Happy rainy days

Watercolor of walking in rainy day - La Rue of Petit Paris

Unexpectedly shower is the norm in Paris, locals told me “never leave home without an umbrella” and it’s absolutely true. They said the weather here may drive you nuts sometimes, the extreme cold & wet days in Winters continue for a whole week, it makes them feeling emotionally sad. That’s why whenever the sun comes out, everyone gather in the park, along the Seine & café . I did experience a few times here, a great hug by the warmth of the sun was wonderful, relaxing joy & laughter’s around the place, so enjoyable.
And if you know this norm, to explore under the rain on street is interesting, too. Unlike Hong Kong, due to the lower Haussmann building skyline here, I will always feeling there are more spacious even walking on a street or alley; if you are not in the busy office hours, the momentum is much slower, people rarely in their rush mode, except in metro station. So, I can enjoy the water color like scenery in rain…j’adore !
That’s why I choose to record this moment in my book, although the painting is not good enough as I think, I start to enjoy painting rainy day for its neon like color way , hopefully I can practice more & more to finally create my perfect rainy day.
In the meantime, wish you can walk with me with lots of imagination! :D


自由~ 我的…他的…他們的?

我想:除非我身處荒島, 否則我的言行決定, 總有機會影響到別人,

"我的自由,我的權利"也包括在其中; 昨天晚上反覆思想以下兩種地球人的反應 :

地球人 A

我怕沒有廁紙供應, 我怕沒有新鮮蔬菜吃, 我怕沒有必理痛應急, 所以我去搶購囤積

⋯ 我有資金, 我有自由運用, 我有權保障自已及家人的供應.

我怕疫苗有不良副作用, 我不信藥廠數據, 我不信政府, 反正打了疫苗也會被感染

⋯ 我沒有不適合接種疫苗的因素, 但我有自由決定自已健康的權利, 

我有資金可以買補健品排毒強身, 所以我決定不接種疫苗.


地球人 B

我知可能廁紙蔬菜會短缺, 或有需要用到必理痛應急, 即使我有資金, 我也只買所需份量, 讓他們也買到所需.並小心衡量, 不散播傳文, 以免不經意地製造了恐慌, 令物資分配不均, 更見短缺.

我知道疫苗也許會有未可預知的副作用, 但此刻我沒有不適合接種疫苗的因素.
更知可以為保護因身體有病或年齡限制, 願意卻不能接種的他們;
倘若這是我所能付出一點點我想, 這也是所為的公民責任, 所以我決定接種疫苗.

我在思想, 除了為維持生計的其中一個原因之外, 他們可有自由?



必需日以繼夜運作, 接觸及追蹤可能已確診者, 因為他們要與疫情擴散的時間競賽.


醫護~必需無休止地拯救生命, 因為人人平等, 也基於愛.


清潔員工~必需維持公共衞生日常, 否則可以衍生更多疫症.

我們可以視自已的自由權利為首, 正所謂"不自由無寧死"這也是民主精神之一, 


我們可以仍然視疫情為傷風感冒, 但事實已把他們拖跨.


在我們的"自由國度"之內, 如果可以把目光由"我"轉移向"他、他們",

此刻我應該要明白自由不是一個單獨的個體, 它必需與平等、博愛共存, 


包括免被壓力拖跨、免被感染、和生存的權利 ⋯ 這才是我認為值得持守價值!



來來去去 / To & From...where

Book cover of La Rue - Petit Paris by Oiseau Distrait
click to enlarge

我想,今次La Rue 的網誌,應該先用中文寫,因為這本書所涉及的內容,在今天,對身處香港的我們尤其切身。

兩年前去旅行的時候,完全沒有想過香港又再次出現移民潮(上次是1997年);如果你有看第六本書Hear Me, 也許會記得當我回來的時候,心繫巴黎的其中一件事,便是繁華背後,瑟縮在街頭巷尾的一班移民;其實我所眼見的也只是冰山一角,在不遠的市外,流浪著幾十萬的非法移民~這是昔日法國為着補充勞動人口而大開中門的後果。過多的移民突然衝擊着整個社會的結構,包括文化、經濟、生活配套、民生等等;但是,為什麼即使法國處於這個局面,仍有人離開故土而遷到這裏呢?





An Asian lady on the street in Paris

A local lady on the street of Paris

I think it’s better for me to write this blog post for La Rue in bilingual, because what this book addresses is emigration, a direct impact to us in Hong Kong even under the haunting of Covid since 2019. 

There was no clue for me to imagine the emigration wave appear once again in HK (last time was in 1997 & 2014) when I was returned from Paris, I did plan to include this topic in one of my book but simply for the scenario I saw in Paris, i.e.: of those who struggle to survive there…the uncontrollable result for the government of France to bear due to the drawn in of required working power…influx as a result which crashing the vulnerable society.

Actually what I had seen as mentioned in the book of “Hear Me” was only the tip of the iceberg, millions of immigrants are still scattered outside the boundary of Paris without any support behind a “hidden barrier”. But why people keep on leaving their homeland to somewhere which might not be their real “heaven”!

A chance for future of their own & the next generation, freedom, better living standard, to survive, escape from the mess of their own countries? all these could be the reasons to emigrants around the whole world, as well as in Hong Kong today; is it barely resigned or just a basic instinct of survival !

There is for sure more & more of my friends are going to leave in 2022, a huge decision they have to  make,  especially for those who are in their middle age ~ time of their harvesting period but now has to be started all over again somewhere. It’s hard but it has to keep moving forward by all means, I am pretty sure they will make it because they are “Hong Kongers”, the toughest to survive - a genetic code that we all have.





Drawing the Magic Moment

Magic Moment watercolor drawing in the book City Of Light

Twilight time is always my favor moment wherever I am, the mysterious blue is stunning and attractive, it's the perfect time to enjoy before dark.

During the trip, I rarely took photos at night. There are some reasons behind such as Tired - after walking a whole day long, sometimes without eating enough (to save time especially during visiting museums :P); it will killing me to bring along with a tri-pot for shooting night scene. Well, I can increase the ISO of course as an alternative, but I have to confess I am stubborn, I don't like the noise resulted of high speed. How about to use my light weight titanium tri-pot? it’s a bit small for my D300…the one that fits, my Manfrotto, sooooooo….heavy! I quit :P

Temperature - it’s quite cold at night, usually in single digit or even 1-2 degree only, it takes time to explore stunning scene, not knowing for how long to discover one, because my target are definitely not the tourist spots; so, the cozy and warm hotel room always win.

Safety - I should be pretty safe at night in the tourist zone such as 1er of where I stayed, and most others zones up to 8er. But photo shooting is not “safe” sometimes, the desire of chasing a perfect scene makes me lost of my way, it happens often in Hong Kong (but it’s never a problem because H.K. is small & familiar to me). 

An exhausted normal height Asian with a camera getting lost in the dark alley of an unfamiliar city…I guess I could be… or, if I am safe by luck, return late night by metro is not a good idea either; unless by taxi or…

Drawing the Magic Moment watercolor with photo reference
Am I having too many concerns? I think so. When I was writing this book, I did regret of not taking more night scene photos, I have to assist by recap of my memories with the help of online reference – not a perfect experience, feeling there are something missing… 

The watercolor drawing as well as the book cover are really my wishes to “be there at that moment”, not only in twilight time, but also at night on the roof top; hopefully someday, I shall return to Paris … together with my proper gear for a midnight walk.



Happiness is...

early morning scene outdoor in Paris

I spent most of the day time to explore Paris on foot usually began at 0800, although sometimes I woke up earlier at 0400 or 0600, I would stay in my room for a bit longer until I saw a faint sun ray appeared above the roof top outside my window. Because early in the morning and after mid night, the temperature would drop to a few degree Celsius, it was not wise to stay outdoor without having a full breakfast or in an exhausted body after a long walk.

Hazy grey sky

As I've told you earlier in my post, the weather in 
Paris within a day was unstable but interesting, even though there was no sun light above the roof, I would begin my journey of the day, by walking on the street in a slightly freezing air, there were so many times I did experience the magic moment of the transaction from haze grey sky into transparent blue; or whenever I thought the cloud seems turning thicker and thicker, raining? May be, but suddenly the sky wide open for a golden sun ray to burst…so beautiful, I saw HOPE of a new day.

Bright sun ray shine to a balcony in Paris

I did remember on a few similar mornings when I was walking along, not many people on the street, so it was a bit quiet and “dull” overall, there were always something drawn my attention simply a balcony, a window, a café chair, or an architectural moulding at the exterior of a building…which were highlighted by the beam of sun ray, every time, yes, every time I felt  amazing, so joyful to meet “Ray”, it was a symbolic of a fresh start, I loved that feeling, the aroma of the warmth.

 Tower Eiffel in the dark

Well, of course, there would be on the contrary, a sunny day turns into cloudy suddenly when I just picked up my camera facing Tower Eiffel, so I made a choice to adjust the exposure for this shot instead, I’m sure it could be identified no matter what, right? :D

May be it’s no big deal of what I’ve seen compare to the mysterious Aurora of the Arctic, sunrise in Africa, sunset at the Grand Canyon, moonlight of…you name it. What I think is not where you are but what you want. To me, I definitely want the enlightenment of the age, the pursuit of happiness, how about you?


Behind the "City Of Light"

City Of Light book cover
click to enlarge image
When I started to write this series in the first place, monochrome book cover as well as the drawing inside was my key design preference, plus…one book in a reverse of white on black. Originally I thought I will use this theme in book Six - Hear Me; but it seems the content was not appropriate and I didn’t want all those “voices” that needed to be heard fell into the “dark”. So I pended the idea until this one, which is good fit as I think.

City of Light - another name of Paris, we usually think maybe this is related to the prosperity and prestige of the luxurious life style in this city; or at least we will link to the stunning night scene along Champs Élysée or light show at the Tower Eiffel, right? 

But it actually represents the evolution period of having gas street lamp in the first large European City, in a massive scale, that light up most of the dark rue/ alley. The original idea of King Louis XIV who appointed lieutenant Gabriel Nicolas de la Reynie to make Paris into a safe city, it was started by gas lanterns and candles then gradually gas street light, forming the “La Ville Lumière” or so call “Age of the Enlightenment” since 1829. I can imagine the excitement of Parisians when the lighting up of Rue de Rivoli, Place Vendôme, Place du Carrousel and other grand boulevards by almost 56000 gas lamps in 1860s.

Yellowish street lamp in front of a church in Paris
We can still see a lot of beautiful gas lamps located at the streets and bridges along the Seine, I think no one will forget how stunning the night scene they are. But time flies, you may discover (as what I’ve seen) some, may be most of the gas lamps had already been replaced by LED light bulb inside those antique art like lamp shade, even though the warm yellowish tone remains, I guess it’s a bit difference to those in the good old days. 
Hong Kong had a lot of gas street lamps also, long time ago, but gradually reduced and only 4 left in Central along the staircase in Duddell Street (since 1922), I did remember what it looks like when lit up, moody & wordless romantic.  No matter how, we are living in the 21th Century, nothing can last forever except memories.

In fact, there is also another meaning for “The Age of Enlightenment” which is very meaningful. From 17th to 18th Century, there was the intellectual & philosophical movement that dominated in European, people aware sovereignty of reason, the ideals of separation of church & state, of having a constitutional government, liberty, fraternity, equality…as well as the pursuit of happiness; that every mankind deserves. Hope for the future, become one of the core meaning, too.

The happening of all these new thoughts did relate to the emerged of philosophers, scientists, artists, literati who widely spread or discussed these ideas in café, salons or scientific academies…, etc; a truly flourishing moment, I shall say. 

When I have finished my research, I know this book could mean more than only the scenery or a specific period in Paris, so I’ve decided to write for someone who need a spark of light, those who deserve to pursuit of their happiness as we do.


Day to Night

Another beauty that I found in Paris at night when my new friend Li, she guided me to walk through some streets at night after dinner, not many people on the street, may be they were still in the bistro, at home or in the restaurant enjoying their meal.

We were in the 1st arrondissement, a bit quiet at around 2130, yellowish street lamps, light up artistic display in the window showcase of shops; yellowish pendants line up at the pillars next to the squares, café & restaurant covered in orange yellow sheer of light, fainted yellow lamps at the balconies/ windows of somewhere above; other color in green lit signage of the pharmacy, the lonely tri-color traffic lamp together with the “ever glow” gas lamp along the Seine…all under the deepest dark sky. 

I am obsess, I know, another page I can write for what I’ve seen in the City of Light, because at that moment, they all belongs to me, the moment of imagination, the happenings under the light…I wish I can return some day, for another night adventure, another series dedicate to the City of Light.

Back to our walk, Li asked me whether I felt unsafe on the street at night right now, as she never felt that even walking alone at late night…well, I replied “I’m fine…” and after a while, we separated in the midpoint between her apartment & my hotel, and there was still another 20mins walk by myself.

light up street view in the evening of the first arrondissement in Paris

“I’m fine…” because, I have a companion; we are in the safest arrondissement of where Banque de France (Central bank of France) is located; we are on the main streets, I have nothing in my pocket except a credit card and a old mobile phone, I know my destination not far away…a different feeling to a moment when I was alone in an alley of Le Marais on the other day, even it’s only began to turn dark.

Banque De France
So, I make a conclusion to myself, there are environmental conditions that may affect our safety concern, the peaceful mind we can have include two other critical issues - companion and a known destination, that light up on the way as well as the small dark room inside us.