On 26 June 2019, I came to Tai Sang Wai from my studio in the urban area filled with coffin-like buildings. On my way, the minibus passed through Fairview Park, scrap yards, and garages. The road leading to Tai Sang Wai Village Office was narrow, but the scenery suddenly came into view. Behind an open space were dozens of stone houses, which are not tall but very solid, standing quietly beside one another. The surroundings were filled with sunlight and the sounds of birds. What a beautiful view, tranquil and spectacular! Its peacefulness was precious; the outside world was raging as it was only a few days after the Yuen Long incident on 21 June.The picture of the men-in-white wearing a boastful face while the people-in-black begging still remaining in my mind. I was so fortunate to have come to this small heaven, but my feet started to stumble. I felt like being attracted by the warmth while afraid of myself being reconciled to the calmness. I strolled through the villagers' houses which encapsulated the histories of the families. In front of the houses, there were all kinds of groceries, like flowers and bicycles. Also, the elders sitting in front of the door would smile at you.
The villagers of Tai Sang Wai seem to be friendly to outsiders, which may be a result of its non-indigenous historical development. Tai Sang Wai was much bigger than it is now. Initially, it included the current location of Fairview Park. However, the developers bought the land from the landlords in the 1980s. The residents agreed to move to the stone houses built by the government as compensation. Even though they do not have ownership, they live there till now. Having a small, single family house is an unreachable dream of many Hong Kong people.
當然，寧靜生活得來不易，粗查資料，大生圍有過抗爭歷史，早遠如上世紀二、三年代時，為了保護東面山上的水源，「大生圍籌建自己的武裝，必要時甚至要與其他村落械鬥 」詳情參看香港觀鳥會資料 。較近的有1980年代已開始的錦綉花園大道通行權爭議，一直持續十多年，主因是道路規劃問題，看google 地圖就很易理解，錦繡居民、修車場及大型貨司機、大生圍近居民都需要出入窄窄的通路。一直都很多爭論，2007年有踏單車上學男童被貨櫃車撞死再引公眾目光，後2009 年3月錦綉花園管理公司在錦綉花園大道的私家路段實施措施，禁止貨櫃車使用該道路，爭論白熱。各種抹黑的傳言不斷，如說大生圍的婆婆收錢抗爭等等。現在，風波止，大型汽車在非繁忙時間可通行，另，由元朗區議會出資一百五十萬維修及平整大道。看來，所謂平靜的日子，也是抗爭以後的時光。事過的牆壁，有厚度的白色。
靜水給我們倒照，對岸棚屋，遠處綠山，夕陽餘圓。蒼天默然，一切無所作為，靜穆地惹路人沉思，墮入時間的深淵，法國詩人J.Gasuet 曾用「宇宙的自戀」來形容天空以靜水來體現自己偉大的形像，水邊花草自然生靈也一一看見自己，愛戀自己的美麗而存在。亂世時間，我也貪戀分秒寧靜，也更願在靜觀裡得到更開放性，更有創造力的洞見。叔本華說的美學的靜觀，因為投入美的當中，讓人短暫地離開意志的悲劇，世情的苦難。但美是不是只誘人逃避? 靜觀本身不也是如巴什拉(Gaston Bachelard) 在《水與夢》所說的也有「靜觀的意志」:「在湖畔，人們明白了主動視覺這個古老的生理學理論。」嗎? 主動視覺，也是一種美的意志，我們主動選擇用怎樣的眼睛去看見怎樣的美和醜。
很喜歡詩人Paul Claudel (保羅·克洛岱爾) 這一句: 「水便是土地的眼光，是它觀察時間的工具。」 而我們有沒有一種叫香港的時間?
Of course, the quiet life did not come free. I roughly checked the information. There was a history of resistance in Tai Sang Wai. As early as the 1920s and 1930s, to protect the water sources on the eastern mountains, "Tai Sang Wai residents planned to build up their armed forces and fight with people from other villages'' ( for details, please refer to the information provided by Hong Kong Bird Watching Society). The more recent dispute over the right of Fairview Park Boulevard had continued for more than ten years since the 1980s. The main reason lied on the road planning issues. It is easy to understand the problem by looking at Google Maps. Residents of Fairview Park, users of the garages, truck drivers and residents nearby Tai Sang Wai needed to pass through this narrow road. There were a lot of controversies. In 2007, a boy cycling to school was hit by a truck and dead. The accident attracted public attention. After March 2009, the Fairview Park Management Company implemented measures to prohibit vehicles from using the private section of Fairview Park Boulevard. All sorts of malicious rumours arose, such as the grannies in Tai Sang Wai were paid for the protests. The storm is over now, heavy vehicles can pass through this road during non-peak hours, and Yuen Long District Council has invested 1.5 million to repair and smoothen the road surface. It seems that the so-called calm days are also the result of struggles. Peace comes at a price, often only at the end of a hard-fought battle.
After passing the stone houses with a fairy tale atmosphere, you will see the fishponds.
I looked across the flat surface of the ponds, there were no tall buildings, flashes, nor noisy sounds. I eased my ears and followed my mind.
In the reflection of the still water, we can see the shacks on the other side, behind which are the green mountains in distance, and the round setting sun. The sky is silent. Nothing is done. The silence provokes passersby to contemplate, then fall into the abyss of time. The French poet J. Gasquet once used the "narcissism of the universe" to describe that the sky represents its great image with still water, and from which the spirits of waterside flowers and plants also see themselves. They exist because of their own beauty. In troubled times, I do enjoy quiet moments, and I also prefer to get more open and creative insights in contemplation. Schopenhauer's aesthetic contemplation means that indulging in art soothes the suffering and numbs the pain that accompanies the daily grind that is tormented by the will. But is beauty just a seductive escape? Contemplation is like "the will of contemplation" as mentioned by Gaston Bachelard in Water and Dreams, "Near the lake, we understand the old physiological theory of active vision." Active vision is also a will of beauty. We actively choose to see the types of beauty and ugliness with certain angles.
Tai Sang Wai is so close to the border. At this moment, I saw the modern and rigid buildings on the other shore, the white migratory birds standing on the lampposts, the green hills of Hong Kong, the heavy trucks passing by Fairview Park and the fishponds, Sunday photographers holding their spear-like telephoto lenses, the glimmer through the dark clouds, and the small fish died on the roadside. I saw the wild grass, which is good at occupation, rustling in the wind. I saw construction waste near by the fishponds. I saw the process of competition between human and nature, which is a unique phenomenon in Hong Kong.
I like what Paul Claudel, a poet, said, "Water is the gaze of the earth, its instrument for looking at time." Do we have a unique kind of time exclusive to Hong Kong?
I looked into the distance and looked down at the snail after the rain. Three worms were closely following one another on the ground. It's another beauty. I hope our mates all over the world can gather in peace and stay warm and safe.
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