Monday, June 28, 2010

–30– 故事完 / End of Story –30–

Have you wondered why there is always this mysterious -30- at the end of an official transmission, such as a govt announcement, news release, speech, backgrounder, etc. Here are the answers (which I bet not every communication officer knows):

"... –30– has been traditionally used by journalists to indicate the end of a story.

There are many theories about how the usage came into being,e.g. It was telegraphic shorthand to signify the end of a story in the Civil War era. Other theories include that the "-30-" originated when stories were written in longhand; X marked the end of a sentence, XX the end of a paragraph, and XXX meant the end of a story. The Roman numerals XXX translate to 30. ..."

(Source: Wikipedia "-30-"

Still feeling mystified? Here is an article from American Journalism Review:

"So Why Not 29? Why did reporters for years end their stories by writing -30- ?"
By Hadass Kogan, from AJR, October/November 2007

"Each October for the past eight years, students in Louise Reynolds' Introduction to Journalism class at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Maryland, have been offered extra credit if they can solve one of journalism's lingering mysteries: Why did reporters for years end their stories by writing "-30-"?

"Journalism is so full of funny phrases and traditions," Reynolds says. "I wanted the kids to know there was a long tradition behind each of these terms and style rules and know that it didn't come out of nowhere."

The use of the symbol was once so prevalent that it made its way into Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, which says 30 is "a sign of completion." But the tradition of using it to cap off a piece of sprightly copy dropped off considerably when the computer replaced the typewriter — the what? — in America's newsrooms. So it's a term whose meaning is lost on many younger journalists.

The venerable "-30-" caused some mischief in late July at the New York Times when a reporter typed it at the end of his article about the shooting of two police officers in Brooklyn. The published version of the story said that a trial was scheduled for February 30, which doesn't occur even in the leapest of leap years. Said a subsequent Times correction: "The error occurred when an editor saw the symbol '-30-' typed at the bottom of the reporter's article and combined it with the last word, 'February.'"

So where did the term originate? Some say the mark began during a time when stories were submitted via telegraph, with "-30-" denoting "the end" in Morse code. Another theory suggests that the first telegraphed news story had 30 words. Others claim the "-30-" comes from a time when stories were written in longhand — X marked the end of a sentence, XX the end of a paragraph and XXX meant the end of a story. The Roman numerals XXX translate to 30.

But these are hardly the only explanations, theories and guesses for the rise of "-30-". It is rumored that a letter to an East India company ended with "80," a figure meaning "farewell" in Bengali. The symbol supposedly was misread, changed to 30 and took root. Some say the mark comes from the fact that press offices closed at 3 o'clock. And there's the theory that 30 was the code for a telegraph operator who stayed at his post during a breaking news story until his death 30 hours later — versions of that story even include that the unfortunate operator hit two keys on his machine when he collapsed. Which ones? That's right, 3 and 0.

Julie Williams, a professor of journalism and mass communication at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, says the guessing game over "-30-" has taken on a life of its own, in part because the ambiguity leaves it open to a wide array of interpretations. "Because it's so obviously not intuitive, you can't tell what it means," she says. "I think people were anxious to come up with explanations for it."

Or maybe "-30-" is just another way for journalists to suggest that theirs is cooler than other professions. "I'm not sure that it's any more of a mystery than a lot of other things," says Linda Steiner, who teaches at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. "I think journalists have always liked to create odd or weird names for things that they do or conventions that they have."

For most, the origin of "-30-" is less important than what it represents, a remnant of a bygone era when shouts of "copy" echoed through the newsroom and computers seemed the stuff of science fiction.

"It was just what one did. I don't know the origin or what I was told," says Peter Binzen, 84, a longtime reporter, editor and columnist at the Philadelphia Bulletin and Philadelphia Inquirer. "I don't suppose any reporter under 50 has used it."

Don Harrison, 79, editor of Milestones, a monthly newspaper published by the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, and a former Philadelphia newsman, says that "-30-", as well as "#" and "end it," were essential for writing stories on deadline. "You had to use something when you were typing because you would write two or three paragraphs on deadline," Harrison says. "Then the copyboy would pick it up and send it to the composing room. It was necessary [to have] some way to say, 'This is it, it's over... Put a head on it and put it in the next day's paper.'"

Stephen Dixon, a former professor at Johns Hopkins University, even titled his 1999 book "30" to acknowledge the thematic endings the main character (who happens to be a former newsman) experiences throughout the novel. His publisher added the subtitle "Pieces of a Novel" because he worried that nobody in the Internet era would understand the book's title. Perhaps the publisher was on to something — Dixon ended up writing a letter to the editor complaining about a book review that seemed to totally miss the meaning of the novel's title and its relationship to the theme of endings in the book.

Chicago newsman Charles Madigan not so cheerily named his new book, a selection of essays about the decline of the newspaper business, "-30-: The Collapse of the Great American Newspaper."

So even though it's an anachronism, "-30-" continues to make its presence felt. After not using the symbol for years, Binzen even chose to end his 56-year newspaper career in 2005 with a farewell column that concluded with, what else, "-30-".

Kogan ( is a former AJR editorial assistant. She thought 30 was just another number before embarking on this assignment. "



Friday, June 25, 2010

旅遊南非洲 (九) : 貧富懸殊 ∕ Travel to South Africa (Part 9): Rich and Poor

Photo Credit 攝影圖片: All three photos were taken by lotusandcedar in South Africa.


加拿大總督米凱勒·讓(莊美楷)(Michaëlle Jean)說得沒錯,即使是困難重重,人民仍需要信心和希望,努力工作,共創美好將來。


Governor General of Canada - Speech to African Country Leaders

Having visited South Africa earlier this year, I listened with interest the Governor General's speech delivered earlier today. I shall miss this "people GG" when she finishes her 5-year term in September this year.

Luncheon with African Country Leaders Attending the G8 Summit in Muskoka
Huntsville, Friday, June 25, 2010


I am very pleased to welcome you to Canada and more particularly to beautiful Muskoka, which in the language of the Algonquin people, one of the First Nations of the Americas, means “the land of red earth.”

Africa, in which I have travelled from one end to the other, right to its very heart, is in my blood and in my heart.

I have gone on 10 missions to Africa on three different trips, something no Governor General of Canada has done before.

And I have discovered that Africa, this continent of my ancestors, which faces countless challenges, is a place full of promise, one very different from the pessimistic vision we are too often shown.

President Zuma, as the FIFA World Cup is taking place in your country, I am delighted to see in the major national and international press the South Africa that I discovered in 2006 during my State visit: a country that embodies hope and freedom.

During each of my visits, three of which were to countries you represent—South Africa, as I just mentioned, Algeria, also in 2006, and Senegal, which I visited recently, as President Wade will confirm—I saw the determination of the people to focus on the forces of life.

All of Africa's hidden promises—and there are a great many—are embodied in the actions of the women and men from all walks of life, from those in civil society to elected officials, young and old alike, who are responding to the challenges that their communities, their societies are facing with courage, conviction and dignity.

And I am more convinced than ever that it is through women that Africa’s renaissance will happen because African women carry this continent on their shoulders and its development is dependent on the daily efforts they make.

Women who demonstrate a tireless commitment to the well-being of their community.

Women who play a key role as ministers or parliamentarians.

Women like the President of Liberia, Her Excellency Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, whom I met at an International Colloquium on Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development and Security, to which she had invited me.

Women, also, who perform essential work in vitals sectors such as health care, education and justice.

Everywhere, African women mobilize forces and energies to tackle difficult but essential issues such as family planning, the physical integrity of young girls, access to education, food security and many other issues.

These women are a source of inspiration, and recognizing their contribution has always been an unwavering priority for me.

In all the countries in which I have travelled, it has been clear that there is a genuine determination to end the misery afflicting Africa.

Africa is working hard to achieve good governance, fight hunger and disease, provide its daughters and sons with an education, and finally put an end to the conflicts and violence.

You may be sure that Canadians share the African people’s hopes for peace, security and prosperity, as well as their confidence in their ability to take full control of their destiny.

Even though it has borne and continues to bear the scars of history, today, Africa is constantly reinventing itself and making a unique contribution to the wealth and well-being of humanity.

It is to that Africa that I raise my glass.

To its renaissance.

And to the friendship that binds us across the ocean.

(Source: Governor General of Canada website)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

香港打工仔 / Work and Die in Hong Kong

The following has bee circulating among Chinese bloggers since the fall of 2008. I went to Google and tried to identify the authour but without success. Anyway, to whoever wrote this piece, thank you !!!
















  妻兒少見無印象,晚餐白飯豆瓣醬,家裡只有四面牆,卡啦OK 廁所唱







Related article:
七十二行: 寫字楼後生 (一) / 72 Occupations: Office Boy (Part 1)

Photo Credit: Wikipedia "辦公室"

Sunday, June 20, 2010

生命之戰役 / Morituri Salutamus

The third Sunday of June is Father's Day in Canada and many other countries. My father passed away several years ago. But still, I would like to post the poem Morituri Salutamus by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his memory. I like especially the last lines:

And as the evening twilight fades away
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.

Thank you for raising me, father.


Morituri Salutamus: Poem for the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Class of 1825 in Bowdoin College (by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

"O Cæsar, we who are about to die
Salute you!" was the gladiators' cry
In the arena, standing face to face
With death and with the Roman populace.

O ye familiar scenes,—ye groves of pine,
That once were mine and are no longer mine,—
Thou river, widening through the meadows green
To the vast sea, so near and yet unseen,—
Ye halls, in whose seclusion and repose

How beautiful is youth! how bright it gleams
With its illusions, aspirations, dreams!
Book of Beginnings, Story without End,
Each maid a heroine, and each man a friend!
Aladdin's Lamp, and Fortunatus' Purse,
That holds the treasures of the universe!
All possibilities are in its hands,
No danger daunts it, and no foe withstands;
In its sublime audacity of faith,
"Be thou removed!" it to the mountain saith,
And with ambitious feet, secure and proud,
Ascends the ladder leaning on the cloud!

And now, my classmates; ye remaining few
That number not the half of those we knew,
Ye, against whose familiar names not yet
The fatal asterisk of death is set,
Ye I salute! The horologe of Time
Strikes the half-century with a solemn chime,
And summons us together once again,
The joy of meeting not unmixed with pain.

Ah me! the fifty years since last we met
Seem to me fifty folios bound and set
By Time, the great transcriber, on his shelves,
Wherein are written the histories of ourselves.
What tragedies, what comedies, are there;
What joy and grief, what rapture and despair!
What chronicles of triumph and defeat,
Of struggle, and temptation, and retreat!
What records of regrets, and doubts, and fears!
What pages blotted, blistered by our tears!
What lovely landscapes on the margin shine,
What sweet, angelic faces, what divine
And holy images of love and trust,
Undimmed by age, unsoiled by damp or dust!
Whose hand shall dare to open and explore
These volumes, closed and clasped forevermore?
Not mine. With reverential feet I pass;
I hear a voice that cries, "Alas! alas!
Whatever hath been written shall remain,
Nor be erased nor written o'er again;
The unwritten only still belongs to thee:
Take heed, and ponder well what that shall be."

What then? Shall we sit idly down and say
The night hath come; it is no longer day?
The night hath not yet come; we are not quite
Cut off from labor by the failing light;
Something remains for us to do or dare;
Even the oldest tree some fruit may bear;
Not Oedipus Coloneus, or Greek Ode,
Or tales of pilgrims that one morning rode
Out of the gateway of the Tabard Inn,
But other something, would we but begin;
For age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress,
And as the evening twilight fades away
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.

Wikipedia: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"... Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (February 27, 1807 – March 24, 1882) ... was born in Portland, Maine ... After spending time in Europe he became a professor at Bowdoin and, later, at Harvard College. ... Longfellow retired from teaching in 1854 to focus on his writing ... His first wife, Mary Potter, died in 1835 after a miscarriage. His second wife, Frances Appleton, died in 1861 after sustaining burns from her dress catching fire. After her death, Longfellow had difficulty writing poetry for a time and focused on his translation. He died in 1882. Longfellow predominantly wrote lyric poems which are known for their musicality and which often presented stories of mythology and legend. ..."

Photo credit:
Wikipedia Ave Imperator morituri te_salutant

"Ave, Imperator, morituri te salutant" ("Hail, Emperor, those who are about to die salute you") is a well-known Latin phrase quoted in Suetonius, De Vita Caesarum ("The Life of the Caesars", or "The Twelve Caesars").It was used during an event in AD 52 on Lake Fucinus by naumachiarii–captives and criminals fated to die fighting during mock naval encounters–in the presence of the emperor Claudius. Suetonius reports that Claudius replied "Aut non" ("or not").

Saturday, June 19, 2010

香港工專 / Hong Kong Technical College HKTC

This article was originally posted on May 23, 2010 at my other blog site "柏樹冬青耐冰雪 / Strong Cedar". I have now transferred the article here, added a link, and tagged this post under "香港長大 Growing Up in Hong Kong".

I have many fond memories of 觀塘 !!!

".... I was working one summer for the Vita Soy / Pepsi Cola company located there. I also had a link with the old HKTC, having spent many mornings at 7 am practising 功力拳 with [some HKTC] students in the grassy school yard at the back of the old building (if it still exists) ...."

The above are my comments left at Fresh Designer's 2010年5月19日 blog article "觀塘略影: 裕民坊一角!"

Yes, time has passed by quickly, and many of the ppl I practised kung fu with during those early hours at 香港工專 Hong Kong Technical College have moved on. One reached near the pinnacle of the HK society, his profile flashed across TV screens and newspaper. Another had married the former, and she too was in the news several years ago. A few like myself have gone overseas to seek our future. And the rest of the ppl? I have lost track of them all.

As Fresh Designer concluded in his article: "... 當中不少的人和事亦會消失得無影無踪了"

Related blog articles:
* Haricot working for Vita Soy / Pepsi Cola 七十二行: 替『維他奶』和『百事可樂』送水 (一) / 72 Occupations: The Thirst Quencher (Part 1 of 6)
* Fresh Designer "觀塘略影: 裕民坊一角!"

Friday, June 18, 2010

渥太華的意大利節六月18日至20日2010年 / Ottawa's Italian Festival June 18-20, 2010

After choir practice, I was running home when I decided to stop at the Italian Festival. Preston Street was blocked off and ppl were walking, dancing and listening to bands on the street. I listened to a local group playing Italian favourites, rock, polka, Latino and all kinds of music. One of the couple dancing on the street caught my attention. It was obvious the two women had studio training. The "man" (she dressed like one) was doing a good job accompanying her more feminine companion who was wearing a twirling white dress and high heels. The latter had good form, rhythm, and spirit.

Anyway, I stayed for almost two hours, bought a porchetta, resumed my running, and arrived home at around 00h30. As I said previously, I like partying and fully enjoyed myself last night !!!

Photo Credit: According to Wikipedia, porchetta has been selected by the Italian Ministero delle Politiche Agricole, Alimentari e Forestali as a "prodotto agroalimentare tradizionale" (

Related article: 威斯特布路音樂節 + 街頭派對 / Westboro Music Festival + Street Party

Thursday, June 17, 2010

印度航空公司182班機 / Air India Flight 182

The release yesterday of ex Supreme Court Judge John Major's Air India report has brought back frustrations, emotions and unanswered questions from not just the Indo-Canadian community, but also the general public. Consider the magnitude of the terrorist crime committed almost 25 years ago by Sikh extremists:

* Air India Flight 182 blew up over the Atlantic Ocean near Ireland on June 23, 1985, killing all 329 people aboard, 280 of them Canadians.

* A separate luggage bomb destined for a second Air India flight killed two Japanese baggage handlers at Tokyo's Narita airport the same day.

During the investigations, two key witnesses were murdered. One was a BC resident supposedly under police protection, and the other one was an India citizen.

And yet, out of all these investigative work, only one person was ever convicted, and only for the Narita airport killing.

Has justice been rendered for the loss of lives 25 years ago? And where should Canada go from here, other than the official apology and the promised compensations?

Here is the CBC News headline on June 17, 2010:

"Air India case marred by 'inexcusable' errors - PM to apologize and compensate families of 1985 bombing victims"

Canadian authorities should have known that Air India Flight 182 was a potential terrorist target, a long-awaited report says in blaming a "cascading series of errors" by government, the RCMP and the country's spy agency for failing to prevent the disaster.

In a scathing report released Thursday in Ottawa, former Supreme Court justice John Major says agencies were not prepared for the threat of terror attacks in 1985 — and holes in the country's security systems still need plugging.

Major's inquiry report into the bombings, which he refers to as the "worst mass murder in Canadian history," recommends sweeping changes to Canada's air security system.

Air India Flight 182 blew up over the Atlantic Ocean near Ireland on June 23, 1985, killing all 329 people aboard, 280 of them Canadians.

A separate luggage bomb destined for a second Air India flight killed two Japanese baggage handlers at Tokyo's Narita airport the same day.

The inquiry into the bombings — how they occurred, why authorities failed to find those responsible, and whether it could happen again — began on June 21, 2006.

"I stress this is a Canadian atrocity," Major said. "For too long the greatest loss of Canadian lives at the hands of terrorists has somehow been relegated outside the Canadian consciousness."

'Inexcusable' blunders

Major called the blunders committed by security agencies in the handling of threats against Air India "inexcusable."

In one of its key recommendations, Major's report calls for a powerful national security czar with direct access to the prime minister to sort out turf wars between the RCMP and CSIS.

The national security adviser currently has a much more diminished role than Major recommends. In an enhanced role, Major said the adviser would be the ultimate security authority.

The ramped-up powers would include overseeing communication between agencies and settling disputes; supervising agencies and controlling distribution of intelligence; and providing oversight to the government on the effectiveness of national security strategies.

Major also said terrorism prosecutions at the federal level should be handled by a director of terrorism prosecutions appointed by the attorney general of Canada.

He also recommends improvements to airport security monitoring, including more checks on cargo, ground crews, baggage handlers and mechanics.

'High risk' target

Major criticized government security agencies for their handling of information in the lead-up to the bombings.

The report says that the RCMP and CSIS were in possession of significant pieces of information "that, taken together, would have led a competent analyst to conclude that Flight 182 was at high risk of being bombed by known Sikh terrorists in June 1985."

Major called the arrangements and practices of Canada's information-gathering agencies "wholly deficient" in their sharing of intelligence both internally and externally, as well as their analysis of that intelligence.

Major called CSIS's surveillance in the case "ineffective." Agents were unable to distinguish one turbaned Sikh from another, the report says.

When a CSIS surveillance team observed a test explosion conducted by Sikh extremists in the woods near Duncan, B.C., in June 1985, the loud sound heard was misinterpreted as a gunshot.

Major's report is also critical of CSIS and RCMP actions after the bombing. He said CSIS often failed to disclose promptly to the RCMP information that was relevant to the criminal investigation, or it disclosed information without sufficient detail.

He also slammed the spy agency for erasing tapes of coded conversations and destroying notes on information from sources.

The RCMP was faulted for often prematurely failing to follow up on intelligence leads that did not fit with its main theory on the case.

"For example, one suspect was ruled out based on observations, made two years after the bombing, that his hair did not look like the hair of one of the individuals who had checked in the luggage, as depicted in an imprecise composite drawing," Major said.

Source of information:

Photo credit:

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

「兩週一聚」第40期題目: 【边境】 ∕ 2weeks1gather #40: "Border-crossing"


1. 旅客
2. 疑犯
3. 搖錢樹

1. 旅客: 佷多官員都明白外地旅客对國家經濟和外匯都有很大的正面激發力,故此過境手續通常都会辦理得快捷妥当,但大家都知道,過境的亦有混水摸魚者,而審查官的職責就是要鑒定是非,辨認混雜在旅客中的嫌疑犯,找出屬下一種的非友善「顧客」。

2. 疑犯: 在未有互聯網之前,很多國家的主要關卡部門都有一本厚厚的「黑名單」(thus the expression "black listed"),如果閣下不幸同名同姓,輕者是被貼上 persona non grata 「不受欢迎人物」標籤,被拒入境,重者是被嫌為 security risk「危險人物」,保安会請君入「甕」(隔離房)接受進一步盤問丶剝光豬搜身丶或要拉要鎖,那可不是說玩笑的。 現在有了互聯網,資料再不是手寫郵遞,边境官員与國際刑警 International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol)等組織有电子系統聯絡,數據庫擁有聯合國的No-fly List丶恐怖分子的名字丶相片丶或指紋(or biometric)等。我不否認「認錯人」的机会仍是存在,但起碼資料是可以相互參照cross-reference,正途旅客是有希望在航机起飛丶巴士離站前,調查報告無罪,水落石出,被釋放人。

3. 搖錢樹: 除非有特別安排,我会儘量避免往「落後」丶貪污丶或政治不穩定的國家。我說的「落後」不是侮辱或不敬語,而是指那些還沒有完善管理政體基礎結構 governance infrastructure 的國家。我記得有一次在非洲某処的陸路边境過關,領導人千囑萬咐要各人隱藏手飾貴重物品,入閳見到某總統元首的大相要除帽致敬,切不可以一人離隊自逛,更不可顯示相机,受嫌作間拍攝边境禁區秘密!!!但是到了最後,我們還是被「扣留」在边境几近90多分鐘,領隊慘被受罰XXX元,因為我們乘坐的車輛觸犯了本地某條某項載運法令云云。


Photo Credit: 羅湖禁區告示牌 Lo Wu Frontier Closed Area Sign
(source: Note: This is one border I have never crossed.

Related articles: Please visit

Saturday, June 12, 2010

威斯特布路音樂節 + 街頭派對 / Westboro Music Festival + Street Party

Top four photos by Haricot: Sloan playing at WestFest on June 12, 2010

In a few minutes, I am heading out to the Westboro Music Festival (WestFest) to join the street party and listen to some bands playing. Part of Richmond Road is blocked off to traffic and there will be tonnes of ppl out tonight. As much as I like solitude and nature, I do enjoy partying (much to the dismay of my Dad when I was a teenager) !!!

Updated: I watched Sloan on Saturday and Monkey Junk on Sunday evenings. Both bands are good.

Photo Credit:
* Two photos below from Wikipedia: Sloan playing + WestFest logo

Friday, June 11, 2010

旅遊南非洲 (八) : 2010年的世界盃足球賽 ∕ Travel to South Africa (Part 8): FIFA 2010 World Cup Football

攝影圖片 Photo credit: 這些照片是我旅遊南非開普敦 Cape Town 時拍攝的,最頂照片是桌山 Table Mountain,當時世界盃足球體育場 Green Point Stadium 正在興建中。

今年2010年的世界盃足球賽,我除了繼續替意大利隊打氣之外,心裏对南非隊也保留了精神上的支持,雖然後者得勝的机会甚微,但我覺得南非國家受儘種族戰爭蹂躝,未來政治路途仍是崎嶇,人民是非常需要一個團結「彩虹國」Rainbow Country 各色人種的机会。



Related articles: (source: Reuters Fri, 11 Jun 17:49:00 2010)

Cape Town's Green Point hungry for the limelight

Noisy fans streamed to Green Point stadium on Friday as night fell over Cape Town, with dazzling yellow South Africa shirts outnumbering the sky blue of Uruguay and dark blue of France.

South Africa's "Mother City" was hungry for the limelight after the 2010 World Cup got off to a glittering start in Johannesburg's Soccer City with an opening celebration and a 1-1 draw for the hosts with Mexico.

French fans were somewhat thin on the ground in Cape Town but the local Congolese community turned out in force to help boost the numbers.

"Of course I'm an African so I'll also support the hosts, but my first team has to be France. It's the same for all us from French-speaking Africa," said Richard Loemba, a 30-year-old student from Brazzaville.

Scepticism at home about the chances of the France team, 1998 winners and runners-up in 2006, was reflected in the demeanour of some of the fans.

"I think our chances are pretty slim," said 40-year-old David Rauzet, from Paris, combining the soccer with a holiday around South Africa with his father and uncle.

Asked where all the French fans were, his father Alain, 66, answered: "In France."

Most fans sported thick clothing under their soccer shirts as the temperature dropped after a day of brilliant sunshine.

The 70,000 capacity stadium, which boasts a spectacular location between the mountains and the sea, glowed a graceful, dim white.

"I read that only 4,000 French fans came over so those of us that are here will have to make more noise," said Julien Damon, a 26-year-old student from St Etienne, who works in South Africa.

There were surprisingly few vuvuzelas among the supporters of both France and Uruguay, given the way vuvuzela fever has seized the country.

"It is too difficult to play. I tried, but I can't do it," said Sergio Fernandez, a 36-year-old office employee from Colonia, Uruguay, who said he would stay in South Africa as long as his team did.

"We won the World Cup twice so our chances are good," he said. Reminded that Uruguay's last victory came in 1950, he smiled. "Then it is time for us again then."

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

电影: 變種殺機 / Movie: "Splice"

On Tuesday, I went to the Coliseum with S and N to see this sci-fi movie co-produced by Canada and France. Here is the plot, minus the spoiler:

"... Superstar genetic engineers Clive Nicoli (Adrien Brody) and Elsa Kast (Sarah Polley) achieve fame by successfully splicing together the DNA of different animals, to create incredible new hybrid animals. Now they want to use human DNA in a hybrid that could revolutionize science and medicine. But when the pharmaceutical company that funds their research forbids it, Clive and Elsa secretly conduct their own experiments in the pursuit of even greater scientific discovery. They secretly blend human DNA with their creations, ignoring their society's ethical and legal boundaries. The scientists name their creature Dren (nerd spelled backwards), and though at first Dren exceeds their wildest dreams, she begins to grow and learn at an accelerated rate — and threatens to become their worst nightmare. The two must come to terms with their decision as their creature quickly develops ...." (source: Wikipedia)

Given my science and technology background and the recent news abt the making of "synthetic life", I find the horror film intriguing and thought-provoking, even though the storyline itself was a bit predictable. I mean: "What's the worst that could happen?"

* Wikipedia (spoil alert!!):
* YouTube: "Splice - Trailer"

Monday, June 07, 2010

Friday, June 04, 2010

2010年5月30日的渥太華馬拉松賽跑 ∕ May 30, 2010 Ottawa Running Marathon

星期日凌晨4時15分鬧鐘響後,我仍是蒙頭大睡,要不是手机後備 alarm 提醒,我真会重蹈覆轍,重演數年前 ski marathon 滑雪馬拉松一役,錯過了入閘時間。

我在6時45分到達市中 Laurier Avenue 和 Elgin Street 交界处,與其他∕她參加者在出發點集合。今屆渥太華賽跑週末 Ottawa Race Weekend 主辦的賽事求過於供,4000個全馬拉松和10,000個半馬拉松男女健兒在年初已開始擁躍上網報名,到4月中旬,所有比賽項目都已完全售馨。

在7時起步之前幾分鐘,我心裡有數,知道自從春天在 Quebec 魁北克省東部Chic Choc Mountains 越野滑雪傷了左膝之後,沒有繼續訓練長跑,最遠的距離只達10公里,所以我預測這個渥太華馬拉松賽不会有「個人最佳記錄」 Personal Best PB,而是屬於「以完成為目的」 aim to finish 那一類。留得青山在,那怕沒柴燒!!

開賽時出發點人山人海,上屆 Kenya 和 Ethiopia 的男女冠軍,與及其他/她名列前矛丶來自非洲的熱門選手都在前排,而我們這些業餘的「損手損腳」就甘心歸屬後列的助陣生力軍。鎗声一起,男女老幼各跑家奪力奔前,年青好勝心重的立刻爭先恐後,有經驗講戰略的則緩步留氣,不出15公里很多年青人已被有後勁的老手追上,長跑就不是只靠蠻力,是要有計劃和耐心。

在整個賽跑中,因為我沒有自己加上時間壓力,腳步似乎也就輕快了很多。沿途一边跑,一边和吶喊路人招手,和孩子們打 high-five, 好不快活!! 馬拉松賽跑途經「必治活」國家墳場 Beechwood National Cemetery 的時候,我暗地裏說: 『老父,今日無暇探訪,下次再有机会。』跟着提起步伐,重投入那奔走的人海中。

在跨越終線的時候,我屈指一算,這是我自2003年開始的第13個全馬拉松賽跑,時間也不太差,雖不是PB,但和在義大利羅馬跑那次比較也相差不遠 !! 舉頭望天,陽光普照,今年的夏天戶外運動季節是剛剛開始啦!!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

馬拉松賽跑: 種族優劣論 / Marathon Races, For Better or Worse

When I was growing up, my Mom used to encourage me to play basketball because she believed the sport would make me grow tall and strong, just like the black Global Trotters I supposed. Now, she might be unclear on the concept of cause-and-effect, Logic tells me that height is the causation rather than the result of playing professional basketball (and becoming a millionaire is definitely the result of being a NBA professional for Yao Ming, but that's another story for another day).

So, if my logic is right and my Mom was wrong, then how do I explain the winning of the Japanese runner in the Ottawa Marathon on May 30, 2010. For the last 30 years or so, North Americans have pretty well accepted the domination of runners from Kenya, Ethiopia, and other African countries in the elite class, to the extent that race organizers have created a separate top Canadian or US finishers category. The racial line in the racing field is so entrenched that most ppl in Ottawa had automatically assumed that the male winner would be African. Until Arata Fujiwara of Japan came along, beat the Africans, smashed the Ottawa Marathon record, and proved everyone wrong.

So, maybe my Mom has been right all along, that physical attributes are not the only prerequisites to excellence, that you can still be a good performer by putting efforts into it. The Japanese runner is a good inspiring example.

For the record:

Arata Fujiwara, Japan 2:09:33 (Ottawa marathon record)
Laban Moiben, Kenya 2:09:43
Bazu Worku, Ethiopia 2:09:53
(other top 10 runners are all from Kenya or Ethiopia)

Merima Mohammed, Ethiopia 2:28:19
Radiya Adlo, Ethiopia 2:35:04
Samira Raif, Morocco 2:36:46
(4th runner from Ethiopia, remaining top 10 are from Russia, NZ and Canada)

* Race results from Ottawa Sun May 31, 2010

攝影图片 Photo Credit:
* Top: Ottawa Citizen May 31, 2010
* Bottom: Brett Larner, Japan Running News (see below)

Related articles:
* "Japan Running News" May 30, 2010 blog article entitled "Arata Fujiwara Sets Ottawa Marathon Course Record" by Brett Larner
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