曾俊华,讓我感謝你,贈我空歡喜

(此文已發表於端傳媒,立場新聞和香港01)

(所有圖片來自曾俊華Facebook。Photo credit to John Tsang’s Facebook.)

特首候選人曾俊華在某次落區進行選舉工程時,被記者問到要如何獲得中央信任,贏得此次選戰。他在人群中匆匆回頭,堅定地對記者說:「民意係好重要既。」17017007_1862086860730624_8329829073520814060_o

回歸20年,已經是第五任特首的選舉。在普選方案還沒有落實的香港,普通民眾對特首選舉早就心灰意冷,因為歷來的選舉結果無論怎麼看,都更像是一聲知會、一個通知。然而今次選舉卻盛況空前——這和特首候選人曾俊華的參選分不開關係。

「香港人,拍住上」是曾俊華的口號之一。在廣東話裡,這句話是說,香港人要像拍檔一樣,一路同行。他不僅開設了facebook專頁,更是做了一系列拉票親民造勢的動作。在街頭拉票時,甚至有不少市民不辭辛苦,遠道而來,只為對他說一句支持的話語。從過往的學生到明星,立會議員到知名導演,無一不為他「拍住上」。

在3月24日,曾俊華的選舉工程從太古坊去到時代廣場,再由中環戲院行到愛丁堡廣場。無論在哪裏,曾俊華都被眾多支持他的市民包圍得水泄不通。「曾俊華當選」的呼聲不斷。而在晚間的演講中,他更稱,「就算我有幸拿到所有選委的選票;但是沒有你們市民的認可,又有甚麼意義呢?」

17504405_1876202152652428_1427556433616849285_o

從港大民研對候選人的支持度調查中可以看到,從參選到選舉日,曾俊華的支持率始終高於最終當選的林鄭月娥。甚至到3月24日,曾俊華仍是以56%的支持率甩開支持率只有29%的林鄭月娥。

然而在兩天之後的投票中,另一位特首候選人林鄭月娥以777票勝出,成為香港下一屆政府的行政長官。曾俊華還是輸了。

支持率沒能換算成選票,是為什麼?這與香港特區現行的特首選舉規則分不開關係。根據《基本法》,特首選舉是由來自三十八個界別1194名選委組成的「有廣泛代表性的提名委員會」進行投票選出的。也就是說,民眾並不可直接參與投票,而是由不到香港人口0.03%的選舉委員會代為選出。

選舉制度決定了大部分香港人無法直接、甚至間接地參與到行政長官選舉過程,因而民意無法反映在選票上,也是見怪不怪了。然而這場選舉仍值得玩味的是——儘管遊戲規則如此,曾俊華和他的團隊仍在選舉工程上花足了功夫,在每一個 細節上都讓人認為這是一場真正的民主選舉。

17498548_1874966539442656_104458744088426207_n

有人認為,既然無用,選舉工程搞得再聲勢浩大,也不過是一場民意的假high,又何必如此呢?

誠然,沒有健全的選舉制度支撐,做得再真的選舉工程也不過是假high;沒有充分考慮民意的選票可投,而去期待「黑天鵝」的降臨,也只不過是一場空歡喜。

然而人心不是彈簧,無法在壓迫過後恢復原狀。民意的失落,也許是香港社會在未來很長一段時間無法被忘記的事情。

選舉制度未能完善,民眾無票在手,這都是短期無法改變的政治事實。曾俊華和他的團隊將選舉工程做真,卻使得民意發揮了無用之用,這讓所有市民見到了無限接近「真」的選舉工程應是什麼樣子。

這場假戲真做,是給香港的民主制度打開了一扇窗戶。曾俊華從來都是一個建制派,亦從來沒有站到「黃絲帶」和「本土派」的這一邊。他雖不是良幣,卻在某種程度上提高了選舉這件事的準則。更重要的是,他還給了從未實行過普選的香港一個願景——某一天,當真普選真的降臨,他的選舉工程將會成為每一位參選人需要借鑑的範本。

選舉日下午,在對選舉結果的發言中,曾俊華引用了一句聖經——「那美好的仗我已經打過了,當跑的路我已經跑盡了,所信的道我已經守住了。」

這句聖經出自提摩太後書,緊隨其後的一句話,曾俊華沒說——「從此以後、有公義的冠冕為我存留、就是按著公義審判的主到了那日要賜給我的。不但賜給我、也賜給凡愛慕他顯現的人。」

