The Descent

DescentposterYesterday I watched The Descent, a British horror film about a group of female explorers who become trapped during an exploration in underground caves, one year after Sarah, a member and the protagonist, lost her husband and daughter in a motor accident. Adding to their plight is a race of blood-thirsty, cannibalistic savages, whom they must fight to survive.

Eventually it becomes apparent that the whole expedition is a metaphor of Sarah’s efforts to come to terms with the loss of her loved ones, and the affair between her husband and Juno, another member of the group. The “descent” here is arguably a psychological journey into the darkness of her inner self, to find a way out of the spite, grief and other emotions that have gripped her since that tragic day one year ago. The film ends without telling us her fate. However, by leaving a maimed Juno to the savages and having an imagined reunion with her daughter, she has at last freed herself and found peace, regardless of whether she survives.

Likewise, it can be said the savages are actually Sarah’s own inner demons. By killing the savages, she is able to redeem herself. One commentor on Imdb has a rather bizarre theory that the savages are actually Sarah’s hallucinations and that she has killed the whole group, though that may be an over-analysis.

The film is atmospheric and intense, with many brilliant scares (the night-vision scene is particularly effective). But I feel most strongly about the part in which they crawl through tunnels so tight that only one person can (barely) squeeze through each time. The claustrophobic atmosphere is suffocating, but it does visualize the helplessness and despair when one is trapped by preoccupations and obsessions.

The film seems to suggest the human mind is a dark, mysterious labyrinth with dangers lurking. If I dig deeper into my own, what monsters await?

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被迫聽,與偏要聽

放工回家的巴士上,前、左、後同時有人高聲講電話,像一次過開著三部收音機,教人不得安寧。

老實說,你的上司客戶如何無理,與我無關,請。不。要。逼。我。聽。即使要講,為甚麼不能小聲點呢,對喉嚨也沒有那麼傷呀。

不過話說回來,有人逼人聽,有人卻偏愛聽。

有不少師奶,飲茶時總要搭檯。無他,愛聽鄰座八卦是非而已。不聽,樂趣頓失,不算飲茶。

以前在律師行工作,有一個律師,總喜歡四處聽同事講電話。公事電話,要聽;私人電話,更要聽。

我明白,八卦乃上班族之常情,而小小的辦公室裏,也很難有甚麼私穩。我講電話時也有心理準備,知道其他人會聽到。

不過,要八,也要避忌一點吧。你怎可以總在人家旁邊扮踱步,藉故靠近聽個清楚,還要在事後追問人家談話內容???

有一次我收線後,她又過來問長問短。

她見我面上兩分無奈、三分不悅、五分鄙視,便道:「無無無,其實我無心overhear架。」

我真想回敬一句:「哦,我知,overhear緊係無心啦。有心果啲叫EAVESDROP吖嘛。」對文字吹毛求疵,是翻譯與律師的共通點。

不過這句話到了嘴邊,沒有說出來。

雖然說此人在公司神憎鬼厭,對她不留情的,大有人在,但始終多一事不如少一事。

跟她頂嘴,出了氣,卻多了個仇人,但又毫無裨益,不化算。

更何況,我那死魚般的眼神,相信已經足夠表達我的不滿。

A manipulated photo

Hangzhou

A garden near the West Lake, Hangzhou, China. Converted into Sepia with brightness and contrast adjustments to simulate the feel of an old photograph.

If a picture freezes time, does such editing transport people back in time?

裇衫兩件

筆者落伍,從不留意時裝,到最近才知道連鎖店French Connection原來就是以前的FCUK(French Connection United Kingdom,後來因備受評擊,棄用這簡稱)。從前見這疑似粗口店名,總當是不倫不類的前衛怪店,避而不入,實在太過武斷。

最近第一次光顧此店,買了兩件裇衫:

52BC1 52DA1_2

筆者鍾愛直紋,買的裇衫都是這種款式。 有朋友則酷愛方格紋,有「格仔人」之稱。這兩件款式容易配襯。即使到了冬天,只要加一件深色外套,便可配搭出不同變奏,可謂四季皆宜,抵買。

以前買衣服,總喜歡買大一碼,當然是為了遮肚腩。前兩年轉了新工作後,作息回復正常,也多了時間運動,因此瘦了少許,無須再以baggy clothes作此地無銀狀。因此這兩件裇衫比以前買的窄身,也當是逼自己多做運動及注意飲食。

說到這裏,想起一則故事:

昔日唐人初見洋裝,感到怪異莫名,暗詂:怎麼又緊又窄,一副寒酸相,是否不夠布用?而洋人見寬袍大袖的唐裝,則道:何以件件oversize,是否裁縫無能,量度尺寸時馬虎了事?是以互相輕視,實乃觀點與角度不同也。

Man Ho

7月10日按:Man Ho與manhole的發音,其實還是有少許分別的,多謝焚留言指正。詳情請看留言。

話說母親節到機場萬豪酒店飲茶,那中菜館叫「萬豪」,英文名乃音譯,叫做「Man Ho」。

Man Ho?豈不是發音跟「manhole」一模一樣?Manhole是地下水渠的出入口,香港稱為「沙井」,或者更俗的,叫「x渠」,而Manhole cover就是「x渠蓋」。

以前樓下有一間文具店,叫「文豪」,英文名也是Man Ho,當時見狀已感到不妥,料想是店主不諳英語使然,想不到國際級酒店集團也有此疏忽。

是不是我職業病發作,太過敏感,其他人simply don’t care?不過,既然連西貢Fook Man Road(福民路)路牌也引來遊客爭相拍照,傳為笑料,那Man Ho讓人有此聯想,也不是甚麼出奇的事呀。

Volunfear

Back in Feb I signed up to be a volunteer for the upcoming East Asian Games. Yesterday I got an email telling me that I’ve been assigned to the “Reception & Liaison” division.

The email says nothing my exact position and duties, and I’m still waiting. Considering my qualification, however, I’ll most likely be selected as a translator/interpreter.

If that’s the case, I can imagine while others toil under the scorching sun or have a nerve-breakdown handling impatient crowds, I’ll be sitting in front of a computer and sipping coffee, all in the relative comfort and serenity of an air-conditioned office.

In other words, no change from what I do everyday.

I don’t want that. I volunteered to try different things and meet new people. It’ll be dreadful if I end up translating documents all by myself.

On the other hand, to be an interpreter is a challenge I much look forward to.

I’ve reserved my remaining annual leave days for EAG (which means putting aside all travel plans), and I want this to be worthwhile.

鯨吞蝦兵蟹將

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餐牌上的照片,多數只會誇大份量。今日在榆景灣Zaks點了一客二人用的海鮮拼盤,上桌時赫見蝦蟹堆積如山,竟然比圖片大一倍。單此一碟,已經夠我們三人飽餐;若另叫其他菜式,則四人也夠吃。

這個拼盤,有炸蝦、炸魷魚、大蜆、軟殼蟹、烚大蝦、三文魚、芝麻吞拿魚、沙律和薯條。

常說洋人煮的魚難吃,但這裏的三文魚和吞拿魚香軟幼滑、生熟掌握得剛剛好。佐以蕃茄蓉,相當滋味。個人認為,吃魚當然以刺生最美味。要煮的話,半生熟的口感最佳,西餐擅長此藝。而全熟的話,似乎還是中國人做得最好。

筆者向來嗜吃海鮮。看著這個拼盤上桌時的心情,有如多日無肉下肚的餓鯊,忽然置身海洋公園海洋館,其狂喜不言而喻。

New design

I figured out how to change the background texture last night and decided to give my blog a new look (What? Again?).

And you’re looking at the result.

The design is to mimic a black-framed picture hanging on an exposed brick wall, like the ones in this photo:

exposed-brick-new-york

I like this combination because it creates a nice homely feel.