Wednesday, April 30, 2008

May 2 fiasco in Hong Kong

Today is Apr 30. May 2 is still in future. However, what is going to happen on that day in Hong Kong is gonna be a good show with inappropriate performers. It is a classic case of 'fiasco'. According to Wiki, a 'fiasco' is a complete or humiliating failure. I think this description is a fit for such a ridiculous event in the territory.

32.5% of 120 selected runners to carry the torch are from politics or business, who has no direct relationship with sports. Though people in Hong Kong are not keen into sports (except being spectators or participants in betting), other media already nominate some current or retired athletes who have better representation than those 32.5%.

I think any sane folk who has an objective mind and gut should stay away from being part of such fiasco on May 2. Nough said!

Monday, April 28, 2008

What's Going on?

Since I was in like ten years old, I start reading newspaper. As it is quite natural for a kid to want to explore what is going on in the world beside my day-to-day routine life as a schoolkid. TV was another medium, I would be able to see documentaries and news about other places, and hear comments from those so-called experts/adults about issues. Certainly, in these days, internet helps a lot. Thank God for internet. Now, we can have news and commentary real-time from multi-dimension which is very exciting. Though I get older, my passion to learn what’s going on in the world or in the society in general has not diminished at all. That’s why I still try to squeeze about an hour a day to surf the net to read news that I’m interested in and read blogs from some favor bloggers. Though I don’t know them in person, reading their comments do make me feel connected to their thoughts somehow.

The more I learn what’s going on through different channels and read the comments from different people, the more I appreciate the freedom of speech and the more objective that I can be in terms of viewing issues from various angles. That is really a serious challenge to general traditional journalism and the opinions of some ‘handy’ experts on issues. If not for the media, you would not be able to tell how stupid, naïve and ridiculous of some ‘power’ figures in our society:
You can see how those government officials who have power, but no sense in logic.
You can see how those politicians who can voice to the public but no gut.
You can see how those tycoons who have money, but no moral.
You can see how those celebrities who have looks but no brain.
And thank God to internet, you can see those invisible or weak in the society have no representative in traditional media. That really opens our eyes.

I’m not sure either Confucius or LaoTze has said something like:
If you read but don’t think, it is a waste of time.
If you think but don’t read, you are dangerous.

Today, I think many folks how have access to so much information, but either they don’t read or they don’t filter their incoming information. They can’t tell the difference between voice and noise. They just listen to those speak the loudest and adopt that as the right message. Then, they follow and spread that noise……I think that is really sad and dangerous.

Sharing of message / knowledge via internet is such a wonder these days. Wikipedia is a remarkable tool. Youtube is fun and informational. IM is handy. However, when people use the net to incite destructive acts, the effect could be enormous. I’m not suggesting anything new here. I just think people should stop and take a moment to think before doing or saying anything that can affect others.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

