this hard-line opinion.

I am afraid this worrying trend is also emerging in Australia. Just read what John Stone, a former Treasury Secretary, had to say about "assimilation" (The Australian, 15/8/05).

Related articles:
Terrorism fears spark citizenship review
The other side of the summit
US leap of faith has happy landing
(all from Sydney Morning Herald, 27/8/05)

See also: A journey from rootlessness to radical Islam

Earth from the Air at MoreLondon

Yann Arthus-Bertrand's "Earth from the Air" outdoor photo exhibition is now being shown between London Bridge and Tower Bridge on the South Bank of River Thames.


(Gosse Bluff Meteoric Crater, Northern Territory, Australia)

2005-08-26

Through the heart of Australia

Susan Gough Henly travelled first-class on the Ghan train (International Herald Tribune, 26/8/05).

The writer said she "wanted to see for myself the expanse of the outback that figures so prominently in our national image. And what better way to do it than via this "nation building" feat of engineering that links the southern and northern coasts of Australia."

However, the article seems to suggest that she only travelled from Adelaide to Alice Springs. This half of the "vertical route" (Adelaide-Alice Springs-Darwin) has been in operation since 1929. Only the Alice Springs to Darwin half was new. And it was this half which finally makes linking "the southern and northern coasts of Australia" by rail a reality!

So, what exactly is the point of her travel experience? I don't get it.

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Yahoo! Messenger with Voice, Skype and Google Talk

Friends of mine have been talking about and actually using Google Talk just a few days after it was released. This says a lot about the brand power of Google.

I am not a friend of text messaging. But I have been using Yahoo! Messenger for voice messaging from time to time, just to save on the telephone bill. Its conferencing feature involving more than two parties is also valuable. But the voice quality can be quite mediocre, especially when the webcam is used at the same time.

Recently, it released a new version, Yahoo! Messenger with Voice, which basically does the same things, except that it now has a talking feature which closely resembles a telephone call. I guess it is targeting users of Skype and other similar software. But my experience shows that voice quality has deteriorated further.

So I tried Skype. I have installed it long ago but had never used it. Well, it is just like talking over the phone. I also discovered that even when the Yahoo! Messanger webcam is used, the voice quality of Skype remains excellent.

So, for me, at least in the near future, Skype would be used for phone calls over the Internet, Yahoo! Messanger for webcam only. I would give Google Talk a miss. Not that I think Google Talk would be no good. But the fact is, you need to have friends and relatives on the other end to install the same software in order for it to work. So, unless there is any compelling reason to do so, I wouldn't want to bother others with having some new software to be installed and configured.

2005-08-24

韓風煎薄餅



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「同台亮相」

真有幸,兩天內得見兩位頂尖鋼琴家兩次「同台亮相」。

先說今天吧。黃牧在雜誌評論郎朗和費城管絃樂團在香港的柴可夫斯基第一鋼琴協奏曲演出。對於這位當今的天之驕子,黃牧說他在彈奏某些樂段時的速度和準確度,甚至勝過基遼斯、愛嘉里治、馮克拉本和奧頓。

愛嘉里治(Martha Argerich)毫無疑問是國際享譽最隆的在世鋼琴家,以演譯作品時的速度、難度及火花為人津津樂道。即使說年輕甚多的郎朗只在某些樂段演出尤勝愛嘉里治,已算是極高的評價了。

愛嘉里治的另外一個特點,是性格內向、怯生和怕寂寞,臨場取消演出不計其數。此外,這幾十年來,她接受專訪的次數,以我所知的,應在10個以下。偏偏昨天我在網上讀了一個她在2003年底與Le Monde de la Musique特派員的詳談。除了談她自已外,她也提及她的老搭檔和比她更上一輩的鋼琴家。但較出人意表地,她(應訪者的誘導)提到了郎朗:

愛嘉里治:I am very surprised nowadays about the success of certain pianists whom I consider as less interesting. It surprises me more than artists who don't have enough concerts to survive.

