Fu Lei (傅雷)
and Wu Xinghua (吳興華).
Here is a sample of the handwriting of the former.
-  The Archivist's
Report (11/10/2007) As part of the "Save Auntie
Eileen" campaign, I am doing filing on the documents in my
household. Previously, I indicated that I had letters between Eileen
Chang and my parents for the years 1977-1982 and 1987-1995. Today, I
have just found another box full of letters, covering 1983-1986 as well as
1962-1976. I had said that I had about 400 letters before, but the
true number will be a lot more than that.
As a bonus, I am also filing the letters between my father Stephen Soong and
his other friends. Among others, there are letters exchanged with Qian
P.S. After sorting through the newly found letters, the total count is
estimated to be 450 letters from Eileen Chang to Stephen and Mae Soong, and
more than 1,000 letters between them going in both directions.
-  Fair Competition
or Monopoly -- Who Owns The Democracy Brand? (11/10/2007)
(SCMP) Independents seen as vote stealers. Eva
Woo, November 10, 2007.
The pan-democrats are worried
that self-styled "independent democrats" could cost them votes in
the district council elections. Pan-democrats said at a press
conference they were worried about the "lukewarm" atmosphere of
the elections next Sunday.
"It is worrying that there may be a low turnout
rate," Richard Tsoi Yiu-cheong, of the Power for Democracy, said.
"The winning chances for pan-democrats would be at a discount if the
turnout cannot meet the previous figure." The turnout in the 2003
district council elections was 44.1 per cent. Mr Tsoi said a low
turnout in the election might be interpreted as Hongkongers not supporting
universal suffrage in 2012.
Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan said the
number of candidates who called themselves "independent democrats"
had increased this year. Most of them, contesting one fourth of the
constituencies, said they supported universal suffrage in 2012.
18 日 區 議 會 選 舉 投
票 日 ， 泛 民 主 派 近
日 頻 遭 左 派 和 「 突
然 民 主 派 」 區 議 員
候 選 人 夾 擊 ， 選 情
嚴 峻 ， 昨 日 舉 行 「
民 主 告 急 」 大 會 ，
呼 籲 市 民 在 當 日 踴
躍 投 票 撐 真 民 主 。
民 主 動 力 召 集 人 蔡
耀 昌 指 出 ， 左 派 今
屆 在 多 個 選 區 一 反
常 態 ， 未 有 高 調 拉
票 或 宣 傳 ， 「 佢
左 派 鐵 票 根 本 唔 使
點 拉 ， 如 果 民 主 派
選 民 唔 出
投 票 ， 民 主 派
選 情 一 定 勢 危 。 」
民 主 黨 主 席 何 俊 仁
指 出 ， 不 少 選 區 近
日 都 出 現 一 些 突 然
表 態 支 持
2012 雙 普 選 ， 並 以 此
作 為 唯 一 政 綱 的 「
突 然 民 主 派 」 候 選
人 ， 相 信 有 人 想 在
目 前 勝 負 差 距 僅 有
一 至 二 百 票 的 選 情
下 ， 拉 散 民 主 派 票
This is getting close to voting day (November
18) for the district council elections. The pan-democrats are being
attacked on both sides by the leftists and the "suddenly democratic"
candidates and their positions are critical. Yesterday, the
pan-democrats held a "democracy under emergency" rally to ask the
citizens to vote for true demcoracy. Richard Tsoi Yiu-cheong, convenor
of the Power for Democracy, pointed out that the leftists have taken an
unusual position of not canvassing for votes or publicizing in many
districts. "The solid leftist votes do not require much effort to
get. If the democratic voters do not come and vote, the situation for
the democrats will be perilous."
Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan
pointed out that there have appeared many "suddenly democratic"
candidates who support universal suffrage in 2012 in many districts. He
believes that when the election comes down a margine of one or two hundred
votes, these people will split up the votes for the democrats.
Exercise: How do you tell a
"faux democrat" from an "independent democrat"? Or is
the only "true democrat" someone who has signed up with one of the
known political parties or organizations in the pan-democratic camp?
Reference: Ralph Nader in Wikipedia
-  The South China
Tiger in Science (11/10/2007) (XYS)
Rare Tiger Photo Flap Makes Fur Fly In China.
Flat cat? (credit: Zhou Zhenglong)
A few weeks ago, tiger researchers celebrated the news
that a South China tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis) had been spotted--and
photographed--in the wilds of Shaanxi Province. But netizens in China and
elsewhere have declared it only a "paper tiger" after scrutinizing
the two available images.
Although the species has been declared "functionally extinct,"
reports of tiger activity in the heavily forested Qinba Mountains prompted
Shaanxi officials to offer a reward to anyone able to photograph one of the
At a 12 October press conference in Xian, Zhou Zhenglong,
a former hunter, told a rapt audience of his quest to photograph the beast,
crawling to within 20 meters of one and snapping 71 images. When the
camera's flash went off, the tiger roared and disappeared, he said.
Skeptics, citing factors such as the tiger's tame-looking
expression and unreal coat color--as well as the fact that the two photos
portray exactly the same tiger but differently positioned foliage-- think
it's more likely that someone planted a cardboard tiger in the bushes. Fu
Dezhi, a botanist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, adds that the plants
are not to scale in relation to the tiger. Zhou, who was paid 20,000 yuan
($2666) for the images, says, "I guarantee with my head that the
photographs are authentic."
The Shaanxi Forestry Bureau is pushing ahead with plans
for a thorough survey and a tiger reserve. "It's tremendously exciting
news, if it can be substantiated," says tiger expert Gary Koehler of
Washington state's Department of Fish and Wildlife (Science, 7 September, p.
1312). But first, "they need to look for hair snags or scat" for
The Science report is factually wrong in the second
paragraph. There were two cameras, one using conventional film roll and
the other is a Canon digital camera. The digital photographs contain
EXIF information that includes the time as well as equipment. The flash
was used earlier on in the sequence, not the last one.
-  Eileen Chang and
the One-Armed Swordsman (11/10/2007) By the time that you see
this subject title, you must be screaming: "What is he talking
starred in a Shaw Brother's movie <<One-armed Swordsman>> and
soared into superstardom. Previously to that, he was just an underpaid
contracted actor with lots of time on hand and no money to spend. So he
spent a lot of time playing cards and table tennis with me (who was a teenager
but whose father was a significant player in the movie industry as an
executive producer/film script writer/supervisor). Can you understand my
priorities at the time?
At my Hong Kong University talk about my "Auntie
Eileen" (see Comment 200711#008), I said that
Eileen Chang was just one of many adults who passed through my
household. If I knew that she would become one of the greatest figures
in Chinese Literature fifty years hence, I would have recorded every action
that she took when she stayed with our family during 1961-1962. But
there were other apparently more significant adults who passed through around
the same time. Who? There were many but one of them was recently
illuminated by the media limelight.
In 1967, the actor Wang Yu (
Fast forward a few years and Wang Yu has moved on to Taiwan to develop his
career beyond Shaw Brothers and right into gangster world. According to
report, Wang Yu attended the grand opening of the casino ran by Four
Seas gang and lost NT$1,000,000. Wang paid his debt promptly. When
the Four Seas gang invited Wang to come again, he refused. This was
considered a gross insult and the Four Seas gang sent out members to
assasinate Wang Yu, who managed to escape with several non-fatal stab
Wang Yu did not think that he was capable of dealing with the onslaught and
therefore he asked for help from Chen Chili of the Bamboo United gang.
As a result, the Four Seas gang was assaulted in kind with fourteen non-fatal
stab wounds. This matter was ultimately amicably resolved among all
So what? This leads to this Taipei
) noteworthy is that this Bamboo
Union icon was a textbook example of a criminal employed by the Chinese
Nationalist Party (KMT) in years gone by to intimidate and kill dissidents
and anyone else who dared stand up to the dictatorship of the Chiang family
and their goons.
One of the most reputation-ruining sights Taiwan can offer
is a gangster funeral. Attended by hundreds of black-shirted young men and
senior politicians from both ideological camps, these events prove that
democratic accountability and social standards don't mean the same thing to
What makes the funeral of Chen Chi-li (
He wasn't just a standover man taking protection money
from street vendors; he was a tool of state oppression. But the revisionism
in the print and broadcast media in recent weeks has portrayed this thug as
close to heroic; a man who died in exile in Cambodia, far from family and
friends. At the same time, no one weeps for the man he killed, Chiang
) biographer Henry Liu (
In the course of mourning Chen, the sight of a string of
celebrities, ne'er-do-well politicians and retired security agency officials
lining up to pay their dues played itself out. Of the former, pop singer Jay
) was the most conspicuous, and he
has gutted his reputation -- and raised questions about who he owes and how
much -- by paying his respects. Chou should be ashamed, but we are not sure
if he has the depth of character to feel it.
But it is the politicians -- and their seniority -- that
should be of enduring concern. How astonished and enraged Americans would be
if House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined the organizing
committee for the funeral of a notorious mafia boss. Yet that is exactly
what has happened here: Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (
) of the KMT blessed Chen by having
his name added to the list of honorary funeral officials. Again, one might
ask, what does Wang owe, and to whom? The KMT, it seems, can't get by
without cavorting with criminals.
But this is not a partisan cancer. Even more despicable is
the presence on the honorary list of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)
legislative caucus convener Ko Chien-ming (
), who warrants expulsion from the
party. We're not holding our breath. Ko's presence is revolting
because he trivializes the sacrifice of Henry Liu, who allowed people like
him the freedom to represent the DPP.
This easy association with criminality continues to plague
the legislature, too, with an attempt to restrict candidates for public
office to people with no criminal record or a minor criminal record being
defeated in recent days.
Both parties have acted shamefully and shamelessly on this
matter. President Chen Shui-bian (
), as chairman of the DPP, deserves
censure for not intervening to ensure that DPP support for the changes did
not eventuate. And Wang Jin-pyng deserves an equally strong rebuke for
blithely dismissing this debacle as being worthy of any concern.
KMT politicians who attack the president and his family
for alleged illegal conduct while saying and doing nothing about legislative
misconduct are damned hypocrites. Likewise, DPP politicians that complain of
judicial persecution of the president while saying and doing nothing about
legislative mischief -- or its protection -- lack all credibility.
It is all too easy to say "a pox on all their
houses" or some such, but the fact is that all of this behavior is
tolerated by a large number of voters who will put any lowlife into office
as long as it is not someone from the opposition. Thus continues this
collapsible morality in the face of criminal connections to the political,
security and entertainment establishments.
In Taiwan, DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh
addressed the American Chamber of Commerce yesterday.
"Until May 20,
2008, Chen [Shui-bian] is still the country's chief policymaker, but after I
am elected as the president, I will carry out my promises and things will be
different. After all, the whole point of electing a new president is
to implement new policies that will move the country forward."
In his speech,
Hsieh said that national identity is "extremely important" while
economic development is "important." Presently, there is
nothing more important than maintaining Taiwan sovereignty and status quo.
The first member of
the audience (from Pricewaterhouse Coopers) to ask a question said:
"I'm sick of hearing the KMT blaming the DPP for everything, and I have
also had enough of listening to the DPP blaming the KMT for
everything. Give me a fucking action!"
So why is national
identity "extremely important" while economic development is only
"important"? Here is a short Apple
After seeing Frank
Hsieh and Ma Ying-jeou talking about the economy, Chen Shui-bian could not
stand it and bellowed: "Even if the economy is doing well, there is no
guarantee of winning the election."
interesting. This is like saying: "Even if your health is good,
there is no guarantee that you won't die." "Even if you take
drugs to get an erection, there is no guarantee that you will
last." "Even if you pick your nose clean with your finger,
there is no guarantee that you can breathe smoothly." "Even
if we vote to enter the United Nations, there is no guarantee that they will
let us in" ... perhaps Hsieh and Ma are touching a raw nerve of Chen
Shui-bian when they talk about the economy, and that is why he is talking
sourly out of anger.
Of course, Ah Bian
is speaking from experience. He won elections by leveraging group
emotional identities and not about the economy. It means that he
understands too well those immature voters in Taiwan who are willing to go
hungry in order to love Taiwan. But the experience in the mature
democratic nations show that in a time of peace, the economy should be one
of the top priorities, if not the only one. President Bush Senior won
the First Gulf War but lost to Bill Clinton (because it's the economy,
stupid!). Ah Bian is being irresponsible when he behaves like a
politician who only cares about the electoin. The economy is about the
livelihood of the people. We would rather listen to Ma and Hsieh reply
sincerely to Ah Bian: "If the economy is good, I will have no regrets
even if I don't win the election."
-  UN For Taiwan
As part of the UN For Taiwan campaign, the post offices in Taiwan have been
applying "UN For Taiwan" chops on the stamps (with the images of
the president, vice-president and flag of the Republic of China) of mailed
But what happens when these letters arrive in mainland China? They get
held up by the mainland post offices. A notice is sent to the recipient
to come down to the post office to pick up the letter. Before doing
so, the recipient has to sign a statement that "I oppose the entry of
Taiwan into the United Nations" as well as provide detailed personal
information. This becomes equivalent to joining a signature campaign
against the entry of Taiwan into the United Nations. Afterwards, the
letter is produced and the recipient has to blacken the sign befor
leaving. If the recipient refuses, the mainland post office returns
the letter to Taiwan. This has been happening for some time since
October this year. Many recipients are Taiwanese business people who
have to sign in order to receive their business documents.
-  DAB Strategies
in the District Council Elections (11/09/2007) (Derek
Greyhound; shortened translation)
In November 2003, the DAB did not understand the blowback
from SARS and the July 1st march and then overextended their battlelines by
sending more than 200 people to contest the district electoins. The
huge change in public opinion and the unexpected high voter turnout caused
many of their stalwart members to lose. It was a dreadful outcome to
have only 63 DAB candidates elected at a 30% success rate. DAB
chairman Jasper Tsang resigned to accept responsibility.
In 2005, the DAB failed to carry shepherd through the
government's political reform package. But the pan-democrats also
damaged themselves by refusing to compromise. At that point, the DAB
went into the attack because the pan-democrats had ignored the public
For the 2007 district council elections, the DAB should
have these strategic goals:
- A success rate of getting more than 50% of its candidates being elected
- Recover those DAB seats lost to the pan-democrats in 2003 as a result of
the July 1st effect
- Take down the top pan-democrats and minimize the number of pan-democrat
seats in the district councils, so that they become marginalized because
their votes have no influence
- If the pan-democrat candidate is too strong, then the DAB will go after
the weaker pan-democrat candidate in the district council, because one or
two pan-democrat will make no difference
- Become the largest party in the district councils, and therefore control
the district council leadership positions
- Obtain more votes than the pan-democrats and affirm their popular support,
so that the pan-democrats can no longer claim to represent the people's will
- De-politicize the election and reduce the chances of the pan-democrats
invoking political issues as the main themes of these elections
Such being the goals, it is not hard to figure out what
the DAB strategies are:
- The DAB supposedly has 10,000 members and is quite
capable of fielding candidates in every district council. But they
have opted to field less than 200 candidates. They will not send their
best candidates to run against the best pan-democrats. Instead, they
send their best candidates to run against the weaker pan-democrats in order
to ensure victory. When the pan-democrats are the minority in the
district councils, they will have no influence.
- Those DAB stalwarts who lost unexpectedly in 2003 stayed
in the same place and performed local work for the next four years.
The voters had the chance to compare what they did against those
pan-democrats without any significant work to show for.
-In other pan-democratic middle-class strongholds, they send in good
quality, well-educated young porfessionals.
- In the grassroots districts where the DAB is traditionally strong (such as
public housing estates), they send massive numbers of candidates.
- In the middle-class areas, the DAB used the tactic that they successfully
used in the by-elections leading up to now. They supported friendly
apolitical professionals, with six victories out of six tries to show.
- In this campaign, the DAB puts an emphasis on people's livelihood and
accumulated political capital slowly while the pan-democrats spent so much
time on the political reforms. In these elections, the DAB is
decidedly 'apolitical' and they want the voters to use the local work done
by the candidates as the primary factor to be considered.
- Since the DAB has the advantages in district work and community ties, they
make sure that they provide no opportunity for the competitors to gain any
exposure and create a crisis. Therefore, very few DAB candidates will
do public or media debates. This reduces the chances for the
pan-democrats to appear in the media and gain points.
-  Apple Daily
Barred From Beijing Olympics? (11/09/2007) (The
Sun) Yesterday, Beijing Organizing
Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) spokesperson Shao
Shiwei said: "We basically welcome all the Taiwan newspapers to come to
the mainland and cover the Games, including filing critical reports.
My personal opinion is that they must report objectively and not manufacture
As to whether Apple Daily will be allowed to cover the Olympics from
Beijing, Shao Shiwei said: "Taiwan media had asked me why Apple Daily
cannot cover news in mainland China. I said that Apple Daily should
know about their own affairs. You should go and ask them."
-  Mother Tongue
(11/09/2007) ( SCMP)
A request from Anson Chan Fang
On-sang for today's televised debate between the Legislative Council
by-election candidates to be held in English has been rejected. The
debate among the eight candidates will be mainly in Cantonese. A spokeswoman
for Mrs Chan's election office said her camp made the request to reach a
wider audience. The spokeswoman said Mrs Chan was most fluent in English,
followed by Putonghua and Cantonese.
Kenneth Tsang Ho-him, external vice-president of the Hong
Kong University Students' Union, said the organisers had considered Mrs
Chan's suggestion. But they decided to hold the forum in the mother tongue
of most Hongkongers for more direct interaction between the candidates and
the audience. However, the audience can ask questions in English,
Putonghua or Cantonese and there will be simultaneous interpretation.
Political analyst Ma Ngok of Chinese University said Mrs
Chan's request might have indicated she was less confident in using
Cantonese to speak in public as she generally performed better when using
English in speeches.
I want to bring your attention to the reason given by the
spokeswoman for Mrs Chan's election office: The request was made in order to reach a
wider audience. How is speaking in English going to reach a
"wider" audience? According to Wikipedia,
"Most Chinese Hong Kongers speak Cantonese at home and approximately 33%
know English as a second language."
around the writings of Eileen Chang.
-  Friends
(11/09/2007) Here is a piece of personal memory on the occasion of my
talk about the 30 treasures about Eileen Chang at the Hong Kong University
Library on November 5, 2007.
(From left to right) Joshua
Tang, Ling Hui, Kenneth
Wong, Roland Soong, Erica
Yuen, Velentina Ma, Ying Chan (photograph courtesy of HKU JSMC)
Velentina Ma and Ying Chan are from the Journalism and Media Studies Centre
at Hong Kong University. Without their persistence and energy, none of
this could happen (both the exhibit and the talk). I have not informed
them yet, but I am leaning towards depositing the archival materials at
their university on account of these happenings (since nobody has even
bothered to contact me at all).
Joshua Tang is likely to be more interested in the ESWN blog than Eileen
Chang, so this evening is counter-educational material about the perils of
being sidetracked by peripheral projects.
Kenneth Wong can be said to the ultimate Eileen Chang fan. Maybe this
statement will upset other fans, but he has published a photography book
Hui Ling is the friend who helped me whipped the materials in the plastic trash
bags into shape (see Comment 200711#012).
As for Erica Yuen, everybody in this town knows that she is presently workfree
in a celebrated case about fair competition, free work choice, etc.. On
this evening, I asked her to assist me in managing the slides. She is just
so much more interesting to look at than me ...
-  The Pussycat
Tiger (11/09/2007) (Southern
Metropolis Daily) On October 20, Southern Metropolis Daily
reporter Tan Renwei visited the Zhenping county Forestry Department.
In order to dispel the challenge by a botanist, a Forestry Department worker
turned on the computer and showed some photographs of the original
photographer Zhou Zhenglong revisiting the original scene. Tan took a
photograph of the said image.
On November 4, Tan posted that photograph at an Internet forum for the
purpose of illuminating the controversy about the size of the tiger in the
photograph. Several hours later, the photograph was cross-posted at
all the major Internet forums.
Immediately some netizen matched the flora in the new photograph with Zhou
Zhenglong in the foreground to the original photograph of the South China
tiger. They concluded that the tiger in the photograph must be the
size of a household pet cat. The botanist Fu Dezhi who had made the
challenge on the basis of the flora made a post titled "GAME
OVER." Another netizen sighed: "Victory came so suddenly
that it does not mean much."
-  A Mass Incident
in Guangzhou (11/09/2007) (Southcn via Wenxue
City) In February, the Guangdong Technical Normal Institute
asked for bigs to construct two dormitories and one classroom building at
around 6.8 million yuan. A teacher named Lin at the school sought out
an interior decorator named Pan and persuaded him to bid, even though the
latter had no construction experience. According to Pan, he was
awarded the project after giving 200,000 yuan to Lin as kickback.
In March, Pan recruited more than 200 migrant workers to begin
construction. One month later, the project was halted because the
school had omitted to seek permission to construct. The project did
not resume until June. When the project was completed on September 15,
Pan claimed cost overruns of 2.83 million yuan over the original 6.8 million
yuan budget. The school said that this was absurd.
Meanwhile, the 200 plus migrant workers were upset at not receiving their
pay and more than a dozen suppliers had not been paid yet.
Yesterday afternoon, more than 30 migrant workers blocked the dormitory and
told the students to leave. When the school security guards tried to
stop them, a melee broke out. The security guards were outnumbered and
scattered. Five minutes later, the security guards regrouped and came
back with long iron pipes. The migrant workers used bamboo poles to
fight back. The police then arrived and used pepper spray to to
disperse both sides. Here are the action photographs:
-  Hong
Kong By The Numbers (11/08/2007) (Hong
Kong Institute of Asian-Pacific Studies, Chinese University of Hong Kong)
(1,837 persons age 18 or over interviewed at 51.8% response rate)
Satisfaction Level about macro-level politics, economy and society:
Hong Kong's economic conditions:
3.2% very dissatisfied
4.4% very satisfied
Hong Kong's social conditions:
5.0% very dissatisfied
3.8% very satisfied
Hong Kong SAR Government's performance:
3.9% very dissatisfied
3.8% very satisfied
Central government policies towards Hong Kong:
2.9% very dissatisfied
9.6% very satisfied
Mainland China's economic conditions:
2.2 very dissatisfied
12.4% very satisfied
Whom would you seek out to solve the following problems?
68.2% district councilors
13.4% legislative councilors
Expressing your own opinions
51.9% district councilors
28.8% legislative councilors
Monitoring the government
18.2% district councilors
65.9% legislative councilors
How much attention are you paying to the district council elections?
6.8% no attention whatsoever
31.4% no attention
51.0% some attention
10.0% very attention
Which issues do you care about? (Base: Those who pay attention to the
district council elections)
8.0% political issues
80.8% livelihood issues
When you cast your vote, what factors do you consider? (Base: Likely
72.6% district work performance
45.7% policy platform
28.9% political party background
16.5% personal background (e.g. occupation, education, etc)
2.8% name recognition
When you vote, you tend to lean towards ...? (Base: Likely voters)
30.8% democratic candidates
13.4% pro-China candidates
46.4% independent/middle-of-the-road candidates
The subject was the Interception of Communication and Surveillance Bill.
The "opposition parties"/"evil parties" used delay tactics
through repeated speeches and more than one hundred amendments to stall the
bill. It took more than 50 hours before the bill was passed by the
-  The Hong Kong
Police Visits Oriental Daily (11/07/2007) (The
On November 1, 2007 at 2:20pm, three police officers went to the Oriental
Daily office in Taipo and asked to speak to the person in charge. At
issue was an article published in The Sun on August 9, 2006 that had been
re-posted on the Internet.
The police officers did not identify the basis of the investigation, nor the
specific article of law that this essay may have violated. The police
officers only indicated that a citizen had sent an email to the police
station to complain that the article is suspected of "inciting
violence." The police officers demanded that the Oriental Daily
News Group provide information on whether the author was an employee or
columnist. The police officers also asked whether the newspaper had
any system in place to review these types of articles.
The said article was titled: "There is no reasoning with the evil
parties; only a violent beating is needed
The article concluded: "對反對派、奸人黨之無理取鬧，對他們為反對而反對早就應該如此，否則他們得寸進尺，賊氣猖狂，此乃古往今來一切賊黨奸徒本性之使然、之所為。明乎此，對他們除了痛打還應暴打！不必以理相論也。
translation: Concerning the unreasonable trouble from the opposition
side and the evil parties, they have always opposed for the purpose of
opposing for such is the nature of these types of people since
antiquity. Once we understand that, there is nothing left but to beat
them hard and violently! There is no need to reason with them."
in which the provincial government's order was perverted. Was this
supposed to benefit or harm the people?
(Huashang News, November 5, 2007)
On November 1, the Shaanxi provincial government removed
17 highway toll gates in the province. The Shangzhangdu bridge in
Weinan city accordingly no longer has a toll gate. But at the same
time, motor vehicles are now banned on the bridge. According to
information, the bridge had undergone a 20-day emergency repair between
December 6 and 26 in 2006. The average daily traffic was approximately
500 vehicles, so that this is an important access route.
Comment by Wang Houzai:
The provincial government ordered the elimination of 17
highway toll gates. The Weinan city department of transportation did
not dare to resist the order. The toll gate was removed, but the road
was also sealed. This is the typical case of "the guys above
issue policies, but the guys below comes up with counter-measures
Comment by Yang Fengxia:
One must admit that there is a reason for sealing off the
bridge because someone would be held accountable in case of accident.
But is this what the case is about? Previously, because it was
possible to collect toll fees, traffic was allowed even though there was a
height restriction for vehicles and emergency repairs had to be made.
But it was important to earn money. Since there was no toll gate
anymore, why shouldn't it be sealed off to vehicles?
There is no reason for us not to applaud the Shaanxi
provincial government for removing the 17 toll gates. But the local
governments are unhappy because they lost one of their income sources.
Since this bridge was in bad shape, why not close it down? Maybe the
traffic would have to go through another bridge that charges toll?
translation: This is crazy. This is without doubt a form of oppression
in the manner of the Cultural Revolution. Some netizens have even had
their IDs cancelled!).
-  Yahoo! Runs
Censorship in Hong Kong? (11/07/2007) (The
Sun) When the Democratic Party's former chairman Martin Lee
drew criticism for his opinion essay in The Wall Street Journal, many people
chose to comment at the Internet forums. Recently, some netizens are
saying that Yahoo! Hong Kong is cleansing the related comments from its
According to a complaint from netizen Mr. Chan to the newspaper, he found
that the anti-Martin Lee comments at the Yahoo! Hong Kong forum have been
deleted one after another since the day before yesterday. He claimed
that Yahoo! Hong Kong is depriving netizens of the space to express their
When the reporter went to the relevant forum sections, he found that under the
broad subject area "Pan-democrats propose referendum on 07/08 universal
suffrage," several pages had been marked "This topic has been
deleted." But there are still other pages in condemnation of Martin
Lee under other subject topics.
A Yahoo! Hong Kong spokesperson said that the company does not arbitrarily
delete comments. It only does so if the content is indecent and in
violation of the terms of the user agreement. In addition, Yahoo! Hong
Kong will also take action if the same user posts the same comment repeatedly
(that is, flooding the comment section to prohibit others from conducting a
-  A Tale of
Minimum Wage (11/06/2007) (Cheung Chun-sun at Apple
Before I entered university, I worked for several
years. That was not because my family was poor. Like many other
young persons, I had poor grades, I could not get into a school, I could not
find a career and I had no life goal. My academic results were bad
but, worse yet, I had no English-language skills and no job
experience. Therefore, I had a hard time finding a job.
Over time, I was an apprentice at a garage and then a
furniture maker. Obviously, I did not earn enough to support a
family. I was an introvert and I could not get along with my
co-workers. Therefore, I was very unhappy. I continued to look
and then a middle-class restaurant agreed to interview me for a job.
I remembered that day when the restaurant manager looked
at me, who had never carried a tray in my life, and asked: "The
economic conditions are terrible now. Can you give me a reason why I
should hire you?" I could see that there was another older young
man sitting at the reception area breaming with confidence. I
hesitated half a second and then I wondered: How can someone with no
experience and no academic credentials hope to persuade an employer?
But I desperately needed this job and so I answered: "I am asking for a
lower wage!" The manager looked at my application form and read
the requested salary. He asked: "How can you live on this
I said: "All I want is an opportunity to work!"
So I got this job. I worked 54 hours a week for
wages that the unions would describe as "shameful." After
accounting for my transport fees between Kowloon and Hong Kong island and my
contribution to the family budget, I had little left. But what I got
was the experience of dealing with people and incidents, the opportunity to
speak to customers in English and putonghua and the various skills of the
After working for more than a year, I decided to go to
study again. One course at a time, I made my way into a local
university. Based upon the experience of my full-time job, I was able
to work part-time at a hotel to earn my tuition and living fees.
Today, I have completed my degree. I have a job that will allow me to
pay the rent, meet the expenses and even enjoy some leisure.
... When I read about the minimum wage debate, I have to
ask: If the minimum wage existed back then, would I get the chance to work,
obtain experience, learn skills and practice my foreign language
skills? What could motivate a "rational" boss to give a
"fair wage" to an "unqualified" worker? Wouldn't
the manager who gives an opportunity to a young person be betraying the
trust of the owners? Wouldn't a mandatory minimum wage drive those
inexperienced and uneducated young people into the abyss of despair?
-  Hong Kong By The
Numbers (11/06/2007) (HKU
POP) (1,016 persons interviewed about the popularity of the HK
SAR and central governments)
63%: Trust in HK SAR government
9%: Distrust in HK SAR government
59%: Trust in Beijing government
13%: Distrust in Beijing government
83%: Confidence in HK's future
10%: No confidence in HK's future
88%: Confience in China's future
7%: No confidence in China's future
75%: Confidence in "one country, two systems"
18%: No confidence in "one country, two systems"
-  Why 30
Treasures? (11/06/2007) Last night, I gave the talk on
Eileen Chang at the Hong Kong University Library to an audience of almost
200 people. In order to prepare for this slide show, I had to clean up
my act and put the documents from the Eileen Chang estate into order.
Here is some history:
In the 2005.12.8 issue of Next Weekly, this
photograph was accompanied by the caption: "This box contains the
possessions of Eileen Chang. He did not say what we can photograph or
not. He held this American 'green card' of Eileen Chang in his hand and
said that this has been published previously. So we took a
In the 2007.10.3 issue of East Week, this photograph appeared in an article
that began this way: "One would think that it is a big deal to have
Eileen Chang's possessions in one's home. But Roland Soong just
casually hauled out two cardboard boxes from underneath the reading
desk. Inside there were some letters wrapped with plastic garbage bags
plus some notebooks that were falling apart. These are the possessions
that Eileen Chang left behind."
So this talk, plus the fact that I am
embarrassed about the state of things, has made me put in the effort of
organizing the material. Here is how they look today.
The format of this talk was that there would
be thirty separate items about Eileen Chang as derived from personal memories
and the possessions (see list). There is no
overall flow in the presentation, beyond an artificial sectioning into topics
such as Birth, Ageing, Illness, Death, etc. The reason is that I have
only barely begun to understand what these contents mean. I am sure that
if I have to make a presentation three months later, say, I would have a
structure (or several structures) that would have better focus.
Thus and So
-  Hong Kong By The
Numbers (11/05/2007) (Apple
Daily) (HKU POP) (527 Hong Kong Island residents
interviewed by telephone)
If the Hong Kong Island Legislative Council by-election were held tomorrow,
who would you vote for?
43%: Anson Chan
37%: Regina Ip
1% or less for each of six other candidates
4%: none of the above
13%: Undecided/don't know/hard to say
-  Hong Kong By The
Numbers (11/05/2007) (Ming Pao) In an internal poll
conducted by the Democratic Party, respondents were asked to rank 10 names
given to them if the 2008 Legislative Council election were held tomorrow.
The top six (and there are six seats up for election):
Audrey Eu (Civic Party)
Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee (Savantas)
Martin Lee (Democratic Party)
Miriam Lau Kin-yee (Liberal Party)
Choy So-yuk (DAB)
Yeung Sum (Democratic Party)
This poll had been conducted before Anson Chan announced her candidacy in
the by-election (and she may run again in 2008) and also before the brouhaha
over Martin Lee's comments about the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
-  Hong Kong By The
Numbers (11/05/2007) (The
Sun) (2,328 citizens age 18 or over were interviewed about Martin
Lee's comments on the 2008 Beijing Olympics in The Wall Street Journal)
Q1. What is the purpose of Martin Lee's action?
37%: Bring in foreign forces into internal affairs of China
18%: Carry out his constant anti-China purpose
35%: Improve conditions inside China
5%: No special purpose
5%: No opinion
Q2. Do you believe Martin Lee's action was organized?
37%: Supported by foreign forces or organizations
15%: Supported by pan-democrats
9%: Supported by individuals from organizations and religious bodies
31%: Individual action of his own
8%: No opinion
Q3. Martin Lee linked the Beijing Olympics with human rights on
mainland. What is the impact?
36%: Impact on the image of the Beijing Olympics
5%: Impact the psychology and performance of Olympic athletes
19%: Impact internal politics of China
33%: No special impact
7%: No opinion
Q4. Martin Lee was criticized by society. Certain pan-democrats
said that they have to defend Martin Lee's freedom of speech. What do
49%: Everybody has the right to speak freely, and therefore others can
criticize Martin Lee
18%: There is no need to defend his rights, because he can rebut the
criticisms by others at any time
17%: It is necessary to defend his rights, so that he does not lose the
freedom to speak
16%: No opinion
Q5. Martin Lee's supporters said that the outside criticisms were just
like during the Cultural Revolution. Why are they saying that?
18%: Find an excuse to get out of what they did
33%: Shift the attention to attacking China via the Cultural Revolution
17%: Counter-attack the critics and make them shut up
20%: No special purpose
12%: No opinion
-  The List of
Thirty Treasures (11/05/2007) With respect to tonight's Hong
Kong University Library Reading Club talk about Eileen Chang, here
are the thirty items that I will talk about (based mostly on the unpublished
correspondence between Eileen Chang and Stephen Soong/Mae Fong Soong):
1. Personal memories of Eileen Chang from three Soong family members
2. Personal belongings of Eileen Chang (specifically, the story
behind four blankets)
3. Letters from her aunt and brother; C.T. Hsia; H.C. Chuang; etc and
the bidirectional letters between the Soongs and her
4. Photograph-1: (in the Manchurian robe)
5. Photograph-2: (with Japanese movie star Li Xianglan)
6. Photograph-3: (unpublished color photograph)
7. Literature-1: The letters about the essay "On <Lust,
8. Literature-2: In remembrance of Hu Shi
9. Literature-3: On the film <Love In A Fallen City>
10. Literature-4: The woman who picked through Eileen's garbage
11. Literature-5: Unpublished manuscript <Traveling Afar>
12. Literature-6: Unpublished manuscript <Once In Three Lifetimes>
13. Literature-7: Unpublished manuscript <Visiting>
14. Literature-8: Envelop of letter from United Daily Press
15. Literature-9: Note on loneliness in middle America
16. Literature-10: Movie rights to <Naked Earth>
17. People-1: Roland
18. People-2: M.Y. Zhang (aunt)
19. People-3: Hu Lancheng (former husband)
20. People-4: The Soongs in Hong Kong, 1967
21. Birth: Date of birth
22. Aging-1: US Naturalization Certificate photograph
23. Aging-2: Kim Il Sung death photograph
24. Illness-1: Broken arm
25. Illness-2: Dermatological illness (fleas?)
26. Illness-3: Sunlamp
27. Illness-4: Summer of 1995
28. Death-1: Death certificate
29. Death-2: Last will
30. Death-3: The stated wishes
-  The Sacred
Torches (11/04/2007) (TVBS)
Last evening, Chen Shui-bian, Annette Lu, Frank Hsieh and Su Cheng-tseng
raised the small sacred torches at Ketagalan Boulevard. But only the
leaders in the front row had 'real' sacred torches with flames, as everybody
else only had miniature battery-operated sacred torches.
After a couple shakes of the torch, the light went off. What
happened? When inspected carefully, it was clear that the place of
origin of these torches have been painted over. But it is still
possible to tell that it was MADE IN some place or the other. Why is
it necessary to cover up the place of manufacturing. Which country is
so sensitive? Could it be MADE IN CHINA? The director of the
publicity department of the Democratic Progressive Party said, "This is
an activity ran by the Grand Alliance. The supplier was told that
there can not be anything made in China and it promised to do so. If
there are any problems, the Grand Alliance will follow up with the
supplier." The Democratic Progressive Party said that it was MADE
IN VIETNAM, except there wasn't enough room for seven letters. But if
was MADE IN VIETNAM, then why go through the trouble of covering up with a
coat of paint?
-  The Eye of the
Tiger (11/4/2007) (Southern
Metropolis Daily) Under normal lighting circumstances, the
pupil of the tiger is a small dark spot hidden deep behind the glassy
When the tiger is in the shadows, the pupil is hardly visible.
But in the The
South China Tiger Photographs, the eye of the tiger is clearly white
with a black pupil with a heavy two-dimensional feel.
Here is one possible way by which this came about.
Step 1: Get on the Internet and find the photograph of a South China
Step 2: Print the tiger onto color cardboard paper.
Step 3: Take the cardboard into a forest and place it behind some
Step 4: The resulting photograph shows a tiger eye with a black
dot surrounded by white.
States in Flames) Wink, wink, ...
as (1) "a money-losing proposition" and (2) "a girl; a
-  A Money-Losing
Proposition (11/4/2007) (Apple
Daily) In Taiwan, the Yahoo dictionary gives the
English-language translation of the Chinese term "
In ancient times, girls could not work and earn money; when they were given
away in marriage, her parents also had to provide a dowry. Thus came the
notion of "a money-losing proposition." This is not applicable
When asked, Yahoo said that their dictionary was provided by Dr. Eye.
This database was too big to review item by item. This particular
translation has been excised.
-  Hong Kong By The
Numbers (11/3/2007) (Apple
Daily) (HKU POP interviewed 526 Hong Kong Island residents
from October 31 to November 2)
Q. If the Hong Kong Island Legislative Council by-election were held
tomorrow, who would you vote for?
41%: Anson Chan
36%: Regina Ip
(all other candidates had 1% or less)
4%: None of the above
17%: Undecided/Don't know/Hard to say
In the mainland version, she is heard to say: "Go, go then 走，走吧."
The revision showed that Tang Wei did not betray her cause, but Tony Leung
deduced the danger on his own.
-  <Lust,
Caution>: The Mainland Version (11/1/2007) Reportedly,
there is an edict from the Central Publicity Department not to discuss the
differences between the mainland version and the overseas version (as seen
in Hong Kong, Taiwan and the United States).
But someone apparently forgot to tell Southern
Metropolis Daily. Here are the differences as catalogued by a
reporter who saw both versions. They even showed photographs of the
- Overall, the overseas version runs 156 minutes and the mainland version
runs 143 minutes. The cuts were made personally by Ang Lee, and it
took six revisions before the movie was finally passed. In China,
there is no movie rating system and persons of all ages can watch this
movie. Curiously, some of the attendees at the first screenings had
already seen the overseas version in Hong Kong and they wanted to see what
the differences were.
- When Tang Wei went to pick up the rice ration, she walked past a ghetto in
which refugees were dying in the middle of the street. That scene is
- After the first failed assassination attempt, the Chinese collaborator
came to blackmail the students who then ganged up and killed him in an
extended scene. There were eight stabs with the knife with death being
finally guaranteed by breaking the neck. In the mainland version,
death was administered with one stab, and this was immediately followed by
the sight of Tang Wei fleeing down the street.
- When Tang Wei received the six carat diamond ring in the overseas version,
she said: "Leave quickly, leave quickly
- There were five sex scenes with Tang Wei, two with the fellow student and
three with Tony Leung. There was also a nude scene in which Tang Wei got
out of bed and went to stand in front of the window. In the mainland
version, the second scene with the student and the third scene with Tony Leung
These two scenes share the common position of the woman
being on top of the man. In the remaining scenes, only facial
expressions could be observed. The post-coital part of the first
Tang-Leung scene is gone.
The nude scene in front of the window was
Of course, even the overseas version is edited. For example, the
following photograph shows a scene that was absent from the overseas edition.
-  The Hong Kong Legco
By-Election (11/1/2007) (The
Standard) Nine candidates are to fight
for the privilege of becoming a legislative councilor for less than a year
suggested the surge in candidates revealed flaws in that the poll offered
free personal exposure to those who wanted it. The academics demanded a
higher nomination threshold to avoid the race being turned into promotion
vehicles for individuals. City University of Hong Kong political
scientist James Sung Lap-kung said the low nomination threshold had
attracted individuals who wanted free media exposure. He recalled that
in the 2000 by- election there was a similar surge of candidates, and that
academics had been calling for changes in the election nomination threshold
since. "If no changes are made, this will happen again in future
has a different explanation for the large number of candidates by citing an
unnamed democrat: Some of these "suddenly appearing" candidates
may be coming from the pro-government camp for the purpose of breaking up
the showdown between Anson Chan and Regina Ip.
Thirty treasures (11/1/2007)閱讀張愛玲
On Reading Eileen Chang with her
Due to an overwhelming response to the “Eileen Chang: Hong Kong Legend
(1939-41)” exhibition organized by the JMSC, organizers will co-host a
presentation with HKU Libraries' Reading Club on 5 November. The presentation
will mark the end of the three-week exhibit, which has attracted thousands of
At the event, Roland Soong, administrator of Eileen Chang's estate, will
present thirty more treasures from the acclaimed Chinese writer, including
anecdotes, literary works, movies and information provided by a relative of
Eileen Chang, as well as more valuable manuscripts, letters and photographs of
The Eileen Chang exhibit is curated by Professor Ying Chan and Velentina Ma of
Title of event: "On Reading Eileen Chang with her thirty treasures"
Speaker: Roland Soong, administrator of Eileen Chang’s estate
Date: Monday, 5 November
Venue: 1/F, Main Library, HKU
What are those thirty items? They include questions such as, "Who
broke Eileen Chang's arm?" "Why wasn't the English-language
novel 'Visiting' published?" "What did she think of the books
that her former husband Hu Lancheng wrote?" "What use does she
want her estate be put to?" "What happened on that day in May
1967 when curfew was imposed in Hong Kong?" ...