That was a dark week. The election result appalled me as it showed how many of us are happy to be slaves. The brainwashing machine has been proved effective and i think nothing is stopping the controller from turning the knob from LOW to MEDIUM.

'It's easy enough to die if the things you care about are going to survive. You've had your life, you're getting tired. It's time to go underground -- that's how people used to see it. Individually they were finished, but their way of life would continue. Their good and evil would remain good and evil. They didn't feel the ground they stood on shifting under their feet.' (George Orwell, Coming Up For Air, p.111)

Kids now, before they reach 20, may have done everything that their parents have taken their whole life to do, or something that their parents have always wanted but never done: -- travelled round the world, dived in Maldives, skiied on Alps, rafted on Amazon, driven and crashed a couple of cars, played three musical instruments, lived in four countries, learnt five languages, had six lovers, committed suicide seven times, broken ten laws, tried a dozen sport games, tasted 15 sorts of cuisine, sniffed 20 kinds of drugs, laid with 30 babes of five races and both sexes, got pregnant or made somebody pregnant and got abortion or made somebody abort umpteen times. When i feel jealous and envious about new kids' opportunities, i resort to the time-honoured Mr. Q logic and ask: Having done everything before 20, how are they to kill the 50 years ahead?

How will i treat my kids if i have any? Rarely do i think beyond what names i shall give them. Kids is too remote an issue for me. Between me and my kids there are many checkpoints: a stable and promising job, a marriable woman, a flat, a car, a life insurance, some connection with a good school, not to mention the many minor complaints about wedding banquets, the two mothers, colour of wallpaper, plasma TV and diapers. Married guys compliment me as wise not to marry. I usually tell them it is out of selfishness. In my mind i also know it is cowardice. I just funk the duties. Recently i like a song that describes the losers' mentality very well: '...shatter-proof / don't let go of your youth / if we don't run the race / then we can never lose.' (Shatterproof by Rialto)

The other day i had a dinner with my old college mates. It proceeded largely as i had expected, except that two topics turned up: (1) hiring of imported domestic helpers and (2) the controversial newly elected legislator. Two of my mates made some negative comments against this legislator, accusing him of sickly hungry for attention, running out of ideas and causing damage without making contribution. I forbore from retorting -- as i was tired of ethical arguments nowadays: if someone likes apples, someone likes orange, you eat yours, i eat mine, ok? -- until we were nearly at the end of the dinner, when we were joking about one common friend of ours, a somewhat weird fellow, i said, apropos: 'he is doing what the legislator is doing: defying common sense, questioning the foundation of every accepted practice: why must we follow the convention? why cannot it be otherwise?' ... Dead silence followed. Nobody responded to my words. Perhaps i sounded too uncompromising, too self-assured, as i often do. Conceit invites damage, modesty gets advantage. The peril of men lies in the desire to teach. I should carve these maxims into the inside of my left front arm.

When guys or girls tell me their bitter love affairs, i cannot help mocking them and giving them the weirdest advices, as i think lovers do not really need advices and very often they are not grieving. Instead, lovers let out their stories triumphantly. The bitterer their stories and the meaner their tormentors, the better they can show they are madly in love. Very few people talk to me therefore.

All hosted parties end in mirth. The host must pay in mirth. The guests must show how much they have enjoyed it.

I write to you in order to keep my brain running. Otherwise my daily routine is totally mechanical, trash in trash out. You may find that i am talking to myself without caring whether you understand or not.

Everything in town is cooling down like the temperature. Apathy is thick like the smog in the air. I no longer take your reply for granted.

There are many bad taste and absurd things around us. But lately my policies have been (1) Keep mouth shut unless i can make a funny joke out of these eyesores. (2) Be very careful when i find fault with the preferences and life styles of THE majority, because the majority rule. 'We don't count, cos we hate.' (Love's Sweet Exile by Manic Street Preachers). And (3) blame myself if i cannot appreciate the preferences and life styles of the upper class. Because they are UPPER than i. So said an education official to students lately: 'you are the least qualified to comment.'

The other day when i rode on a bus i overheard a young man talking on his mobile phone. Then i became aware that golf coaches are hotly demanded and making good earnings. I felt like i had been locked up in a freezer for 10 years and had just been released. Likewise, some weeks ago when i went to a cruise in the back waters of this city, i was amazed by the water games people are now crazy about. The sea is strewn with water skis, water bikes, speed boats and deep sea diving groups. When i was young, water sports meant just canoe, wind surfing, simple sailing and rowing. I attribute the change to the increase in wealth of this city.

Yes the world changes. Only old pies live in the past and resist changes. The dismal sots and hags in the song STREETS OF LONDON may be me soon.

Reminiscence is sweeeeeet in the first or second go, but it becomes tedious in the third and eventually it becomes a nuisance like an over-chewed bubble gum.

The other night i drank a bottle of wine at home turning on some brooding music after i turned down a good old friend's suggestion for drinking at our favourite pub. Recently i am terrified by the fact that i am thinking less and less about the stories which i had regarded as unforgettable five years ago. Even if i recall the stories, after great mental labour or taking cues from mementos, the stories (actually in the form of discrete scenes) no longer touch me. They have become a mute film flashing on a TV screen that i am watching without intent. I am afraid it is not only a fading of memory, but also a loss of capacity for visceral feelings.

'I know i have been happier. I have been luckier. Than you find me now.' (by Fosca)

Has there been any film like this? A man and a woman fall in love with each other through ICQ; eventually, when they meet, they realise the buddy is nobody but their partner or ex-partner in real life. What is the ending of this story? If it is hollywood or korean production, they will unite/reunite happily. Endless Love is played with the trailer. If it is a French production, the two may chat over two litres of scotch and ten packs of cigarettes lying in a messy bed in a squalid apartment. And the chat lasts for 90 minutes and the film ends without telling what is next. Well, which french film is not like this? If it is an english production, the two may go hysteric, curse themselves for their own folly besides Bill Gates, ejaculate many f**ks and one finally walks out with a bang. If it is japanese, you know, all japanese films that purport to be thoughtful end with suicide.

'If you got to be sorry for somebody, be sorry for yourself, I always say. It is more satisfying.' (Ken Kesey, Sailor Song, p.130)

Sam Mok