訪者:What do you think for instance of the success of Lang Lang in the United States?

愛嘉里治:I don't understand. But conductors such as Christoph Eschenbach and Yuri Termikanov are positive, so... .

(註:Christoph Eschenbach正是費城管絃樂團的指揮)

賽葉一家遊西澳



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Revisiting "success stories" in electronic commerce (2 of 57)

In our 1999 report "Success Stories in Electronic Commerce", we included two Australian e-commerce sites: Travel.com.au and Lowes-Manhattan. Here, I shall deal with what happened to Travel.com.au after the report.

Travel.com.au, an online travel agent, was formed in 1997 by two traditional travel agents and was listed on the Australian bourse in 1999. Today it is one of the most visited non-Airline travel websites. Still, the company's revenue is miniscure compared to its major offline competitors and is trading at a loss most of the time.

From my own experience as a traveller who rely heavily on the Internet to "structure" my trips, I often find comprehensive travel agents such as Travel.com.au largely irrelevant. For travel research, there are specific information and forum sites. Most airlines and hotels deal directly with online customers. Then there are also sites which specialise in hotel booking only. In a sense, Travel.com.au is like a travel department store, squeezed by the specialist stores in a shopping mall.

I doubt whether Travel.com.au, or even its bigger brothers in the US and the UK, will ever achieve sustained profitability.

2005-08-22

Bad habit

Friends are often amazed by how quickly I reply to their emails, as if I sit in front of the PC all day waiting for emails.

The fact is, I do sit in front of the PC many hours a day. But equally importantly, I have the bad habit of reading and then replying to emails immediately, regardless what I am doing at that moment. I am like this both now and in the old days when I worked in an office. Moreover, back then I cleared my in-tray almost as quickly as I cleared my in-box.

Needless to say, nowadays I don't have an in-tray to clear.

If Bloomberg's cutting down on Chinese food, he's mayor of the wrong town!

This time, from the New York Times, a political storm in the wok: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he was cutting back on Chinese food as part of an attempt to lose weight.

"He shouldn't have said he is stopping Chinese food," Mr. Chie of Shun Lee Palace said. "He's going to upset a lot of people in this town."

"I can assure owners of Chinese restaurants across the city that this is a mayor who has and will continue to deeply love Chinese food," Mr. Bloomberg's spokesman said.

But Mr. Pelosi, a fan of Chinese food, was not convinced, "If Bloomberg's cutting down on Chinese food, he's mayor of the wrong town. We have the best Chinese food outside of China," he said. "Then again, he's from Boston, and you can't get real Chinese food there."

Key to turning around Rover - a canteen which serves proper Chinese food!

Nanjing Automobile, which recently bought Rover's Birmingham factory, were deeply disappointed with British food and have brought in a team of cooks from Nanjing to reopen the canteen, the Financial Times reported.

According to "one Briton involved in the negotiations", the new owners didn't regard sandwiches as proper food and didn't like the Chinese restaurants over there either.

2005-08-21

"Your call is important to us" "Bullshit!"

Not every reviewer believes that Laura Penny's "Your Call Is Important to Us: The Truth About Bullshit" is a good book, but at least no one can deny that the book title is a clever one.

補充林俊穎

翻查一下,原來林俊穎的小說真的未接觸過,但他的論文倒是讀過一篇,那就是收在劉紹銘,梁秉鈞,許子東主編的《再讀張愛玲》(香港牛津大學出版社)的「尋找張派在台灣的接班人」。

這個在2000年舉辦的「張愛玲與現代中文文學」研討會,主辦機構香港嶺南大學巳將整個過程的錄影放在網上供人溜覽。從這裡可直接連至林俊穎發言的一節。

2005-08-20

張愛玲逝世10年後

判逃張愛玲 | 尋找張愛玲(徐淑卿,中時網絡藝文村,15/8/05)