"M" shape society

Similar to Japan, Hong Kong is becoming a 'M' shape society, according to the Japanese Sociologist 大前研一 Kenichi Ohmae. Namely, the population of the riches and the poors are expanding while the middle class is shrinking. Certainly, it depends on how you define who are the middle class. Also, the other phenomena is that the upward mobility of middle class is diminishing, that's why the poors are growing.
Last night I watch a program in local TV which is called 'The story of a million'. It is about the livelihood of poor people who are accounted for 1/5 of the population here. I love to read news and quite sensible to what's going on the in society, though I'm kinda passive in doing/expressing anything about any social cause. Thus, the miserable lives that those poor people are living in are not something that I've unheard of before. The program has 5 episodes and the one showed last night was just a preview of the rest. The scene that was most vivid to me was about a kid who used to be very active and cheerful, described by her mom, became introvert and dares not to ask anything anymore as she grows older. Cos, whatever she asked, she was not gonna get it. In order to avoid being disappointed, she stayed away from asking for anything. I think that's very sad, she is still a kid.
I think it is very tough for being kids these days, actually it applies to adults as well. In our materialistic society, everything is about money, everything has a price. Even some intangible things like art, love, happiness, hope, shame, etc. are all being measured and expressed with a price tag. How to teach kid about value become so hard to the parents! My wife and I went to a department store at lunch time today to look for stuff for our boy. She came across a brand named necking that she wanted to buy. I ended up convinced her to buy a cheaper one which also look pretty. Cos, our boy of seven months old wouldn't know it is a branded good or not. It is up for the adult to judge subjectively. Brand name stuff has value, but whether it is justified for anyone is different story. There are so much packaging, branding, marketing that fill up the media and in the marketplace which I think many of them are scams to make money off people and they are wasting natural resources as well.
I hope our family's living standard won't slide down to become as poor as those folks in the TV show that I mentioned. However, sometimes you never know...
Can insurance guarantee and compensate in case of accidents or illness that we may encounter in future?
Would any kind of natural disasters can affect us?
Would any bad thing happen to our other family members?
What about job security? There is no such thing this days....
So, there is so much unknowns that I just don't feel secure financially to deal with those possibilities. Therefore, investing, savings and selective spending are all I'm trying to do, though I have to admit that there is so much to learn and to improve on all those fronts. Anyway, to manage the life of oneself is tough enough, let alone about a family of members who have different views on things. How much you can 'shape' your kid to think certain way is no guarantee neither. We can only do so much........

Friday, April 18, 2008

My Most Favorite and Least Favorite Foods

As Captioned.
Sushi - Toro, Salmon, Eels, Softshell crabs, crabs
Pizza and Breads - any kinds
Pastas and Lasanga - any kinds, but more cheese please
Dairy Products - Parmasen cheese, soft cream cheese, 2% milk, yogurt of any kinds.
Noodles - any kinds, except 'lai fun'
Rice - Jasimine, Thai
Seafoods - fish, shrimps, crabs, shellfishs, octupus, squlids, etc
Veggies - any kinds, particularly carrots, 'sai guo', bean spouts, mushooms or all kinds, tofu, etc.
Meat - beef, pork, lamb, chicken, ducks, hams, all are fine
Ice-creams - love those with nuts and grapes, e.g. Haggen Daz's Rum Raisien. Also, green tea, and berries
Desserts - pies, tarts, cakes, etc. as long as it is not too sweet. Love blueberry cheese cakes, and tiramisu, and apple pies.
Fruits - almost any kinds. Orange, apples, banana, water-melons, 'san joke', any type of berries.
Soups - Clam chowder. All types of Chinese soups.
Beers - Asahi, Kirin, Coronna
Eggs - from chicken and duck
Dim sums - buns and dumplings

Foods that I will not pick if there is alternative:
Noodles - 'lai fun'
Rice - boiled Uncle Ben
Most candies, colorful snacks with perservatives.
Canned veggies

Foods that I don't eat:
Dairy Products - blue cheese, can't stand the taste.
Meat - frogs, rabbit, wild animals of all kinds, chicken or duck feets, and fatty stuffs and internal organs.
Fruits - 'Lau lin'
Veggie - 'smelly tofu'
Anything that is rotten, expired, stink, unhealthy.
Tobacco of any kinds

Self Motivation

Lately, I've trouble to motiviate myself to do things that I want to do. Handy excuses like "I'm tired", "I still can wait, it is not important now", "I'm busy with this and that", etc, are being used by the lazy side of mine to stop me from doing things. I think doing excercise is a way to relax my mind to collect thoughts and get my 'engine' starts. However, I barely got to do that. I think I'm gonna make up my mind to do that this weekend, like having a hour of walking, or maybe a light jog in the morning. Hopefully that would work. Too bad that the weather forecast is not good this weekend, but.......should I be stopped by wind and rain?..... I guess not. Let's see if I can do that.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Tibet Issue

The following article is one of the best out there in the web that provide an objective view and analysis of the issue.


