Wednesday, 16 September 2009

part 8: the envelope

the postman has been at his job for over a decade, he knows all the little sidestreets of every main road, he knows all the names in all the families in the small town, he knows the Harold who has just passed away, he found the address that looked to match that on the envelope. he held the letter in both his hands and said a prayer. he was very curious as to what the whole letter was, he stared at the window on the envelope, he ran his finger across the his surprise, it was not sealed.
the postman looked around and saw no one, he hesitated, then he understood. the semetry is not guarded even though what is held here is the most precious to the deceased's families. he could not open the envelope just as he couldn't so disrespectfully disturb the dead by looking into the coffin. little did he know, that this particular coffin not far from where he stood was a little different.

Monday, 31 August 2009

part 7: the first letter

When the postman saw the address on the back of the envelope, he instinctively thought that it was a prank mail and put it aside. when the letter was laying with the window facing up however, something caught the postman's eyes.
On one side of the envelope it was written:

My dearest Harold
the semetry

which made it look like someone is messing about, but in the window of the envelope, someone seemed to have carelessly put the letter in in such a way that the following writing can be seen:

...ings only come to being when I lookat them, time... only die when I look at you. perhaps you...

the postman was tempted to open the envelope, but in the end, he kept the letter in his pocket, and delivered it later on that day.

Monday, 24 August 2009

part 6: the clock

In the town where she lives, a river cuts the town into two halves. one of the tourist attractions on the river bank is a dome like structure which has four rings on the edge of the dome. the outermost ring has a male figure placed on it who faces inwards, the second outermost ring has a female figure facing outwards, the two inner most rings have one child each facing towards where they are travelling.
the two children mark the 0 minute of an hour and 0 hour of a day position, where the woman is the mark of the first day of a week, while the male figure marks the first week of the four weeks in a lunar month. the rings are constantly spinning such that the position of the family can be used to indicate the current time and day of week and the phase of the lunar month. the children hold hands once every one hour and 5 minutes, while the couple kisses roughly once every 9 days. the dome is entirely powered by the river. next to the dome there is a table on which instruction is given as to how to convert what is on the dome to the familiar western calendar.
many come in summer to watch the moment when the couple kisses and the children hold hands at the same time against the background of the gently flowing river, and they, were no exception. many summer evenings they spent sitting in the middle of the dome, watching the hour child run pass in front of them time and time again, chatting, laughing, cuddling, kissing...

it was a cool evening, a full moon was hanging from the sky. since it was Wednesday, she knew before she got to the clock that the couple will be kissing. when she reached the dome, the female figure was slowly moving towards the man, they showed no hurry at all as if they knew that they will have their brief but regular romance as long as the river flows.
she walked to the river, and she imagined herself standing in it, her giant hands blocking the water flowing into the dome so that there is a power cut. will the couple then regret not to have hurried? will they charish their moments, however regular they are, a little more?
she looked at the dome again, and by now the couple were kissing, she watched until they moved apart, and she went home.
she remembered someone said to her once that when a tree falls in a forest where no one hears, no sound is made. she said to herself, "this, is the last time they kiss..." it suddenly dawned on her that he has not died! he is only dead when she looks into the web cam, he may still be alive when she is not looking!
with that, she picked up a pen and began to write.

Monday, 17 August 2009

part 5: the poster

there is a small church right next to the park, a small crowd came out after the sunday service. they all looked generally happy despite the fact that they had to change their plan for barbecue because of the rain.
when they reached the side of the church, someone spotted a poster on the wall. from distance, they could make out two figures, one looked like Jesus, and the other looked like a Greek God of a kind. when the crowd gathered in front of it, they saw jesus setting up a barbecue, and the Greek God pouring down rain for a bunch of kids to enjoy splashing water in a puddle. the congregation stood there wondering, while some took their umbrella out. suddenly, someone from the back shouted, "what a horrible poster!"
he came forward and tare the poster down. to everyone surprise, there was another one underneath it. the second poster looked almost the same as the first, except that the children are now crying, and the charcoal is beginning to burn. one of the children said "you got what you prayed for now have you?"
the man who tore the first poster down was visibly angry. he tore the second one down, and there was a third. he tore it down without looking at it, and finally, there was the bare wall they never paid attention to but familiar with. on the bit where the posters were, it read "tare me down too."
at this, the man punch the wall, and someone next to him shaked his head "that's the church you're punching my friend."
she stood by and saw the whole scene unfolded, she was struck by what has changed in all of those people in just a few minutes. she realised, that what left behind, was not the posters, but the idea, the trick.
she wondered, what was left in her, that was left by him?

