一篇提到我的 「橫寫直寫 向右向左 左翻右翻 沒完沒了」網頁的文章

每次開始進行書籍排版的時候,總會開始籠罩在自己很愚笨的感覺中 ... (zhyz, 22/5/04)

-- 橫寫直寫 向右向左 左翻右翻 沒完沒了 --

What if the night is long and you are depressed, as usual?

You need Leonard Cohen by your side!

According to the Toronto Star, Finland is issuing a stamp in the honour of Leonard Cohen. Cohen, aka the poet laureate of pessimism, the grocer of despair, the godfather of gloom, the prince of bummers, "has an enormous following in Finland, where the nights are long and depression is said to be widespread."

"Rethinking Islam in the Contemporary World" by Carl Ernst

I am reading Carl Ernst's book "Rethinking Islam in the Contemporary World". Here's the Preface.

For some reason, when the book was released in the UK by the Edinburgh University Press (which is the edition I am reading), the original title Following Muhammad (as seen on the book cover on he left) was dropped, leaving the subtitle as the title.

Ernst has also compiled a web page which contains updated links to Internet sources cited in the book, organized by themes.


中秋圓月夜 燈火闌珊處 ... 我經過樓下去倒垃圾

「橫寫直寫 向右向左 左翻右翻 沒完沒了」 奇文共賞

陳紬藝:《自然療法與中國醫學》 淺談復興中醫之道(代序一) - 兼對大陸文字改革與中醫政策提出個人之看法



-- 橫寫直寫 向右向左 左翻右翻 沒完沒了 --


When we needed a screwdriver, Freud handed us a crystal ball

65 years after the death of Freud, John Timpane claims that we are all post-Freudians now. "We are leaving the 'hard' aspects of Freud behind: the doctrinaire, systematic judgments; the ego/superego/id apparatus; and the pretense to the status of science". Why? "Because when we needed a screwdriver, Freud handed us a crystal ball. His product didn't fit the market".

Judge for yourself - Hail and Farewell to Sigmund Freud (The Mercury News, 19/9/04)

Daphne Merkin, in reviewing "Secrets of the Soul: A Social and Cultural History of Psychoanalysis" by Eli Zaretsky (The New York Times, 5/9/04), says that "psychoanalysis, having incorporated some of his ideas and rejected others, has in fact moved far beyond him [Freud], while neuroscience - in the form of M.R.I. (or magnetic resonance imaging tests) evidence of unconscious mental processes - has been confirming basic tenets of analytic thought. The final verdict is not in, and as one plain-spoken, assuredly un-Freudian thinker once said, 'It ain't over till it's over.'".


余杰: 我們為甚麼不相信經濟學家?


Ratatouilee Meatballs with Penne

Ratatouille is a southern French dish made from eggplant, zucchini, onions, peppers, tomatoes, and garlic. There are many different variations.


Janet Malcolm's "In the Freud Archives"

I have just finished a quite wonderful book called "In the Freud Archives" by Janet Malcolm, which I borrowed from the local library under the impression that it was a fiction. In fact, it was based on real events which were in many ways more dramatic than fiction.

Basically it was about the young and flambouyant outsider Jeffrey Masson gaining the trust of Kurt Eissler to succeed him as the next keeper of the Sigmund Freud Archives. But Masson's damning article on Freud, which accused him of intellectual dishonesty on the "seduction theory", led to Masson being sacked from the post and the incredible friendship between Eissler and Masson degenerating into a law suit, which ended in a quick settlement. Masson also sued the author of this book which eventually ended in defeat.

I have always had some interest in psychology (I almost chose psychology instead of economics as my major at university) and am totally fascinated by Freud the man and his theories. I recently read from the Scientific American an article which said that recent scientific findings were supportive of Freud's grand theory of the mind, which has gone out of intellectual fashion these days.

I have also read a number of novels which featured Freud as a major character - e.g. D.M Thomas's "The White Hotel", Anthony Burgess' "The End of the World News" and Keith Oatley's "The Case of Emily V".

To find out what the major participants in this incident have been doing in recent years, I have done some quick web search. Here are the results:

Jeffrey Masson: These days he is known as a writer on animals, with books like "The Pig Who Sang to the Moon" and "When Elephants Weep". This is his official site, with a short page on his side of the story on the Freud controversy.

Kurt Eissler: Died in 1999. "Freud and the Seduction Theory: A Brief Love Affair" was published posthumously in 2000. This is a site dedicated to him.

Janet Malcolm: Still active in her "pursuit of the truth".

茶碗蒸 + 豆腐雜菜煲


10 commandments for the idle

- from Bonjour paresse (Hello Laziness - The Art and the Importance of Doing the Least Possible in the Workplace), by Corinne Maier
- see The slacker's new bible: Management tips from the executive slow lane (Jo Johnson, MSNBC, 16/8/04)

No. 1 You are a modern day slave. There is no scope for personal fulfilment. You work for your pay-check at the end of the month, full stop.