張愛玲離世不覺已屆十年,但張愛玲作為「祖師奶奶」影響極為深遠。對於被稱為「張派」,不少作家表現得很不自在,但也有些是頗為落落大方的。

判逃張愛玲一文中提到的作家,例如白先勇,施叔青,朱天心和朱天文,都是我熟悉的作家,惟獨林俊穎以前未曾接觸。可惜,林俊穎在文中引述的見解,我認為屬「愚見」一類。他說,「張愛玲在形式上很容易學,文字上以寫實主義為基礎,加上作者強勢主導的方法,剛開始寫作的人很容易被她迷惑。...現在是出版全球化的時代,大家眼界大開,小說技巧的操練也到了新的高度,所以他已經不會認為張愛玲是那麼數一數二的作家了」。

個人認為,張愛玲是否世界上數一數二的作家,見仁見智,但必須搞清楚,張愛玲在形式上很多人學,而不是很容易學。此外,甚麼叫「小說技巧的操練到了新高度」,你以為是學駕車嗎?可以操練到新高度的「小說技巧」,恐怕只是「技」和「巧」等小技而已。

2005-08-19

2005-08-17

爭先恐後支持領導

在同一期明月,有李普以看閒書心情品李銳的《廬山會議實錄》。其中有些章節看了真是感同身受。

他從書中,品出所謂群眾運動,參與的都不是群眾,而是高幹,而且是由領導定調,「絕對不允許並且也絕對不會出現不同的聲音」。定調後,「大家一哄而上,人人唯恐落後,所以情緒激昂,氣氛熱烈」,但說出來的沒有一句真話。

這不正是一般公司內所謂重大決定會議的情況嗎?我在以前任職的機構體驗過了,相信一般上班族都有差不多的經驗吧。

尋根熱促使現代茶莊在香港出現?

葉惠民在05年6月號明報月刊發表一篇短文,題為「香港茶文化拾趣」,閒談香港在中國茶文化發展上的定位和角色。

不少同類文章都以香港戰後經濟發展作為影響香港飲茶文化的決定因素,但葉氏卻以政治發展作為重心論點。例如,他認為「香港六七十年代是一個文化騷動,文化革命的時代,大概是受到當時社會意識的影響,茶葉市場也起了革命,茶葉產品紛紛出規在藥材舖、海味舖、士多,甚至是新興的超級市場之中...」。又如,「到了八十年代,關於香港回歸的中英談判展開,引發尋根熱,間接地促使茶文化在香港的復興;標誌之一是現代茶莊的出現...」。

我不禁猜想,這文章可能是葉氏在國內某茶文化研討會的發言稿。

Origins of Life in the Universe Initiative

Life's origin: Darwinism fights it out with dogma (Sydney Morning Herald, 17/8/05)

2005-08-16

一個顧爾德 兩個傳奇?

剛讀了焦元溥的「一個顧爾德 兩個傳奇」(聯合新聞網 閱讀藝文,16/8/05)。顧爾德是我喜愛的鋼琴家,而巴赫是我最最喜愛的作曲家,焦元溥談到的「傳奇」又是我以前從未讀過的,所以讀得很有趣味。不過,看後又好像覺得有些甚麼不對勁的。

由於聯合新聞網的文章保留期很短,以下是該文的節錄:

一九五五年六月,二十三歲的加拿大鋼琴鬼才顧爾德(Glenn Gould,1932-1982)在紐約錄下巴赫《郭德堡變奏曲》﹝Goldberg Variations﹞。這份演奏一問世即震驚新大陸,至今仍是不滅的傳奇。...他的演奏不僅為自己留下不朽名聲,更造就一個以他為名的傳奇。

這一切,得回到七○年代的巴黎。顧爾德雖然名滿北美,在歐陸卻默默無聞,特別是法國。... 然而,一位就讀於外交學院的青年﹝蒙賽詠 Bruno Monsaingeon﹞,卻在花都瘋狂地搜集有關顧爾德的一切。... 他放棄到手的鐵飯碗,自行摸索製片之道。第一份作品,自是心儀已久的顧爾德。

