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Prof. Stuart Christie
Professor, Department of English Language and Literature

Stuart Christie teaches English literature at Baptist University where he has been working since 1999. He is the author of two books, Worlding Forster: The Passage from Pastoral (Routledge, 2005) and Plural Sovereignties and Contemporary Indigenous Literature (Palgrave, 2009).

我的專業 (6)
校園生活 (2)
生活分享 (4)
旅遊日誌 (1)

綠浸大Green BU
Pass It On!
Paperless Office
Hangzhou Half-Step
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

Creative Writers visit the English Department
2010-04-15 10:13:51.0 網誌分類: 我的專業

Dear Blogosphere,

ENG (and co-sponsors, the International Writers Workshop and the Language Centre respectively) would like to promote the following two events--two seminars with world-class writers visiting our campus.

PLEASE NOTE: both seminars are CCL registered, so you can enjoy some of the best creative writing and also help to meet your University requirement!

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Welcome South African Writers and Poets!
2010-03-04 10:31:49.0 網誌分類: 我的專業

The English Department and the International Office are delighted to be co-sponsoring the visit of two distinguished South African writers, Mr Mandla Langa and Mr Andre Brink, to our campus.

For further details, see the soft-copy of the poster which has been posted around campus and which is circulating among the blogosphere.

We look forward to seeing you on the day, to be inspired by the words and wisdom of these writers!  They have documented stirring times for their nation (which, incidentally, is also hosting the FIFA world Cup which begins in just under 100 days).

Please click the following link for more details:

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Remembering Hong Kong’s War Dead
2009-11-23 09:54:12.0 網誌分類: 生活分享

On 11 November each year, Remembrance Day is celebrated throughout Britain and the Commonwealth countries. (Before these countries were called Commonwealth nations, they were called crown colonies or dominions and were part of the British empire.) Citizens of former colonies, such as India and Sri Lanka, also observe this tradition. Hong Kong, formerly a so-called ‘dependent territory’ and crown colony of Britain, ceased observing Remembrance Day after the return of sovereignty to China in 1997.

Nevertheless, throughout October and the first part of November every year, many of the people in these ex-colonies and former Commonwealth countries continue to wear red poppy pins to commemorate the fallen war dead, in memory of the appalling loss of life during the First World War (1914-1918).

So I was pleased to see this image taken last week in Hong Kong (credited to: © Daniel Sorabji/AFP/Getty Images). Apparently, some Hong Kong citizens (perhaps including those who hold British or other Commonwealth country passports) are showing support for the tradition, even though no official government–sanctioned ceremony exists.

Whenever I see the red poppies, I think of the Canadian war poet, John McCrae. McCrae, who died of pneumonia in Flanders (the ancient, Flemish-speaking region including parts of modern-day Belgium and northern France) in 1918, wrote the famous lines:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row.

Why doesn’t Hong Kong commemorate Armistice Day? With the end of colonial rule, perhaps there is some justification for the non-observance. Perhaps the Chinese nation does not view the wars involving colonizing Europeans on their soil as strictly their own when contrasted, for example, with the comparatively far higher number of Chinese non-combatants and soldiers the Japanese Imperial Army killed throughout all of non-colonized China during the same period. And it is certainly true that those foreign servicemen and women who died in fighting Japanese aggression were not fighting on behalf of Hong Kong’s independence but of the colonial status quo.

Still, recalling the sacrifice of the Canadian regiments (the Royal Rifles and the Winnipeg Grenadiers) during the battle of Hong Kong that raged between 8 -24 December 1941, I want to remember the 554 Canadians killed (including those who eventually succumbed to injuries) and the over one thousand wounded. The intense fighting began, first in the New Territories and then on Hong Kong Island, as the Canadian and other British dominion troops retreated and the Japanese 38th division slowly and irrevocably encircled the island.  http://wwii.ca/page42.html

Why, you may well ask, does this kind of remembrance matter to me? After all, I am an American citizen born to a Canadian mother.

I don’t choose to remember because I have nostalgia for the colonial past or because I was once a soldier.

I don’t and I wasn’t: colonialism and imperialism are clearly wrong, and wars fought to justify these are debatable ethically. And just for the record, I think war is the height of all evil and only justifiable—and even then, it’s a tough choice—when another evil even greater than war (Hitler, for example) presents itself. Unlike my mother’s generation, I was never called upon or even compelled to serve. Unlike some among the younger generation, now serving in today’s conflicts, I’ve never chosen to fight.

Nor do I choose to remember the fallen because I had relatives fight in both of the last century’s major wars, although both of my great uncles—my grandmother’s two older brothers—survived them.

As a very young man of only eighteen, my great uncle, Andrew Fraser, fought against the Germans in Flanders, or possibly northern France, in World War One. (We can’t be sure of which location, because this information was censored in case the Germans intercepted the mail. Uncle Andrew’s two letters to his littlest sister Bessie, my grandmother, Mary, have dark ink blotting out sensitive information.)
Wherever he fought, this area covered much of the same land and the same scene that John McCrae and the other war poets (such as Wilfred Owen, Robert Graves, and Siegfried Sassoon) also wrote about in their poetry.

His youngest brother, my mother’s Uncle Charlie (and also my grandmother’s favorite brother), was building dams in the United States when the Second World War broke out. Instead of returning to his birthplace in Canada to enlist, he enlisted in the Construction Battalions (CBs, commonly called “Seabees”) of the United States Navy and helped to build airfields throughout the Pacific when the Americans began to push back after Pearl Harbor. Because they came from experienced building and engineering careers, the Seabees recruits were considerably older, at an average age of 37, than the fresh, green conscripts (see the free-access image below). Uncle Charlie fit this demographic exactly.

Sadly, Uncle Charlie survived the war against the Japanese only to die, several years after the war ended, of a disease he had picked up while in the tropics. He was only in his early forties when he died, and he was sorely missed by my grandmother and mother.

Even with all of this family history, I don’t choose to remember the Canadians who died in Hong Kong—along with the Scots and the English, the Irish and the Australians, the Welsh and the New Zealanders, the Indians (Punjabs and Rajputs) and the Ghurkas— because of my family’s wartime service.

Rather, I want to remember these soldiers, doctors, and nurses foremost as individuals. They died far from home, in a foreign place, away from their families, in the name of something so abstract—defending the British empire against Japanese aggression—that it may have barely seemed worth it. (I don’t know this for a fact; perhaps empire did mean a great deal to some of them.) What I can be more certain about is that the last century’s wars, like just about any wars fought until only very recently, were not generally fought by well-paid professionals choosing warfare as their life’s calling.

Wars are typically fought, instead, by men and women ranking among the statistically lowest in income, education, and life prospects. It is their blood we most often spill in the name of abstract ideologies such as nation and empire. They are the most patriotic among us, and, as only one specific segment of our broader society, they pay (in proportional terms) the greatest price in defending us.

And, of course, I wouldn’t ever ask my Chinese colleagues and students to remember the Canadians and other soldiers of the empire defending Hong Kong in December 1941 if they’re not comfortable doing so. It’s probably true: these Canadians, when presently fighting for their lives against hopeless odds, likely weren’t even aware of (or dwelling upon) the fascinating complexities of Chinese culture and its many proud traditions. In this sense, the Canadian service men and women probably weren’t fighting for a Chinese Hong Kong at all. They were just fighting to stay alive. Perhaps in the fiercest moments China and the British Empire were the farthest things from these people’s minds.

But still they bled and still they died. The Canadian and other soldiers must have been very brave, and most probably very scared, when their commanders refused to surrender—twice—to an overwhelmingly superior force and then ordered them to fight to the last man standing. (And many of those soldiers who survived the actual battle suffered an even worse fate—that of torture and starvation at the hands of the Japanese at a formerly British army base the Japanese had commandeered in Sham Shui Po. The civilian Westerners were interned at Fort Stanley. Thanks to Tim Hamlett for bringing this to my attention.) As the website I consulted reads, “In all, more than 550 of the 1,975 Canadians who sailed from Vancouver [British Columbia] in October 1941 never returned.”

I hope that we who call Hong Kong home, whether foreign-born or Chinese, can take a brief moment to remember the Hong Kong war dead. I hope that we might consider honoring the Canadians and other soldiers who defended Hong Kong alongside the many Hong Kong Chinese people who suffered and died during the Japanese occupation that followed.

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English majors, reveal your inner poet!
2009-10-15 15:56:14.0 網誌分類: 我的專業

This blog post is for all of our English-major students. It contains a poem and a shameless plug: please submit entries to the annual English Department Poetry Competition! For more information, follow the link (on the bottom at the left-hand margin) via our ENG Dept webpage: http://eng.hkbu.edu.hk/

All poems are written for pleasure, even when they are written with a serious intent. They can be celebratory as well as meditative. Like the best of William Blake’s poetry—and you may find some of Blake’s sensibility in the poem below—poetry succeeds in finding eternity in ephemeral things. Enjoy!

A Papaya Addresses its Creator

I am a theory of yours.
Ovular in shape, with a strange taper at my tip.
You made me when more important processes
—the swish of a cat-tail for instance—
     demanded your further attention.

Still, you made me! Succulent, cat’s-eye green, and hanging
     on my tree the little girl in the village always smiles at.
Only just two, she takes one of my fallen branches
—you made them more like fronds, I would say, had I a tongue—
     and sweeps the steps like the adults do.

Is she part of your theory, too?
Did she, also so made, dream you?

One day I shall drop. I have seen, or rather heard,
     this: my brethren achieve downward flight
with a nervous shinny and a sudden snap of the xylem.
And, with a dull thud (and sometimes a little roll)
speak nevermore.

All this could frighten me, even as I gather weight and girth,
     suspended high up in the air. But I believe in you.

I believe that my brothers and sisters so fallen, 
     so silent below in a funereal heap,
     are dreaming.

I do not ask that they pray in their silent dreams,
     only that their silent and lovely decay
     mean something more than rotting.
Or, when I struggle to turn this meaty mind of mine
     Into something like thinking,
     that rotting is also
     an important part of your theory.

Your theory that is I.

Still, I am waiting. I have a scar on my smooth
     skin where a naughty boy in my
     village threw a stone.
I bled white, sticky fluid I believe to be the sweetest possible.

This kind of thing is not sacrifice, because you are not cruel.

Nor do I need to pray, because the old woman,
     gathering my fallen brothers and sisters at the
     base of my tall, jagged tree
     prays for me.

Had I ears, yet (still senseless to time) I would hear her
     by the half light of dawn,
     gathering the ripening papaya into her basket
          and singing:

I am part of your theory, too.
These, like me, were made, by you.

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2009-08-18 17:24:25.0 網誌分類: 生活分享

In the local theatres a movie is playing about ice age creatures and their antics. A young mastodon—or is it wooly mammoth?—couple is getting ready to welcome a little baby into the scary new world at the turn of the Pleistocene phase of our planet’s history.

The father is happy and anxious and trying to “baby-proof” all potential hazards his child might face in the vicinity of home while the mother looks on with considerable bemusement.

“You can’t baby-proof all of nature,” the wife gently chides her husband. (Or something to that effect.)

These are wise words. I just never knew that I would end up understanding them so deeply.

Given the natural development of toddlers, my daughter has recently figured out how to open just about everything in our house: zippers, drawers, cupboard doors, sliding doorways, door knobs, and other assorted handles. (You parents with grown up children will know exactly what I’m going through. But, you see, this is my first time through it.)

And these are merely the things that she enjoys opening without trying too hard. Her idea of an even more fun challenge is to take advantage of vertical reach on tiptoe—adding about an extra three inches—which now brings the cutting knives, stove elements, wok with sizzling oil and water, precariously balanced dishes and glasses in the sink, and whatever food or drink (in various stages of preparation) is on the counter into tantalizing reach.

Quite obviously, and for these reasons, I’ve had to baby-proof my home in earnest, across successive stages as my daughter gets older. But the story of my preoccupation goes back, naturally, to Day One.

I said a small prayer and counted my blessings in the hospital—that my wife and child were both safe and sound after my daughter was born. Even so, I remember one particularly eternal (as if it would last forever) moment just prior to the safe delivery of our strapping 3.68 kg baby. The obstetrician, an able, confidence-inspiring and big-bodied woman, had had to use full strength to usher my daughter’s broad shoulders through the birth canal. (Imagine, if you will, a wild elephant charging down the Ladies Market in Mong Kok and getting hung up on a lamp-post: not the main-thoroughfare, mind you, but one of the side alleys where you can buy T-shirts by the half-dozen.) My daughter wasn’t moving as she should and the heart-rate monitor was beeping more urgently, or so it seemed. The O.B. had to urge my daughter’s right shoulder blade, now stuck, forward while exerting considerable strength on my wife’s pelvis and hips. I watched dumbstruck as this Hera of the maternity ward jerked the entire bed once and then twice, eventually liberating my beloved child from her mother’s embrace and into the wide, bright, very hygienic and controlled hospital world.

Thanks to the wonders of modern medical science my wife swears she didn’t feel a thing. In fact, my child was most likely never really in any significant danger. On looking back, however, I realized I felt a tremendous sense of helplessness at some deeply rooted part of myself which has to do with how I attempt, or not, to control my world, both for myself and for my loved ones. That part of me, indeed, which under specific circumstances actually has very little or no control even when it thinks it does or wants to.

And ever since that day, I’ve been a little wound up about baby-proofing and choking hazards around the house. (My wife probably will suggest that the term “uptight” is more appropriate.)

Just this weekend I’ve finally emptied the last of my drawers in the master bath of razors, iodine, assorted medications, trendy herbal remedies long-expired and similar dreck found in deep drawers of washrooms all over the homo sapien universe. This drawer and its contents, mindful of potential to cause harm to my daughter, has been preying at the back of my mind and distracting me at critical junctures across the past several weeks (at work, in mid-sentence when talking with my wife, and blocking my train of thought when I’m trying to write).

Whatever I’m in the middle of doing, suddenly the thought emerges with the mental equivalent of a shriek: “WHAT IF MY DAUGHTER IS UP THERE IN THAT DRAWER RIGHT NOW?”

Then the horror show begins. What isn’t poisonous in that drawer is a choking hazard. What she can’t put in her mouth could easily wound her (and the like). I sprint up the stairs, round the corner, and there my daughter is at play, perfectly safe, and capably attended. She smiles sweetly knowing nothing about her father’s nightmare. I think I’m graying at the temples as a result.

Today I emptied the last drawer, and now it’s just that: an empty space of nothing, devoid of use and significance. I suppose I could probably empty everything out of the entire house and, right before my wife called the sanitorium to have me committed, I’d at least have the satisfaction of knowing that any objects which might cause harm to my daughter would be non-existent in an entirely controlled and utterly protected world.

And then the realization hit me. If I child-proofed my daughter’s reality against every possible adverse eventuality, it would be she who was locked up from the world. And all because I’d tried too hard to protect her from things unknown in the name of a father’s anxiety. I wouldn’t be her father, then, but her jailer.

So I have a lot of learning to do, about what I can sensibly control and what I need to let go of. As my daughter’s reach grows into childhood, adolescence, and womanhood, she’ll encounter knowledge of things the abuse of which I do not approve but which are all, I’m afraid, part and parcel of our fallen humanity: sin, internet access, rock and roll, sexuality, naughty boyfriends and girlfriends (listed in no particular order). She’ll need to learn how to handle these things; not only when I and her mother are conveniently nearby for guidance but, even more importantly, when we’re not.

And these are just the usual catalog of illicit things parents can worry about. What about the skills she’ll need to develop in order to thrive and survive, the risks she’ll want to take in the name of improving herself and her happiness? What about the joys of swimming far from shore, of driving the steep and congested hills of Hong Kong so as to see the view, of airplane travel during a long typhoon season? Bungee-jumping, anyone? Life’s greatest pleasures often occasion some degree of risk, however small.

I love my daughter and have gladly devoted my life to her welfare since that morning her shoulder blade got stuck and then, miraculously as it so seemed, slid free. My wife apart, my daughter is my greatest joy. But I now know I can’t baby-proof against all her pain, just (hopefully) those kinds of pain more readily avoided with common sense.

Most important, I’ve learned I can’t turn worry into tyranny. Beyond common sense protections, the rest of living life will belong to my daughter (bumps and scrapes included) and the kind of character she has and the kinds of choices she makes as a consequence of what (and here her father cringes) hurts. She’ll have earned her own wisdom, I have no doubt, across what I hope is a long and fulfilling life’s experience.

So long as she knows I’ll always be there, quietly but not too anxiously watching. And even when I’m not here anymore that my love for her will always remain.

No worries.

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作者: 吳麗嫻博士

2010-04-13 10:19:10.0

本已忙碌的工作範圍,今個學年加上管理學生舍堂,又承擔了靈光小學的校監工作,為了平衡家庭生活,與明章參加了每週一堂的社交舞班,為了保持靈裏的支持系統,也參加了每週末的團契,無奈停了寫網誌一段時間。 但

作者: 馮強先生

2011-04-01 09:40:57.0

轉載 2011年3月15日[都市日報]P24 懷抱天下 (from wikimedia commons)「卜戴倫」(Bob Dylan)這位民歌和「樂與怒」(Rock & Roll)界的偉大

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