3月24日的那晚,曾俊華站在干諾道和龍和道之間,兩年半前,佔中在這裏發生。他用略帶疲憊的聲音,對著在場的所有人說,「今日我來這裏和大家見面,我希望,我們今晚的相聚,可以為這個地方賦予另一個意義。」

曾俊華,讓我感謝你,贈我空歡喜。這一次的選舉結果,本來只是讓人冷感的通知。然而你卻史無前例地讓香港人懷抱希望地團結在一起。誰又知道,這不會是終會到達的未來呢?17492727_1875710259368284_2670781735025890743_o

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

14歲的她,要代表香港,打出世界

14歲的她,要代表香港,打出世界
光只要出發,終有一天會到達,而你可以選擇如何經過。
14歲的盧芷晴,便選擇了一條不同於常人的路徑——打泰拳。
從2年前接觸泰拳,現如今已經打了3場職業賽,未來想要做職業拳手,代表香港,打出世界,盧芷晴的步伐只能說是不快不慢。

不夠時間,是14歲的盧芷晴掛在嘴邊的一句話。

一副拳套,一個沙袋,一面鏡子,拳館裡的音樂一響起,盧芷晴便進入了一個禪意的武林世界。出拳如同放箭,上膝如同抽刀。盧芷晴拳腳踭膝的變化,早已讓人目不暇接。
雖然一直以來有家人理解與陪伴,這條路上,她看不到同齡人的身影。她孤獨卻堅定。

成就一個夢想,要付出多少努力,無人可以計算。可流過的汗、受過的傷,堅持著的信念,都已經藏在今後每一次遒勁的出拳之中。
盧芷晴正站在起點,而她的宿命,便是到達。

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

《比利林恩》: To you, going to the wars

讓我們先忘記120幀/4K/ 3D這些無趣的數字,談一談《比利林恩的中場戰事》這部電影吧。

----------------------------------------

人類是複雜且矛盾的,他們熱愛和平,所以創造了戰爭。古往今來,古今中外,偉大的作品往往和戰鬥分不開關係,《比利林恩的中場戰事》講述的就是伊戰背景下,一個小小士兵的故事。然而這個故事,將原本只能懸浮與空中的心靈瑣事,具象成了一部偉大的電影。p2391543884

19歲的少年Billy Lynn就是美國送往伊拉克戰爭中的一名士兵。一場戰役中,他上陣殺敵保護隊友的瞬間被攝影機錄了下來,展現在全國人民的面前。生死與共的隊友犧牲了,而Billy成為了全國人民心中的「英雄」。護送隊友魂歸故里的機會,整個部隊回到了Billy的故鄉德克薩斯州。他們也因為Billy的英勇形象,被邀請到一場橄欖球賽作為中場秀的表演嘉賓。而整個故事,就從這場中場表演鋪陳開來。

回到故鄉,成為英雄的Billy很受歡迎。父母以他為豪,市民崇拜不已,而偶遇的啦啦隊女孩芳所也對他一見傾心。唯獨是一直反對戰爭且關心billy的表姐,試圖勸服這位他人眼中的「英雄」可以多為自己想一想,不要再回到那個隨時可能喪命的戰場。飽受戰爭折磨的billy猶豫了,戰爭給了他太多創傷,可自己又分明和眼前這個花枝招展的世界格格不入,幾番內心的爭鬥,最終他選擇重回戰場,繼續做一個士兵。

李安是一個極簡劇情的高手。他深知矛盾內部之間的相互依靠關係,並且善於深入淺出地運用隱喻。一群人的海難求生故事,被他外化成了動物園的弱肉強食。一個人的內心糾結,具化成人與孟加拉虎的共存。(《少年pi的奇幻之旅》)但他絕不是一個故弄玄虛的導演,反而每一招都如同化骨綿掌,柔軟而遒勁。這一次,他將殘忍血腥的戰爭,放在了最和平的棒球賽的中場慶祝之中。

