"I want to see the ocean."

Reader, we didn’t go to Canterbury. We went to Brighton instead. There, we saw the ocean. The beach reminded us of some nicer Hong Kong beaches, where we went on occasion.
The seagulls flew freely. The lovely chubby kids fell on the pebbles, and stood up again, chasing colourful soap bubbles.
It was great to have the sun on our faces. When I was living in Hong Kong, I hated the sun, especially in Summer. I was called by some friends ‘the least sun-loving person’ they have ever known. In Winter, I am more accommodating to outdoor activities.
Is the sun different here? Yes and no. We know we have the same sun (unless some of you are living in science fiction) but of course because we are further North, the sun is weaker. There is a Chinese saying: ‘The moon in my hometown is the brightest’ (‘家鄉的月光特別明亮’). But I am unaware of a similar comment on the sun. If you were to invent one, what would it be?

[The title of this post is something the partner said. We went to Salisbury and Oxford previously and this time he wanted to go to a city that has a different atmosphere.]




This post was originally written on February 28, 2009.

20 Responses “’I want to see the ocean.’” →
  1. Shadowy figure
    Thanks for the wonderful photos. The sun does indeed shine also on the wicked… like me :)

    Reply  –  Edit

  2. Great – it turned out you guys went to Brighton to see the ocean…I suppose the beaches there are with more “small stones” than soft sand…but looked like you had a good trip! I like the pic with you and the background of the sea (the smaller one)! Very stylish!

    Reply  –  Edit

  3. Fiona Tsui
    Nice pictures! You should go to Hawaii and see the ocean there. It’s a completely different world!

    Reply  –  Edit

  4. Simon B.
    I, too, like the smaller picture of you (the big one is great as well) – any chance you’ll post a bigger version of it?
    In response to your question, perhaps something like “The sun in my hometown has forgotten me”? No, just kidding.

    Reply  –  Edit

  5. Lovely and beautiful photos, and you are charming.

    Reply  –  Edit

  6. So you’ve got the CD cover, all you need is the CD! And I know how much you enjoy making audio recordings. :)

    Reply  –  Edit

  7. Loved the pics…
    Abt the sun, how bt
    The sun in my hometown is the cloudiest;)

    Reply  –  Edit

  8. Nathan
    I also once went to Brighton on a lovely sunny day, so I know just the kind of experience you had. The city has the laid back feel of many coastal towns, but I also thought it was quite hip. I also love the train station with the high, slightly rounding ceiling. A great place, to spend a Bright-and shiny day.
    It looks like you had a professional photographer following you around all day.

    Reply  –  Edit

  9. Phoebe
    you’re so right tammy. i hate the sun in hk but find it much lovelier here. i’m coming to london the wkend of 13. wanna be in england from the beginning of the week…but still havent made up my mind where to stop! any recommendations? will you be around like 12 or so?

    Reply  –  Edit

  10. Phoebe: yes, let’s meet and have coffee! (Are you a tea person or a coffee person?) There are many many places to go here in London – I think it’d be better if you come on weekdays. There are too many people on the weekends and the tube doesn’t run normally….
    Nathan: I took most of the pictures! But you are right, he’s improving. But let me reiterate: it’s the sun! The sun charms up everything!
    Simon: okay I’ll use the small picture prominently in a future post.

    Reply  –  Edit

  11. Roy MAK
    長髮真的很襯妳。很想真的擁有這封面的cd~~

    Reply  –  Edit

  12. Tammy,
    You said “we” went to Brighton. So, who is the “we” in your life now? Perhaps I have not been keeping up with your blog enough lately.
    That main picture of you in the post is a very nice pic of you. You look very pretty in the photo.
    Isn’t the beach a bit cold at this time of year?
    Bruce

    Reply  –  Edit

  13. It looks like summer in your photos – and just one week after Oxford. Is it British weather or is our planet really warming up?
    Btw the photos are great – really nice composition!

    Reply  –  Edit

  14. Verner
    靚人靚景﹗心靚,才拍到靚相。

    Reply  –  Edit

  15. tammy , ur photos are beautiful, which camera are u using ?=)

    Reply  –  Edit

  16. Hey…i like your portrait in the middle at right hand side as well…and the portrait of Jeff’s also nice ar…u always look young & sweet…so envious

    Reply  –  Edit

  17. Michelle
    Gorgeous photographs, Tammy.

    Reply  –  Edit

  18. Oh yes, what camera did you use? I want to know too.

    Reply  –  Edit

  19. Joey & Kevin: I was only using a small digital camera my sister, Crystal, gave me as a gift…. I didn’t do anything to the pictures – they are quite bright as they are. :)

    Reply  –  Edit

  20. Crystal Ho
    D相靚, 相入面的人更靚呀!!! ^0^

    Reply  –  Edit

My scarf visited its foster home

This post was originally written on 15th February, 2009.
妹妹說我的頭像雞蛋

My favourite scarf is long, long enough to be an afternoon blanket for two babies, and the remaining length draping all over the floor.

I only wear it when I care whom I am spending time with. Of course also when it is suitably cold.
I bought it in a second-hand shop in Oxford when I was studying there in the Summer of 2000. Yesterday I brought it back to its foster home for a short visit. It saw a few of its less attractive friends still hanging around, looking available.
J and I were walking lexisurely (and aimlessly) around Oxford, stopping every now and then for a coffee or a drink. He had hoped that I would show him the classrooms I studied in; and the places, shops and pubs I went to as a teenager. The best I could do was to keep saying, ‘hmmm this looks really familiar!’ and ‘hey I think I was here before!’
But it was with certainty when I saw this shop (pictured below) that I knew it was the shop. The partner urged me to take a picture this time, so I will always remember. We opened the door and the smell was distinctively Summer 2000.
Have you been?
Many things are unchanged: the postcard racks are still pushed to the same wall, the candy and chocolate bar close to the door, the second-hand fancy costumes taking up most of the space at the back of the shop. Big and small earrings, rings and bracelets covering the table.
Touching these small things, I felt that I was back to Oxford again, after all these years.
Updated on Wednesday 15 April 2009 at 11:40am: The extremely awesome Mike told me that the students’ hall we stayed in was called Warnock House – I’ll remember when I go to Oxford again and visit there!


A conversation heard

A CONVERSATION HEARD in October 2007.

YANG: He said something about lusting after.
BURDETTE: Lusting over. Lusting after is more the nostalgia of bad sex. Nostalgia for bad sex.
YANG: Do you think he knew? That I would hear? That it was impossible I would not hear?
BURDETTE: A vicious old man. But younger than me.
YANG: I cried. But perhaps I cried to demonstrate I am not shameless.
BURDETTE: A man who deliberately hurts a woman is not a man.
YANG: Somebody who deliberately hurts a woman could be a definition.
BURDETTE: My friend, I would not be judged by my desires.
YANG: He judged me by his own desires.
BURDETTE: And condemned you.
YANG: For his desire? Or for the failure of his desire?
BURDETTE: He condemned you so you became worthy, worthless, enough for him.
YANG: He is not a metaphysician.
BURDETTE: And you are not made of stone.

每天還是如常的過

7th April, 2007, Mai Po

22-02-2007 (Thu)
最近很喜歡跟一年級學生通電郵, 預備跟他們在這學期談詩, 評theories, 寫故事: 學習不只在廣大課堂, 知識不只幾篇文章藏. 不想把魚白白送給他們, 卻是引導他們手握魚竿善用資源.
有些同學跟我說不敢講英文, 怕不夠動聽. 不講怎會好? ‘Native’也好, 不’native’也好, 世界大同, 你的唇舌不比別人的短: 有信心, 讀對音, 甚麼難得到你? ‘Hong Kong English’難道不是English嗎? 外國人學也學不到!
從前爸爸每一年過新年都會說: ‘年關難過年年過’. 爸爸是百分百粗人, 可間中會說幾句精句. 一轉眼一年真的飛逝, 自己也老了. 今天早上救護車把爸爸送去醫院: 醫生說他血壓比平常人高出一倍; 我當然擔心. 兩個孖妹陪同爸爸左右, 爸爸竟問醫生可否抽一支煙! 剛剛接到爸爸電話, 他興高采烈的說我的彩票又中了三個數目字(己是第四次). 全家上下人人穩守崗位, 努力工作: 在其位, 執其政. 但偶然還是想發大財, 完旅遊讀書退休豪食夢.
07-04-2007 (Sat)
有時我幻想身處黑暗中耐心觀看雀鳥飛翔及蝴蝶糾纏於黃綠紅花間. 現實的我卻是永恆的頭埋書本, 不知天昏地暗或是雨下窗前. 誰說初起步的文人易當?
今晚夜我本可寫最感性的字句, 但心裡總是忐忑不安. 是因為突然的天氣轉變, 是被俄羅斯電影 Solaris 所感動?
期盼於四月十六日星期一午飯時間與 curious 及 intelligent 的一年級生閱讀我最喜歡的英文詩之一: Archibald MacLeish 寫的 “The End of the World” (“世界末日”). 最後的一句實在難忘: ‘Of nothing, nothing, nothing — nothing at all’. 生命真的是如斯灰暗寂寥麼? 我不全認同, 也不全反對.

看窗

This post was originally written on 23-06-2007 (Sat) 
這些是從我家窗外拍得的窗照.還記得最初搬進這位於上環荷李活道的小房子時,感覺自己像進駐了驚嚇大師希治閣的電影 Rear Window 《後窗》的片場.但這裡亦同時點綴著一點點東歐的情懷, 因為這些窗讓我記起在波蘭克拉 科夫的短暫住處.我能清楚看到對面各家的一動一靜,卻怕自己的舉動也給全然窺探.日子久了才發覺對家的四口子早己習慣這種坦然的生活方式,只是有時會不覺意的看到我在把弄電視機的開關按鈕或是在書櫃中拿出一本本陳舊的詩集.
最近窗戶對面的其中一間房子搬進了一男一女, 他們可真讓我感到不自在. 男的總愛赤膊的站在窗前假裝整理著曬在窗旁的衣服. 我可不是特意在找不對勁的事宜,只是好幾次我的男朋友看到他時,他便猛然的把頭縮下, 露出烏黑的髮頂.女的也是動不動便把頭探出窗外東張西望, 似乎在密謀些甚麼要緊事.
我住的大厦有五層, 每層有兩個住戶. 我的neighbour是一個法國男人,有個我不能發音的名字.住在一二樓的全是老人家及他們的草根家人,夏天的時候走過他們的樓層都會聞到一陣異味.老人是這樣子的了.或許他們夏天都不會使用冷氣機,只會任由汗在流, 說他們環保也可以.其中一家的婆婆常會帶孫兒在街上吃白飯.她捧著白飯的雙手滿是深深的歲月印記.我老是跟自己說要把這情境寫進詩裡.
八月當我不在香港的時候, ‘包租婆’ 會給我的天台來個大翻新.這種唐樓真的需要不時維修! 聽傳聞說這一區域可能會給政府收買重建.千萬不要! 難道香港這小城市就容不下一點點的舊港風貌麼?