The Long-Haul Degree

I couldn’t but thinking problem of humanities is the lack of demand of humanities Ph.D. Other than university or community college, who has the need to hire an specialized educated humanities Ph.D.? Maybe the market is the solution, let the humanities graduate program shrink according to market demand. Maybe we will have a lot less humanities Ph.D and some department won’t survive, but it will better for the school (financial)and for the graduates (less competition, easier to find job)

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同門

平時沒有時間看電影﹐出門坐飛機便可以一次看過夠。這次去印度公幹乘國泰﹐相對其他航空公司的電影選擇﹐國泰的目錄十分豐富﹐而且也有很多港產片﹐不愧為香港人的航空公司。《同門》看似一套很典型的香港黑社會電影﹐黑幫大佬被人暗殺伏擊﹐破壞了黑夜街頭妙微的勢力平衡。當大佬保鐮的余文樂臨危受命﹐出面當幫會的臨時話事人﹐要挨過一晚等大嫂蔡少芬從台灣回港主持大局。余文樂一方便要找出兇手﹐一方便要防止其他幫派乘虛而入﹐也要按著二佬杜文澤﹐防止他藉機搞事擴大地盤。

電影所有故事發生在一個晚上的時間﹐好處是劇情緊湊﹐觀眾陪著主角發掘謀殺大佬的陰謀﹐估不到劇情進行的方向。壞處是時間太緊迫﹐沒有足夠角色描寫的空間﹐整夜看著余文樂走來走去﹐只是透過他偶然停下來與人談話﹐觀眾才可能窺探主角的內心想法。余文樂一心想退出黑道﹐但人在江湖身不由己﹐只好當大佬的保鐮遠離江湖的風雨。大佬被刺殺﹐幫會最高話事人以大局為重﹐不想手下幫派趁機混水摸魚﹐才命最沒有大志的余文樂當話事人。余文樂希望無風無浪挨過這一夜﹐與劇中其他話事人成很強烈對比﹐包括二佬杜文澤和其他三個幫派大佬﹐沒有人不想這次讓權力洗牌乘機上位。

以前黑社會講忠肝義膽﹐現在的黑社會只有赤祼祼的權力。隨著踏入夜深故事發展﹐各個大佬各懷鬼胎﹐時而出口術互相結盟﹐時而挑撥離間﹐準備在背後反插一刀。各方糾集人馬﹐黑幫大戰一觸即發。余文樂貴為話事人﹐手中卻沒有實權﹐他誤闖自己幫派集合地點﹐嘍囉們認不出新上任的話事人﹐險些給自己的手下幹掉。誰人能夠號令社團手下誰人便有實權﹐上面指派的話事人只一紙空文。躲在酒樓的最高話事人﹐大慨早己不在黑道刀口上過日子﹐忘記了黑社會的權力基於暴力。他一廂情願要幫會安定繁榮﹐以為四個大佬有錢一齊掙﹐便可以和氣生錢。但他高高在上脫離現實﹐看不到低下因分贓不均﹐早已埋下隨時爆炸的炸彈。

余文樂揪出兇手﹐成為引爆炸爆的導火線。四位大佬面和心不和﹐反正早己看大家不順眼﹐不論兇手背後誰人指使﹐只不過是隨便找個藉口去大幹一場。最高話事人身處暴風的正中心﹐外面沒兵身邊亦沒有保鑣﹐他還以為自己是龍頭大佬很安全﹐他才是眾大佬除之而後快的對像。余文樂雖是電影的主角﹐但他由始至終站在風暴的外圍﹐不想進入亦抗拒被拖入權力中心。余文樂原本想下手殺杜文澤﹐卻錯有錯著救了他一命﹐兩人有過命交情冰釋前嫌﹐我還以為故事會回到黑社會電影的常軌﹐怎料大混戰還是無可避免。電影的結局忽然超展開﹐我看到最後不禁吐出句「有冇搞錯﹖」﹐成為整齣電影的敗筆。不知是否要遷就內地電檢﹐結局的警方無間道破壞了電影的氣氛。原本電影的主題藉余文樂喻天意無常﹐要發生的事始總會發生﹐現在一下子卻變成警方大破黑幫的陰謀﹐一切盡在警方的掌握之中。編劇扭橋扭得過火﹐故事變得不合情不合理﹐甚至有點兒低能。或許電影根本無需要解開誰指使兇手之謎﹐反正真兇是誰並不重要﹐結局留下些想像空間給觀眾﹐令電影提升到高一個層次。

行運超人 – 蒲生洋

很久以前我便聽過「行運超人」這套另類經典漫畫﹐剛好最近影大寫了兩篇介紹[1][2]﹐讓我心思思上網找來下載看。雖然此漫畫畫功差劣﹐只有小學生的級數﹐可是無損其爆笑程度﹐故事出奇不意完全估不到﹐玩轉熱血少年漫畫的王道傳統﹐保證讓讀者開懷大笑。

曾經和朋友研究過這個問題﹐在古今中外日本眾多超級英雄中﹐最厲害的是那一個。經過長時間討論後﹐恐怕不找到能夠勝過幸運超人的超級英雄。其他超級英雄又好﹐超級壞蛋又好﹐總是有幾招必殺技傍身。而只要有招式可尋﹐自然會有破解之道﹐最多只是生生相剋﹐變成一物治一物之局。論武功幸運超人軟弱無力﹐論機智他更是不合格﹐但他絕招無敵運氣﹐不論敵人如何強大﹐他總會逢凶化吉﹐很低能兼碰巧地給與敵人至命一擊。在其他的打鬥漫畫若有類同情節﹐讀者必定咒罵作者劇本爛胡亂超展開﹐這套漫畫卻開宗明義﹐說明運氣勝過一切﹐任憑你天生異凜還是努力練功﹐在少年漫畫的主角定律前面﹐全皆徒然。

漫畫開頭幾話的故事大同小異﹐均是騎呢外星人襲地球﹐黑仔少年變身幸運超人出戰。不論敵人能力如何高強﹐幸運超人總能好彩獲勝﹐致勝關鍵出人意表。例如外星人死光槍電線不夠長﹐開槍時用力一拉把槍嘴倒轉射中自己﹐又例如幸運超人死光射不中外星人﹐打偏了射中外星飛船掉下來壓死外星人﹐總之很低能很無聊但很爆笑。漫畫的兩大女主角﹐天生美麗子和豬木笨子﹐一美一魂與黑仔常常出現表錯情的少夫戀愛笑料﹐更為讀者增添不少歡樂。

這套漫畫真正開始好玩的地方﹐是各式不同的超人陸續出場﹐曲線地諷刺其他的傳統超級英雄。最先出場是努力超人和天皇巨星超人。努力超人人與其名﹐靠無比的毅力和根性取戰﹐每戰也打得很辛苦﹐與不勞而獲的幸運超人成很大對比。天皇巨星超人有姿勢冇實際﹐毫無戰鬥力卻最愛出風頭邀功﹐偏偏他的超能力卻是不死身﹐現實生活中特別在職場上﹐也遇到不少這種的攝石人。少年熱血漫畫的公式﹐是努力+友情=勝利。努力超人的大哥便是為求勝利不擇手段的勝利超人﹐二哥則是專搵朋友著數的友情超人﹐三兄弟合體後會變身成為三條柱超人。天才超人聰明過人﹐卻掉失了張英雄證書﹐讓幸運超人拾了無端端做了英雄。水手超人抄巧美少女戰士﹐她女扮男裝參加超級英雄大賽﹐藉些質疑為何漫畫的英雄總是男人。滿腦子男人的浪漫的浪漫超人﹐印銀紙當武器的二世祖超人﹐咸濕阿伯的英雄協會會長﹐等等其他數之不盡的超人也很扺死過癮。

故事模仿少年漫畫的王道劇情﹐不是武林大會便是逐級上打大佬﹐接著敵人化為朋友又聯手打新的敵人﹐一層一層像玩遊戲過關般打上去﹐從地球打宇宙﹐再從宇宙打到內宇宙﹐然後又與十六個小宇宙決鬥﹐爭奪大宇宙的統治權﹐打到最後竟然還有大內宇宙。不過大內宇宙的敵人未開始進攻﹐便已經被幸運超人誤打誤撞一招了結。幸運超人單靠行運打贏玩得多有點膩﹐但其他超人的戰鬥也花樣百出﹐甚至比主角更精彩好看。作者善用每個超人的特性﹐戰局搞笑之餘亦合情合理﹐不禁佩服作者想像力之豐富。

「行運超人」雖然跨張搞笑﹐但故事中不同的超人反映現實中不同的人﹐看他們打鬥時的性格和態度﹐再對把現實中認識的人對號入座﹐漫畫中不乏現實生活的影子。當然現實與漫畫也是一樣﹐不論你多聰明多努力﹐到最後運氣卻是取勝的最重要因素。

Work-life balance

When I talked to my friends who are working in HK, they often complain they don’t have any work-life balance. HK people probably has the highest average working hour in the world. It is not uncommon that people comes to work on 9am and work till 8pm to 10pm. No wonder when I ask them what they do outside of work, they pretty much does not much other than sleep or mundane brainless activities like watching TV, movies or shopping. It is because their have totally drained their energy at work.

Recently I feel like I am working in HK. The project is approaching the deadline, although my own tasks are in relative good shape, unfortunately an Indian team is on fire and I am parachuted to help them out. It’s not fun being in the hot seat﹐ especially when the upper management pays close attention on the schedule, you have to work with a team of Indian contractors who are not your direct report and some of them have the tendency of running on their own.

I tried to employ the chief programmer development model to speed up the development, but there is a major draw of this approach. The chief programmer has to keep up and stay on top of the team in order to have full control. If the team is located in the same physical location, it is much easier to communicate and direct the work. My team is 12 time zones from me, so I only have one chance to interact with them per day. Giving instruction via email is very inefficient because I have to make sure everything is very clear, if they got stuck they will have to wait another day for my response. I set up office hour every night to answer their questions, combined with early morning meeting and working late to keep up with their work, it really cut into my person time in the evening. I am so exhausted that I don’t even have energy to update my blog. I rather shut off my brain and watch some TV on the hour I manage to squeeze between dinner, wife-time and work. Now I understand why the life of my HK friends are so dull, because there is no work-life balance.

When my boss asked me to fly over to India fix thing up over there. I weight the lesser evils between travel to Bangalore a couple of weeks get things back on track or have conference call every night until project ends. I rather suffer a short period of time than drag on in a prolong period of pain. Well, think about the good side, I have 12 hours transfer in HK on my way to India, I can visit my grandma and go for some brief shopping.