2006 年,達賴喇嘛在印度舉行時輪金剛灌頂法會,他在會上批評當今藏人喜好皮草的虛華作風不僅庸俗,而且有違佛教義理。幾天之後,西藏各地就有人紛紛公開焚燒價格高昂的豹皮外衣狐帽子。當地官員大為震怒,認為這是以「達賴喇嘛為首的藏獨分子的精心運作」,然後下令藏人要重新穿上皮衣,因為它們明瞭黨的德政使大家過上了好日子,甚至以穿不穿戴皮草來檢大家的「政治覺悟」(關於這次事件的詳情,可以參見西藏作家唯色的《看不見的西藏》)。




再也沒有比06 年「皮草事件」更好的例子了。達賴喇嘛的主張不只出自慈悲,更與流行的動物權益運動若合符節,國際進步青年聞之莫不稱善。反過來看,西藏地方官員竟然為了抵制達賴喇嘛的影響,不惜違反世界潮流和保護野生動物的國家方針,要求藏民重新披上動物的皮毛。其間高下實不可以道計。

比起這點,第二個問題或許更令北京憂心。達賴喇嘛人在印度 50 年,其一言一行在藏區竟然還有如斯巨大的影響力,原因究竟何在?近日的藏區紛亂,官方一直強調是「達賴集團」在幕後精心策劃出來的,我以為這個說法必須好好分析。首先,所謂「達賴集團」指的其實不一定是達賴本人。凡對西藏問題略有所知者,都知道「西藏青年大會」才是流亡西藏人中的激進派,他們的勢力龐大網絡周全,雖然奉達賴喇嘛為尊,但也公開批評過達賴的非暴力主張,二者潛存矛盾。我們目前雖然沒有足夠資訊研判內情,但最近的事件卻不一定就是達賴本人指揮煽動。反過來看,達賴那番若藏人暴力活動持續他就要退位的聲明,則有可能是對「西藏青年大會」等激進派的反制施壓。

然而,不管有沒有人策動藏人上街,也不管策動者是誰,中國政府首先該問的是何以它在過去數十年來投入了大量的人力財力,使西藏年均GDP 每年皆有超過10%的增長,竟還有許多藏人深懷怨憤,隨時就能人手一面「雪山獅子旗」呢?以我個人所見,這甚至是不少漢族知識分子都感到難以理解的,他們有的相信官方主流論述,認為共產黨把藏人從神權統治下的農奴制解放了出來;有的則覺得漢地各省長期以來勒緊自己的褲帶對西藏施行慷慨的「對口援助」,藏民卻毫不領情,一翻臉就不認人,甚是奇怪。

說起來,西藏問題真是一團迷霧,只要你朝它多走一步,你就會發現原來所相信的任何一種簡單立場都能碰上理據十足的反駁。不只現在的西方媒體造假與中國傳媒監控各惹嫌疑,歷史上的詭局謎團更是令人眼花撩亂。如果你認為「自古以來」,西藏就是中國的一部分;你將會發現要花很多時間去解釋古代宗主國對藩屬的關為什麼等同於現代民族國家和它的轄下省份(越南反而確曾是中華王朝的一省)。反過來說,如果你相信在「中國入侵」之前,西藏是片連丁點暴力都不可能發生的和平淨土;那麼你又該如何理解14 任達賴喇嘛頭只有3 位順利活到成年的事實呢?假如你覺得文革對西藏的破壞是不可饒恕的,你或許應該知道當年打砸佛寺佛像的主力之一竟然是藏人。假如你認為中央對西藏的宗教自由已經足夠寬容,甚至許流亡在外的眾多上師返鄉建寺(最有名的當屬頂果欽哲法王);你可能也曉得現在的西藏小學生是連隨身護符也不帶的。


平心而論,兩者都各有偏頗,不足為信。西藏確曾是個農奴社會,1951 年前,光是三大領主經營的莊園竟然就佔了全藏可耕地的62%,其中又有37%為寺院所有。大部分平民都要在耕作之餘替領主服終身勞役。不過這些農奴的實況遠非中文的「奴」字所能概括,雖然身份是「奴」,但他們的物質生活卻不一定很差,所以在「劃成分」時才會出現了「富裕農奴」這麼古怪的類別。西藏確實也是個佛國,出家人所佔的人口比例舉世罕見。只不過和任何俗世社會一樣,以前的西藏也少不了各種勾心鬥角、貪污暴政甚至高層僧侶間的政治暗殺,與完美的世外桃源相去甚遠(詳見王力雄《天葬》、Melvyn Goldstein 的經典巨著《A History of Modern Tibet 1913-1951》(中譯《喇嘛王國的覆滅》) 及《The Snow Lion and the Dragon: China,Tibet and the Dalai Lama》)。






