Magazine profiles by Leila Chan, independent reporter

Sunday, 30 September, 2012

I love all sorts of biography, auto-biography, magazine profiles, and I will sometimes arrange and conduct phone and video interviews. I recently got hooked on Leila Chan’s magazine profiles (in Chinese). Allow me to recommend a few of them to you if you can read Chinese.

* “周榕榕 人生是自己的

“[周榕榕] 選擇新聞系,媽媽沒有反對,能夠進到大學已經好好;工作才一年便辭職,媽媽也沒說什麼,女兒一向都喜歡旅行;可是旅行回來,還不上班,一年兩年過去,媽媽終於忍不住。

那一天,母女對峙。”

* “葉劉淑儀 母女如兄弟

“「我媽媽很重視健康,好守規矩,那些好難食的穀物早餐,呢,好似樹枝那種,我見到都想嘔!但她日日吃,並且定時吃飯、吃好多生果蔬菜、做運動。媽媽常說:『健康一點,可以陪多你幾年。』我爸爸是六十幾歲時死的,媽媽現在六十二歲了,所以立法會大樓有細菌,真的好可怕。」榮欣坦言,不能想像沒有了媽媽。 “

* “楊崢 雲吞原來可以買現成?

“[楊崢]要訪問擁有米芝蓮餐廳的名廚,很難;要名廚親自示範菜式,更難,並且要求又快又容易——怎樣的名廚才會答應?楊崢已經不計成本,飛了十多個城市,仍然不斷吃閉門羹。

「放飛機」最利害的一位,是一位美國的名廚,本來透過另一位名廚約好了,但去到紐約他的餐廳,公關說他正好出書,去了全國辦簽名會。楊崢跟著公關指示飛去加州,沒能見面,唯有自己開車去名廚在纳帕谷的另一間餐廳。”

* “周國豐 童年惡夢

“「家裡都是媽媽做飯,我和爸爸都喜歡吃肉,媽媽便拼命煮一大堆,像是要把我們養到肥肥白白。」 Read the rest of this entry »


Classical Chinese Poems in English

Saturday, 15 August, 2009

杜牧: 泊秦淮
Du Mu (803-852): Moored on River Qinhuai

1 煙籠寒水月籠沙
2 夜泊秦淮近酒家
3 商女不知亡國恨
4 隔江猶唱後庭花

1 Mist-clad, the coldish water! Moon-filled, the riverside sand!
2 I moor for the night on the Qinhuai, where wining houses stand.
3 O simple song-girls know not, the shame of a kingdom demised,
4 Still sing from o’er the river, that song by the merry king’s hand.

Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa) 譯者: 黃宏發
2nd June 2009 (revised 3.6.09; 4.6.09; 5.6.09; 6.6.09; 8.6.09)

It is wonderful to read Mr. Andrew Wong’s (黃宏發) English translation of some classical chinese poems. To me, a self-proclaimed translation geek (translating English TV shows to Cantonese), I am even more amazed of the scholarly and insightful notes accompanying all the translations. Andrew’s choices of words are also careful and well thought out.


First Bilingual Chinese & English 2 weeks 1 gather (number 11)「兩周一聚」(十一): 傳統 & 傳統智慧 / Convention & Conventional Wisdom

Saturday, 28 March, 2009

I proposed the topic for our first bilingual Chinese & English “2 weeks 1 gather (number 11)「兩周一聚」(十一): 傳統 & 傳統智慧 / Convention & Conventional Wisdom”. And now I’ve posted my “傳統 & 傳統智慧 / Convention & Conventional Wisdom” entry.

I took a chance in proposing a topic to be written in two languages by the self-nominated participants but I believe it is a chance that I want to take. The Canadian sensibility in me lead me to give this bilingual idea a try.

You see, in Canada, English and French are official languages and the two languages are being used daily in businesses and in parliamentary debates, etc. Hong Kong and other cities we may have come from may use Chinese & English in their daily lifes, which is why I love to see the participants in this virtual and self-nominated gathering to give both Chinese and English a try. As I mentioned in the topic proposal, even one sentence in Chinese or English is good enough for this idea.

Now, let me share with you a “secret” and please don’t laugh too hard! (smile) I am still waiting for the day when my French is much improved (getting to know a pretty French-speaking lady will help (smile)). I took a French class in Hong Kong years ago but not much of those French are left in my head now. But I think, fundamentally, the willingness to communicate will travel a long way in creating a better world.

So here is my “secret”. My two fluent French sentences are,

“Excusez-moi, je ne parle pas Français. Parlez-vous Anglais?”

which you may have guessed the meaning in English and it is of course,

“Excuse me, I don’t speak French. Do you speak English?”

