2021/09/25

A Promised Land

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Finally completed the reading of this 700 pages book last night, you can see how it was being "tortured" by me :P even though it's a hardcover version, the book jacket was fragile. I've using almost 6 months to complete because I could only had time to read before bed, which was about 1 to 2 hours at most, sometimes it was really tired but this book is worth to spend time with. 

As far as I could remember when I saw it in a MTR book store, it attracted me by it's thick spine at once; there was only two copies up there on the very top of the shelving,  I grabbed it right away and decided to bring back home after reading the blurb. 

In this six months, I ran through a "tough journey" leading by the author, an unusual one, the 44thpresident of the United States, Mr. Barack Obama. A journey of how his “bet” make changes for his people; the barriers of partisan & pressure that had to be overcome; burden of duties deep inside, both his country & family…with strong & true beliefs of democracy, justice, hope, that could bring especially to the African Americans; a better future that could be built & the most important ~ love, that should have as a real human being…

It’s an extraordinary experience to know the routine & tremendous supporting team in White House, the wide scope of issues that he had to consider prior to make any decision that might affect the majority as well as the minority. But behind the scene, there were always had some lonely nights/ moments that Obama was struggled to give & take. 

There was a message I kept receiving throughout the book is , whenever he received a letter or a voice from a citizen/kid, a message of a missing pilot, a visit of an injured soldier or the 911 families…all these will once again reminding himself why to step into the government in his first place, reminding him of being a humble president, as well as a better person.

I have to say I did enjoy very much while reading this book, because it is not only a memoir of a president, or a record of what he did during his presidency. Obama didn’t hide the actual feeling of disappointment, anger or depress whenever he felt; compromise that had to be made most of the time for a bill to pass through, but at least, some achievement that benefit to the country could still be made.

What I do believe “Passion to become better” is the key and only when human don’t pretend themselves as God, “Yes we can!”

p.s.- I'm thinking, what a blessing for a country to have a president like Barack Obama. 

 
還記得在三月的ー個下午, 上完課回程途經美孚港鐵站内的書局, 毎次總會入内尋寳, 當天也不例外. 在書架最高處, 厚厚的書脊吸引着我, 原來是美國總統奥巴馬的 "A Promised Land". 我對政治算不得上有興趣, 但對自傳, 尤其是有視野和胸襟的人卻是例外. 幸好剛剛夠高 :D 於是一手取下先看封面及封底~ 相片拍得很美, 尤其是書背的ー張, 完全捕捉到作者的神緖和情懷,很喜歡. 再翻開書内看簡介, 看罷, 決定買下, 開始了這漫長而又期待的閲讀旅程.

我説是旅程, 真的, 在整整六個月的時日, 我總會在僅餘的睡前一至两小時, 翻開這本長達七百多頁的書本, 讓奥巴馬帶我遊走於他的政治旅途, 既艱辛卻又滿有意義和感恩. 事實上, 有時工作後實在疲倦, 但仍很想看一章, 或至少ー個段落, 因為很値得;在很多個晚上,藉着文章的內容,讓我覺得本來看似很絕望的世界,又再次浮現絲絲美善的盼望,得到不少安慰。

政治世界從來複雜多變,某程度上作者是憑着單純的初心,盼望可以激勵國民(人)去創建一個滿有公義、和平、平等的世界,一個更美好的將來,對非藉美國的公民/青少年的一代意義尤其重要。在龐大的白宮團隊支持之下,奧巴馬仍然必須經歷無數在民主社會下存在的國會投票,才能推動一些議案;即使要作出某些侷部的妥協,只要能對國民有利,他們還是會堅持行下去。在很多議案推行之前,作為總統的他,要考慮的事情及層面甚廣,從他敘述在白宮的日常可得知。其實除了背負著工作(國家)的重擔外,他在書中也不時提及對家人的一點點歉疚(也有對團隊,支持者及家人的無限感激),並自己在得失之下的感受…我想,就是這個第44任美國總統非常人性的一面,沒有刻意隱藏自己的軟弱。

書中提及在不少個無奈的晚上,奧巴馬獨自靜下來的時刻,他還是會因著收過一封市民的感謝信,聽過一個工人的故事,看見過一個非藉小孩的微笑;又或是在探訪傷兵/911 遇難者家屬,為着執行任務失而復得的機師⋯等等,等等而再次回想自己要進入政府工作的初心,為此,明天又會重新出發。

事實上這本書有太多太多內容,並非單單是一本回憶錄或工作報告。當我在閲讀到書本後期的時候,正藉美軍全面撤離阿富汗,塔利班重掌政權之際;有時在政治圈外的平民如我,腦中也會浮現大大小小的"為什麼?"消息傳出的那個晚上,我在書中找到一些事情始末的㾗跡。同時,又令我反思,要批評政府的決定不難,但又有多少次是在我們能夠明白個中的利害取捨才去作出真正公道的批判,甚或指控呢?

要持守創造更美好的世界這份熱誠,讓自己能成為一個更好的人,卻沒有因為掌握大權而扮演上帝,談何容易?

美國公民曾經有奧巴馬這一位總統,我想,是福氣。

 



D300 or D70s, how about iphone SE?

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Photography can help us to freeze special moments, to retrieve the feeling of our emotion in a specific time; to capture the beauty that may be lost forever…or even more; that’s why I love to shoot. 

Nikon D300 camera with wide angle lens attached

It was a struggle moment when I packed my luggage for this trip, whether I should bring along with my Nikon D70s in a lighter weight? Or Nikon D300, much heavier but more full function, or…simply my iphone? 

Nikon D70s camera with VR 18-55 lens attached

A standard lens, a wide angle or a 18-55/f3.5 VR zoom…? I know this scenario is not strange to some of you, especially when the technology of the build-in camera improve sharply in these years; I wished I could have a mirror-less interchangeable lens cameras at that minute :P

Finally & fortunately I decided to bring along with D300 + 12-24/f1.2 + 18-70/f3.5 + iphone SE (1st generation). I’m an amateur in photography, they may seem a bit “old- fashion” compare with the modern gear, but they are my intimate companions since 2015, and this time, they brought me lots & lots of good memories for my Petit Paris series, thank you “pal”.

I rarely crop photo frame after shooting because it‘s my own training to frame seriously before press my shutter: a rule that I’d like to keep since the first day I was using filmed SLR camera. It‘s a lot more sensation when holding a camera instead of a phone, thus better photos as a result.  I don’t know why, may be I am stubborn I guess.

wide angle photo of sky & garden & a couple with kid in Paris
By D300 (ISO-200_f/10_1/125s)

In fact, a good quality wide angle is almost a must to capture the enormous breathtaking architecture, and those fascinating colour coverage on or below the sky. Truly speaking, this set of photo gear, to me, was a bit heavy for a long day walk; but I did carry them with me in 8 out of 12 days for a reason.

purple orange pink & peach blossom color flower bed in Paris
By iPhone SE (ISO25 f/2.2_1/276s)
On the other hand, iphone did works tremendously well that, I was a bit free of tension to keep an eye onto it compare with a camera, in terms of security issue, i.e.: free “float” to explore!

Paris is basically safe enough for solo trip, provided you have to avoid some treacherous zone at night; but hanging your camera around your neck is still not a good idea, especially for a tourist outside the tourist spots. So I had to put it back into my bag after every few shots which was inconvenience and that’s while a small iphone helped so much in these occasions. 

In my book, you may find some photo quality difference; 80% of the photos were taken by D300 and the rest by iphone especially 2 full days in Mortmartre and The Louvre. 

To maintain the atmospheric colour as close as to the true moment, I do minimize my post editing process to all my photos. They may not professional in some sense, they are what I saw in 95% real at that moment in that space. 

I am happy of what they are & I hope you will like them, too.

2021/09/19

Octopus

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A bun with eyes and sausage that looks like an octopus

Sometimes life may be difficult, anything that happens can drag you down; job, friends, family, political environment, health, boyfriend, weather…whatever, whenever you are in a bad mood.

Me, too! But on the other hand, I have a special gift from God, I feel happy easily whenever I  see any ‘face’ without nose or even mouth, I am joyful with laughter. I don’t know why? may be they are just so cute? so true and direct? looks like simple-minded.

This morning when I finished my Sunday service, I went into a boulangerie and met this ‘Mr Octopus’ 章魚包,  original I thought it’s weird to have octopus filling inside a bun, but it seems ‘he’ really wanted me to bring him home, you see? his eyes :D , so I got him. When I put him onto my plate, I know I have to do something before ‘killing’ him, and this was the picture that I would like to dedicate to Mr Octopus for having fun with me in this rainy day without ‘Justice’!

Thank you for bring me joy, even it’s only for a while, you make me resume my energy and hope to carry on, tomorrow is another fresh new day :D

Oh! by the way, guess what is actually inside? I am 100% correct: A simple-minded of a few shredded cheese, that’s all :D




2021/09/18

地下鐵

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地下鐵-幾米作品

早陣子,弟弟一口氣把數本幾米繪本送給我,雖然已經是有點兒殘舊,但對於喜歡他作品的我,還是內容最重要,難掩興奮的心情。(謝謝細佬:D)


地下鐵是一本頗早期的作品,或許比較出名的會是已經改篇了電影的向左走,向右走;但相比兩個故事,後者是都市戀人的尋尋覓覓…而這一本是如詩般訴說着一個盲女的感受,仍然滲出幾米淡淡哀愁的風格,只是今次,更深更重。

我認識兩位失明的好朋友,多少明白他們生活中的不便及不安,但由於他們是一對夫婦,所以始終可以互相扶持。他們一位是天生失明,丈夫則是後期因病失明,所以在對世界各種事物的認知和感受,也會有所不同。

故事中的女主角是屬於後者,所以在她的世界裏仍然看到色彩,但始終當只得一個獨自生活的時候,那種在都市人海裏的孤獨感還是來得特別強烈。當我(讀者)陪着她出出入入,上上落落地下鐵的時候,有一種和她一起尋尋覓覓和等待的共鳴;我想,是因為圖畫很美,文字正是她在心中的絮絮細語,彷彿在和我説話般!

看了很多頁,仍被哀愁籠罩着,還好到了其中一頁,文字是這樣寫的: 還好,守護天使一直眷顧著我。 下面一幅對頁是女孩坐在白天鵝背上,靜靜地在萍果綠色的湖水上蘯漾。水彩+粉彩般的効果如在霧中~全書最特別,也是我最喜歡的一幅圖畫。

另一幅深深吸引著我的,也是一個對頁,窗外黃昏彩霞映照入深沉的圖書閣,右邊窗台坐著女主角,文字是這樣寫的: 誰願意為我在黃昏的窗邊唸一首詩。坐在左邊窗台,是一直陪着她遊走的小狗。

或許我們會用失明者的心態去理解故事,但在看到後面,我同樣地發覺,即使是看得見這個世界的人,何嘗不曾在看似繁華耀眼的大都會中,某時某刻,同樣地感到孤單與無助?!

從來看幾米作品,也會被他營造的不真實感吸引,現實與幻想的事物,背後藏著作者、主角、或是要告訴讀者另外的一些情感,很容易讓我在不知不覺間進入故事中的世界;即使是短短的半小時,在回到現實中,心中已浮現了久被遺忘的人和事。

故事末後似乎有一個隱藏的結局⋯我想,留待你去發掘
 
地下鐵及月亮忘記了書面

2021/09/11

今年秋天⋯

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A chinese poem with illustration & autumn leaf photo by Oiseau Distrait
十月秋色 ~ 小巴黎  P.6-7  (click to enlarge)
                                    

 
從來都覺得中文詩很難寫得好,也許是因為我的中文根底差,但又事實上覺得…要用白話文去表達詩人情懷的時候,很多時會變得"造作"。因此,我總覺得文言文的詩詞較為優美,也較能達到詩中有畫意;可惜,我的文言文更不堪,不得不佩服古人的學養。

最近,因着朋友的特別需要,把 Oiseau Distrait 的 Petit Paris 系列中,即將在十月出版的 Palette October  翻譯成中文,似散文多一點點的內容,還只能勉強把原文交代;我想,日後還是要花多些時間學習學習罷!

香港已經進入初秋,天氣還是十分酷熱,隨了早晚稍有微風的痕跡,其餘時間彷佛仍身處夏季。但是今年的秋天,應該會過得不太一樣,也許是我們和一些親朋在香港過的最後一個秋天。是今年或是明年…要離開的始終留不住,也許世界之大,總有可安身之處,亦用不著太過離愁別緒;只是,秋天嘛!還是容易令人傷感,但願,或去或留的人,繼續努力走下去!主祐地球人!


折錄自 小巴黎 ~ 十月秋色(非賣品中文初稿) 忘記鳥作品

我快要墮下⋯ 
願我能⋯即使已是放手的時刻 
很想,很想支撐多一刻  
即使多一秒 

但我將要墮下⋯
沒有動力可撐多一秒鐘

請讓我徐徐墮下
至少可以和他們一起
放下一段歲月⋯
一個卑微的心願

請別為我們哀傷
這並不是終結
當自由的微風再度吹起時
我們便會再次飄洋過海
在疾風中閃閃發亮
告訴世人,關於我們這一代的故事
一個勇敢的故事


From: Palette October ~Petit Paris Series by Oiseau Distrait
 
I am off, falling off...
If it's time to let go
I still want to hold
a second or so...
 
But I'm lost
without force...
to hold any more
 
Let me fall
at least together
with them all
for a season
that's all
 
Don't upset
it's not the end
we will fly when the wind comes by
scatter across the ocean
shining in motion
let everybody knows...this generation
 



2021/09/03

Mount Fuji - Toilet Paper roll

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Japanese toilet paper roll, coffee sticks, cotton bags, handcream  souvenirs

What a wonderful sunny day in Hong Kong, and  Happy Friday as well, it's a good afternoon to write another post, I guess. O.K.,let's see what I've got in my photo library...A Fukubukuro !! (not include the small kitten behind :P)
 
Actually this is a mixture of souvenir selected by one of my best friend years before. I call it DIY Fukubukuro - in Japanese of a "lucky bag" 福袋. As you may know, every New Years or (any time of big sale) in Japan, department stores will prepare this kind of attractions to customers; of course, they may not know the content at all, say for a 3000 yen fukubukuro you paid, you will be in surprise of what you've got inside, most of the time the value is over 3000 yen, is it a lucky blessing to the start of a good year? 

Well, back to my lucky bag, they are wonderful and lovely, the one I would like to "present" is...Mount Fuji toilet paper roll!!! 
package of the toilet paper roll with fuji mountain presenter illustration

Let's start to unfold it, to see what's inside?

please continue to roll down.....


back side of the paper package with another cartoon illustration of the presenter walking up hill

continue....
the paper roll inside with printed data & illustration in roll form
continue...

Yeah! here it is...the knowledge you should know about the famous Mount Fuji, isn't it amazing ?!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
unfold of the paper roll printed with illustration of 5 knowledges of fuji mount you should know
 
I know this post is going to be "long", because I tried to combine the 4 photos I've took as one to give the real face of the unfolded toilet paper roll. 
 
I don't know Japanese but base on the illustrations and "Kanji", the knowledge are mostly related to the type of volcano - an active one, the last eruption time; the shrines above in ancients time; lowest temperature on the mountain, and the temperature for the onsen (hot spring) which is suitable for you to prepare your delicious Cup noodle; also the sometimes there will be landslide...interesting!
 
Imagine having this toilet paper roll in you bathroom, so much fun while...:D
But I will absolutely place it in my living room for my guest as well as reserved one for this post.

Thank you to Jessie, always enjoy your souvenir,
Arigatōgozaimashita !
 
 
 


2021/09/01

曾經是個室內設計師嘅獨立作者

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尋晚瞓瞓吓覺,凌晨三點幾醒咗,突然間諗起好想寫⋯

唔經唔覺已經去到九月,短短幾個月離開咗室內設計師嘅行頭,除咗上堂教書嘅時候之外,慢慢都識得當自己係一個獨立作者(indie author),書架上嘅室內設計資料亦都慢慢下架,變成各式各樣同寫作、繪畫、攝影相關嘅嘢。

為咗講得出做得到,係收山後再次推咗三個室內設計工作(應該係最終回啦),終於第一次夏天唔洗落地盤,尤其唔洗帶住口罩係地盤"濕洗同乾蒸",真係舒服好多。以前成日坐係部大電腦面前用Autocad畫圖,用photoshop執sample board, 用word打文件;見客,傾電話,出電郵,落地盤,見師傅,傾電話,出地盤指引⋯ 而家就係另外一張工作檯用兩部細 iPad 寫書,搵資料;一大堆水彩顏料畫公仔,同埋幾本字典查生字;再返去大電腦度執相,執位,出版,網絡宣傳發送⋯

最大分別嘅係冇乜電話,可以全日好靜,如果冇開住音樂,有時由坐低直至第一次離開工作枱 (因為對眼開始攰或者肚餓,又或者口渴 :p )原來已經六個幾鐘。如果唔係要上堂同返教會,其實我真係唔多知道今日係星期幾?又或者係乜嘢節日假期。如果儲夠糧食,可以五日唔出門口,日寫夜寫,幾時瞓都得⋯生活上嘅改變都真係唔少;初時唔多適應,覺得仲攰過做設計工程,我諗,係因為冇"時限"嘅關係。

無論點都好,要改變就要學習,做乜都係咁,唔向前行,就會退步,所以我都可以話係踏上一條不歸路。當有朝一日,室內設計慢慢係我嘅專業知識層面上生疏甚至流逝嘅時候,希望相對地係寫作方面會有進展,咁我就可以寫下一個系列:做個...的獨立作家!