他耗盡心神財力的作品,電視台卻棄之如敝屣。...最後還是公立電視台大發慈悲,施捨給他一個晚上十點的冷門時段。...誰知道,...預定播放當天,竟爆發法國十餘年來規模最大的罷工。民營電台全部關閉,公家單位也只剩些許殘兵。迫不得已,只得數台合一,將這部唯一可用的紀錄片反覆播送。...隔天,數以萬計的觀眾衝向唱片行,眾口所談皆是昨晚醍醐灌頂般的音樂奇蹟。僅僅一夜,顧爾德成為家喻戶曉的明星;僅僅一夜,顧爾德征服了法國。

五十年過去,顧爾德棺木已拱,他的《郭德堡變奏曲》仍是不朽絕作。蒙賽詠一戰成名後穩紮穩打,完成許多膾炙人口的經典。一個顧爾德竟成就兩個傳奇,從鍵盤到膠捲,他們證明只要心中充滿對音樂的愛,傳奇仍將繼續流傳。

讀這篇文章,得到的印象,是「蒙賽詠於70年代完成的關於顧爾德1955年錄音的《郭德堡變奏曲》的影片,一夜之間征服法國」。

問題就在於,以我所知,蒙賽詠關於顧爾德《郭德堡變奏曲》的影片,是在1981年4-5月攝錄(我有這個DVD)。而顧爾德的《郭德堡變奏曲》演譯,有55年版及81年版,同樣出色,但風格大異。何者更優,歷來眾說紛紜。

翻查網上資料,蒙賽詠在70年代的確曾拍過幾部關於顧爾德的影片,但都與演奏《郭德堡變奏曲》無關。

???

陳舊網頁: -- Garden Inspired by the Music of Bach --

閒話紅學

晨湘「閒話紅學」 | | (歷史月刊電子報,2005年6-7月)

如同一般閒話一樣,讀之過癮,但晨湘用筆稍嫌刻薄。

關於紅學今天的景況,他認為「現在是一片死水,毫無波瀾,不過這樣也好,應了曹雪芹的那句話:天下沒有不散的宴席。」

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2005-08-14

John Gray, globalisation and Hayek

Those who are interested in what globalisation brings to this world and like John Gray's "False Dawn" may want to read his review of Thomas Friedman's "The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century" (The New York Review of Books, 11/8/05).

Nowadays, Gray wants to be known as "Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics. Among his books are False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism, Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals, and Al Qaeda and What It Means to Be Modern. (August 2005)". But he once was a classical liberal and had written many books on classical liberalism and Hayek in the 80s and 90s (you may want to read his "F. A. Hayek and the Rebirth of Classical Liberalism" from the Liberty Fund).

But he has changed. Or, in Daniel Klein's words, he has migrated ("The Ways of John Gray: A Libertalian Commentary").

友來訪,太座露兩手

冷盤:滷水牛腱
熱輂:毛豆豆乾
主食:餃子二式
甜點:蒸紅豆糕



蒸紅豆糕屬新登場(紅豆+椰漿+粘米粉,攪攪蒸蒸)。

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Do you want to know the real Mozart?

Should we care who he really is?

Beyond the Myths and the Commerce, How Much Is Left of Mozart? (Nicholas Kenyon, IHT/New York Times, 26/7/05)

The first classical music CD I owned was Ashkenazy's Mozart piano concertos nos. 20 and 24. A couple of dozens of Mozart CDs later, I got tired of him, since I thought his music lacked depth. Eventually, I realised that it was me who lacked depth.

To me, only Mozart's music matters. Who he was and what he was like are irrelevant unless such research into the "real" Mozart helps musicians re-interpret his music. Frankly, I doubt it.