槍林彈雨和漫天煙花,中場戰事振聾發聵。
「正向信息與負向信息,將這個故事變得立體豐滿。」

電影裡我非常喜歡兩個場景:一是Billy被体罚,在單槓上精疲力竭时,被戰友逼問入伍的原因;二是中場表演時,Billy在奼紫嫣紅的舞台上孤獨的背影。

p2392890779.jpgp2397469160.jpg

這是非常棒兩個處理。前者在惡劣環境中,Billy精疲力盡,終於脫下偽裝,被人渴望了解。這是一個負向畫面,卻傳遞了美好的正面訊息,氣氛溫馨而耐人尋味。而後者,眼前一片盛事之景,四處都是溢美之詞,然而Billy卻從來沒有這麼孤獨,如此手足無措。這是一個正向的畫面,卻傳遞著負面信息,讓人倍感淒涼。

「戰爭是一座巴別塔」

幾位軍人身穿軍裝,坐在人群中,他們是孤立的。無論是誰,都沒有真正去了解這些曾經24/7處於危機裡的士兵。

對於商人來說,他們只不過是保質期只有兩週的吉祥物。對於民眾來說,他們只有一個泛泛的答案——因為是我們的軍隊,我們要支持。

仔細觀察,Billy回到家鄉之後,被問的最多的問題是「What is it like?」(戰爭是什麼樣子的?)這些問題來自他的家人、群眾、還有心愛的姑娘。對於前兩者,他的答案是fine (還好),do what i should do(盡忠職守),而面對心愛的姑娘,他終於說出了內心真實的恐懼,「that‘s the worst day.」(這是我最爛的一天。)

姑娘感受不到這個英雄的痛苦,她倉促地給billy倒了一碗雞湯「Billy, 生命中總有陽光會透進來。」

「我不常禱告」

李安似乎很喜歡在電影裡談論信仰對人的意義。《少年pi》中的主角是一個印度教徒。而Billy Lynn是一個基督徒。

但Billy卻說,他是個不常禱告的人。

這個19歲的少年,在軍旅生涯裡迷失了。市場巡邏時,他風聲鶴唳,精神高度緊張,他覺得自己隨時都會死去;在搜查行動時,他看到嫌疑者的孩子用仇恨的眼神望向他,他覺得自己有罪;在戰友喪命的時候,他和敵人殊死搏鬥,那幾分鐘,他覺得自己的靈魂被刺穿了。

這是戰爭的殘酷。所以無論父母如何以他為榮,抑或是美國人民如何支持他們,告訴他這是一場正義的戰爭,他都深深明白,事實並非你們所想。

這個中場,無人可以救他,無人可被救贖。

「回到戰場。」

Billy必須回到戰場。這是他的命運。

故事中,Billy的班長告訴他,為了什麼來到戰場都無可厚非,關鍵是你找到了生命中比活著更重要的事情。

這讓我想到小說《飄》裡的一個情節——斯嘉里曾經怨恨過瑞德,就是當戰火燒到了亞特蘭大,這個口口聲聲說愛她的人突然拋下了自己,要從戎奔向戰場。當時瑞德站在樹下念了一句讓人費解的詩,來自理查德克萊斯特的《To Lucasta, going to the wars 》——「I could not love thee, dear, so much.Loved I not honour more.」(正因為我如此愛榮譽,所以,親愛的,我才如此愛你。)

直到我看到了這部電影,我才明白了這句詩,從而也由這首詩明白了這部電影。

對於這個19歲的少年,家鄉是什麼呢?真的是安樂窩嗎?年老體衰的父母,等待錢去做手術的姐姐,滿城不知道戰爭為何物卻把他當成英雄的市民⋯這真的是他期待的一切嗎?

相反,戰場對他來說是什麼?一幫能夠互相理解的兄弟,那些可以發揮他冷靜機敏頭腦的戰鬥,以及他還想從中找尋的人生意義。

見世事,見眾生,最終可以見到自己。死去的戰友蘑菇曾經對Billy說過,命運是因果聯繫的,死生早已注定,而他希望Billy可以「找出超越國家和家庭的目標」。如果說這一切真的需要依據,那就是人,連同他的奮鬥與反抗,都是他的命運。