1998 年,時任國家主席江澤民曾經公開對著來訪的美國總統克林頓說過這樣的話:「我去年訪美的時候,也包括到歐洲的一些國家,我發現許多人教育水平很高,知識水平都很高,可是他們還是很相信喇嘛教的教義」。他的意思再明顯不過:「喇嘛教」如此愚昧落後,你們這些文明開化的西方人怎麼還要信它呢?無論從任何標準來看,這都是番令人震驚的言論。一位國家元首怎能如此公開侮辱國內一支主要少數民族的信仰呢?我們可以想像克林頓會說猶他州州民教育水平這麼高,還要相信摩門教真奇怪嗎?



且以文革遺產的清理為例。根據班禪喇嘛早在文革爆發前4 年向中央委員會遞交的「七萬言意見書」: 「民改前的西藏有大、中、小寺廟2500 餘座,而民改後由政府留下來的僅只有70 多座,減少了97%多,由於大部分寺廟沒人居住,所以大經堂等神殿僧捨無人管,人為的和非人為的損害,破壞巨大,淪於已倒塌和正在倒塌的境地」。到了文革那十年,僧人被迫還俗,佛寺遭到洗劫的慘狀就更是變本加厲了。有些論者承認這種種做為對西藏造成的災害確實很巨大,但轉頭卻說不只西藏,「那十年全國各地一樣受害」,言下之意是大伙過去都遭殃了,你們藏人不該老拿這些往事出來說三道四。這就是對民族問題不敏感的絕佳例子了,他們似乎完全不明白同樣是文革,對漢人而言或許是自己人斗自己人,但到了西藏卻是你們漢人帶頭來搞我們西藏人了。所以在處理這些歷史傷痕的時候,政府應該格外小心,不能只是出錢修復廟宇,甚至還要採取比在漢地更徹地的解決方案(例如查明歷史真相和道歉),方能締造民族和解的基礎。




我在電視上看見一些青年僧人也參與了近月的事件,甚至還拿起了石塊和棍棒……他們的憤怒我只能盡量體會。現謹摘抄13 世紀偉大的成就者嘉瑟.戊初.東美〈菩薩行三十七頌〉片段如下,祈願藏漢的真正和解:





Friday, April 11, 2008

Western Hypocrisy

I found this article in the web that I think it is really good to share with 'few' readers of my blog:

日本時報網3月21日文章 原題:西藏和奧運
作者 澳大利亞前外交官格雷戈裡·克拉克






Tibet and Olympic Games


Events in Tibet have turned ugly. Once again we see the harm caused by Beijing's heavy-handed bureaucracy, and its panicky, untrained soldiers used for crowd control. But even when combined with all of Beijing's other alleged sins — Darfur, pollution, human rights and other issues — does Tibet justify the calls for a boycott of Beijing's planned Olympic Games later this year?

Olympic boycotts are a clumsy and biased weapon. Moscow had its 1980 Olympics boycotted because of its intervention in Afghanistan. But the Western, including British, intervention today in Afghanistan, while weaker in its ferocity, is almost identical in its motives — support for an unstable government with idealistic goals but unable to cope with domestic insurgents. Would anyone use that to boycott the planned London Olympics? Hardly.
Hypocrisy taints most of the other accusations against Beijing. Take Darfur, for example. Beijing is criticized for weapons sales to a Sudanese government guilty of assisting attacks on defenseless villagers, and refusing to intervene politically to help prevent those attacks. Yet nonintervention in the affairs of other nations was once a proudly proclaimed Western principle, aimed to end all wars in the 20th century. Now China is criticized for obeying that principle.