No. 2 It's pointless to try to change the system. Opposing it simply makes it stronger.

No. 3 What you do is pointless. You can be replaced from one day to the next by any cretin sitting next to you. So work as little as possible and spend time (not too much, if you can help it) cultivating your personal network so that you're untouchable when the next restructuring comes around.

No. 4 You're not judged on merit, but on whether you look and sound the part. Speak lots of leaden jargon: people will suspect you have an inside track

No. 5 Never accept a position of responsibility for any reason. You'll only have to work harder for what amounts to peanuts.

No. 6 Make a beeline for the most useless positions, (research, strategy and business development), where it is impossible to assess your 'contribution to the wealth of the firm'. Avoid 'on the ground' operational roles like the plague.

No. 7 Once you've found one of these plum jobs, never move. It is only the most exposed who get fired.

No. 8 Learn to identify kindred spirits who, like you, believe the system is absurd through discreet signs (quirks in clothing, peculiar jokes, warm smiles).

No. 9 Be nice to people on short-term contracts. They are the only people who do any real work.

No. 10 Tell yourself that the absurd ideology underpinning this corporate bullshit cannot last for ever. It will go the same way as the dialectical materialism of the communist system. The problem is knowning when...


Leonard Cohen's new album to be released in October!

Leonard Cohen's new album "Dear Heather" will be released in October! I never expect him, who will turn 70 on 21 September, to release new songs so shortly after the previous album "Ten New Songs". Great news for me and Cohen fans around the world!

Who held a gun to Leonard Cohen's head? - or, 70 things you may not know about him (The Guardian, 17/9/04)

Leonard Cohen's downbeat success (BBC News, 16/7/04)

Take This Longing From My Tongue (Sean Elder, Salon, 15/6/99)

Telling It on the Mountain (Robert Hilburn, LA Times, 24/9/95)

Aurora Online with Leonard Cohen (Marco Adria, 7/90)

Sites on Leonard Cohen:
Leonard Cohen Files | Dear Heather Website | leonardcohen.com

酸甜蝦仁 + 二小碟



Jennings, Krugman, Bocelli

Watched DVD of Andrea Bocelli performing "Sacred Arias" in the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, Rome.

Read Kate Jennings's "Moral Hazard", a novel about a woman stumbling through life between caring for her husband, who has Alzheimer's, and earning a living in Wall Street during the greedy and scandalous 90s.

Read Paul Krugman's "The Great Unravelling - From Boom to Bust in Three Scandalous Years" (the subtitle has been changed to "Losing Our Way in the New Century" in the new edition). The book is essentially a collection of Krugman's op-ed articles on The New York Times from January 2000 to January 2003. The Introduction - "A Revolutionary Power" - Krugman wrote for this book is, however, execellent reading and very relevant now that the US election is just around the corner and there may be another fours years for the Bush Administration.

- Paul Krugman's official site (not updated since late 2003)

- Paul Krugman's The New York Times op-ed articles (the latest article is free)

- Unofficial Paul Krugman site (very up to date, and the articles are free)




A great divide indeed

While top male football players in the English Premier League earn up to 100,000 Pounds a week, The Guardian reported that "Arsenal and the holders Charlton Athletic both had walkovers as the teams they were due to play, Sunderland and Stockport County respectively, withdrew from their fixtures claiming they could not afford the cost of travel. This could be viewed both as a precedent that may eventually undermine the credibility of the competition and also a disturbing comment on the financial state of the women's game in this country."

Global house prices: The sun also sets

Global house prices: The sun also sets (The Economist).


Revamping joetsang.net

I must have spent over 100 hours over the past two weeks revamping my humble web site, which will have its 10th birthday celebration next year. Some of the changes are visible. Some are not. [Note: My web site started off almost 10 years ago with a single page: News on China, Hong Kong and Taiwan]

For example, I have been thinking about changing the look of the text-based entry page for some time now. But given my limited skills in web writing and just plain laziness, I haven't been doing anything until recently. Now joetsang.net has a new entry page, and it is a graphics-based one.

I have also created banners for many pages, particularly the travel photos pages.

A new page called Good Food 街 has just been released. It puts together some of the good food Cindy experimented with since we moved to Brisbane.

I have updated a lot of the pages, for example, those related to Kieslowski, and that on News on China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Websites came and went at an alarming speed and it is very time consuming to keep links up-to-dated. Also, some of the sites which were excellent a few years ago are no longer so now. In the case of Kieslowski, while a lot of the sites in English have gone dead, the number of those in Chinese have risen at an exponential rate.

I am also in the process of writing a new page which is not yet ready to be unveiled.