在籃球架前,幾個球員問Billy,親手殺人是什麼感覺。

他淡淡地回答,你帶球撞人時是什麼感覺,那殺人就是甚麼感覺。

Billy, going to the wars. 如果你注定要回到戰場,其實這個決定你早就已經想好。

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

偶然

機緣巧合之下,重讀了徐志摩的小詩《偶然》,覺得欣喜。

世人難免用最八卦的心態來愛這位才子,但同時也認定這個情聖也就是《再別康橋》的水準。當然,很多因素下,徐志摩寫了很多類似《再別康橋》或是《沙揚挪拉》的直白的情詩,畢竟他短短的一生有太多時間用來戀愛。但這首隱藏在他和陸小曼合寫的劇本中的小詩,已經足以讓我看清他的才情。

img_8176

徐志摩像哲學家一般,講述了一朵雲和一片海的相遇。他用五個字構築了一個曖昧的意象——『黑夜的海上』。這是一個精妙的暗喻,描述了人生的一種狀態——如同夜裡在浩瀚的海洋裡航行一般,漫無目的,不由自主,充滿了不確定性。

最被詬病的大概是那一份從「你記得也好,你最好忘掉」看到的無情。可是我想,這份無情只是世人貼在他身上的標籤。這世上大部分人並不可愛,因為他們太患得患失。徐志摩最可愛的地方,是他的坦然。如果人生如同夜航船,他一早便知道彼此各自有方向,離別則是一個無可避免的結局,所以最為重要的不是記得或是忘記,而是他知道,最重要的部分是曾經「投影在你的波心」的那一個瞬間。

那是一個什麼樣的瞬間呢——小狐狸對小王子說「請你馴服我吧」的瞬間,至尊寶拉開紫青寶劍的瞬間,Jack站在甲板上對失望的Rose說「 You jump, I jump.」的瞬間。你和萬千人每天都在告別,可你並不會覺得可惜,因為他們未曾投影在你的波心。

徐志摩是個有愛的天份的人,他明白這種偶然,是上天的恩賜。無須歡喜,更無須訝異,記得也好,最好忘掉,可我們擁有交匯時互放的光亮。

年初的時候,去看了《踏血尋梅》的導演剪輯版,意外的發現插曲是丁可的《漆黑的海上》,我猜也是受到徐志摩這首詩得啟發。電影的後勁很大,是一部深度好片。人和人,能夠照亮過彼此,就已經足夠。

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

New power enters the HK Legislative Council

Yoona Yuan Shu

Journalist in Hong Kong

With the high turnout of 58% since the handover of Hong Kong in 1997 , more than 2 million people from five geographical constituencies voted on Sunday, propelling 6 candidates from localism camp  to seats of the Hong Kong Legislative Council.

After the closure of the protest campaign in 2014, known as Occupy Central Movement, intensifying social conflicts broke the balance between the pro-establishment and pan-democrats in Hong Kong , and a new camp pursuing benefits for localists emerged and finally proved its influence through this election result.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After the Hong Kong Indigenous spokesman Edward Leung Tin-kei’s candidacy had been rejected, more attention has focused on the 23-year-old student activist and former protest leader, Nathan Law Kwan-Chung, who is in favor of the self-determination strategy for future Hong Kong, and eventually received 50,818 votes in the Hong Kong Island constituencies, becoming the youngest lawmaker in history.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Nathan Law Kwan Chung, becomes the youngest legislator in history.

Eddie Chu, the king of votes this year, born from grass roots but turning high-profile because of his struggle in guarding history the Star Ferry Pier in 2105, won more than 84,000 votes in New Territories West without any party backing.

“Who would remember him for his first appearance in the public in 2005, with only about 100 people stood besides him?” Liao Wei-tang, a famous writer of Hong Kong said in his Weibo, recalling Chu’s persistent efforts for Hong Kong.

It proves Hong Kong people are embracing democratic self-determination, Chu said after the result coming out.

Large number of people waited in queues outside the polling station, and cast ballots until the early morning of Monday for unprecedented turnout.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Feature Story: Dilemma in Spring Festival: Reunite or travel?

屏幕快照 2015-05-04 00.27.46

In the report released by Ministry of Finance of Japan in February, the tourism surplus reached $532 million, and an important factor is that more than 350,000 Chinese travelled to Japan for their Spring Festival. (Photo by Yuan Shu)

Dilemma in Spring Festival: Reunite or travel?

Travelling during the Spring Festival could be a compromise or a new fashion.

By Yoona Yuan

Student Journalist

Hong Kong Baptist University

Three months before the Spring Festival of 2015, Angela Jin, a white-collar employee in Beijing, decided to go to Japan with her husband for the 7-day holiday and not going back to their hometown as they usually did in previous Chinese New Year—it was their fifth Spring Festival after they got married and they no longer want to have dispute on returning whose hometown or going back and forth of two cities within such a short holiday.