As for selling weapons to governments behaving atrociously against their own peoples, that has long been standard Western behavior. During the East Timor, Papua and Aceh atrocities in Indonesia, Britain was busily selling Jakarta the military aircraft it wanted. The handful of brave British women who tried physically to prevent those sales were jailed. Few complained.

Western armies are also known to attack defenseless villagers at times, as in Indochina before, and now in Iraq and Afghanistan. True, those armies can claim they only attack people supporting the civil-war enemy, but the Sudan government can say exactly the same over Darfur. The cruelties of its attacks there have yet to match the defoliation and free-fire zone tactics of the United States in Indochina. Of all the Western nations, only the Scandinavians at the time had the moral courage to halt arms sales to the U.S. in protest.
China is criticized as the great global polluter and user of scarce resources. But in one almost completely overlooked respect it has done far more than any of the rest of us to overcome both problems. This is its one-child policy. If not for that policy, China today would have to feed, clothe and accommodate an estimated extra 300 million to 400 million people — more than the entire population of Western Europe. The strain on world resource supplies and the environment would have been unbearable.

But to do this Beijing has had to court severe unpopularity at home. And it now has to live with two unfortunate results — a serious male-female population imbalance and rapid aging of the population. No one thanks Beijing for making these sacrifices. On the contrary. Some Western conservatives see the one-child policy as yet another Beijing evil.
Meanwhile, Beijing's impressive efforts to increase nuclear and hydro-power and so reduce dependence on polluting coal are criticized by our Western antinuclear, antidam progressives. China, it seems, just can't win, no matter what it does. It is the six-ton elephant that everyone likes to bash.

Similarly with many other criticisms. Beijing should admit that policy mistakes were made in Tibet in the 1960s, and that the Han Chinese immigration there since has caused frictions. For cultural reasons Chinese do not blend easily with other peoples. Resentments flare up easily, as we saw before in the anti-Chinese riots of Malaysia and Indonesia.

But Beijing can also point out that some of its early troubles could have been avoided if the CIA and New Delhi hawks had not set out to instigate the original 1959 Tibetan rebellion. As for Tibetan independence, people forget that the strongest opponent was the Western-backed Nationalist Chinese government that ended up in Taiwan. Beijing simply inherited that Western-approved situation.

Hypocrisy dogs the criticisms of China over democracy and human rights also. China at least goes through the motions of providing trials and prison sentences for the occasional activist dissident it sees as dangerous. Nonactivists are largely ignored.

What were the U.S. and some of its friends doing when Latin American governments of the 1970s were arbitrarily arresting and torturing dissidents in the tens of thousands and throwing their broken bodies into the ocean or unmarked graves? Almost nothing. Their agents were busy providing lists of more dissidents to be tracked down.

The U.S. has an impressive track record of supporting dictatorships that it sees as friendly even if they suppress human rights, and working to overthrow democratically elected governments if it sees them as unfriendly.

Beijing has already moved to introduce democracy at the grassroots level. It plans to go further up, but there are limits. Does anyone imagine, for example, that its unpopular one-child policy would survive if China had free national elections?

Singapore is another Sinitic culture society that believes in a strong semi-autocratic government able to impose unpopular but needed policies as preferable to the Western free democratic model. Few see Singapore as the epitome of all undemocratic evil.

I do not want to whitewash all that Beijing does. During the Cultural Revolution and "ping-pong diplomacy" periods of the early '70s, I saw at close quarters how unpleasant and unreasonable its officials can be. But you judge a nation by the direction in which it is traveling, not by the road bumps. And China is clearly moving in a direction of very considerable promise to us all. The Olympics, like ping-pong diplomacy, will push China further in that direction.