Regarding my two blogs, I have also been trying to keeping posting entries as frequently as possible. As I said to a fellow web enthusiast - who introduced me to Blogger.com - some time ago, creating a blog is easy, but maintaining it is difficult. After the initial excitement, bloggers usually find it difficult to find things meaningful to write about. For the readers, it just doesn't look good if no entries are posted for a prologed period of time. Also, I jokingly wrote in a recent blog entry that visitor should stay just a little bit longer, since statistics showed that over 80% of visitors to joetsang.net spent less than 30 seconds there. A friend commented that, to achieve this, I should write longer pieces. And I can say I have been trying, hard.

So much for the visible changes.

For the invisible changes, I have cleaned up some of the underlying html codes, although they are still largely standard non-compliant.

Since moving back to the stone age of Internet access (now using dial-up), I have come to the realisation that some of my pages are too long and too graphics oriented and therefore take a long time to load. I had been warned of that before, but since I was then using super-fast broadband, and that most of the graphics in the site were cached anyway, I felt no need to do anything about it. It was only when circumstances changed (to the worse) that I understood how fructrating it was to wait for a web page to load.

I have therefore splitted some of the long graphics-heavy pages into several parts. But more importantly, I have resized almost all graphics files on my site. They now have a small file size but no sacrifice in graphics quality (I hope). This task, involving over 1,000 files, took hours of manual labour.

I can proudly say that I have done something worthy in my 10th year as a web addict. And I am as addicted as ever!




Good Food 街

In search of Dominique Aury

I wrote the story of O (Geraldine Bedell, The Observer, 25/7/04). I read this article on The Age last Saturday.

I first read The Story of O and The Story of O II (more on this later) when I was young, probably during the early 1980s. The Story of O is indeed a classic in erotica. The Story of O II, which I bought and read shortly afterwards, was a major disappointment, although the author had already warned in the preface that "The pages that follow are a sequel to Story of O. They deliberately suggest the degradation of that work, and cannot under any circumstances be integrated into it"

I later learnt (probably after reading The Good Ship Venus, a book on the Olympia Press) that Pauline Reage was a pseudonym and that it was written by a women, not a man as many speculated. But I really had no interest in knowing who actually wrote it. I always believe that a reader should read the book and not bother with the author.

But reading this article on The Observer was of interest to me in the sense that now I know that the "sequel" was not published shortly afterward, was not published as The Story of O II, and was essentially a discarded chapter of the original.

(Added 2013-4-8: The Story of the Story of O (Carmela Ciuraru, Guernica, 2011-6-15) | Anne Desclos (Wikipedia))

Panic Room

Watched Panic Room on TV last night. With hindsight, I should have spent that two hours surfing the net.


Web articles on Bernard Lewis

Lewis of Arabia: A visit with America's greatest Middle East sage (Tunku Varadarajan, OpionionJournal, 23/9/2003)

Scholarship or Sophistry? - Bernard Lewis and the New Orientalism (H Sahid Alam, CounterPunch, 28/6/2003)

Bernard Lewis: The Islam scholar U.S. politicians listen to (Emily Yoffe, Slate, 13/11/2001)

Two books on Islam by Bernard Lewis

I have just finished reading two books on Islam by Bernard Lewis - which I borrowed from the library - What Went Wrong? - The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East (2002, Weinenfeld & Nicolson) and The Crisis of Islam - Holy War and Unholy Terror (2003, Modern Library).

While I learnt a lot on a subject which I previously knew very little about but came across daily in the media, the reading experience has also been quite unsettling. While What Went Wrong?, which was finished before September 11, has an air of an academic work, The Crisis of Islam is much more polemical. Here I shall try to illustrate my perception (and disappointment) by quoting several paragraphs from The Crisis of Islam. Note the tone adopted by Lewis and how he used the "we/us/our" words:

"President Bush and other Western politicians have taken great pains to make it clear that the war in which we are engaged is a war against terrorism - not a war against Arabs, nor, more generally, against Muslims, who are urged to join us in this struggle against our common enemy." (p.xv, first paragraph of Introduction)

"... There are those who, while remaining committed Muslims and well aware of the flaws of modern Western societiy, nevertheless also see its merits ... These, while retaining their own beliefs and their own culture, seek to join us in reaching toward a freer and better world. There are some again who, while seeing the West as their ultimate enemy and as the source of all evil, are nevertheless aware of its power, and seek some temporary accommodation in order better to prepare for the final struggle. We should be wise not to confuse the [former] from the [latter]." (p.28, last paragraph of Chapter 1: Defining Islam)

"In two countries, Iraq and Iran, where the regimes are strongly anti-American, there are democratic oppositions capable of taking over and forming governments. We, in what we like to call the free world, could do much to help them, and have done little. In most other countries in the region, there are people who share our values, sympathize with us, and would like to share our way of life. They understand freedom and want to enjoy it at home. It is more difficult for us to help these people, but at least we should not hinder them. If they succeed, we hsall have friends and allies in the true, not just the diplomatic, sense of these words." (p.163, second last paragraph of Chapter IX: The Rise of Terrorism)