Jin’s hometown Jiangsu Province is at least 4 hours flight away from her husband’s hometown Qinghai Province—going back and forth, except

the time of reaching the airport and driving back home, would be unrealistic.

It was always like a debate contest with no winner for Jin and her husband to decide to go to whose hometown for the Spring Festival, therefore they choose to travel as a compromise.

“We could use this opportunity to relax ourselves, and neither of our parents would feel imbalance, but we can go back home during our annual leave, as a remedy to them,” Jin said, because her husband and she are both only children of their family, feeling guilty of not going home, “We do not want to make a decision that would hurt any one of them. ”

Likewise, Mai Xiaoli, a 53-year-old single mother, had to spend her Spring Festival on her own in Beijing, because her daughter Li Jun insisted on travelling several countries in Southeast Asia during the holiday with her fiancé this year.

Having a long-distance relationship for almost 3 years, Li and her fiancé nearly had no chance to travel together due to their jobs respectively, a full-time English teacher in an educational training agency in Beijing, and a tax manager in Shanghai who was busy all year long, so the Spring Festival holiday would be the only chance that they could travel aboard.

Li invited her mother to join the trip but Mai firmly refused at the very beginning, “They can travel anytime, but Spring Festival is only once a year, which means a lot to me,” Mai said.

Mai’s persistent persuasion that they should stay in Beijing for the holiday failed, because except their wish for a trip, the daughter and the fiancé considered Beijing and Shanghai, two big metropolitans in China, during that period would not be a comfortable place for the “so-called family reunion”—most restaurants, shopping malls would be shut down and no entertainment places.

“It was not a festival to me any more without my daughter at home,” Mai added,“I still don’t understand why they didn’t stay in Beijing and enjoy the family time.”

In the past, people were required to return to their hometown and celebrate this festival but in 2015, in a report released by China Tourism Academy, 250 million people travelled in Spring Festival, with year on year growth of 13.5 percent.

“It has become a new fashion in China that travel during the Spring Festival, and we started to

prepare for the travel season four months ago as many client would pre-order our service at that time,” said Zhao Yue, the manager of China Comfort Travel Beijing Branch.

The importance of family reunion, an essential concept in traditional Chinese culture, has been weakened, bringing a chain reaction influences in all aspects.

Wang Li, a typical man of sandwich generation, spent the holiday with his wife and daughter in travelling around Malaysia and their retired parents all have their own plans—Mr. Wang’s parents went back to their hometown in the suburb, enjoying the country life, and Mrs. Wang’s parents went to Hong Kong and Macau for sightseeing and shopping.

During the New Year’s Eve, the counting down moment, Mr. Wang expressed their wishes through Facetime Application in their phone to each other, ”Our three families live in the same city and we usually drive to their home and spend quality time together weekly, so we all agree to change a way to celebrate the holiday,” said Mr. Wang.

Due to the convenience of information technology, as well as the development of transportation, people can gather together and communicate with others more easily and instantly than before, which also diminishes the significance of family reunion psychologically.

“They worked really hard the whole year, and they deserve a holiday themselves, other than a compulsory task,” said Li Ronglan, Mr. Wang’s mother, who has retired for more than 10 years, “As we also have relatives and friends back to our hometown, it is a good chance to catch up.”

“We also want to give them time to live the life they want to live,” Mr. Wang said, “They should have their own life.”

Preparing the New Year’s Eve dinner for a big family, purchasing necessitates for the New Year, and hanging spring festival scrolls, Mr. Wang said that his parents’ burden had been heavy, and oppositely, the plan for this year eased their pressure as well.

Next year’s Spring Festival, Wang planned to take all three families together aboard, “We do value family reunion very much, but the approaches could vary. ”

Many families have already adopted Wang’s plan that enjoying family reunion and trips simultaneously, as travel agencies in China reacted to this trend in time by promoting their Spring Festival travelling packages.

According to China National Tourism Administration’s statistical bulletin released in 2014, by the end of 2013, China has about 26,000 travel agencies of different scale, which involves millions of employees in tourism industry.

Appealing to the needs of increasing travellers in the Spring Festival, most of those travel agencies would like to compete for a share of the market, so more guides as well as other matching service personnel need to reschedule their plan for the traditional festival accordingly.

From Xinhua News Agency’s statistics, about 2 million vehicles, and 60 thousand flights were used daily with a total of 360 million passengers, from Feb 18 to Feb 24, the seven-day-long holiday.

Ma Huiyu is one of them, as she is a guide of China International Travel Service and with the influx of clients in Spring Festival, she had worked

Traffic of Spring Festival (1)

Source: Xinhua Agency

overtime since January, and could not stay at home during the festival in February.

Ma’s wage was doubled and got extra bonus during the holiday, but she felt no help when she was informed that she could not rest in another Lunar New Year for the third year.

“I had no choice as a professional guide in the largest travel agency of China,” Ma said, “but my parents and the elders felt very disappointed for my absence.”

Ma said this year she was transferred to the Sino-Europe department, responsible for some travel routes customized for several groups of families travel aboard together.

“Family reunion is a tradition rooted in Chinese culture, as well as Chinese,” Ma said, “It has never disappeared, but changed by times.”

This kind of customized travel service has been popular in recent years, and some companies award their employees with company-paid travel of two to six family members together, as a spirit of human concern to gain employees as well as their family members’ support.

“At the counting down time, Chinese would always think of their family members and want to share the moment together,” Ma said, as she heard it in one routine meeting from her leader, ”That is why we, as a sector of service industry, continuously promote new travel packages.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dreams in ashes: Lonesome and his art

Yoona Yuan

Student Journalist

Hong Kong Baptist University

2276 words

Many years later, when facing the smoke rising from his rooftop, David Lonesome suddenly remembered that distant afternoon when his mother took him to learn painting.

Pressuring of too many personal paintings piling up in his house, Lonesome has to burn them into ashes from time to time if he fails to sell them out for years. Some of the paintings are preserved and expected to be useful at his individual exhibition one day, however others would be destroyed into fire.

Lonesome is a painter, 52 years old, has sold his paintings on the street in Hong Kong for more than 30 years. The real name of him is David Lau, but he chose Lonesome as his alias for his art career. Lonesome believes his family name was possibly originated from the royal family “Dugu” in Northern Wei Dynasty, back to AD 386- 534, meaning “loneliness” in Chinese.

1.pic

A head of silver long curly hair, a hawk nose, lighter skin, with a tall figure, Lonesome does not have a typical Cantonese appearance. But what makes him so distinctive is what he wears everyday. He wears a white T-shirt with an eye-catching colorful comic character on the chest. The comic character seems to howl to the sky loudly, with a hideous expression.

“It is the Super Saiyan,” Lonesome said, ”but I draw it in my own style.”

Super Saiyan is a character in the Japanese manga, Dragon Ball, which was popular in Asia among 1980s and 1990s and many young people at that time considered the Super Saiyan was their hero. Lonesome has drawn many classic characters in Japanese manga that he read and watched during childhood, like the Iron Man and Saint Seiya, in his own way. For example, the Iron Man was supposed to be very tough with no emotions exposed, but Lonesome designed a crying single-armed Iron Man image on his T-shirt.

“I can feel the killing pain of Iron Man,” Lonesome said, “So I recreated the scene where he rushed to the sky, enduring, fighting, and paining. It is my understanding and imagination.”

Besides cartoon characters, most of his paintings are about movie stars, while his favorite is Bruce Lee, the famous Chinese martial star, a hero for a whole generation. He represents the dream and inside quality of Chinese people, encourages and influences people at Lonesome‘s age for a long time.

“In my lifetime, I am always trying to hold a personal art exhibition in the art gallery,” Lonesome added, “It must be interesting but unfortunately I don’t have money.”

Lonesome almost devoted himself into painting for the whole life. He started to paint since he was 8 years old. The painting class in that summer occurs to himself quite often: it was a hot summer in Hong Kong, he, the 8 year-old boy sitting on the front seat of his mother’s bicycle, on the way to a private studio. He was curious and nervous on the way, wringing his hand anxiously.

When he entered the studio, he was amazed of those drawing tools in front of him, palettes, painting sticks, and still life moulds of different shapes.

He was the youngest student in the studio at that time, as other classmates were all more than 10 years old, as Lonesome recalled.

“I always thank my parents for sending me to the studio,” Lonesome said, “I found what I love to do for the whole life.”

