Rant

Phobia

People, nauseating

 

Air, choking the throat

 

In the night, I developed an allergy

to artificial light

Itching, scratching, until face bled

 

Finally, I escaped the past

that suffocating hole

Clogged by her

 

The most imperious

My mum

 

The most passive

My mum

 

The most ignorant

My mum

 

The person I most owe,

The poorest darling,

Unbearable

 

The most unbearable

...Myself

 

 

Do you have a phobia?

Anything which

As soon as you see it,

you scream

Helplessly

 

 

I’m afraid of chickens

Even an image of them

frightens me

 

He cracked up:

Perhaps you were a chicken in a past life

Blinded by the beak of your own kind

Therefore, in this life, you can’t even

look at them

 

No, my phobia wasn’t born

I remember watching my mum

kill a chicken when I was young

Perhaps that was her first time,

They both struggled,

It took the bird a long, long time to die

 

I’m also afraid of people. 

The Outsider

My mother grew up in those red years of irrationality (China in the 60s and 70s).  Many things were destroyed during that unfortunate age: culture, tradition, moral, aesthetics… Yet, one thing, like cancer, grew, infested and exploded within every Chinese citizen across the entire country ­­– that thing is irrationality.

Today, the Culture Revolution has completed, and the Party is globalizing the nation, but irrationality hasn’t stopped. It is seen everywhere, in the way people think, spend and live… My mother is just an extraordinary living example of such irrationality. She’s not the child of her own parents (they never had a chance to teach her anything). She was brought up by the whole nation as one community, by the community’s senseless frenzy.

Since birth, I had been imprisoned by that suffocating irrationality. And one day, I escaped. At the time I was 17. 

In ‘The Republic’, Plato told an interesting story of a cave, where people are imprisoned from birth to grave. No one ever walks out of the cave. All they ever see is flickering shadows casted on a wall by fire. Finally one day, a man walks out. At first, he’s blinded by the sunlight, but gradually, he overcomes the sharp stinging in the eye, and manages to see – the water, the trees, the starry night, the blue sky, and eventually the sun. He goes back to the cave and tells his fellows the real world he saw outside. But his eyes, which are used to the sunlight, can no longer see those flickering shadows in the dark cave. His fellows are frightened; they are convinced that the outing has blinded the man, hence forbid anyone to go out again.

What is “reality”? The outside or the cave? And what is it to do with life? After all, society runs not on truth but collective belief.

I am one of those who walk out the cave. I cannot go back again. Yet to the outside world, I am also a stranger.

When portraying an artist, Camus wrote, “It was difficult to paint the world and men and to live with them at the same time.” Perhaps, I’ve found just the perfect occupation. 

On Money

Who says artists don’t understand money? Andy Warhol, the first practitioner of Quantitative Easing.
 

On Artist and Art

The relationship between Artists and Art is like blind men trying to find out what an elephant looks like. Each blind man may begin with touching a different part of the elephant, hence reaching different or conflicted conclusions. But the elephant is there, it is constant. Learning inch by inch, those who persevere would eventually find out the whole truth or at least be close to it.

On Chinese Art

In old China, there was an execution or torture called Lingering Death (凌迟). A knife was used to methodically slice off portions of the body over an extended period of time, eventually leading to death. Skilled executioners were known to be able to perform ten thousand cuts before the sufferer's last breath. In my view, that’s how Chinese Art (or even Chinese civilisation) dies – through slow slicing. Its death has lingered for almost a millennium (starting from the end of the Song Dynasty 960-1279 which really is the “Chinese Renaissance” – academics may disagree, but you just have to take my word for it).


My affection for Chinese Art runs even deeper than my love for European Art.