I believe when I am willing to step into another person’s shoes and try to speak her/his language, then the other person may be much more willing to help even if his/her English is not fluent. (Thinking about it, who said my English is fluent? (big smile))


港女港男對講@星期日檔案 2009-03-15 (War of HK sexes part 2)

Sunday, 15 March, 2009

如果你還沒有看,請看看 港女港男對講@星期日檔案 2009-03-08

我看完港女港男對講@星期日檔案 2009-03-15之後,我將會寫多篇文章(請等一等),但係我基本上仍然認為 “港女港男,早死早著!


The Memes of Hong Kong Ladies and Gents 「港女」與「港男」

Wednesday, 11 March, 2009

If there were a time that I have to write in Chinese, this would be it.

In this bloody war between the two sexes in Hong Kong, the fighting on the battle ground of the memes 「港女」(Kong Girls) and「港男」(Kong Boys) are getting nastier and nastier. Writing in Chinese will let me reach out to the most Hong Kong Chinese readers and to communicate with them directly in their language of preference on a topic that they are all very passionate about.

I am quite proud to have written “港女港男,早死早著!“, which I hope will be an insightful article even I deliberately picked a seemingly insulting title to make the article eye-catching.

Whether my insights help or not, I had a ton of fun writing in Chinese in a humorous tone and sharing my “insights” and unique perspective one the matter.

If you can read Chinese, check out my “港女港男,早死早著!“. Hope you enjoy it as much as I in writing it.


Recent Chinese Entries – 最新中文博客條目

Tuesday, 10 March, 2009

Here are some of my recent Chinese blog entries. Feel free to check them out if you can read Chinese.


Writing in Chinese (中文寫作)

Friday, 6 March, 2009

Thanks to the kind help from a few encouraging blog friends, I have ventured into writing more blog entries in Chinese (中文寫作). Which is why you may be seeing less blog entries here. Feel free to check out my Chinese blog (加燦指點) if you can read Chinese.

While I am not comparing myself to the economist Steven N. S. Cheung (張五常), whose main accomplishment at the end may be his efforts in bringing some western economics ideas and analysis into China, but he has set a good example. I think it helps to write in Chinese if I want to share some of my insights with Chinese in Hong Kong or other places.

As an aside, I am proud to be a Canadian as I think our multicultural and diversify mixed of cultures are our key assets in this new connected world. We don’t have the military power of US, we don’t have a large foreign currency reserve like China, but we do have so many different cultures living relatively well together and  a government reasonably respected in the world (a bit diminished under P.M. Harper).

I will continue to post entries in this blog but please check out my Chinese blog (加燦指點) if you can read Chinese.


Panda Economics – Lessons from 看熊猫 & 红烧熊猫

Saturday, 7 February, 2009

First off all ladies and gentlemen, this is a post about Panda Economics and NOT Prada Economics (which should an interesting post in itself). (HT: 張五常 教授’s blog entry “本博客管理员新春日记“) I hope you will have as much fun in reading this entry as I had in writing it. I have two panda economics observations.

First panda economics observation,

电视播放到一则新闻,是台湾人春节期间去动物园看熊猫,抱怨时间太短的事。教授看了一眼,道:“真是蠢到死。为什么不分开两个时段,一个时段收价三千台币,可看半个小时,并供应座位、茶水;一个时段免费开放,排队轮候,随他们去打架争抢?”

My comment here is that while extreme solution like this may solve the superficial problem of visiting time of panda but solutions like this may “hurt” the societal sense of “fairness” or “fair play”. While the allocation of resources may be best and most determined by people’s willingness to pay with money, I submit that impossible to measure sense of “fairness to all” may be equally or more important in a society. And Canada is, I believe and hope, one of the society that respect and have an innate sense of fairness and equality embedded in our beings, and legally our section 15 equality rights. Incidentally in 2005 I had the pleasure to attend a lecture by leading Canadian constitutional expert Prof. Peter Hogg at U of Calgary. Prof. Hogg gave an engaging and insightful lecture about section 15 of the Charter. If you are interested here are two articles written in this issue of U of A Faculty of Law Students’ Newspaper (PDF file).

Anyway, Canadians’ universal health care coverage is the envy of many parts of the world, including many Americans with insufficient or no health insurance coverage. Now, before you think I consider the Canadian system without flaw, I would like to point out I know we have problems. But then I will tell you to go ask those Americans that have insufficient or no health care coverage.

In a very short handed way to touch upon the Canadian paradox, I want to say I enjoy the subversive humour in The Barbarian Invasions by Canadian director Denys Arcand. In the film, while the lead actor Remy is determined to fight his terminal cancer in a Canadian hospital (well, dare it, he paid taxes for it), but the over crowding was horrible, so his option-trading rich-and-handsome American-citizen son proceeds to bribe, negotiate, pull strings to get his father the biggest room, best services, and prompt access to state of the art medical equipment that he wants his father to have.

So in short, I know some of the problems in the Canadian medical systems but I won’t trade it for anywhere else’s health care and definitely not the states. Plus, ah, I enjoy fairness. And I enjoy the fact that former Prime Minister of Canada got the same access as every other Canadians do, no queue jumping, purely depending on equal access and your medical urgency on a case by case basis.

Now, second panda observation,

我们大笑之下,教授继续发挥:“有一次去四川,他们说这里有很多很多熊猫。我问:‘很多是多少?’他们说:‘多得不得了。’我再问:‘你们这里有红烧熊猫这道菜吗?’他们说没有。这就证明其实不多嘛。”

Now, from the creative fire of “你们这里有红烧熊猫这道菜吗?’”and pushing the idea one step further, I will change the question to “红烧熊猫这道菜多少錢一碟?”

The officials won’t have the answer to this one but some “bad” people may. You see, there are people in the world that will take the legal risk to eat endangered species (animals or plants). Correct me if I am wrong, but I remembering the new year’s favourite “髮菜” is an endangered dessert plant, so the harvesting of it has now been banned. But you see, there are still people selling and buying them for a price.

So the question of “红烧熊猫这道菜多少錢一碟?” has embedded in it the signal of the people’s willingness to take risk and be caught (and probably be executed) to make money. Blood money indeed. You see, for some years, the trading of tusk (象牙) has been banned by countries around the world via a UN convention (I think) but the harvesting and trading for the illegal tusks continued for some years with a price premium (I think).

As Steven had taught me through his articles, I see ‘你们这里有红烧熊猫这道菜吗?’ as a yes/no question. Whereas “红烧熊猫这道菜多少錢一碟?” is a question that has the additional details and hidden signal that a “price” is bringing me.


Cheung on China Four Trillion Yuan (US$586 Billion) rescue plan

Tuesday, 18 November, 2008

Here is an excerpt from Prof. Cheung’s article “北京出手四万亿的经济分析” (emphasis added),

(八)最头痛的问题 ——我要留到好意头的「八」才提出(一笑)——是政府的大手加速项目肯定会扼杀了无数的半生不死的私营(即民营)工厂的生存机会!对工业而言,新劳动法是 「一剑霜寒四十州」,四万亿的政府工程是补加一剑︰私营工业的成本增加无可避免。一般而言,如果政府能成功地挽救经济,新劳动法会顽固起来,挥之不去。但 四万亿这一着多半会协助此新法的撤销。这是因为如果不撤销,在四万亿的推行下,工厂的倒闭潮会一浪接一浪地出现。北京的朋友不可能不知道工业的发展是他们 的米饭班主。


Cheung on RMB and Chinese Industry

Friday, 14 November, 2008

Here is an excerpt from Prof. Cheung‘s article “人民币与中国工业” (emphasis added),

先要澄清两件事。其一,有些言论把目前中国工业遇到的大困难,归咎于地球金融风暴。这风 暴无疑带来杀伤力,但对中国来说这些是今年九月十四日雷曼兄弟出事之后的麻烦,而中国工业遇难是早上大半年开始明确的了。厂商们的看法很一致。风暴之前让 他们亏蚀的主要是人民币兑美元升值,但关门主要因为新劳动合同法。后者使他们从失望转到绝望去。厂商们的意识,是人民币升值及带来的损害很可能是过渡性 的,北京上头知道他们的困境或会改过来。新劳动法则说得实牙实齿。大半年前港商听到北京派去的说出的一番话,纷纷感到大势去矣。
要分析及处理目前中国的经济困境,千万不要有混淆:人民币与新劳动法加起来是一回事,金 融风暴是另一回事。以后者作为前者的借口是严重的错失,因为二者的性质差别大,解救或处理的策略是不同的。我大略地估计过前者给国家带来的损失,大得不说 算了。这种估计要算得精确很困难,但大略的估计不难,也不会离谱,比较聪明而又有观察力的研究生可以算得及格。

第二件要澄清的,是一些读者读到我批评新劳动法的文章,说他们所在的地方政府没有真的执 行,有等于无,何害之有哉?我知道执行有地区性的分别。北京与上海执行得相当紧,据说劳资双方打官司劳方的赢面在九成以上。一些地区忙顾左右,劳方不吵起 来不管。还有一些地方,有关干部对厂商们说最好大家不提新劳动法,或明或暗地教厂商们怎样避重就轻。这些都不是问题。问题是只要新劳动法存在,北京随时可 以坚持此法的严厉执行,地方政府怎样打松章,投资者也不敢下注。

目前的形势非常严峻。三项观察皆凶兆!一、厂房租金暴跌,空置厂房无数。二、工人的收入明显下降。三、几个月前我观察到而又写过的工人回乡潮,目前正在急升。这三项严重的不幸皆起于金融风暴之前好几个月。北京不要再等了。


Congrats on Dr. Zhaofeng Xue’s new book – Commerce without Frontiers: The Economics Revolution in Antitrust

Monday, 10 November, 2008

Congrats on Dr. Zhaofeng Xue‘s new book: Commerce without Frontiers: The Economics Revolution in Antitrust (商业无边界——反垄断法的经济学革命).

Here is an excerpt (emphasis and links added) from the book foreword by Dean Emeritus Henry G. Manne, George Mason University School of Law,

Dr. Zhaofeng Xue has written a book of enormous value to the Chinese economy. It is, in a word, a guidebook to the many traps and fallacies of American-style (and, even more, European-style) antitrust law that is being adopted willy-nilly in many countries. One cannot read or peruse this monograph without becoming completely puzzled about how such a plethora of errors could exist in this era of scientific economics and startled by the attractiveness of this muddle for other countries.

Dr. Xue’s first task then is to demonstrate why such phenomena as large-scale firms, resale price maintenance, vertical integration, below-cost pricing, price discrimination and many kinds of mergers are pro-competitive, economically beneficial practices. The strong economic logic which now explains these benefits was not, however, always understood. American antitrust laws date from 1890, while many of the convincing explanations Dr. Xue offers were not developed in the economics literature until the second-half of the 20th Century. And while American courts have for some years now reshaped antitrust law to reflect this newer understanding, other nations’ courts and regulators seem to want to stop the intellectual clock at about 1950, the highpoint of fallacious antitrust reasoning.

Congrats Zhaofeng. I know who I can call next time if I have antitrust questions. (smile)


China Economic “Growth” in 2009?

Friday, 7 November, 2008

Steven Cheung ponders China economic “growth” in 2009 may be in doubt in this article,

最近北京公布的经济增长率下降,上季下降至百分之九。明年怎样看呢?某机构的预测是明年 增长九点五,北京说要保九,林毅夫说保八以上不难。我呢?认为保零也不易!是的,我的水晶球说,未来一两年,神州大地很可能出现负增长。说得肯定一点吧: 如果北京依然故我,不洞烛先机地大手应对,负增长一定出现。最近北京公布的数据显示经济的增长率下降得快,但跟我在几个地区见到的工业下跌相比,还是好看 很多。工业是中国的经济命脉,此业遇难,整个国家的经济无可救药也。


Cheung on Krugman

Friday, 7 November, 2008

Steven Cheung wrote a Chinese article that talks about Paul Krugman, the 2008 Nobel Prize winner in Economics.


Superficial understanding of China’s Economic slowdown by Globe and Mail

Tuesday, 21 October, 2008

If you can only read English, your understanding of China’s Economic slow down may be limited to some superficial report/analysis like this one in Globe and Mail “Sputtering demand puts brakes on China’s growth” by Mr. Geoffrey York.

Or if you are lucky and can read Chinese, then you will be able to gain deeper understanding of the issues and challenges as analyzed by local Chinese experts. Here is an Apple Daily 21st Oct, 2008 editorial by Mr. Li Yee,

倒 閉 的 不 少 企 業 , 都 是 香 港 上 市 公 司 。 香 港 兩 任 特 首 多 年 來 誇 耀 香 港 有 「 背 靠 祖 國, 面 向 世 界 」 的 優 勢 , 更 強 調 以 發 展 金 融 業 來 展 示 這 種 優 勢 , 但 若 珠 三 角 的 企 業 經營 環 境 惡 劣 並 出 現 倒 閉 潮 , 香 港 這 個 優 勢 又 如 何 顯 現 呢 ? 若 珠 三 角 繁 榮 不 再 , 建 設港 珠 澳 大 橋 又 有 多 大 的 經 濟 效 益 ?
港 台 資 企 業 從 珠 三 角 撤 退 , 是 今 年 以 來 廣東 省 制 定 並 實 施 的 「 雙 轉 移 政 策 」 所 逼 出 來 的 。 雙 轉 移 政 策 , 就 是 要 逼 使 珠 三 角 勞力 密 集 、 低 附 加 值 和 污 染 大 的 製 造 業 , 向 粵 西 、 粵 北 山 區 轉 移 。 手 段 是 收 緊 加 工 貿易 政 策 、 加 強 環 保 監 控 、 實 施 勞 動 合 同 法 和 企 業 所 得 稅 法 , 再 加 上 人 民 幣 升 值 和 原材 料 價 格 上 漲 , 使 企 業 經 營 成 本 大 幅 上 升 , 而 出 口 歐 美 市 場 的 萎 縮 , 就 是 壓 在 駱 駝背 上 的 最 後 一 根 稻 草 。 基 本 上 , 珠 三 角 已 沒 有 製 造 業 生 存 空 間 。
Read the rest of this entry »


Epilogue: The Economic System of China

Friday, 26 September, 2008

Prof. Steven Cheung has declared that “The Economic System of China” will be his final academic paper. So it is even more fascinating to read the behind the scene stories/comments (in Chinese) of the writing of this final academic paper. Here is an excerpt from the article,

殊不知个多月后,高斯的助手传来一个暂定的会议程序表。我的《中国的经济制度》开 场,给我两个小时,跟着是两个诺奖得主评论该文,加上其它人的讨论占了整个上午,其它提供文章的是空白格子,要填上,每人仅得二十分钟。高斯跟着来信,说 要以我的开场文章引导整个研讨会议的发展。一九九一在瑞典见过他,当时我的女儿刚进大学,今天已有两个懂得欺负我的孩子了。难道高斯忘记了我早就是个老人 家?昔日他欣赏我的来去纵横的思想,还在吗?他怎可以假设我还宝刀未老?

我逼着去信,说:「答应你的文章我会写,但不少被邀请的人会来自中国,费用不少,会议的 经费怎样,要我帮助吗?」他回信说不需要资助,他自己的基金足够。我想,那应该主要是他的诺贝尔奖金,很感动。跟着想,我欠他,中国也欠他,大家来日无 多,他要搞,我就舍命陪君子吧。于是给他信,说:「我答应你的文章将会是我平生最重要的作品!」


The Price of Beijing Olympics? The Lives of 2 babies and health of 1,253 babies?

Monday, 15 September, 2008

According to Apple Daily‘s Sept 16th, 2008 editorial, the price of China’s 51 gold medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics may not be simply the government advertised 306.7 billion RMB. If Mr. Li Yee (李怡) is right, the delay in the handling of the baby formula crisis, while hard to imagine, may be linked to having a smooth and successful Olympics. For some updated news, here is an excerpt from a NYT report, “Chinese Baby Formula Scandal Widens as 2 Deaths Are Announced“,

China’s Ministry of Health announced on Monday that two babies had died in recent months and that 1,253 others had been sickened by contaminated milk powder in a widening food safety scandal that has exposed persistent weaknesses in the country’s regulatory system.

More than 340 infants remain hospitalized, including 53 in serious condition. Inspection teams are visiting dairy farms and processing centers in the country’s four main milk-producing provinces to ensure that producers are not violating safety standards.

Here is an excerpt from the Sept 16th, 2008 editorial,

前 天 , 中 共 中 宣 部 下 令 禁 止 內 地 媒 體 擅 自 報 道 毒 奶 粉 事 件 , 一 律 要 以 官 方 公 佈 或 新 華 社 的 報 道 為 準 , 當 局 並 封 鎖 網 絡 討 論 。
衞 生 部 黨 組 書 記 高 強 上 周 六 在 記 者 會 上 說 , 「 三 鹿 在 確 認 奶 粉 質 量 出 現 問 題 以 後 , 沒 有 向 政 府 報 告 , 應 該 承 擔 很 大 的 責 任 。 」 既 然 三 鹿 集 團 應 承 擔 責 任 , 又 為 甚 麼 要 禁 止 傳 媒 擅 自 報 道 與 網 站 討 論 呢 ?
主 要 是 針 對 傳 媒 在 毒 奶 粉 事 件 上 追 查 並 非 全 由 三 鹿 集 團 承 擔 的 責 任 : 一 是 三 鹿 奶 粉 的 「 國 家 免 檢 產 品 」 稱 號 是 怎 麼 取 得 的 ? 二 是 毒 奶 粉 事 件 3 月 時 已 發 生 , 拖 到 現 在 才 處 理 , 是 否 因 奧 運 而 把 這 問 題 壓 制 了 ? [K’s translation: The poisonous baby infant problem was discovered in March. Was the delay till now a result of the Beijing Olympics?]
第 一 個 問 題 , 局 外 人 無 法 得 知 , 而 官 方 則 對 此 問 題 予 以 迴 避 。 第 二 個 問 題 , 在 上 周 六 記 者 會 上 , 高 強 說 , 「 從 政 府 接 到 相 關 資 訊 , 到 作 出 反 應 , 我 覺 得 是 迅 速 的 , 和 奧 運 會 的 召 開 沒 有 必 然 的 聯 繫 。 」
「 沒 有 必 然 的 聯 繫 」 , 是 否 也 有 非 必 然 的 相 關 聯 繫 呢 ? 據 報 道 , 三 鹿 集 團 在 3 月 份 開 始 就 接 到 了 嬰 兒 患 腎 石 的 投 訴 。 8 月 1 日 , 三 鹿 公 司 確 認 了 奶 粉 有 問 題 。 8 月 2 日 , 擁 有 43% 股 權 的 三 鹿 外 資 合 作 夥 伴 新 西 蘭 恆 天 然 合 作 集 團 , 立 即 要 求 三 鹿 董 事 會 「 全 面 公 開 回 收 問 題 產 品 」 。 然 而 , 在 石 家 莊 的 三 鹿 集 團 並 沒 有 採 取 相 關 行 動 。 [K’s translation: The problem was confirmed on Aug 1st, New Zealand partner company asked the local Chinese partner to initiate a full recall of the baby formula on Aug 2nd. But the Chinese partner did nothing. ] 北 京 當 局 甚 麼 時 候 知 道 並 責 令 地 方 政 府 採 取 行 動 呢 ? 據 新 西 蘭 總 理 克 拉 克 前 天 表 示 , 在 新 西 蘭 政 府 同 北 京 就 此 問 題 接 觸 後 , 地 方 官 員 才 開 始 採 取 行 動 。 但 距 離 3 月 份 發 現 問 題 已 超 過 半 年 , 距 離 8 月 2 日 新 西 蘭 合 作 夥 伴 要 求 「 全 面 公 開 回 收 」 也 已 一 個 多 月 。 數 以 十 萬 計 的 嬰 兒 在 這 段 時 間 繼 續 服 食 毒 奶 粉 , 患 腎 石 嬰 兒 數 目 在 這 段 被 隱 瞞 的 時 間 陸 續 增 加 。 國 家 質 檢 總 局 局 長 李 長 江 昨 天 說 , 患 腎 石 嬰 兒 已 達 580 人 。
為 甚 麼 新 西 蘭 的 合 作 公 司 , 對 中 國 嬰 兒 的 健 康 , 比 中 國 本 地 的 生 產 集 團 還 要 關 心 ? 為 甚 麼 新 西 蘭 總 理 親 自 過 問 這 件 事 , 而 中 國 總 理 卻 不 見 蹤 影 ? [K’s translation: Why did the Prime Minister of New Zealand personally handles this case? And the Chinese Premier is no where to be seen? ]為 甚 麼 8 月 1 日 三 鹿 集 團 已 確 認 了 奶 粉 質 量 有 問 題 , 卻 沒 有 上 報 , 而 要 等 新 西 蘭 政 府 與 北 京 當 局 接 觸 後 , 中 國 當 局 才 知 道 和 採 取 行 動 ? 這 也 許 與 奧 運 「 沒 有 必 然 的 聯 繫 」 , 但 當 全 國 從 中 央 到 地 方 政 府 都 沉 湎 在 奧 運 的 亢 奮 中 , 這 種 關 係 到 數 以 十 萬 計 嬰 兒 健 康 的 事 , 是 不 是 就 被 擱 置 了 呢 ?
如 果 大 陸 有 新 聞 自 由 , 那 怕 只 是 稍 許 對 「 統 一 發 放 」 新 聞 有 所 放 鬆 , 各 地 傳 媒 也 許 在 3 月 就 已 經 揭 發 毒 奶 粉 事 件 了 , 何 致 於 拖 到 現 在 ? 虧 高 強 還 有 臉 說 , 「 我 覺 得 ( 反 應 ) 是 迅 速 的 」 !

Here is an AP report video,

A Canadian friend of mine who attended the Olympics in Beijing was full of praise of what he saw in Beijing. But I have read enough Chinese press and have learned over the years to be a little skeptical.

Now, if the above Apple Daily editorial is proven, I am deeply deeply saddened to hear that lives and health of precious babies in China are so dispensable. And the glory of having a smooth and successful Olympics shall be sufficient ground to sacrifice the health and lives of Chinese babies.


To vote or Not to vote in the HK LegCo election

Monday, 1 September, 2008

Journalist Li Yee (李怡) (one half of Apple Daily’s editorial team) wrote an editorial “蘋 論 : 給 打 算 放 棄 投 票 的 市 民 進 一 言” to encourage people to vote in the Sept 7th, 2008 Hong Kong Legislative Council (LEGCO) election with . Here is an excerpt,

政 府 的 行 政 , 已 越 來 越 不 像 話 了 。 花 幾 千 萬 公 帑 聘 任 的 副 局 政 助 , 形 同 虛 設 , 控 制 油 價 , 外 傭 稅 的 混 亂 , 梁 展 文 事 件 , 真 是 不 知 所 謂 。 最 近 刺 桐 樹 倒 塌 壓 死 少 女 的 事 , 康 文 署 署 長 周 達 明 的 輕 鬆 推 托 的 話 語 , 更 暴 露 了 政 府 各 部 門 只 知 卸 責 、 毫 無 問 責 已 形 成 了 劣 根 性 。 這 種 情 形 的 蔓 延 , 都 實 實 在 在 地 顯 示 , 我 們 必 須 選 一 些 願 意 監 督 政 府 而 不 是 100% 支 持 政 府 的 議 員 進 立 法 會 。 目 前 , 沒 有 甚 麼 事 比 這 更 逼 切 的 了 。
因 此 , 每 個 選 民 都 應 該 在 9 月 7 日 投 票 , 以 此 來 顯 示 我 們 珍 惜 自 己 的 政 治 權 利 , 也 顯 示 我 們 逼 切 要 求 加 強 對 政 府 的 監 督 。


Beijing Olympics: Dear Liu Xiang (刘翔) – Your injury and the pressure from 1.3 billion Chinese

Sunday, 17 August, 2008

Dear Liu Xiang (刘翔),

Like the 91,000 people watching you live at the Bird’s Nest, my better half and I were both stunned, shocked, and disappointed that you had to withdraw from the 110m hurdles competition because of your Achilles injury. We saw you were clearly in pain during the warm-up but bravely gave it a try before you had to withdraw.

I know you are much much more disappointed of your inability to compete at the Beijing Olympics than we can ever imagine. The stress you must have been under from the sky-high hopes and dreams of 1.3 billion Chinese would be unbearable to most. And words from insensitive officials from the Chinese Sports Ministry last year, as reported by TIME magazine, couldn’t have helped either. Quoting from the TIME article (emphasis added),

Soaring is just what China expects Liu to do. A recent Internet poll found that the Chinese citizenry’s No. 1 Olympic wish is for Liu to win gold. The Chinese Sports Ministry, which has three doctors dedicated to Liu’s well-being, apparently holds similarly high hopes. “Officials told us if Liu could not win a gold medal in Beijing, all of his previous achievements would become meaningless,” said Sun Haiping, Liu’s coach, to the press last year. Just how important is Liu to the Chinese nation? Well, an insurance company has valued his legs at $13.5 million.

It is only after reading reports from Apple Daily’s report (an excerpt included here) where it is reported that your coach actually cried in the post-race press conference when he talked about your condition and your insistence in attempting to run even when you were in serious pain,

在 賽 後 記 者 會 上 , 劉 翔 的 教 練 孫 海 平 在 解 釋 傷 勢 時 , 多 次 泣 不 成 聲 。[…] 孫 海 平 說 , 劉 翔 受 傷 的 地 方 正 是 他 跑 步 最 需 要 受 力 支 撐 的 地 方 , 只 要 腳 一 撐 在 那 個 地 方 就 要 受 力 , 而 劉 翔 因 傷 一 撐 那 個 地 方 就 軟 下 來 , 但 還 是 始 終 在 堅 持 。 說 到 此 處 , 孫 海 平 再 度 哽 咽 , 難 以 繼 續 。

Xiang, I know your fellow countrymen have been stunned, shocked, and disappointed with your injury and inability to compete. Witness the stunned silence in the packed 91,000 Bird’s Nest after you walked off the field. At the same time, I hope they will understand and realize the tremendous pressure you must have been under and the fact that there can be unexpected and painful injuries in any sports. (I’ve scanned a few of the latest reports in Chinese here, here, and here.)

I hope your fellow countrymen will be supportive on your road to recovery. And when you are healthy again, to challenge the other athletes in 110m hurdles. Of course, it is not the same as having you compete and win in Beijing but life sometimes throw us unexpected curve balls. I believe what doesn’t kill us will make us stronger.

Wishing you a speedy recovery,

Kempton

*******

P.S. Here is an excerpt from Globe and Mail,

On the Chinese Internet, many fans blamed Liu himself, saying he had become arrogant and spoiled by too many lucrative advertising deals. Debates erupted in web forums, with many people cursing Liu and others praising him. […]

Cheng Diyu, a 76-year-old pensioner, said the entire nation had been expecting Liu to give a triumphant performance in Beijing. “I’m so sad and disappointed,” she said when told of Liu’s withdrawal. “It hurts the hearts of the people. His gold medal was so important to China.”

P.P.S. Here is an article from New York Times, “Olympic Star Is Sidelined. Will His Ads Be, as Well?“.


Olympic gossip: Guo Jingjing (郭晶晶) getting married to Kenneth Fok Kai-kong (霍啓剛) soon?

Sunday, 17 August, 2008
Guo Jingjings gold medal awarded by Timothy Fok

Guo Jingjing's gold medal awarded by Timothy Fok - Photo: Apple Daily

OK, I enjoy gossip once in a while. (big smile) This post is pure gossip mixed in with some truth. Enjoy.

There are reports that China’s sweetheart Guo Jingjing (郭晶晶) is going to retire after the Beijing Olympics and will be getting married soon. The Hong Kong Apple Daily has reported that Timothy Fok (霍震霆), HK businessman, member of IOC, and father of Kenneth Fok Kai-kong (霍啓剛) (reported boyfriend of Jingjing, had specially arranged with the IOC for him to give Jingjing her final Beijing Olympic Diving gold medal. That is sweet. :)

Read more about are the marriage gossips in Chinese here, here, and about the relationship between Kenneth and Jingjing in English here.

P.S. Dear readers, if I ever let myself become too much like TMZ, please kindly let me know before it is too late.

P.P.S. If you attended any of the Guo Jingjing (郭晶晶) diving events and have some photos (taken by you) to share, please post them on Flickr and post a link to it in the comment area. Thanks.

*******

Aug 17th 16:55 Update: According to Apple Daily, Jingjing is not quite ready to retire yet. So the news of Jingjing retiring immediately and getting married with Kenneth right away is simply rumour designed to sell more newspaper or get more readers to read blog entries by shameless reporters (yours truly included). Nothing more. :)

Here is an excerpt from the Apple Daily article,

郭 晶 晶 獲 頒 金 牌 後 表 示 , 獲 取 金 牌 是 她 生 命 中 非 常 值 得 紀 念 的 時 刻 。 當 有 記 者 問 她 從 「 未 來 老 爺 」 霍 震 霆 手 上 取 得 金 牌 是 否 非 常 高 興 時 , 郭 面 帶 尬 尷 之 色 地 說 : 「 很 高 興 , 取 得 金 牌 都 很 高 興 。 」[…]

她 又 說 , 為 迎 接 北 京 奧 運 , 她 已 苦 練 四 年 , 但 她 非 常 享 受 訓 練 過 程 , 更 強 調 很 喜 歡 跳 水 , 「 若 果 可 以 , 我 希 望 可 以 繼 續 跳 水 落 去 。 」 這 粉 碎 外 界 指 北 京 奧 運 是 她 退 役 前 最 後 一 次 比 賽 , 之 後 立 即 嫁 入 霍 家 的 傳 言 。

Aug 17th 23:58 Update: Here is a mention of the award ceremony in The Standard. Now, I have no clue why did The Standard pick this photo, out of thousands of much better photos, to use in this article? You see, Jing Jing had a really funny looking face in this picture. (smile)


Reflection on the Ugly 7 years old singer Yang Peiyi (楊沛宜) & Fake Fireworks in Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony

Wednesday, 13 August, 2008
Child singer revealed as fake

Olympics: Child singer revealed as fake

In my previous blog entry about Lin Miaoke (林妙可) singing with the voice of Yang Peiyi (楊沛宜) in the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony, I failed to mention that the Chinese government (through that one Politburo member) was indirectly sending negative messages to little girls across China that, even at the age of 7, if you don’t look “flawless”, your hard work and talent are still not good enough.

As if the acute gender imbalance problem (China has millions more men than women, see the “Demographic time bomb in China” story) is not enough, the action of rejecting Yang further send wrong messages to females in China.

It is also interesting to see how the Chinese government’s attempts to cleanse the news reports of this scandal. The Hong-Kong-based newspapers Mingpao and Apple Daily have some informative coverage in Chinese here (開幕禮以假亂真 天籟童音有代唱 腳印煙花是錄製), here (29個腳印煙花 28個屬電腦3D), here (「政治局委員 最後一刻令換人」美聯社引述音樂總監), and here (幕後代唱者被指不可愛遭犧牲 林妙可天籟歌聲作假). Compare the above to a cleansed official version here (《歌唱祖國》演唱者另有其人 楊沛宜幕後獻聲), pay attention to what information was skipped and the tone used.

I personally think that Yang Peiyi (楊沛宜) should be given a chance to perform at the closing ceremony because she is a beautiful little 7 year old with a lovely voice.

Of course, the deep-seeded issues that drove a country to pursue “excellence” by using computer generated effects to create 28 out of 29 firework displays, and substituting the face of a 7 years old girl, may not be easily overcome in a few days. But one can hope. In fact, one must hope.


%d bloggers like this: