Up (上)

 「在獅子山下尋找他的足跡」攝影展之(19)

《上》 這相片是《信》的延續。如相片所示,階梯的盡頭是一幅牆。面對這牆,是否就不上階梯,或是應該跑上去嘗試把這高牆推倒或攀越呢?

My Father's Kowloon City photography exhibition (19)

Up: This is a sequel of Faith.  Contrasting to its underlying meaning, viewers can now see that there is a wall on top of the staircase.  Does it mean that we don’t go up? Or, should we at least get up there and try to knock down that wall?

Up (上)

Up (上)

Faith (信)

在獅子山下尋找他的足跡」攝影展之(18)
《信》 爸爸的那一代來到香港都有一個信念:「只要努力工作,下一代的生活就會比上一代好。」這亦是後來美國喬治城大學的Carroll Quigley 教授所歸納的「Future Preference。」當我沖曬這相片時,我想起美國黑人人權領袖馬丁路德金博士曾經說過的:「儘管看不清階梯的盡頭,仍然踏上第一級就是憑着一份信念。

My Father's Kowloon City photography exhibition (18)
Faith: Many of my father's generation came to Hong Kong with nothing but a hope -- if they worked hard, the next generation would be better than theirs. This belief was later known as the "Future Preference" coined by Professor Carroll Quigley of Georgetown University.  When I processed this photograph, I came to appreciate what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."

Faith (信)

Faith (信)

Trap (困)

在獅子山下尋找他的足跡」攝影展之(17)
《困》 蜘蛛用絲結成的蜘蛛網是用以捕捉獵物,人類在居所以鐵枝築成窗花以保護自己。可是,人有時卻以窗花把自已困起來:這大概就是少年時期的爸爸於祖母(最後一個至親)去世後,一夜變成孤兒的感受。

My Father's Kowloon City photography exhibition (17)

Trap: Spiders build web to catch insets, human beings build fence to protect ourselves from intruders. It’s the irony that we somehow trap ourselves.  It certainly was how father felt when he turned to a teen orphan after the passing of his grandma in the stone house.

Trap (困)

Trap (困)

Ten Years

After months of anticipation, the (in)famous 2015 Hong Kong best film, Ten Years finally made its way to NYC in its North American premiere featured by the NY Asian Film Festival last night. Despite the fact that the film was conveniently dropped by the Hong Kong government in its press release about NYAFF, the sold-out New York crowd gave it an enthusiastic welcome last night. Audiences on stand-by were allowed to join without chairs, who filled the space surrounding the seats in the Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater.  All five directors who came for the premiere chose to watch the film with the New Yorkers in the theater rather than the Independence Day's fireworks over the East River. Coincidentally, one of the five stories was about people's fight for independence of Hong Kong. I definitely saw indoor fireworks without regrets.

Producers and Directors of Ten Years in NYAFF

Producers and Directors of Ten Years in NYAFF

Ten Years is added to the list of Hong Kong productions that I watched in the last few years. The short list also includes Ann Hui's A Simple Life and Ip Man 3. The three completely different and yet well regarded films share a common theme, ordinary people's struggle in times of change: in the colonial period (Ip Man 3), the present (A Simple Life) and the future (Ten Years). While Ten Years is categorized as a drama, the five short stories that made up the movie are more like thrillers orchestrated nicely together to paint a picture of the bleak future of one of the greatest cities. 

The overwhelming reception from the audience turned this award winning HK$500k (US$64k) production into a HK$6 million (US$770k) box office hit among less than a handful of cinemas that dared to show it in Hong Kong. The figure does not include the ongoing community screenings (well attended events), three dozens and counting.

Ten Years is indeed thought-provoking for Hongkongers and beyond. With various actual events happened in the last six months in Hong Kong, including the Causeway Bay booksellers, etc., the harsh reality may have arrived much earlier than 2025 predicted by the film. Some said that the success of Ten Years is a wake-up call for some people of Hong Kong and its government. I consider it a roar of the unheard in a city without democracy.

Guide (導)

在獅子山下尋找他的足跡」攝影展之(16)
《導》 跟著從窗引入的光,登上了石屋的閣樓,回望時才覺擦到每一梯級都有不同灰度,不其然想起 晏殊 的「蝶戀花」一詞中兩句:「獨上高樓,望盡天涯路。」假若爸爸見到這情景,不知他回望之餘,有何感想呢?

My Father's Kowloon City photography exhibition (16)

Guide: It was the light that guided me up the stairs for this image.  But, when I was standing on top of it, I suddenly thought, "Had my dad stood there with me, what would he feel about all the steps that he had taken in his life."

Guide ( 導 )

Guide ()

Window (窗)

在獅子山下尋找他的足跡」攝影展之(15)
《窗》 爸爸兒時住在何家園石屋。每天早上起來,可能他也是從這窗向外望。世界這麼大,對年少的他也只是局限於這窗框內。

My Father's Kowloon City photography exhibition (15)

Window: Perhaps, this is the same view that my father had as a child in the historical Stone Houses.  The outside world for him was confined by the frame of this window.

Window (窗)

Window (窗)

Kitchen (廚)

 「在獅子山下尋找他的足跡」攝影展之(14)

《廚》 何家園石屋重修前的露天廚房及廁所。一幅不簡單的構圖,但帶出了從前簡單的生活方式。跟我們今天城市人追求的成了一個強烈對比。

My Father's Kowloon City photography exhibition (14)

Kitchen: This is a complex composition of the Stone Houses before renovation.  Life back then was pretty simple, a bed with a kitchen and bathroom with no shelter.  We seem to have made things complicated as we grow.

Kitchen (廚)

Kitchen (廚)

Beams (樑)

在獅子山下尋找他的足跡」攝影展之(13)
這些橫樑跟何家園石屋見証了百年多的九龍城歷史,隨著時代變遷,建築及製造業的新概念已不一定像以往的以持久耐用為原則了。

My Father's Kowloon City photography exhibition (13)

Beams: Like the Stone House, these beams have witnessed over 100 years of Kowloon City history.  The traditional concept of “build to last” seems to have gone out of fashion these days.

Beams (樑)

Beams (樑)

Mansion (宅)

在獅子山下尋找他的足跡」攝影展之(12)
《宅》爸爸當了一輩子司機,老闆就住在這坐落於又一村的房子。老闆夫婦對我一家都很好。而每年媽媽做年糕,都一定蒸多一盤親自送到老闆府上。隨著香港公司企業化,這種顧主與員工之間的感情及關係,好像都跟著九龍城的老地標漸漸消失。

My Father's Kowloon City photography exhibition (12)
Mansion: My father's boss lived in this house.  Even though my father was merely a driver, his boss was very kind to us.  To certain extent, it's was almost like an extension of the family.  Apparently, similar kindness from employers is harder to find in Hong Kong.

Mansion (宅)

Mansion (宅)

Pavilion (亭)

在獅子山下尋找他的足跡」攝影展之(11)
》小時候,爸爸有時間就會帶我去雷達山,在我的印象中,這亭便是雷達山的象徵。

My Father's Kowloon City photography exhibition (11)
Pavilion: My father took me here when I was a little boy.  My memory of the Radar Hill was this pavilion.

11. Pavilion (亭)

11. Pavilion (亭)

Emptiness (虛)

在獅子山下尋找他的足跡」攝影展之(10)
》這幅是我的「空凳」,爸爸生前喜愛下棋。重臨舊地雷達山見到這棋盤,真是百般滋味在心頭。

My Father's Kowloon City photography exhibition (10)
Emptiness: My father liked to play chess.  This is my version of the “empty chair.”

10. Emptiness (虛)

10. Emptiness (虛)

Promise (諾)

 「在獅子山下尋找他的足跡」攝影展之(9)

》在衙前圍村中見到這情景,不禁聯想到以前在這裡幾百年世代相傳的家庭;夫婦的承諾;父母的愛。盡管家園已被摧毀,這雙椅子仍在從前的樓梯下依傍在一起。猷如蘇軾的《水調歌頭》中最後幾句:「… 人有悲歡離合,月有陰晴圓缺,此事古難全。但願人長久,千里共嬋娟。」

 

My Father's Kowloon City photography exhibition (9)

Promise: There was a house once stood here in Nga Tsin Wai Walled Village, with trace of a stair case to the second floor.  Now that the house is gone, the two chairs still stick together. Perhaps, it's because of a "promise."

9. Promise (諾)

9. Promise (諾)

Envy (羡)

 「在獅子山下尋找他的足跡」攝影展之(6)

》爸爸兒時因戰亂流落到香港,與祖母相依為命,只可自學語文而從來未有機會正式上學。小時候只站在大約我拍這照片的位置觀看其他小孩子出入這民生書院的校門。後來到了他的孫兒入學時,即使一家人已搬離九龍城,他堅持孫兒三人入讀這學校,可見爸爸對這學校有一定的感情。

 

My Father's Kowloon City photography exhibition (6)

Envy: My father could not afford to go to school.  He mentioned that he used to watch students getting through this gate, perhaps from where I took this image.  Even though we had moved out of Kowloon City, father insisted that his grandkids should attend this school. Based on this, I believe that my father should have some special feeling about this school.

6. Envy (羨)

6. Envy (羨)

Film (戲)

 「在獅子山下尋找他的足跡」攝影展之(4)

《戲》在營業已差不多六十年的合成士多遇到八十歲的東主黃伯,那天正是他被業主強逼關閉前兩個星期。雖然士多無奈地被逼結業,黃伯仍面常帶笑容。交談中黃伯常掛口邊:「人生如戲,戲如人生。」面對逆境,黃伯仍能抱著如此正面的態度,可能他就是所謂「獅子山精神」的佼佼者。

My Father's Kowloon City photography exhibition (4)

Film: I met Mr. Wong two weeks before the closure of his store after 60 years of operation.  The landlord did not even try to negotiate with him, just simply kicked him out.  In the face of the adversity, Mr. Wong maintained his signature smile the entire time when I talked to him.  And he kept repeating, “Life is like a movie, movies reflect lives."  For me, such positive energy is probably the "Lion Rock Spirit" at its best.

4. Film (戲)

4. Film (戲)

Co-exist (容)

 「在獅子山下尋找他的足跡」攝影展之(3)

》榕樹初出時需附生於另一植物之上,一段日子之後,在外附生的榕樹會把中央的主植物纏繞至死。而其腐爛的中心則會成為小動物躲避風雨及捕食者的好地方。這正可比喻今天香港核心價值不斷受到威脅的現象。

My Father's Kowloon City photography exhibition (3)

Co-exist:  Banyan relies on another plant to begin its life, i.e., an epiphyte and its host. The two co-exist for a while until the banyan on the outside suffocates the host.  The host gets rotten and turns into a shelter for little animals. This phenomenon could be related to the current state of Hong Kong that its core values are under threat metaphorically.

3. Co-exist (容) 

3. Co-exist (容) 

Gray (灰)

在獅子山下尋找他的足跡」攝影展之(2)
》乾淨無雜物,春天盛開的炮仗花使長長的九龍城特色後巷更覺清閑、優雅。相片左邊有一道白牆襯托出深灰的花,對照出右半的陰影中央那一道光。這「白中有黑,黑中有白」「世事無絶對」的概念可代表當下一部份香港人的想法。拍下這相後我可以意會到諾貝爾文學獎得主 安德烈·紀德 (André Gide) 說的:「灰是事實的顏色。」

My Father's Kowloon City photography exhibition (2)
Gray: This frame was taken in a back alley that is unique to Kowloon City. In this image, there is a white spot in the black area on the right and vice versa on the left. I have a feeling that this notion, i.e., “nothing is absolute” reflects the current state of mind of many people in Hong Kong.  The quote "The color of truth is gray" by André Gide, a French Nobel literature laureate may be appropriate for describing this sentiment.

2. Gray (灰)

2. Gray (灰)

Wait (等)

在獅子山下尋找他的足跡」攝影展之(1)
》九龍巴士一號路線途經九龍城代表著於九巴成立之時,九龍城於香港扮演一個重要角色,亦象徵這區歷史悠久。在這巴士站旁的是一座早期典型的一梯兩伙式住宅大廈。這類樓房在香港已越來越少。如沒有適當保育,面對舊區重建,這些大廈可能很快便會於香港絕跡。以這相片作開始,是希望藉此提問我們應否只被動地在等那一天的來臨。
My Father's Kowloon City photography exhibition (1)
Wait: Bus route No. 1 passes through Kowloon City.  It shows that Kowloon City was an important place back in the time when Kowloon Motor Bus was founded. The building next to the bus stop is a typical residential style popular during the heydays of Kowloon City.  This type of building is quickly disappearing across Hong Kong. It probably is a matter of time for them to be extinct, so goes our history (if nothing is done). This first image gives a sense of urgency of the subject matter. Shall we wait or shall we do something to protect our legacy.

1. Wait (等)

1. Wait (等)

Book Review by China Daily

The My Father's KowloonCity project provides an opportunity for me to appreciate the beauty and power of the synergy from technologies of different generations: century old Stone Houses with an annex equipped with multimedia exhibition capabilities; a 50 year-old camera with modern lenses; Kodak Tri-X films with Piezography digital printing; etc. In addition to local Chinese media coverages, a review of the book and exhibition from China Daily today sums up nicely:

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/hkediti...t_24279892.htm

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