Saturday, 8 August 2009

part 4: the rain

she finally turned on the computer to look at the video the next day. she felt surprisingly calm, the pale face, to her eyes, looked like ... the chicken piece. perhaps because of the lack of emotion she felt, she was disappointed.
it was raining outside, she took her umbrella and left the house. it was a quiet sunday afternoon, the kind of days they'd enjoy the tranquility together in the park because no one likes going out in the rain, like the way that peace only comes when the chaos brought about by war is fully realised and everyone is exhausted.
she felt cold, and realised that half of her body was soaked because half of the umbrella is covering an empty space. there was water dripping from her hair: "Water?" she exclaimed. "when did the rain die to become droplets of water?" at that point it was more like a storm. she pictured herself watching a scene in a movie where millions of rain parachuting down, falling to the ground, dying, screaming, trying to hover in the wind, but in the end, all swept down to the river. and the one body, it runs to the sea, the river dies, and all become part of the ocean. and the ocean...always evaporating, ceasing to be part of the ocean, rise up to form clouds. a strange thought appeared in her mind: "if people know that their bodies do nothing but recycle, will they still commit suicide? won't they need to do more, like totally destroying themselves, or ejecting themselves into space, in order to escape the horrible cycle?"

Sunday, 19 July 2009

part 3 (e): The Camera

when she was back in her flat, she was exhausted, she was not in the mood for food but she went to the fridge. the images of the dead came to live when she saw the piece of chicken breast in the box. at this point, she began to consciously realise that she really was a little tromitised after the visit. she was absolutel overwhelmed emotionally, as if she was the midwife who had also given birth. she fell asleep on the sofa...
she felt hot,, dry heat, there was a burning smell and she could see smoke coming out of the kitchen. she struggled to get up because her hands were tied, she screamed for help...
when she finally woke up, she ran to the kitchen and saw that the fridge door was left opened, no smoke, nothing was on fire, she was relieved. the chicken breast caught her eyes, she touched it with her hand but she didn't feel anything. her hand was numb from how she slept. she thought to herself, "my hand is...dead?"
she took the chicken out of the fridge and closed the door. the box stated that the chicken breast was produced 4 days ago, she took it out of the box. the smooth, pale, moist surface of the chicken horrified her. she imagined herself to be a maggot, eatting away the chicken breast. it was revolting to think of maggots rotting away flesh, so much so that she almost sick with an empty stomach. but the more she thought about herself and the chicken, maggots and the body, the blurer the difference becomes - she really is just like a maggot feeding off some food. she put the piece of chicken in a box and had some pieces of bread instead. she wanted to turn on the computer, but she had seen enough that night.

Friday, 10 July 2009

part 2: the box

she dreamt about him last night, his smooth, clean-shaven face touching hers, she put her fingers through his hair and to her horror, his hair just came off.
on the same day after work, she went to the semetry. she sat in front of the tomb stone, and turned on her computer.
a few weeks ago, her aunt gave birth to her first child, she remembered watching her aunt when she was about to go to labour. she asked herself "perhaps this's how she felt?"
she turned on the camera remotely from her computer, she stared at the screen, she imagined herself to be a midwife...... finally, the head came into view. "push!" she exclaimed, wanting the whole body to come out. soon, she came back to the reality that the camera was placed on his chest.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

part one, the coffin

finally, the time has come when the coffin has to be closed. He lays motionlessly, expressionlessly inside, while everyone in the room gathers to see him for the last time.
Jane recalled her 17 years old birthday party which happened just a week ago, the roses are replaced with lilleys, the candles are turned into incense. She looked at him intensely trying to comprehend what it means to be seeing him the last time. a rotten corpse which she saw on tv some time ago appeared in her mind, it made her hair stand on end. Then she remembered the cryogenic program she watched, cant that preserve his body so that she can see him again and again? Someone murmured a prayer and asked everyone to look away, and proceeded to close the coffin. She screamed, '
'no!' she dashed forward and placed the little box she prepared in the coffin, and she could no longer hold her tears.

Friday, 3 July 2009

friday joke

Last month a world-wide survey was conducted by the UN. The only question asked was:-
"Would you please give your honest opinion about solutions to the food shortage in the rest of the world?"

The survey was a huge failure because of the following:

In Eastern Europe they didn't know what "honest" meant. In Western Europe they didn't know what "shortage" meant. In Africa they didn't know what "food" meant. In China they didn't know what "opinion" meant. In the Middle East they didn't know what "solution" meant. In South America they didn't know what "please" meant. In the US they didn't know what "the rest of the world" meant.

And Finally...........................

In Australia they hung up because they can't understand an Indian accent.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Yan's speaking from top of his head, bottom of his heart

this is my theory of human nature, businesses which are successful are the ones capable of capitalising on various aspects of the theory regardless of the nature of the business.
in fact, there are only two aspects of human nature that can be capitalised on:
  • Competitiveness
  • Nosiness

the more competitive you are, the more nosy you are too, since you need to find out how much more other people are making, how much faster the others can run, how much sexier others' partners are etc in order to be able to compare.

however, nosy people are not necessarily competitive, therefore it is possible to capture just nosiness and be successful.

the way to tell whether a nosy person is competitive or not is by examining the things they are nosy about, competitive people are nosy about things that are measurable such as wages, speed, and more complicated properties which do not have absolute values but have certain established norms among a culture such as beauty.

those who are nosy but not competitive tend to be more interested in, or are not picky on what they are nosy about, they will be satisfied to know whether you like orange juice or apple juice, orange juice with bits or without, a cat-person or a dog-person etc.

facebook can satisfy all of the nosy people, but it is not capable of capitalising on people's competitiveness.

to create a site that will both capture people's nosiness and competitiveness is therefore my goal:)

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

If I do leave the UK, these are the things I will miss...

I've just finished dinner, sitting down and about to continue building my web site. but then all of a suddden I feel like writing this.
I will be at risk of losing my job next monday officially, I will have to reapply (to a different post). of course there's a chance that I won't get a job at all at the end of all this, and that will mean not only losing my job, but losing my right to stay in the UK as well after ten years of studying and working here.
without ordering these in any way, I think I'll miss a lot of these if I have to go back to Hong Kong:
1. BLT, or just the expectation of having BLT in any sandwich shop, anywhere that sells sandwiches at all. also smook salmon and cream cheese.
2. travelling on trains, not the delay, not the price, but I actually quite like travelling on trains sometimes, chatting to random nice people and all that.
3. having my own place, no matter how small my room is, having to share the bathroom, kitchen etc, I have my own place and I can shut the door and talk to no one if I feel like it.
4. the occasional sunshine, which makes it precious. the summer chirping birds (which we don't really have in hong kong unless you go to the mountains to look for them). the rain, which is fun to get annoyed with.
5. the minority of people who have studied and are actually civilised and educated, their endless stimulating conversations, their dreams, their ideals, their political thinking.
6. the bbc, watching news 24 online, iplayer. listening to radio 4, the today program every single morning, john humphrey's questioning of politicians. the comedies at 6:30 in the evening. the satire, endless documentaries, countless stories.
7. the various accent from various part of the UK.
8. this may sound strange, but some of the food:) the occasional dose of fish and chips, and nice rare piece of steak, lamb, the big portabello mushroom, all kinds of starter, dessert, all these just taste and feel different to have in hong kong. and curry, the weird chinese food, eatting it while thinking about how they should taste like. dim sum, which I don't tend to have with friends in hong kong.
9. shopping online. it's not big in hong kong because hong kong is too small.
10. being close to europe, the holidays, the european languages. absolutely endless fun. the history, the complexity of it, the development of ideas. travelling to places knowing that great events or people have happened there which affected the whole world.
11. random cats on the streets, love cats. girlfriend and I always play with them whenever we see them.
12. girlfriend. and a lot of people, I am not going to name any of them.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

punishing a machine gun

Thursday frontpages had a lot of coverage on the Luton protest to the regiment that just came back from Iraq. if you look carefully at the protest, there is only one thing that essentially differentiate that protest from a lot of the others that had gone on - the fact that these are muslims protesting. forget about the placards and shouting of "butchers, war criminals, murderers" etc, I do not believe that these guys invented the usage of these words to describe the people - whether they be politicians or soldiers - who are involved in this war.
what made this protest to the head line, apparently, is that it generated divide between the british and the muslim comunity, because the way the protest was conducted was "offensive."
what was the war for? why did the soldiers go to iraq? in the past, the public sees the soldiers as brave and glorious after a war because they have defended their country, they sacrifice their life for their country, or sometimes the soldiers had conquered other parts of the world and the public sees it as ligitimate. in the current case, none of these applies. the war on iraq is not a glory, it's a shame on the countries involved, it is illigitimate. above all, the war has been offensive to the muslims everywere.
offensive, firstly because the british (I dare not to say aout the general public but at least the government) is in effect discriminating muslims, my previous housemate was in fact a subject of that discrimination - he was arrested because he downloaded materials from the american government web site on al qaida for research in university, he was detained for over 20 days, interogated about the cartoons he drew, books he read etc and of course nothing came out of it. who has generated the divide between the british and the muslim comunity?
secondly, people fail to understand that (correct me if I'm wrong), muslims really do see their remote people as brothers. if your brothers are killed, will you go call the guys who killed them murderers? I'm sure that the british soldiers tried their best to avoid killing civilians but the fact is that they did. and since the war is illigitimate in the first place, accidental killing of civilians is just unjustifiable.

there is one aspect that the protest should have been done better however, which is that the protest should really be directed more tot eh politicians, not to the soldiers. after all, you do not punnish a machine gun after it has been used to kill someone. you punish the person who used the machine gun. soldiers are like machines n a way, but they are of course also individuals with feelings.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

I watched the film on saturday, it's quite a nice movie but I find the film a bit strange - I mean the setting and the plot.
people watch the show "Who wants to be a millionaire" presumably because they find it exciting even though it is the contenstent not themselves on the show, there's a great deal of suspense, there is a fair amount of twist because one can potentially lose so much after winning so much. it's fun to watch people being too greedy, it's great to sit at home and laugh at other's misery or to utter in a jealous tone "I know all of those answers too but I wouldn't be picked to be on the show because they know that I will get all the money."
In slumdog millionaire however, the very title tells you that he is going to get every single question right! even when Latika cannot tell him the answer right at the end, he will for sure get it right anyway. you know also that the police is going to release him so that he can get on to the last question, you know that he is going to meet up with latika in the train station as well (whenever there's the line "I'll wait for you at a certain time at the train station until you come", you know for sure that the guy and the girl will meet...
all in all there's just no twist in the film...which is just strange for an oscar film.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

capital punishment

On the BBC Today program this morning, it said that last year there were some 65 cases of people after being released from prison reoffended murder or rape. I don't know what the total number of murder and rape convicts there are each year roughly, but I imagine this 65 is a small percentage. some people then talked of having capital punishment back in place because these reoffenders just need to be stopped and the system is not working (as in rehabilitation is not working).
After learning much about the argument for abolishing capital punishment, and some of the injustices carried out in the USA because a dead person can never really get his life back even though he is subsequently proved to be not guilty, I think it is right to give even the convicted a chance just in case the jury, the judges, the experts who provide the evidence, made mistakes (and of course they do because they are just like us).
however, I wonder whether any research has been done on a system in which capital punishment cannot be applied on first conviction, but it can be on re-offenders?

Saturday, 7 February 2009

sleepless night reading

I couldn't sleep last night, so I naturally went online to kill time. I went on facebook and almost for the time time I found myself reading my friends' notes...over three pages of them. it was very interesting I have to say.
there was the usual comments on current affairs, political stuff, there were a couple of poems, there was actually no boring pieces like "I had two eggs and a sausage for breakfast, the tomato squirted into my friend's face when I stabbed it with my fork......". the most recurring theme, at least at the time of reading, is around telling the world about yourself. I found two categories, one is "answer these questions TRUTHFULLY", and the other is "25 random things about you that others might not know". I suppose what makes these nice to read is that they help make the connection between friends, you begin to realise that there is more in common between yourself and the friend. or, you learn more about your friend so that you have a much better profile of what he/she is like, which boils down to gaining a greater understanding of the friendship.
well I like reading philosophy or theoretical stuff, I very rarely read a fiction. I love knowing about development of ideas etc. but still, 3 o'clock in the morning there's just nothing better than reading what my friends are like! on top of that, surely profiling someone isn't really easy, deducing what their character is like from a few facts is just not simple yet I guess we all enjoy doing it, unlike deducing say facts from philosophical or mathematical theories which only a few of us like to do. I reccon that we are simply soooo good at profiling and understanding people that we manage to find so much satisfaction in processing it so that we don't mind doing that kind of tasks even 3 o'clock AM.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

fairy tales original

I just want to share this. "in our time" on radio 4 this morning was talking about the origin of the popular fairy tales, they were collected by the Grimm brothers. I have found an archive online which has quite a few of the stories.

they are not lovely happy stories as we know them today, most are quite horrible and cruel though with a somewhat happy ending.

Sunday, 18 January 2009


more than 1300 dead, more have not actually been identified because they were simply burried in rubble. buildings destroyed, infrastructure destroyed, Gaza is simply not functioning. these 1300 and more people are not individuals, they have fathers, they have mothers, they have sons, daughters, cousins, wives, husbands and so on. the buildings are not just rooms, they are people's houses, their home. all these are gone, and what the european leaders are saying to the people left behind is basically this:

there is anguish, there are tears, but just don't take revenge, and there will be peace. however, if there are signs of revenge, we will, just like what we have been doing, keep a blind eye on the dogs. the solution for lasting peace is simple, israel will have all the arms they want, you palestinians will have none so that it's just not possible to have a war, just invasions, blockade etc that's all.

isn't this amazing? presumably all these leaders are clever people and they believe in these? or rather, they blatantly don't believe in these, they are just so good at lieing. forget about all these for now, what has israel actually achieved?

in israel's words, they have achieved all their goals, which were never defined. Hamas still has the capability to fire rockets, more are probably going to join hamas, it's going to take another 100/200/400 years before history makes this event fade away if ever, which means that the anger is going to linger for as long as this event is still in people's memory. charities are going to go in, lots of money willl be spent to rebuild the infrastructure that the bombs destroyed, the homes that were destroyed. lots of people will also have to go in, to help look after the children who have become orphens. the biggest thing israel has achieved, though, has to be the destruction of any sign of peace.

can I find a CHARATY that accepts donation for the destruction of a large part of israel? that might actually be more effective than sending money and people in to rebuild again and again. after all, curing the disease is better than the symtoms.

the lesson is this. if you want to kill, occupy or to do any such things, provoke your enemy for the slightest attack, then kill, not just one or two, but in thousands, and their families as well.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

funny music
Remember that some time ago I wrote a little post about what makes it the case that one can make humour from speech, from visual elements, but hardly anything else such as taste or sound. well thanks to Caz this piece is very close.
these two guys cleverly mix pieces of music that you wouldn't normally associate with one another, which creates a kind of irony. the ending is particularly humourous because they takes just about all the different kinds of endings from classical music and make you think that the music is going to end but it never does.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

THAT prison

If everything works out, after a person commited a crime, he goes to court, he is convicted, he goes to jail regretting what he has done, and he comes out of jail. at that point it's up to the society and the system to keep him away from reoffending, from perhaps his old friends etc.

Obama is going to be the president very soon, in nine days I believe. one of his first priorities is to shut down Guantanamo bay. he mentioned that there might be very dangerous people in there that haven't been tried, and that needs to be taken care of and the process isn't that easy.

the process could actually be very easy, only if the people in there are really very dangerous and all of them have commited evil crime that made them deserve what they have endured. because, since they have all commited serious crime they will be tried publically, then there will simply be a transfer for all those prisoners from Guantanamo to somewhere else. if this is the logic, there actually isn't much point in shutting the place down.
what is going to take a long time, and what makes the process long and difficult, is that some of the people in Guantanamo are simply not dangerous at all, and they are perfectly normal citizens of another countries who have been caught by the police for exchange of money etc. firstly, if these people were not very dangerous before, after being subjected to such crime as torture in guantanamo, they become very dangerous both perhaps militarily and public-relationally. militarily because if they are ever sent back to their own countries, they are full of resentment, they spread their stories, they have to start looking for jobs, money or something to support them where the world has changed a lot compared with what they knew; they become the most eager to take revenge on what they have suffered.
pr wise, the ones who are proved to have done nothing wrong but have subjected to torture are going to tell their stories, I believe that many many stories will be revealed if these people really are going to be released, and this of course is an even bigger problem for the US than the military one.
given what we know about American policies, I am highly skeptical that they will be happy to deliver this what is to them a painful justice.
if Obama is going to prove me wrong, I will be delighted.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Fuck Israel, fuck the us government

people who know me know that I don't really swear, but when I was watching the news I just couldn't help it. I did something I probably shouldn't do: I googled "fuck israel".

14 voted yes, the US vetoed the resolution to call Israel to stop the offensive otherwise known as massacre. there are still Israel spokenspeople who try to turn the whole thing around, and claim that they are the victims. "1 million people are in shelters, 10,000 rockets are landing on israel" said one, this is not even true. he continued, "this is why we have to fight back". that was the prompt for googling "fuck israel".
the result?
nothing official needless to say, lots of blogs though. top few have comments expressing their anger and frustration as well, some call for the arab leaders to get up and fight and call the massacre the hummiliation that cannot be ignored. there are actually a couple of americans too, wishing that Obama will be in office sooner and hope that there will be a change in US foreign policy. one said "the US government is sadly controlled by ziaenist pigs, which is why the US is not doing anything to Israel".
some reccon that this conflict will damage Israel quite a bit in the long term, I have no doubt that this will apply in a reputational sense and moral sense, but I also hope that it'll be the same in a physical way too. there has to be a physical power balance in the middle east, there has to be a hard lesson for Israel physically.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

I will keep this short

it really does make me sick with anger when I watch the news nowadays, how can people tell such outragous lies, to themselves and to others, kill without fear of regret, order to kill without feeling shameful, how can we let people live just so that they live a little bit longer before they die...
I have heard people who are totally ignorant of the history of middle-east (not that I'm an expert but I have tried to understand the key events) saying how much sympathy they have for israel, that israel is surounded by so many "extremist" organisation and it has to "defend" itself. I don't blame them for having such a sympathy, I only blame them for not trying to understand the situation before making such a judgement. I think I have written why there has to be quotation marks around extremist before, and possibly why there has to be quotes around defend as well so I'm not going to write about that again.
but please just think about what people say before judging whether it's propaganda
or real. "we have to fight BECAUSE rockets are being fired into our country." israel is not stupid, she knows that by destroying gaza, by killing 23 out of a 25-people family, by occupying territories that do not belong to yourself will only initiate hatred, making the 2 survivors having no goal in life but revenge (totally understanble, even in the form of suicide bombing). if israel really is trying to stop the rockets, it has to fight a bundle of ideologies, not an army. the gazans are poor, homeless, suffering because of the israeli blockade, which is just some of the fuel to the extremist ideologies. it is very telling when an so called "extremist" organisation managed to win a one person one vote democratic election. it says a lot about the mood of the people who vote, how they feel etc.
"we have to fight UNTIL the rockets stop." what do you actually expect? when I get stabbed, tortured shot at, starved, my family being murdered, I am suuposed to be godly and turn round to let you hit the other side of me as well? this is one of the worst justification for war I have heard. besides, the earlier ceasefire which lasted for almost six months was broken by israel, not Hamas, and israel was the sole benefitor from the ceasefire, while gaza was kept blockaded, gazans kept suffering.
last one: this has been stuck in my head every time I hear that woman speak (defense minister of israel). "food is filled in wearhouses in gaza right to the top, there's no humanitarian crisis". what can I say. perhaps israelis really are stupid. it just expects people to just nod.
history has been full of wars, ownership of territories shift, if everyone tries to claim the land as far as they remember the world will be in a big disaster. people who advocate that israel sould be wiped off the map are quite wrong, but israel does have to respect the people who used to live on the territories it has occupied if it wants a lasting country. it can't just bully with a dog behind it, and of course bullying has to be stopped.