He studied hard that summer, forgetting the hot weather, various annoying mosquitos flying around and comic books at home. The summer seemed so fast to little Lonesome that he soon noticed it came the day that he would go back to school for the new semester.

Lonesome went out of the studio, carrying all drawing tools in the hands. Streets at Hong Kong were narrow, with dotted shops lying on both sides. Things looked the same as the day he came but everything was changed in his heart. Feeling depressed, Lonesome did not talk to his mother about things happened during the class, like what he learned today and how he was praised by his teacher, instead, he just bit his lips, staying silent, following his mother’s bicycle.

He suddenly cried out, feeling hurt. Pedestrians on the street all looked back at him. Little Lonesome did not care about them, crying louder and louder, saying, “I don’t want to go back, I love painting.”

His mother, stopped the bicycle at the road, and tried to comfort him. The mother asked what he wanted this time as usually Lonesome would ask for a toy or snack as a compensation. However, he asked his mother to buy the still life painting mould for him so that he could practice drawing skills at home.

The mould cost a lot at that time, but his mother did not hesitate at all. From that day on, all family support Lonesome’s artistic creation.

“I am so lucky to have parents’ support,” Lonesome said, “They believe me and always encourage me to realize my dreams.”

During weekends, Lonesome usually sets a table and sells his works outside Hong Kong Culture Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui, where stands the Bruce Lee Statue less than a mile away.

He brings his works inside his self-designed hand-made case, the “Zougui” suitcase. The literary meaning of “Zougui” is running ghost, which in Cantonese means peddlers. It is a traditional craft in Hong Kong. The box has four universal wheels underneath and three levels of flexible modular drawers inside. Not many Hong Kong people master the skills to hand made a “Zougui” suitcase, Lonesome said.

After putting all his works on a wooden board in front of him, he will sit on a stool waiting for costumers to come.

Lonesome speaks fluent Mandarin because many tourists from mainland are so interested in him and his paintings that often raise a lot of questions.

“Who are they?” Felicity Cai asked, a mainland student, pointing to the hand-drawn fans before Lonesome.

Lonesome reaches into his “Zougui” suitcase, took out a dozen of fans with oil painting in the folds and explains them to Felicity Cai, who is a 22 year-old college student.

“This is Lam Ching-ying, Hong Kong martial actor, who plays the Vampire in Hong Kong Horrible movie ”Lonesome said, pointing to a man with big forehead, “She is Yuen Qiu, a member of China Drama Academy, very famous.”

“Who is he?” Cai asked, as there was another handsome man on the fan, as she barely knew those figures that David talked about.

“He is Alain Delon,” Lonesome answered, ”We used to see his films. You know Teddyboy movie series in Hong Kong? The films imitated his, stories about gang. ”

“I know Ekin Cheng and Jordan Chan in Teddyboy,” Cai said, “They were idols when I was young. But they are not popular anymore.”

On average, a hand-drawn fan costs HK$150 each, a T-shirt nearly HK$300, a painting on the wood board at least HK$1,000. They are much expensive than normal ones.

Most paintings of Lonesome belongs to the past, which are “sometimes classic but sometimes too old-fashioned”, in Lonesome’s own words.  In 1990s, he sold his paintings very well, as local people, foreigners and overseas Chinese all fancied them. But it hadn’t last for a long time. Fashion changed as well as technology, where people can download pictures from the Internet and print them out very easily.

“People love my paintings but they would never spend much money as before on them any more,” Lonesome said.

For years, Lonesome never stops painting. He draws on everywhere, not only on papers, but also walls at home, pillowcases, mailboxes, and so on.

It should be a good thing that a painter was productive if they could be sold. But unexpectedly, one day, Lonesome found his house filled with his old paintings. Stacks and stacks of paintings were dumped at every corner at his house.

From time to time, Lonesome would look through all the paintings at home and choose some to throw away.

“It was so panic,” Lonesome said, “All are like my children that I spend much money and time on, so cute and precious. But I have to send them away.”

At first, Lonesome chose some “unfavorable” paintings, tied them up with plastic lines, and threw them into the trashcan downstairs, which was easy and quick. However, one day, the cleaner came to Lonesome and asked him to give her those paintings directly without hurting the edges of papers and fans.

