Tank top days

06/07/05

 

Third day in a row with brilliant sunshine. Love sunshine, blue sky, and jolly air – feel like going to the beach or exploring round town taking photos. Whatever, just not stuck in windowless office blocks writing stuff that’s humiliating to one’s intelligence.

 

Shock to learn that L’s handed in his notice. I’ve always thought him the sort of guy who would never change jobs. Even more shock to find out that he’s had got a scholarship to study in Englandemmm… don’t really know where his merits lie.

 

A.Y. (darn! So many people with initial A, think I have to start devising a new naming system) still looks pretty much the same – still keep staring at me diffidently over the dinner table. I mean if he remained as h/s as before I would have liked him, but alas! That’s not the case. E’s practically a rattling nerd now, really worried about him. BTW, the Thai food was yummy.

 

The wound in mouth starts to feel itchy now, good signs of healing I hope.

 

There’s something I would like to quote from the de Botton book, but can’t find the page at the moment. Anyway, will sort out my thought later. Geez, have been procrastinating my application stuff again.  

 

 

Catching up

05/07/05

 

There’s much catching up for me to do since my last entry. This negligence owes entirely to the turbulent days I’ve gone through. First it was my wisdom teeth. By some dark forces at work I asked for all this pain, was it… I don’t know. Now the teeth are gone and my face still swollen. LSL promised it won’t last for more than a week, and it DID! At first it was like two golf balls in the mouth, and then it became cookie monster stuffed with cookies; now it looks as if I’m hit by my non-existent bad bf. Everybody agrees LSL should be directly responsible for all this. But just found out LSL is in the congregation, a point lessening his credibility and likeability – to me – but still cute.

 

Good timing though, since it’s six days before the bloody concert in which I would play a bloody imaginative piece in bloody City Hall. At last got the chance to really sit down and practise ‘cos no chance to get out at all in such intimidating look. Won’t help though, piano’s crap, music’s crap, player’s crap, so naturally, the performance’s gonna be crap. And it turned out to be so, with me re-composing over 70% of the piece. It was a nice experience though, got paid for this crap.

 

T the emotional fuckwit called again, skipping from work, from her bf’s doorstep, begging him to open the door, and in a desperate rage of exasperation called a locksmith attempting to force her way into the house. Honestly, I think there’s something wrong in her genes that makes her inexplicable radical manners.

 

A’s in town, meeting up for dinner this evening. Really miss my old friends. Everyone’s coming back, and I should really consider going away.

 

 

Cat and dogs, bats and frogs

23/06/05

 

It’s raining cats and dogs this morning. Ever since the beginning of June there hasn’t been a day without rain. Hell! I want to wear something else beside my sandals. Finally done with the stupid EE project, on with another one yet more mundane. Seems like A has discovered my talent in making books and she’s stuffed my schedules with reader projects: circus, extreme sports, and tsunami. Situation’s back to normal (at least as it appears to be) after the scenario, keeping the status quo. Darn, try not to think about that.

 

Really love the way Shakespeare put his words:

If you spend word for word with me, I shall make your wit bankrupt.

          The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Brilliant! Will try to recite that next time I argue with people.

 

Reading Wodehouse’s Ring For Jeeves, if not for the space and a technical problem that concerns the provision of pen and paper during commute read, I’d have quotes the full book. Here, however, is an example:

Captain Biggar: Write me a cheque.

Bill passed a fevered hand through his hair.

‘How can I write you a cheque?’

Captain Biggar clicked his tongue, impatient of his shilly-shallying.

‘You have a pen, have you not? And there is ink on the premises, I imagine? You are a strong, able-bodied young fellow in full possession of the use of your right hand, aren’t you? No paralysis? No rheumatism in the joints? If,’ he went on, making a concession, ‘what is bothering you is that you have run out of blotting paper, never mind, I’ll blow on it.’

Jeeves came to the rescue, helping out the young master, who was still massaging the top of his head.

‘what his lordship is striving to express in words, sir, is that while, as you rightly way, he is physically competent to write a cheque for three thousand and five pounds two shillings and six pence, such a cheque, when presented at your bank, would not be honoured.’

‘Exactly,’ said Bill, well pleased with his lucid way of putting the thing. ‘It would bounce like a bounding Dervish and come shooting back like a homing pigeon.’

‘Two very happy images, m’lord.’

‘I haven’t a bean.’

‘insufficient funds is the technical expressions, m’lord. His lordship, if I may employ the argot, sir, is broke to the wide.’

 

 

A day of quotes

22/06/05

 

I have nothing to declare except my genius.
Oscar Wilde

 

This is what I like about Oscar Wilde. Shamelessly flaunting his charisma.

 

A quote I just saw somewhere and like:

 

起初他们追杀共产主义者,我不是共产主义者,我不说话; 
接着他们追杀犹太人,我不是犹太人,我不说话; 
此后他们追杀工会成员,我不是工会成员,我继续不说话; 
再后来他们追杀天主教徒,我不是天主教徒,我还是不说话; 
最后,他们奔我而来,再也没有人站起来为我说话了。 
– 
刻于美国波士顿犹太人被屠杀纪念碑 

 

 

Wierdos

21/06/05

 

Don’t know if anyone else’s noticed, that there’s an increasing number of wierdos in Hong Kong, or freaks, or anoraks, or whatever you choose to call them. Every once in a while on the tram I’d get to see the same Filipino who talks / cajoles loudly to his mobile phone, presumably to someone on the other end of the line; and then this morning there was a tramp-looking man who kept talking to himself. Yesterday during my bus ride home there was this girl sitting opposite me, having fits of spasm every 20 seconds, accompanied by rich facial expressions that would remind one of mimes; right next to her was another girl who kept biting her lips and too shy to look up from the ground throughout her entire 20 mins bus ride. Beside me was a middle-aged man who couldn’t stop bending each of his fingers outwards, forcefully, fiercely, as if he wanted to break them. Earlier in the evening I saw a man who involuntarily or otherwise mumble-jumbled all sorts of legal terms, and I couldn’t help conjecture that he’d lost in a lawsuit suing his former boss when I caught sight of his severed fingers…

 

I think all these examples of eccentricity are telling us something about this society – for what kind of society, what kind of environment would have driven so many people awry?

 

I must get out of here. Physically, not mentally.

 

 

Another Friday

17/06/05

Jar! What’s wrong with today’s network? I can neither log on to MSN nor ICQ. Did the IT guys upstairs discovered my little daily treats and block the whole thing?

For the rest of the day: zzzzZZZZZ

MSN service resumed in the afternoon.

 

 

MSN Transcript

16/06/05

click here

 

 

Crawlers

13/06/05

07:51    My earliest wake-up record in 2005 so far. Woke up by the pouring rain, dreamt of loads of pebbles pouring into tray, you know, they have the same sound effect.

08:00    Woke up to BBC World today, the programmed was talking something about piracy in Malaysia. Someone with posh Oxford accent said: ‘…but at the same time it is theft!’ when rebutting someone’s argument that most people, esp. students cannot afford all those official versions. Well, he may be right about the ‘theft’ concept, but he’s confusing who’s the thief here. I think the law is somehow legalising corporate bandits, in scraping every single penny out of the poor people’s pockets what’s presented here is yet another typical case of globalisation economy induced vicious cycle, where poor people needs more training in hi-tech in order to gain entrance into an upper circle, and hence a better life, but that sort of training only come AFTER money is forked out.

09:something     Why are there so many crawling ants/snails/organisms of some sort present on HK land surface? Honestly, if they can’t pace up, then I’d appreciate if they keep off from the main road – 靠邊站!!!

15:23    Received MSN from C, she’s trilled to have got a 1st Hon. I congratulated her, but was rather puzzled at the justification that might have been rightfully or otherwise attributed to the cause of it.

17:34    Holy holly! Just can’t understand why there’s so many restrictions to using their precious little pics even if we’re willing to pay. Thanks for the stupid restrictions that I’ve produced a pile of waste – WC rubbish, as is v aptly called.

 

 

 

Start off with books

10/06/05

10:32   First thing to do in office: email checking; after that, web-browsing. Today I run into an eye-catching title on Guardian – How to make a book. Quite interesting piece, I’m now only half way through it, stopping at a line where I think I should be recording. It says: ‘the publishing industry operates primarily through the medium of lunch’. Can’t testify if it’s true or not, since I’m only in the industry for seven months and six days, and am still pretty much working under dictatorship.

10:53   Ha, here comes another funny sentence: ‘...And the people in New York publishing known primarily for their sense of humour you can probably count on the fingers of one hand.’ I just want to say, ‘ditto in Hong Kong, but probably even less; none in Pearson’.

11:14   Got email from CL (gosh! So many people with initial C that I have to start looking for a system to identify them!), we start to go through all those fuss about articles and capitalisation again… is it Internet users or internet users? Geez, I don’t really think people care about that. But it’s funny, isn’t it, that there’s a whole philosophy about something goes behind a word, as simple as the Internet. Why is it capitalised? Because there’s only one internet, and it’s a proper noun. What, if, in a matter of ten years’ time, that cyberspace technology has developed to a point where there can be two internets, or three, or even more, that none of them interrelate with each other, and that all of them work in their own little domain/regime/dimension? What about if there’s no compatibility between these internets, which would have become semi-inter by then, just like so many things have eventually evolved into. Would there, if my imagination realised, be more fuss distinguishing the Internet with the upper case that would be used to refer to the very Internet that we’re having now, the v. first version/prototype of internet, with the internet with the lower case that would mean any of the many internets that might exist by that time? It’s already quite frightening a thing to do for only one single word. What about if I start writing on the philosophy behind all words in the OED? With a title Serious Musings on Philological Subjects, by an Illiterate with observations and imaginations thereon?

12:27   OED word-of-the-day: floccinaucinihilipilification

[flok-si-nor-si-ni-hil-i-fi-KAY-sh'n] the action or habit of estimating something as worthless. The term comes from the Latin words flocci, nauci, nihili, and pili, all of which mean 'at little value'. It is rarely, if ever, used seriously, and generally only encountered in word games or as an example of an extremely long word.

With my floccinaucinihilipilification as one of my distinguishing characters, I eventually come to the conclusion that the word ‘floccinaucinihilipilification’ is really worthless.

12:43   Ate leftover spaghetti for lunch, with a spoon. OED and BBC joined to look for evidences of certain word origins. They call it the wordhunting appeal or something. Would really like to join but I posses neither the means nor the ability. Signed the card for T, Design Dept production again, but it’s good. I said I’d miss her clicking keyboard over the partition board.

16:23   Call from T-the-moody. She’s gone out of her way to make me hang out with her tonite. Really DON’T want to go. Really overjoyed when P says, just now over MSN, that I’m good at writing. Haha, maybe I should pick up the long-forgotten novel of some sort that I’ve been attempting at. The first step, perhaps, is to transform it into electronic version? Can’t believe there’re still two more hours to go before I can leave this shit-hole.

17:31   Too bored to the point where I need insulting from Shakespeare again. Here’s what I got and it describes my status quo v well: ‘Canst thou believe thy living is a life, so stinkingly depending? Go mend, go mend.’ Yeah, will start the first step of mending, by filling in the CUP application form additional info box.

 

 

 

Glamour vs Austerity

09/06/05

Dah, start looking for jobs again. The funny thing about job-hunting is that once started, you don’t really want to stop. There’re several interesting ones, thought might worth a try. One is Asst. Editor for Hachette Filipacchi, the empire of magazines; the other Feature Editor for Phoenix Satellite, while the rest are only normal English teaching jobs or Creative asst. thing.

They all seem less decent / respectable than the previous ones that I found, but the Hachette Filipacchi post sounds really exciting. I’ve always fancied a job in a fashion magazine, and this one suits me just fine. Just think about all the fancy clothes that you can buy and wear to work and stuff you can write for magazines, plus the prospects look good, too.

Anyway, there’s nothing to lose for applying.

But it’s pathetic, isn’t it? When a glamorous lifestyle’s in view I start to forget all my promised commitment to an academic one.

R says he enjoys the map book immensely. I couldn’t agree less. J’s right about it, that it’s the most boring book he’s ever read. Yeah, it’s boring. Good for commute read though, ‘cos you’re forced to read it.

Not much progress on the cultural theory reading. Must start to push myself. Meeting MN to give her the scary score from scary CH, hope she’ll promise to hold the fort for me.

L’s given Tigger a nice ribbon, unfortunately it’s a bit too long for his size. Will try to trim it down a bit.

 

 

Promises

07/06/05

Oh my God! There’re so many promises that I’ve made and have no prospect of fulfilling. Really should start to keep tract of these things. Recently started my career as a ghost writer… well, mostly unpaid jobs for mates. Should consider it seriously though, real in short of cash.

13:30   Had a good talk with J over lunch. She agreed that I should move on.

16:28   Unwillingly forked out 40 bucks for N’s farewell present. I mean this must stop, with all these people coming and going, and I just keep pouring out money without seeing the prospect of having it back. Dah~~~

            Just read an article that I think should be hammered into A’s head. Gosh, really can’t bear the idea of having such an ignorant boss! There’s one particular sentence that I think applies to her attitude v well: ‘…the average person on the street doesn’t appear to seek it [poetry] out, and the great mass of my younger students have long reported feeling uneasy, dumb, indifferent, or occasionally even hostile to it.’ But the thing is, here’s an English lecturer talking about her students; while the individual I’m referring to is a middle-aged woman with a master’s degree in English, and she’s in education and publishing.

17:05   Just updated Gay Gogo thing.

 

 

Subversion

(am I on my way to become BJ?)

06/06/05

09:54   Swan into office with pride. I’m in time. See? But hell! Waking up early is really something.

10:00   OED word-of-the-day on delivery: Rose-coloured. Reckon that I do have a rose-coloured vision regarding my future.

10:38   In this post-modern world of constrictions, I think people just enjoy the fun in all means of subversions. Reading Roald Dahl’s “Revolting Rhymes”. Extremely interesting and post-modern in sense – re-reading and re-writing of traditions, breaking of established notions about fairytales. Went out with P yesterday and over a coffee chat he mentioned about the ideological force that comics and children’s books/fairytales have on people, not children alone, but people who’ve grown up from such influences. Quite scary actually, that how we perceive the world, and how we conceive a perfect world is shaped unnoticed by something presumably innocent.

12:39   Already thinking about lunch. Am going to try my hands at writing children’s books. Thirty-something pages with only 1-2 lines per page sounds rather easy. Emm…wonder if they need an urban story or a more idyllic one.

13:04   Just realised that C.S. Lewis, Aldous Huxley, and J.F. Kennedy died on the same day. Cranky.

13:58   Can’t believe that sudoku has already got its way into the English language. OED online has an article about it. I was once a sudokuholic.

18:14  Leave on time. Actually I’m leaving 4 mins late. Will improve tomorrow. Going to TST to meet Com and C for dinner. Well, the story has that C has been nagging for this dinner for almost a year ever since she’s done a favour for Com, and she’s quite determined on a huge feast. Want to shop around for a while in TST so didn’t loiter around office. Called C to see if she’s decided on the place to eat, ended up no. Her prob is that she pretends she knows everything but actually she know exactly nothing. Her notion of ‘high-end’ is a philistine’s notion of high art with Pavarotti singing with Barbara Streisand, or Alan Tam in concert with the HK Phil. Shocked by her ignorance about Tai Ping Goon, all she craved for was some lousy mass-slaughtered grilled Brazilian beef that have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Brazil except for the name. To her, that’s the only restaurant in the world. Should bring her to some posh restaurants some time. I’d rather she just come down and admit it, I mean, there’s nothing wrong for saying, ‘look, I think this is ridiculously expensive’, I’ve had said that to her, and yet with that pretentious air she acted as if she didn’t give it a damn, of course she didn’t, since she wasn’t the one who’s paying. Ended up the food was excellent. Hearty. $616 for 5 people, that’s quite a fair price given the quality of food and the service. Went afterwards to a dessert café down some back alleys, cheap, not too bad, but still prefer bigger cakes shops.

23:10   Go home, C still pretended that she didn’t know the way. Come off it! Your univ is just around the corner!

 

 

 

Finally

03/06/05

I knew it would come eventually. A just talked to me about my constant lateness, well, I should have told her, it’s an incurable disease. The thing is, I just can’t wake up early in the morning. Well, I’m determined to leave anyway, but still, there’re four more months to go. Where will I finally land on? It’s still pretty much a myth. Found two more potential jobs, one in HKU and the other CUP, asst. editor on humanities. But it’s an UK job, don’t really think they’ll hire me though. Anyway, will go all my way just to get out of here. Leaving in exactly 29 minutes, meeting T for Saturday Night’s Fever. Free tickets, why not?

 

 

Sorting out

02/06/05

Nothing much happened. Office as dull as ditchwater, even if I send round the OED word-of-the-day I get no interesting reply. Miss J already.  After talking to A on the phone I felt just so much better. She made me realise that there’re people who feel far more insecure than I do. Didn’t want to go home yet, no swimming due to a) back injury; and b) late off work. Therefore, in hope of killing time, I strolled round CWB again, shopping for personal care products, and seeing the impact of blooming tourism on local residents. Decided to apply for T.A. post at CU, fed up with present job, want more tantalising thing in life. If I can’t make it as far as to York/Cardiff/Cam at least I have to make my way to CU. Just got the sneaky feeling that somehow I belong there, among books. Sorted out content of bookshelves, made a list of recent readings, unfinished readings, and intended readings. Found out that I’ve actually finished 17 books since the beginning of the Rooster Year, in BJ, when stuck there, companionless, could only resort to SIT and read. Remarkable. Proved to be quite a good start, though. Com’s in town, just called, will meet over weekend. That’s it, life, as stale as bread.

 

 

Class difference?

01/06/05

The International Children’s Day. Feels like I should be celebrating. Fell of the staircase last night in the swimming pool, back is quite pulpy now. Finished Townsend’s Number Ten yesterday lunch, started on The Map that Changed the World by Simon Winchester, given to me by J.

Up till yesteryear I have had no bitter sentiment whatsoever against class difference. In fact, I have never felt that in the course of my 23 years of life. In a class-free society like Hong Kong, I thought, at least as it appeared to be, class inequality should be the last thing to blame should one failed to get what one wanted or deserved. An unforgivably naïve romantic attitude towards life brought me to believe that money wasn’t everything, that there were greater pleasures in life that awaited our appreciation. Well, I wish I can still have faith in it.

And then I found out it’s all a lie – a one hidden under the rosy acclamations of huge political and economical topics like democratisation and globalisation. I think we’re born in an era where we’re taught to cry out loud Green Peace slogans before noticing our true neighbour’s cries. We’re influenced, hypnotised, and stupefied by the dazzling effects of International Human Rights, by morality of cloning a sheep, and by the possibility of the existence of a bacterium-like (in)organism on Mars billions of years ago. But what about the truer, more tangible things in life? They have no commercial value whatsoever, doomed to be barren in terms of revenue generation, and thus do not deserve the attention of any academic research.

There are certainly certain criteria one has to fulfil before being admitted into a new level/circle of society. The offer letters sent to me clearly state that I have to fulfil the academic and financial conditions. There’s nothing much one can struggle about the academic standard: either you pass or you fail; either you do or you don’t. It’s a rather straightforward matter. But the financial part is a bit tricky. Even if you don’t have the money, there’s a way of admitting you into the coterie of snobbish academics, that’s when you’re smart enough, they’ll give you handsome money for studying, aka scholarship. What gets you to a scholarship? Groundbreaking ideas and proven academic excellence on some matters that will substantially alter the lives of human beings, e.g. human rights, cloning technology, or outer space adventures. And then with a little study I found that those scholars are usually, quite surprisingly, people of that high level themselves. Usually it’s just because they can afford the time and the money to do what they want.

But then one shouldn’t be too discouraged even if they’re not good enough for a free lunch. There’re always charitable people doing charitable things, for example, the bank providing services known as education loan, that the interest rate is so low and the conditions loose enough to fend me off. That’s rather understandable, though, in view of the fact that people with the highest academic qualifications are people who earn the least, the concern of the banks (in fact, only ONE bank that provides education loan) seems reasonable enough. Then why are they willing to pour out money on potential gamblers and debtors? It’s a humiliating thing for students, that their credits are even lower than anyone else. Maybe the reverence for academy people has stop the banks from attempting to beat students into pulps should they fail to return the money. The last piece of dignity that (aspiring) students have.

This reminds me of Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. Maybe Townsend was right about the Old Labour.

 

 

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