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Showing posts from April, 2015

Butterfly Effect 蝴蝶效應

I woke up one morning to the buzz of an incoming email on my phone. “Dear Jason,” the message started off disarmingly innocuous, “we are delighted to invite you to our 13th Annual Student Awards ceremony.” The sender was the chairman of a respected NGO that supports underprivileged children in Hong Kong. But the invitation took a sudden, horrifying turn: “It would give us great pleasure if you would be our keynote speaker to address 500 honor students at City Hall. We look forward to your favorable response.” Gulp, gasp, gag. I threw my phone across the bed and leapt to the bathroom. I was ready to hurl.

Surveys have shown that most people, regardless of age, gender or ethnicity, fear public speaking more than they fear death. Jerry Seinfeld famously joked that the average person at a funeral would rather be in the casket than doing the eulogy. The phenomenon is called glossophobia, derived from glossa, the Greek word for tongue. The symptoms are those associated with the classic fig…

Season Finale 大結局

Hong Kongers are used to duopolies. Every day, citizens choose blissfully between Wellcome and Park’n Shop, Café de Coral and Fairwood, Fortress and Broadway, oblivious and powerless to the glaring absence of choice. This false sense of consumer freedom is legitimized by the government’s corportacratic propaganda telling us that too many options can lead to confusion, cut-throat competition and an economic apocalypse. Nowhere is this phenomenon more pronounced than in the realm of free-to-air television – broadcasting that requires no paid subscription and commands high viewership especially among the low income demographics. Our television dial can only toggle between the complacent TVB and the languishing ATV, two unequal adversaries that nowadays offer numb viewers the Hobson’s choice between bad programming and the unwatchable.

For months, ATV – the world’s first Chinese language television station – has been dying a slow and torturous death. Its financial troubles first surfaced…