Lonesome was surprised with her request and asked her for reasons. The cleaner prevaricated a while and answered that she could sell them at a fairly good price, around HK$30 for each.

Lonesome felt violated with her behaviors and refused to give her paintings any more. “How can I bear with that? People buy my paintings as garbage?” Lonesome was hopping mad.

After that, Lonesome destroyed his paintings by fire on the rooftop. It is not a pleasant errand for Lonesome honestly. The rooftop, disorderly standing many hanger loops, allows about 10 square meters corner to start a fire. He brings an enamel basin upstairs, which has been burnt black and looked dirty. His paintings are in all kinds, A4 seized, fan shaped, cloth made, all covered with thick colorful oil, cluttered in his hand-made paper box. He throws them into the basin and pulls out a lighter from inside his pocket. When the fire starts, the humid corner becomes hot and smoky, so he usually keeps the processes quick and silent.

Every time when Lonesome burnt his paintings on the rooftop, he would stay on the rooftop for a long time.

“It was too sad to describe the feeling,” Lonesome said, “I don’t want to be Van Gogh, the poor guy only got recognized after death.”

Hiu Kao, 32, Lonesome’s friend, having sold his handmade crafts at Tsim Sha Tsui since 2009, faces the same obstacle in his art career. As a sugar painter in Hong Kong, he could not make money out of it.

Born in a family specializing in handwork for at least three generation, Kao was trained by his parents into a craftsman. At a very young age, Kao was taught to learn how to make diverse patterns out of copper wires, in the shapes of animals, architectures, and Chinese characters.

In 2001, when he ended his high school study, he went to Shenzhen by himself, a Southern city in China near Hong Kong, in order to learn the traditional art of sugar painting. He was very faithful and devoted, and gained the recognition of his master, an experienced sugar painter.

Kao and Lonesome met each other on the street in Tsim Sha Tsui in 2010. On that day, Lonesome had not sold anything out. Bored and exhausted, Lonesome noticed Kao, who sat behind an paper-made advertisement board silently for almost the whole day. Oppositely,it was an abundant day for Kao, because the sales of copper wire products were pretty good that day.

Lonesome stroke up a conversation with Kao about his copper wires handwork then found the young man was really familiar with things of the old memory, Bruce Lee, Sammo Hung, and Elvis Presley. Kao even collected the same series of paperback cartoons as Lonesome did.

After knowing Kao was a sugar painter, Lonesome asked him why he did not sell sugar-painting products. Kao’s answer at that time was that sugar painting could not receive due respect as a commercial business.

In Hong Kong, few people master the sugar painting skill. In spite of the scarcity, Kao earns little money from sugar painting, as he only performs sugar painting as a busker during holidays. Oppositely, his copper wires career is more popular. Passers-by would like to buy the pattern of their names or cartoon characters in copper wires.

Kao described Lonesome as the “history textbook” of Hong Kong for Lonesome’s insight and passion of Hong Kong culture, but held a reserved suggestion for the personal exhibition dream. “It could happen in the future if he could find someone financially support the his Bruce Lee paintings exhibition, as we are not provided with a positive living environment, ” Kao said, “But I hope he could make it one day, after all he has spent so much time on painting. ”

Eight years ago, when travelling in mainland China, some businessmen in Shanxi province invited Lonesome to display his paintings with the title of “Hong Kong famous artist” at local, but he refused.

“I know it could be easier that way, while many Hong Kong artists did it, but that is not what I want,” Lonesome said.

In Hong Kong, Government departments like Hong Kong Arts Development Council and Leisure and Cultural Services Council set a large fund, around HK$135,000,000 every year to support artists for their art career, but most of which was for young artists and exchanges internationally.

Meevi Choi, 27, a Hong Kong painter, who lives in a 287 square-foot unit in an industrial building in Kwen Tong. She said those grant schemes are more related to operas and dramas, so they painters have little chance to apply for those financial support.

Besides, due to the colonial history, many foreign people live in Hong Kong and have a closed cultural circle that seldom allows local artists in. Many international art galleries start their business in Hong Kong in recent years, like Ben Brown Gallery, Gagosian Gallery and Edouard Malingue Gallery, which has exerted more pressure on local painters’s living conditions.

Kao’s words make sense, and in spite of Lonesome’s efforts, his burning dream, the personal exhibition waits for a good opportunity, or it could just turn to ashes.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment