22 Sep 2017

中国末代皇后郭布罗·婉容传 |末代皇妃额尔德特 文绣传|伪满洲国"明贤贵妃"谭玉龄传 | 伪满洲国"福贵人"李玉琴传|溥仪的妻子李淑贤传

终于把人民文学出版社王庆祥写的五本关于溥仪妻子的书看完。顺序方面,我没从婉容传开始往下看,而是从文绣传开始看起。


文绣身为妃子,地位比身为皇后的婉容卑微,却是溥仪第一个相中,召入宫的妻子。已衰败了的娘家注定文绣从小在贫困中成长,使她更愿意抛开家族的枷锁,合法化地离开一个不爱她的丈夫,纵然这个丈夫是前朝皇帝。衰败了的娘家也造成文绣在宫中不仅造婉容鄙视,也被太监女仆们轻视。这种后台不够硬被欺负的事情,怎么好像是个不变的定数。


跳过了谭玉龄传,我看了李玉琴传。好奇溥仪为何挑了一个年纪比他小这么多的汉族女生为贵人,好奇后来也和溥仪离异的李玉琴为何在文革是批斗溥仪。书中并没有很明确地解释为何李玉琴与其家人相信李玉琴被召入宫是让她读书。那时侯的溥仪已经有了一个皇后婉容,早已求去的文绣,病死的贵妃谭玉龄。一后二妃却没有任何子女。当时的人们不觉奇怪吗?


谭玉龄是溥仪在前半生中最爱的女人。溥仪在东京审判指控日本人杀害了谭玉龄,而谭玉龄又是被中医诊断为患了伤寒。谭玉龄真正的死因是什么,由于没被解剖,或许永远是个迷。

李淑贤是溥仪最后一任妻子,也是唯一与溥仪重游紫禁城的妻子。


最后终于读了婉容传。婉容应该是溥仪五任妻子中最悲剧的。婉容生长在当时家族势力还不错的郭布罗氏。经商的父亲思想开通,让婉容受教育,学英文。良好的家世与姣好的面容让婉容顺利当上皇后。当时郭布罗氏应该没人会想到恰恰是婉容的优势成了她日后的痛苦。如果婉容生在当今,命运可能会截然不同吧。

15 Sep 2017

Rigor Mortis

There was a lot of hype when Rigor Mortis was released in the autumn of 2013. Hailed as a tribute to the Mr Vampire series which was wildly popular in Hong Kong in the 1980s, debut director Juno Mak assembled an all-Hong Kong cast of actors and actresses, many of whom had acted in various Vampire movies in their salad days.


With a Hong Kong director and all-Hong Kong cast, Rigor Mortis would have been an irresistible movie to me. It had been a very long time since I had watched a proper Hong Kong movie, the likes of Stephen Chow’s Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons were spectacular in set design, costume design and CGI with generous funding from investors and no doubt highly sellable to a market with 13 billion potential movie watchers, but also included actors and actresses I could not identify with.


And somehow, it took four years before I finally watched Rigor Mortis. Why? I had to admit while the movie poster of Richard Ng with the lower part of his face covered by ancient Chinese coins drew me in, it pushed me away at the same time, not having seen such a design in the Mr Vampire series. The Mr Vampire series conditioned me to expect seeing pale-faced fangy chinese vampires in Qing Dynasty costumes, most of the time with yellow talismans stuck on their foreheads to immobilise them.


Four autumns gone and I finally summoned the courage to watch Rigor Mortis. And I came away wondering if Juno Mak had expected to elicit certain emotions in his audience four autumns ago.


Rigor Mortis told the story of a group of disparate people living in a run-down apartment in Hong Kong:
· A has-been actor (played by Chin Siu Ho) who used in act in vampire movies in his heydays. Said actor had a poor childhood living in a similar run-down apartment. Now, life came full circle for the man who returned dispiritedly to his roots, estranged from his wife and son and without any will to live.
· A deranged mother (played by Kara Hui) and her albino son put up by the kindly security guard.
· An elderly couple (played by Paw Hee-ching and Richard Ng) living out their last days. The wife’s reluctance to accept her husband’s death caused her to go mentally unhinged in her attempt to revive her dead husband.
· A hawker (played by Anthony Chan) descended from vampire slayers but who resorted to cooking when there were no more vampires to slay. Despite that, the hawker could not bear to discard his tools-of-the-trade for slaying vampires.
· A kindly security guard (played by Lo Hoi-pang) who died at the hands of the wife when he tried to probe her husband’s disappearance.
· A practitioner of the dark arts (played by Chung Fat) who prolonged his life through dubious means.


Juno Mak created very sombre grayish sets and characters for Rigor Mortis. Practically all the characters were depressing and it felt like they were trapped in their helpless existance to which there was no light at the end of the tunnel. The apartment had peeling exteriors, and the atmosphere was heavy with helplessness. Was it a pointed reference to the state of Hong Kong cinema or Hong Kong society as a whole? Hong Kong cinema and by extension Hong Kong society used to be vibrant with vampire series, slap-stick comedies and action thrillers that were so Hong Kong. One could feel hope, that there would always be a better tomorrow, through the celluloid screen.


There was a very strong sense of pinning and longing for the yesteryears in Rigor Mortis. This however, would be totally lost on an audience expecting a slasher-flick without the emotional connection and cultural context to understand Juno Mak’s choice of cast. Obviously, the audience would also be unable to recognize that all the characters were essentially trapped in their own memories.


The has-been actor had no will to live any longer, and went back to where he used to live to end his life. Trapped in his yesteryears, he kept his old acting costumes, used a very old handphone and remembered his son – a very young boy.


The deranged mother came home one day to discover a bloodbath in her apartment, her husband lying in his blood with a pair of twins he tutored, one lying in her blood and the other suspended from a ceiling fan. Unable to tear herself away, she returned each day to her old apartment, seeing the same carnage repeatedly in her mind.


The old wife could not accept her husband’s death and pleaded with the practioner of dark arts to revive her husband. Increasingly impatient for results, she killed the probing security guard and fed the albino boy to her husband, causing him to become a vampire.


There were no more vampires to slay in modern Hong Kong for the hawker, yet he clung to the possessions left to him by his father.


The practitioner of dark arts was in the terminal stage of lung cancer and sought to prolong his life through spirits.


Having eaten the albino boy, the vampire turned increasingly ferocious as his empty shell of a body was possessed by the vengeful twins. The has-been actor sought the assistance of the hawker and after a hard fight, both leapt off the apartment with the vampire as the first rays of morning sun arrived, burning the vampire to ashes. The wife arrived in time to witness the burning ashes of her husband and slit her throat, falling dead and burning together with him.


The movie then cut to the beginning sequence where the has-been actor moved into the now not-so-dilapidated apartment building. Colours were brighter with sunshine streaming into the apartment’s skywell. The security guard slept on his job, and the deranged mother was a picture of sunshine normality asking her albino son what he wanted for lunch. The wife’s husband was already dead while she had an air of serenity about her. The hawker became a bumbling hawker’s assistant who arrived too late to save the has-been actor from his suicide attempt. At the mortuary, the previous practitioner of dark arts was now a medical examiner who pulled out the has-been actor’s corpse to be identified by his grown-up son. The identification tag on the actor’s toe indicated his age as 50.


It was an unexpected ending after the very adrenaline-charging fight sequence between the vampire and the actor. So it seems that only one character was trapped in his own memories, unable to move on. As the noose tightened around the actor’s neck and his oxygen supply dwindled increasingly, in his mind, he re-imagined his new neighbours in his last heroic attempt at being useful - slaying a vampire, thereby saving the rest of the
occupants in the apartment building. Pointedly, the actor was 50 when he committed suicide. Was that a reference to Hong Kong’s One Country Two Systems? Was the actor’s reluctance to move on a message that things may not be as bad as they seem if one was willing to accept and move? The wife accepted her husband’s death and did not have that edgy glint in her eyes, unlike her parallel self in the actor’s re-imagination.


Had Juno Mak chosen to imbue Rigor Mortis with heavy symbolism? Those expecting a slashing good bloodbath of a vampire movie might be disappointed, and those unfamiliar with the cultural context of Rigor Mortis might be baffled.


For me, Rigor Mortis was definitely a tribute film, heavy with resignation of the way of life that was no more. Juno Mak scored very highly in sincerity for Rigor Mortis:
· 100% authentic Hong Kong Cantonese dialogues
· Assembling a cast of actors and actresses who used to act in vampire-related movies in the 1980s. This brought back a lot of memories and cultural context, even though I watched most of those movies as re-runs on television
· Awesome emoting from the cast, especially from Anthony Chan and Paw Hee-ching. Anthony Chan’s get up of singlet and boxers with a bathrobe thrown over spoke of his taoist robe of yesteryear and it seemed as if the hawker was always ready to turn the bathrobe into a taoist robe. Paw Hee-ching was subtle as the wife who grew increasingly impatient at the slow progress her dead husband was coming to life. To want to revive her husband was bizzare enough, turning her kitchen into a bloodbath with slaughtered crows was horrifying.
· Keeping her dead husband in the bathroom and feeding him crow blood was awful. Yet the most horrifying sequence in Rigor Mortis had to be Paw Hing-ching allowing the albino boy to use her bathroom, knowing full well that her husband was in there, and that the final step to her husband’s revival was virgin blood. The pitiful cries of the albino boy as he registered the husband in the bathroom, the violent rocking of the bathroom door as the boy tried to escape the attack and the growling from the husband made a very powerful statement about the horrors a twisted mind could inflict on another innocent human. Juno Mak took time to craft this sequence for the horror to sink through with no blood shed in this sequence.
· Having been alerted by his tools-of-the trade, Anthony Chan arrived at the elderly couple’s apartment, a bloodbath with a mortally wounded Chung Fat who covered his mouth and nose as the vampire husband jumped past them out of the apartment. Not breathing to avoid being detected by vampires was popularised by the Mr Vampire series, and it actually felt very warm to see it here, although the spectre of the blood-covered bathroom with a broken toilet was graphic in a Japanese and Thai horror film kind of way.


For a debut director, Juno Mak turned in a very good piece of work. Yet, there were also parts that were puzzling or interesting to me:
· The purpose of Richard Ng’s mask of ancient Chinese coins. This was revealed by Chung Fat as having strong Yang to counter the Yin of an undead. Despite repeatedly cautioning the wife against removing the mask, the lure of seeing her dead husband twitch when the mask was removed proved too tempting for the wife. Without the mask to counter the Yin, Richard Ng had nothing to stop him eating the albino boy.
· How to create a vampire. As far as I remembered from the Mr Vampire series, vampires were created when humans were bitten by vampires, or when the dead were not buried properly, resulting in the corpse turning malevolent. In Rigor Mortis,
with Chung Fat’s guidance, the wife prepared Richard Ng’s corpse for resurrection in her bathroom.
· The darker the talisman paper, the darker the spells were. I had only seen yellow talisman papers, while a purple one was used by Chung Fat in Rigor Mortis, presumably as Chung Fat practiced dark magic.
· The very distinctive and strong Japanese horror movie stamp when the twins appeared, crawling on walls with blood trailing around them.
· Strong Thai horror movie influence on the set design.
· Why the boy was albino. Would anything have changed had the character been a normal boy?
· Which version was real? If the brighter version was real, then Chin could not have re-imagined Chung Fat the medical examiner as a practitioner of dark arts, since he did not meet him before he hung himself. If the darker version was real, then the horror of Rigor Mortis came out very well indeed. That of human minds, and not the vampire nor the twins.

8 Sep 2017

시그널

시그널」は韓国放送局tvN2016年のドラマだった。ほかの大人気韓国ドラマと比べて、「시그널」のテーマはロマンスかホームドラマじゃなくて、犯罪スリラーだった。


2015年に、犯罪プロファイラのPark Hae-youngは古くて壊したウォーキートーキーで不思議に2000年の探偵のLee Jae-hanと通じし始まった。Park Hae-youngはやっぱりびっくりした。しかし、Lee Jae-hanは「僕、すぐ亡った。でも、このコミュニケーションはもう一回始まりたい。その時、Hae-youngさんはぜひ僕に説きつけなさい!」


両人は1999年からのコールド・ケースを解けた。コールド・ケースの解ける時に、Lee Jae-han自分の命も変えた。本来、Lee Jae-hanは2000年に汚職警官によって射止めた。しかし、Lee Jae-hanの後輩はウォーキートーキーでLee Jae-hanと話して「すぐ話したいです。その話のために、私はいつも先輩を待ってしました。15年の待望でしたは先輩の骸骨を見ました!!」Lee Jae-hanも後輩を好きだった。そして自分の命を変わって、生き残った。Lee Jae-hanとPark Hae-youngはループものの中に通じった。大人のPark Hae-youngは忘れちゃった、子供のとき、兄のケースにLee Jae-hanを会った。


「시그널」は韓国実のコールド・ケースを劇画調っぽい。脚本家はウォーキートーキーを使って、コールド・ケースを解きました。コールド・ケースは解決されなかったが、「시그널」の概念は面白かった。

5 Aug 2017

Busting the myths of successful CEOs

Bryan Borzykowski's article for the BBC Busting the myths of successful CEOs cited a 10-year study on thousands of CEOs to determine what makes a successful leader, with the following myths busted:

Myth 1: CEOs must be charismatic
Myth 2: CEOs shouldn't admit when they are wrong
Myth 3: CEOs need to be experienced in a particular sector
Myth 4: CEOs must be autocratic
Myth 5: CEOs should have a top-tier education

Borzykowski took 'leaders' to mean 'CEOs'.  Just as there are CEOs who are dynamic visionaries, there also are CEOs who are executing the Board's direction.  Are both leaders?

Charisma is definitely important during interviews, not only for potential CEOs, but for all jobseekers.  However, charisma does not always automatically translate into performance.  Instead of merely being charismatic, a successful leader might need to have authentic empathy for the people he/she leads.  Most people can sense when they are treated with real emotions or only being emoted at superficially.

Admiting or not admiting mistakes could be social conditioning.  If a person's environment when he/she was growing up and worked in encouraged individuals to own up to their mistakes and not cruxify them for their mistakes, they would likely be more open to admiting when they are wrong.

Many vacant positions require prior experience in a particular sector, not only for CEO-hires.  While it certainly helps to have prior experience as the CEO can hit the ground running, hailing from different sectors could bring a fresh pair of eyes and opinions.  Although from a few HBR articles I read, it seems that when new CEOs come on board, whether or not they have prior experience, they would look to have their new team aligned behind them in their new strategic outlook.  

Some CEOs are/were famous or rather infamous for being autocratic, where only their way goes. While this might work well in some companies, especially big-names if employees want to burnish their resumes with stints in big-names, it may not necessarily work well for all companies.  Realistically, how long can an average person work under an autocratic boss?  As Victor Lipman declared in a Forbes article in 2016 that 'People leave managers, not companies', when a wrong person is named manager, 'nothing fixes that bad decision'.


Do CEOs need a top-tier education?  Are MBAs even mandatory?  These are questions that perhaps only Boards have to search deep within themselves to answer.





14 Jul 2017

六堆客家文化园区

去年参观了苗栗客家文化园区,印象还很深刻,既然有机会到屏东,就安排了时间到六堆客家文化园区参观。

屏东客运有公车直达六堆客家文化园区,但是时刻表好像是为了让人先到原住民文化园区玩,然后回屏东时在六堆客家文化园区下车。第一趟车8点22分抵达六堆客家文化园区,园区还没开门呢。虽说可以先看看户外的空间,但是屏东的太阳是很咬人的。早上才七、八点多,太阳就猛得象中午似的。下一趟屏东客运12点钟,到达六堆客家文化园区时门是开了,可是那是太阳将更猛。因为屏东客源的时刻表没有苗栗客家文化园区的接驳车这么频繁,所以参观时间要抓得准一点。

六堆不是地名,而是清朝在高雄、屏东一带客家人保卫家园而组织的六个“堆”:

  • 右堆:高雄美浓、旗山一带 
  • 左堆:屏东新埤鄉、佳冬鄉 
  • 前堆:屏东長治鄉、麟洛鄉、屏東市田寮、九如鄉圳寮
  • 后堆:屏东內埔鄉 
  • 中堆:屏东 竹田鄉、鹽埔鄉七份仔
  • 先锋堆:屏东萬巒鄉


因为介绍的是六堆的故事,六堆客家文化园区非常有心思地打造出六座傘架聚落式建築,結合客家元素笠嬤(斗笠)與紙傘意象。这个主意很不错,但当太阳执意咬人时,六堆客家文化园区就没有整栋冷气的苗栗客家文化园区那么好参观了。有趣的是,每个独立展馆外都立了凳子,凳子上有个贴着“奉茶”的水壶,让人会心一笑,仿佛走入古装戏中某处有善男信女奉茶还愿。值得一提的是,六堆客家文化园区有不少不错的影视,例如介绍六堆起源的动画,以动漫的方式相当深入的讲解了六堆的由来,相当有震撼性。

感觉上六堆客家文化园区好像比苗栗客家文化园区老旧,是因为整栋冷气的苗栗客家文化园区比较容易保养吗?饮食方面,苗栗客家文化园区的餐厅比较新颖,客家板条也做得不错吃。六堆客家文化园区内的田园餐厅板条是炒的,而且不售卖雷茶,好像也没有算盘子,忘了有没有梅菜扣肉。是否六堆的客家菜与苗栗的梢外不一样?

若苗栗客家文化园区是轻松好玩的地方,六堆客家文化园区因为那六堆起源的动画显得沉重庄严。虽然六堆客家文化园区正进行小朋友种稻米的活动,稻米长得真漂亮,但没法在稻田中呆久。

由或许是太阳太咬人,吃饱午饭后只想逃回饭店洗澡补眠等太阳咬人咬累了回家休息才出来找晚餐。

12 Jul 2017

Hotel Sunshine @ Kaohsiung

While the Simple Life Hotel near the City Hall subway station was pleasant enough, I thought there weren't enough food options, or perhaps I did not explore the hotel surroundings enough.

For this trip to Kaohsiung, I picked Hotel Sunshine, more as a lark for the chinese furniture that I saw on the hotel's website.  Apparently, according to the hotel's website, the furniture was rosewood.  In addition, I did not have the chance to explore the Sanduo area, where the hotel was located, during the previous trip to Kaohsiung.

The twin bedroom was surprisingly large, with large tables and three chairs, 1 of which could be strategically placed next to the door for shoe changes.  There was a 3 litre water pot which was always thoughtfully boiled and kept warm by the cleaning staff.


 The bathroom must have been one of the biggest I have seen, with enough space to place a small sofa in!  The shower system had a hand shower, a rain shower and three sprouts in the middle section, which made showering a lot of fun, especially with that awful swealtering heat.
Buffet breakfast at the hotel's restaurant was very decent, with some traditional taiwanese dishes, japanese dishes and and egg station.  And I so love the warm and chewy 蓬萊米 that I had to round up breakfast everyday with a bowl of that!


8 Jul 2017

屏东の薇米文旅

趁暑假来临前第一次到屏东玩,挑饭店不可太马虎。从Google地图发现薇米文旅可以丛屏东火车站徒步到达,离慈凤宫也不太远,便定了薇米文旅的商务双人房。

因为抵达薇米文旅是三点之前,客房保养未完成,便乘着服务员保养客房的当儿,看一看客房如何。九楼的客房分为有向外与向内窗。向外窗的客房可看见屏东市街景。向内窗的客房窗外是饭厅。商务双人房是向内窗的客房。分配到九楼的客房,好处是从房门几步就是饭厅。早餐六点半开始供应,要乘搭屏东客运七点四十分出发到佛光山/佛陀纪念馆时间上绝对配合得了。

商务双人房是最小号的客房,只要有足够空间在不阻碍走动的情况下可把行李打开,客房就算是宽敞的。客房里有两张椅子,一个放电视机的长桌和小圆桌,还有一个小角落放热水壶和杯子。家具算够齐全了。而且,枕头有两个


浴室是站立式的淋浴,原来浴缸所占的空间换成淋浴间变成一个相当大的淋浴间。



薇米文旅虽然只供应早餐,但其它两餐基本不是问题。薇米文旅那栋楼旁边就是屏东夜市,民族路,中山路和逢甲路一带都有吃的。要不然走远一点还有太平洋百货、Global Mall。支出肯定比在夜市吃多,但有冷气。

15 Apr 2017

花見 ~ 満開


Einer Bekannter war letze Woche in Japan zum einer Urlaub und hatte mir ein Foto des schöneste Sakura schicken.

Was für eine Bekannte.

24 Mar 2017

尊王公镇茶山

尊王公镇茶山是戏说台湾尊王公系列的故事之一。故事中的林老爷凭着碧观音的秘方而成富甲一方的茶商。少年时的林老爷某一天在街上看见已有青梅竹马的吴丽卿而强娶她为正室。之后又娶了细姨月英,并产一子世华。虽已有二妻,林老爷仍要娶个三姨太入门,并到尊王公庙请神观礼。尊王公赐林老爷签警告林老爷若执意出门娶三姨太,将面临家破人亡的结果。

铁齿的林老爷一意孤行。正室,细姨与儿子迎来的却是一个自称是三姨太的年轻女子玉琴和一具三姨太称是林老爷的无头尸体。三姨太自称林老爷临终前让她成为林家的掌家, 并泡了碧观音逼吴丽卿让她入门掌家。

私通王管家的月英怀了王管家的孩子,唆使王管家偷玉琴的碧观音秘方。被玉琴发现的王管家为了保护月英跳井自杀。王老爷突然返家。除了世华,林家没人肯忍林老爷。林老爷被玉琴当成疯子关进柴房,面对尊王公神像忏悔。月英与林老爷串通毒死玉琴。放鞭炮庆祝的吴丽卿告诉林老爷与月琴他们将亲生女儿害死。

原来当年月英生下的是女儿。为了自己在林家的地位让王管家偷龙转凤,并把自己的女儿扔在荒郊野外。水伯经过将女婴包走抚养。几年后,吴丽卿与青梅竹马乘林老爷不在家时幽会被月英撞见通报林老爷抓奸。吴丽卿的青梅竹马为了保护吴丽卿自称是他对吴丽卿无理并跳井自杀。水伯带着一个小女孩见吴丽卿。原来吴丽卿的青梅竹马是水伯的儿子。水伯与吴丽卿于是利用小女孩报复林老爷。这个小女孩就是玉琴。

故事的结局就是玉琴没死,该忏悔的人忏悔,该放下仇恨原谅的人放下仇恨原谅,一家团圆皆大欢喜。




虽然故事结尾是皆大欢喜,我却相当震荡。不知到编剧是否把这故事定在某个年代,日据时代或日据时代之前。总之,故事里的年代法律应该不发达。家里有人跳井,林家却不用报官。林老爷和月英涉嫌毒害玉琴忏悔后也没事。以今日的法律来看不可思议。

故事简直是旧社会女性的悲歌。吴丽卿被迫嫁给一个她不爱的男人,不断吃堕胎药拒绝怀林家骨肉来抗议林老爷,伤神又伤身。虽然林老爷抓奸在床,却因为爱她而没休妻并告诫下人不可将事情说出去,吴丽卿仍然因爱人被迫跳井自杀而耿耿于怀,酝酿了长达二十年的复仇计划。月英名义上是林老爷的细姨,实际上只是林老爷传宗接代的工具。怀孕后,林老爷不再在她房里过夜了。丈夫没死,不得宠的月英却守活寡。之后,月英接受王管家的爱,还怀了他的孩子。道德的束缚使她面对被浸猪笼的命运。玉琴虽是林家千金,却因母亲的自保行为而被遗弃,还被大娘当成复仇工具对付她的亲生父母,差点儿被自己的亲生父母毒死。