Saturday, 7 January 2017

怪叔叔日記 – 1

--本故事純屬虛構--
某星期一下午四時左右,於思思幼稚園門前站著一名大叔。這名大叔佬味甚濃,圓面,看似四十歲有餘,有些少地中海脫髮的跡象,面上的鬚根還沒有剃乾淨。他穿著人字拖,戴著金絲眼鏡,有些少中年發福,身上的運動服更凸顯了他的肚腩。
大叔在思思幼稚園門前站著,與旁邊一群等著接兒子女兒放學的年輕太太們格格不入。年輕太太們當然也感覺到大叔的氣場不同,與他保持一定距離,不時拋來奇怪的目光竊竊私語。當然,從大叔隨意的衣著可見,他不會介意這些目光。
思思幼稚園於四時正放學,一群幼稚園生魚貫湧出。大叔在一眾小孩中尋找著,終於發現了那名小女孩。小女孩扎孖辮,眼大大,面上掛著有些狡黠的笑容。大叔對著她叫道:“趙娃娃!趙娃娃!”女孩卻好像聽不見似的,望著另外一個方向。
大叔走上前,很努力的擠出一個很難說是不猥瑣的微笑,問道“小妹妹,你叫什麼名字?”
小女孩:“我叫趙娃娃,今年六歲。”
“原來不是我認錯人,你媽媽托我接你放學,我們走吧。”
趙娃娃:“媽咪教我不要跟來歷不明的怪叔叔走”
(忽然聽到了背後年輕太太們的竊竊私語)
“你不認得我了嗎?我是你的大舅父。”
趙娃娃:“我認得,你新年給我的利市只有二~十~蚊~。”
(又聽到了背後年輕太太們的竊竊私語)
“你認得我,那我就不是來歷不明的怪叔叔”
趙娃娃:“媽咪說,中年男人都是怪叔叔。尤其是要小心大肚腩甩頭髮的怪叔叔,不要跟他們走。我這麼可愛,會有很多怪叔叔想帶走我做奇怪的事情。”
“你媽媽也說,她這星期要去台灣看五月天演唱會,托我這星期每天接你放學。”
趙娃娃:“嘖…為什麼接我的不是彥祖表哥。”
“很對不起我不是彥祖,可以走了嗎?”
趙娃娃:“媽咪說,如果怪叔叔想引誘小女孩,有時候會請她食雪糕。”
“…….那舅父等會請你食雪糕好不好”
趙娃娃:“街尾好像有一間Haagen Dazs。”
“麥當勞甜筒不行嗎?”
趙娃娃:“不行”
“麥當勞士多啤梨新地。”
趙娃娃:“我會叫警~察~,我會尖叫說有怪叔叔想請我食雪糕。”
“五十元內的。”
趙娃娃露出勝利的笑容:“算你有誠意。走吧。”
原來擾攘了一輪,其他的家長和幼稚園生都已經回家去了。
趙娃娃轉頭對幼稚園的老師說“Byebye Miss Chan~”
大叔也與幼稚園老師互相點了點頭,帶著趙娃娃走出了幼稚園。
------
十五分鐘後,兩人已經在Haagen Dazs 內,趙娃娃吃著$49.9 的夏日風情新地,狀甚滿足。
趙娃娃:“明天你是不是也會來接我放學?”
“是。但如果你每天都食雪糕是會肥的。”
趙娃娃:“那明天你可不可以穿得好看一點?媽咪平時接我放學都會化妝著靚衫帶名牌手袋。媽咪話要輸人不輸陣。”
“我這套Adidas不算名牌嗎?”
趙娃娃:“不算。這次慘了,被Lucy 和Jessy看到我跟運動服怪叔叔說話,明天肯定全班都知道。”
“那我明天穿Nike可以嗎?”
趙娃娃:“這星期沒救了。”
--待續--

Sunday, 13 September 2015

妖魔橫行的世代

香港1997年回歸,至今接近二十年。我一直都不信回歸是一個 one-off 的過程,亦不信鄧小平所說的五十年不變。反而覺得香港真正回歸,是一個需要五十年的過程。三任特首,到了梁這一任更為明顯。

所謂的真正回歸,就是完全融入中國大陸。現在由中國大陸進出香港有限制,政制不同,文化不同,思想不同,語言不同。只有將這些差異降低到雙方都可以無阻地了解對方,無阻地溝通,香港才算真正回歸中國。而要消除這些差異,非五十年不能。對於一個政權來說,五十年並不算長;而當年的共產黨或鄧小平亦能有這個戰略思維,去處理五十年內發生的事情,單看毛澤東留給共產黨的其中一本治世攻略【論持久戰】已經可見。

融合是雙向的,可以你影響我一點,我影響你一點。但論人數,要以香港七百萬人,影響中國十三億人談何容易?非要有很強的感召力不可。論權力,以一介特別行政區(亦即是,中央眼中一個比較特別的地區),影響中央政權談何容易?論制度的複雜程度,由於國內比較上人治,各個勢力之間錯宗複雜,各山頭老樹盤根,要影響國內的權力架構難乎其難。反之,中國控制了行政長官的任免,而行政長官又控制了某些”政策紅利”與某些官員任免,中國亦控制了龐大的資源與更多的”政策紅利”,然後從中國而來的利益一環扣一環地滲透到香港各階層。

是以,有些二三流人才,本身在香港原有的體制內本身並不成功,看見如此變化便覺得機會來了,像蒼蠅聞到大便的氣味地蜂擁而至。而中國政府在回歸初期正是用人之際,二三流人才也要“袋住先”。試想想,屈穎妍或吳克儉這類人型物體,在正常情況下連靠邊站都不能

然後,新舊交替,難免會有政治。如果上級無能或刻意視而不見,政治可以變得很dirty,而現在正是如此。是以有能力,有風骨,道德觀比較強的人都會選擇退下來,如袁國勇。剩下來的不是無賴就是利慾薰心之輩,要不就是智障。到後來智障都被推出去當炮灰,剩下無賴鬥無賴,形成惡性循環。這種無賴鬥無賴的情況,國內很多地方都發生了幾十年,譬如你可以想想用哪個詞語形容張曉明最貼切?

對於我們香港市民,有能力者請自重,守護著應守護的東西,無能力者也不要當變成炮灰的那個智障。

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

從法國的 Charlie Hebdo 事件看

每個人或團體都有他的禁忌,冒犯的話甚至會以命相搏。以往有人教懂我什麼是同理心,就是站在別人的立場,體會他人的想法與感受,別人所不欲,勿施於人。法國的 Charlie Hebdo 固然是在拿別人的禁忌開玩笑,但動不動便要拿槍報仇的伊斯蘭教徒未免太“小氣”了。

伊斯蘭教徒的戒律真的不少,但守戒律應該是教門內部的事,別人犯戒或不敬,干卿底事?極其量便發個聲明嚴正抗議,說某某的行為嚴重傷害了你們伊斯蘭教教徒的感情,希望對方停止這類行為。對這類“小氣”的團體,可以的話,我通常敬而遠之,因為你永遠不知道什麼時候會踩到它的尾巴而招來禍害。

我一向都很反對不夠包容的宗教或意識形態。你信你的神,他拜他的佛,本來各不相干,偏偏有宗教認為不信我者皆是罪,這便是不夠包容。

關於不夠包容的意識形態,你看看今天的哪裡有最多“批判”,最多“團結對象”,最多“統戰”?今天便有一份學生刊物被批判。讓我引用『中共中央編譯局』的『國外部分執政黨意識形態的困境及應對』一文:對執政困境的其中一個應對方法就是“擴大意識形態的包容性,以便吸引更多的民眾,為政策的調整奠定基礎。”

可惜,某君卻反其道而行之。

Sunday, 18 May 2014

禮儀之邦(上)

禮儀之邦(上)
亞洲文化要求長幼有序,君君臣臣,父父子子,講輩份,敬重長輩。近來就有一個極端的例子:韓國船難。韓國人對長幼有序這一規則非常尊重,違者被視為離經叛道。船難時,船員一度向船長請示,卻因船長已棄船離開,船員沒有收到船長的指示,不能自己做決定。結果一眾學生被船員吩咐要留在船上,由於文化關係,韓國人習慣服從長輩,沒有學生質疑船員的決定。結果接近三百名學生身亡。

其實不單亞洲,每個文化也有講輩份的。譬如在美軍中,有所謂seniority。如果同級的軍官意見不同,年資高的便會有決定權,這樣便加快了決策的速度。老一輩常說所謂行橋多過你行路,食鹽多過你食米。理論上,年資高的軍官所經歷過的戰役比較多,比新兵更能作出正確的決策。在香港的教育界,也常聽到教師“last in, first out”的例子。年長的人有社會經驗,有知識。尤其是中國社會,常有些秘方,或不外傳的技巧。你不懂得孝敬某些老師傅,便不獲傳授。說到底,是敬重知識的社會。當然,年長的人並非必然有知識。

另外,輩份高的人通常有權力,有影響力。因為他們用等同他們生命長的時間,建立了自己的社會網絡,也把握著某些資源。以功利的角度看,即使你如何不喜歡,也要表面上的敬重他們。若然你仍然決定不敬重,那你便要預期自己得不到某些經驗,技巧,機會或資源。

若一位長輩又沒有知識經驗,又沒有權力或影響力,若然品德好,也是值得敬重的。再以功利的角度看,每個人都會老,相信你也會希望你自己老的時候會受到敬重。

此一制度,也有壞處。若然只論輩份,某些人便會得到與能力不符的地位。決策時太注重輩份,若輩份高的人一意孤行,便沒有人夠膽推翻錯誤的決定。這些是結構性的壞處。

另外在韓國,常聽見長輩犯錯,責任竟然由後輩承擔,正正是跟錯大佬成世無運行。極端的有些賄賂案,上級要下屬頂罪。又或是像濟州島船難的例子,船長與大部分船員棄船而去,棄責任與不顧。日本人則不然,他們責任心很強,有時候下屬犯錯,上級要謝罪。若然權力不附帶著責任,則會成為另一種的結構性的壞處。

有些人則會以地位謀取利益,搵著數。尤其是當代的中國人,要”識做”,要”送禮”,講”關係”。當每個人都很”識做”,送禮便變成了常態,久而久之變成了賄賂,而收受利益的人食髓知味,賄賂的金額則越來越大,後來變成不賄賂便路路不通。甚至有時候,不賄賂或"唔識做"便是冒犯。這便遠離了禮儀的原意
所謂敬重,到底要如何實行?敬重之餘,要想一下底線。是限於言語上?行為上?利益上?這些都是很麻煩的事情,奈何我們生活於群體之中,難免要與人交流。

而作為長輩,又應該如何處理與後輩的關係?輩份觀念太重,會令別人很難與你溝通。尤其香港的教育中西融合,”人人平等”的觀念植根很深,年輕人對輩份或敬老這些概念都不以為然。得到敬重並非必然,有之固然好,沒有也不是別人的錯。不能take it for granted,不能以老奉心態接受。更不能以權謀私,明示或暗示後輩進貢,這樣是為老不尊。如果你相信輩份這一套,作為長輩更應身體力行,以身作則。另外,如同上面所說,權力是附帶著責任的。

【唔知道會唔會有時間寫禮儀之邦(下),希望有】

Monday, 14 October 2013

昨晚的夢



我在一條路上走著,一開始只覺山明水秀,風景怡人。

走著走著,開始多留意四周。番開石頭,底下的蛇蟲鼠蟻全都現型;平靜的湖面,湖裡卻有喜歡吃人的奇怪魚類;長滿花朵的平原,底下卻埋著人骨,原來那些花是靠吸取腐屍的養分生長。到後來,我走到哪裡,都發現泥土裡會滲出污穢,空氣裡有著令人頭昏腦脹的瘴氣。

剛發現的時候,嚇了一跳,以為自己看錯了。走著走著,有時候我會想,這次見到的可能是例外,到別處就不會再遇上。後來我知道,並非世界改變了,這些無處不在的污穢物原本就已經存在,只是以往我沒有看見。

與我同行的人,有些老早就察覺了,把自己沐浴在污泥之中恥笑著別人的遲鈍;有些選擇視而不見,繼續享受著虛幻的美景;有些察覺了,卻不能忘記以往的表象,努力地清潔從四方八面湧出來的污物,直至筋疲力盡;有些帶著希望四處尋找,祈求可以找到一處未受污染的土地,找了一年又一年;我沒有選擇視而不見,一邊走著,一邊小心翼翼地不讓自己沾上污穢。

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Arguing about pseudoscience: a useful analogy


SCENARIO: PERSON 1 (a scientist) is at the bar in a pub. He orders two drinks and a bag of crisps. He takes these and sits down. He is alone, but clearly waiting for someone. PERSON 2 (a stranger) enters. He sits in the vacant seat at PERSON 1's table, uninvited. The following conversation occurs.
PERSON 1: … hello? Can I help you?
PERSON 2: Did you say you'd just been to Manchester?
PERSON 1: What?
PERSON 2: You just told the barman you've come back from Manchester. I overheard you.
PERSON 1: Oh, right, yeah. I just came back from a conference.
PERSON 2: You mentioned football.
PERSON 1: I did? Oh, yes. It was a nightmare driving back, there was a match on apparently, and the roads were jammed.
PERSON 2: Do you know who the best football team from the Manchester area are?
PERSON 1: Well, I'm not exactly a football fan, but given what I know, it's probably Manchester United.
PERSON 2: Wrong! Open your eyes!
PERSON 1: Sorry, what?
PERSON 2: The best football team in Manchester are the PPs.
PERSON 1: …the what?
PERSON 2: The PPs! It stands for Plough and Potato. It's a pub. They're a brilliant Sunday League side from the Plough and Potato pub, on the outskirts.
PERSON 1: Right. And they're the best team in Manchester?
PERSON 2: Yes. Probably the best in the country.
PERSON 1: Sorry, but I rather doubt that.
PERSON 2: Are you calling me a liar?
PERSON 1: What? No. I'm just saying that, based on the substantial evidence available, what you said is almost certainly wrong.
PERSON 2: So you're saying I'm lying!
PERSON 1: NO! I'm saying you're wrong. They are two different things. You can completely believe what you're saying and still be wrong.
PERSON 2: What makes you so sure I'm wrong?
PERSON 1: Well, you're claiming that a team of enthusiastic amateur volunteers, who by definition drink regularly, are better at a sport than a team of professional athletes selected from across the world and paid millions for their ability to play the sport in question better than others. All logic and rationality would suggest that this isn't the case.
PERSON 2: I'll have you know that I could find you a dozen people who would agree that the PPs are better than Man U.
PERSON 1: I could probably find you ten thousand people who wouldn't.
PERSON 2: That doesn't count; they're just closed-minded people who blindly believe what they're told. It's the people who are willing to speak the truth that matter.
PERSON 1: Say what? That's not how anything works.
PERSON 2: How does it work, then? You think you know everything? You don't know everything.
PERSON 1: I never said I did, but not knowing everything doesn't mean I don't know anything, and I can safely say that what you're saying is gibberish.
PERSON 2: Is it now? So if Man U were to play the PPs in a game, who would win?
PERSON 1: Man U.
PERSON 2: What if they played 10 games?
PERSON 1: Still Man U.
PERSON 2: OK, what if they played 500 games?
PERSON 1: It would still be mostly Man U who wins.
PERSON 2: Mostly?
PERSON 1: Well, if they played 500 games in succession, I guess there's a
chance that your PPs could sneak a win.
PERSON 2: EXACTLY! They could beat Man U, so they're better than them. You just admitted it.
PERSON 1: I bloody well didn't! That one win would be the result of chance, and Man U would still win over 99.5% of the games, so they're obviously the better team.
PERSON 2: OK then smart arse, tell me this; if Man U and the PPs were to play a game tomorrow, which do you think would win.
PERSON 1: Man U. How many different ways do I need to say it?
PERSON 2: Fine, if you're so confident, in that game, at 53 minute and 17 seconds, where would the ball be on the pitch?
PERSON 1: What? I don't know, but probably close to the goal at the PP's end.
PERSON 2: You don't know though, do you!
PERSON 1: No, I don't know where the ball would be at that specific point in
time.
PERSON 2: Exactly! You say they'd win 500 games, but you can't even say where the ball will be in just one game, so your predictions are meaningless.
PERSON 1: OK, that is utterly nonsensical and not even close to being the same thing. And who are you, anyway? What do you want?
PERSON 2: And another thing, the PPs have been playing football longer than Man U have!
PERSON 1: So? What does that have to do with anything? My gran's TV predates mine, but mine has surround sound and hers can't display colour. But you're saying hers is better?
PERSON 2: The Plough and Potato have had a football team since Roman times, so they must be better at it than modern teams!
PERSON 1: Well that's definitely nonsense.
PERSON 2: Why is that nonsense?
PERSON 1: Because Roman times were thousands of years ago. That predates football. In this country, that predates potatoes.
PERSON 2: Oh, I see now. You're a shill.
PERSON 1: A what now?
PERSON 2: A shill. A pawn of Big Football. They're paying you to spread lies and disinformation about other football teams, so people keep supporting the big ones and spending money on them.
PERSON 1: … seriously, why would anyone go to that much effort?
PERSON 2: They're scared of the lesser known, alternative teams who play football as it should be played. If more people knew about them, they'd lose all support.
PERSON 1: To be honest, I'd be amazed if those running Man U so much as knew your PP team existed, let alone form a conspiracy to supress them.
PERSON 2: But it's obvious! Man U and the other big teams charge people loads of money, they wouldn't want to risk losing that.
PERSON 1: I'm not saying they're not run by unscrupulous bastards; they probably are. But they actually have to provide examples of decent football; they have to provide valid results at some point. They can't just go around telling the general public that they're the best team and expect them to cough up loads of money to support them.
PERSON 2: Why not?
PERSON 1: …fair enough, I guess that is what you're doing.
PERSON 2: What you probably don't understand because you're ill-informed is that there's an old parchment on the wall of the Plough and Potato that says they pub will have the best football team in the country. It was put there by an old landlord, decades ago.
PERSON 1: Right. You do realise that something written in an old document doesn't actually trump evidence from the real world, right?
PERSON 2: Real world is it? Well, the PPs have actually had a former Man U player in the squad at one point, and he said they were the best team he's ever played for. He clearly knows what he's talking about, how can you say otherwise?
PERSON 1: Right. And all the Man U players who haven't said that, they're opinions can be ignored because…?
PERSON 2: But I have 5 friends who would swear on their life that they saw a PP player score the best goal ever. How can you argue with evidence like that?
PERSON 1: I'm sure you do, but that doesn't mean anything. That's just an anecdote; there are probably similar groups of people all over the country who would argue the same about someone on their favourite team. But unless we have video evidence of all these goals and compare and contrast them, we can't rely on their reports.
PERSON 2: But the PPs have hundreds of fans who say they're the best team!
PERSON 1: Yes, but… so, hang on, when I said I could find thousands of Man U fans you said that was just people being closed minded, but your hundreds of fans are valid evidence? Is there a certain range of supporters that counts as 'valid', or are you just making this up as you go along?
PERSON 2: Stop trying to supress my beliefs! I'm a lifelong PP fan! I've got PP running through my veins!
PERSON 1: Seriously, how can you not realise how ridiculous you sound when you say that?
PERSON 2: I'm sick of people like you, telling people who they can and can't support, trying to crush those who don't conform to big business, stamping on the little people who threaten your position!
PERSON 1: I'm doing what now? You started this conversation; I was minding my own business, waiting for my friend.
PERSON 2: I'm sick of the oppression of people like you. You know what I'm going to do, I'm going to go to the media! I'm going to go on all the football programmes and insist that whenever they say who's at the top of the league they have to give me an equivalent amount of time to say why the league stats are wrong and the PPs should be at the top.
PERSON 1: Oh yeah, good luck with that.


[DISCLAIMER: As far as I know, there is no pub called the Plough and Potato in Manchester, or anywhere for that matter, I merely made it up to provide a childishly amusing acronym. If there is a Plough and Potato in Manchester and one of their staff or patrons is reading this, I apologise for any offence caused]
[DISCLAIMER 2: The above conversation is fictional, but if you replace "football" with any subject that isn't supported by science (e.g. alternative medicine.) then it's highly likely that a similar conversation has occurred many times, and will continue to do so]
[DISCLAIMER 3: The last part of the conversation, where the second person says the media will give him equal airtime to argue in favour of a position that is clearly incorrect based on the available data? That's a regular occurrence for science and related subjects]
from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/brain-flapping/2012/nov/29/pseudoscience-science-argument

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

對往事的絲絲回憶(2)



大學一年的暑假,我膽粗粗的主動send email去找去年暑期工港大的那個supervisor,又難得他不嫌棄我經常打爛野,再次請回我。那時他剛剛轉由港大到中大,正值用人之時,我便有機會接觸更技術性的工作。我那時的職位由去年的junior technical assistant轉為junior research assistant,人工照舊是跟part time 的三千二,工時照舊是full time,而且常常要OT。這次也算是一次升職,也是我第一次升職不加薪。工作量加了,人工卻不加。一如以往,當年滿腔熱情做科研,怎麼會計較。

當時全team只有三個人,其中一個是內地來的博士生,他每天朝七晚十一的工作,既低調又能幹而且容易相處,讓我見識到內地生的厲害之處。另外一個是本地大學畢業的博士生,姑且叫她A吧。與內地生比起來,A比較閒,照顧我這個新人的重任就交了給她。當時A以為我是大學畢業full time 的RA,自然要求我做到RA的程度,到很後來才發現是一場誤會。當她發現我什麼都不懂,什麼都要從頭教起的時候,變相增加了她的工作量,自然對我沒有好聲氣,說話要多難聽有多難聽,亦諸多留難。

想起來也是,如果你發現某人跟你拿同樣的工資,自己的工作量卻比那某人多的時侯,自然會不甘。同工不同酬,或同酬不同工,都是職場怨氣的來源。A便是一個很典型的,很會計較的員工。但亦因為她的高要求,我學到更多。雖則她對我很不滿,認為我不值得RA的那份糧,該教的還是肯教;她對supervisor以至整個lab也有很多不滿,但該完成的工作還是會好好的完成,很pro。有時候,她口中一邊罵supervisor的娘親,手上則以無懈可擊的技術完成工作,很是滑稽。

有一次,我手頭上的工作還沒做完,但已經夠鐘放工,便把手頭上的工作放下,留待明天才做。我剛踏出門口的時候,卻給A撞個正著。她對我說:“今天有今天的工作,明天有明天的工作,今天的工作要今天完成,要不然今天的工作堆到明天,明天的工作便要堆到後天或大後天,到頭來一事無成。”我當初還以為A是在留難我,但看到隔壁的內地生默不作聲的做自己的工作,裝作充耳不聞,想起來他應該是覺得我這個年輕人很不行而心裡不甘吧。從那天起,我差不多每天都OT一兩個小時(本身已經是在OT,part time的工資做full time的工作,現在是OT上再OT)。

那年,有兩個得着,先是發現了於職場立足的要求;另外就是三年後的一份publication,當中的一個table和幾幅圖都是我的貢獻,CV多了一行。

那一年的暑假我自以為學了很多。我當時學的全都是技術上的技巧,更深層次的都沒有學到。做生物化學類的科研除了要“手勢好”,還要有另外一些更重要的條件,那是我在碩士畢業後第一份工才意識到的,那是後話。學量子的說法,“畢竟,人的成長速度是有限制的”。老實說,如果我是那些學得很快的醒目仔,我就不會放棄科研。

待續。