Gregory Clark was formerly China desk officer in the Australian Department of External Affairs, and is now vice president of Akita International University. A Japanese translation of this article will appear on:

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Everyone has both the introvert and extrovert sides. When I am in my introvert mode, I like to think, to dream, or to let my mind drifting from idea to idea in a flow. When I was younger, I did that a lot, perhaps it was because I had more than ample of time being by myself. Besides regular day to day contact with people, I spent quite a bit of time enjoying hobbies that I could do alone at my own pace anytime I chose. Other than those thinking, dreaming and mind-drifting, one thing that I did quite often was introspection. I think that is a key to the mental growth of a person.
Introspection is to go over in my mind what I'd done and said in a period of time. Of course, we won't remember everything, but it is useful to examine the highlights of things that I did and said, in order to identify any mistake. The goal is simple, try not to do that again. One thing that I hate the most is to regret. Introspection is being used to prevent regret to happen. However, I think that I've done my introspection myself since I got married. Ha, some readers of this blog will think that it means that I may find out I would regret to be married! Nah...I don't think so!
It is because I've not been managed my time well since I got married, especially now when I became a dad. I really struggle with my personal time management. I already did less than what I wanna do, because I'm not myself anymore, I'm the husband of a woman and a dad of a kid. They are my priorities, and they are linked together most of the time. So, I just don't have much time to sitback, relax, and do some introspection myself. I used to do that before I slept, or during shower. I didn't why I just haven't done that much in the past 2 years or so. Well, don't get me wrong that I do sleep and take shower.
This morning before breakfast, I suddenly started to introspect for 2 minutes while I was in the shower. The feeling was so good that I think it kinda help me to kick start of today. Maybe because I just having done that for too long. I suddenly urge to do that again. In my personal history, I usually did introspection when I was sad, confused, helpless, or gonna make some major decisions. I didn't do that often out of the blue. So, that's why this morning's experience is kinda weird. My introspection mode kicked in automatically. I think that maybe my subconsciousness was trying to warn me to change what I've been doing. I think I need to introspect again tonight. I'm sure some thoughts or motivation will come out as a result. I'm looking forward to that weird that it sounds like I need to make a self-appointment to think?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Suicide (reprise)

Five years ago today, a pop singer jumped off from the 24th floor of Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Central Hong Kong. His name is Leslie Cheung. For what kind of person he is, about his history and his career, they can certainly be found in details in the web. I’m not gonna elaborate here. My personal feeling toward this artist is mixed. I really appreciate his performance on stage or on films. I also have many of his CDs and listen to his songs on my iPod every now and then. However, I’ve uneasy feeling towards his death as a result of suicide. Personally, I’ve a very negative feeling of the act of committing suicide.

I always think that life is fragile from the perspective on a macro scale, but life is tough and valuable on personal level. In our nature, animals do whatever they could to try to survive. I don’t think human being behaved anyway different until we have civilization. In our human history, many important people were honor, aside for what they did when they were alive, but also for what they tried to do that relate to their deaths. Some of them committed extremely dangerous acts. We certainly don’t know their mental state when they prepared to do what they did. Namely, did they know that they were gonna die for sure if they do certain things. However, I think there is a difference between those actually doing something great and dangerous, and they end up dead, and someone killed themselves just simply for defending a noble cause. Regardless, I always think that unless you try to save others’ lives, it is not worthy to put yourself into a life-threatening situation if there are alternatives. For an example, if a regular folk saved a kid from a hitting by a car on the street. He ends up dead but the kid is saved. He is hero to me. If he is saving many people in an extreme situation and he ends up dead. He is a martyr. On the other hand, if he is policeman, a fireman, or a soldier, he should be commemorated and honored, but his death is a result of performing his duty which is subjected to the inherited risk. Other than those situations, killing oneself should be not encouraged or honored in any form.

I’m not against some so-called ‘assisted suicide’ by doctors if it is agreed by the patient, the medical authority and the patient’s family to some extent. I think it should be available as a choice legally, but it should not be encouraged. In other cases, any folks that kill themselves, I think that they are making the wrong choice though they might disagree. There is always ‘other’ ways in life. No matter how bad the situation is, if someone just take a deep breath, step back and look around, he should see there are choices. That’s what a person who feels being push to a corner should do.
It is too bad that Leslie did get timely assistance when he needed the most. I always think that he is a great entertainer. He should be remembered for his songs, movies, performance, etc...except for his last art.