end of content

Late evening. 15th April, 2010.
I just got out of the opening ceremony of my photography exhibition
in Manchester. I went on the net to check the latest status.
There was no time to lose. I hurried to the train station to catch
the 5.00 am train to London.
Hopefully, the skies there would be clear and safe enough to fly home.
Well, wishful thinking...When I got to the train station, the news kept
flashing across the information board. UK airspace was closed to all air traffic.
In the days that followed, all we could do was to look to
the sky
for a sign of relief. Thousands and thousands of air travellers
around the world were grounded by the thick ash clouds of
Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland...in other words, a natural disaster.

The next 6 days in London taught me a real lesson.
I genuinely experienced the impermanence of life.
I camped out at my friend's studio.With my laptop
in front of me,
I connected with Hong Kong, trying to do some work while checking the situation at the airport at small intervals.
I knew nature was not to be blamed for my predicament. If anything,
the natural disaster provided food for thought. Yes, it had happened.
The advancement of technology and human civilization had got to
the point of no return.

Not too long ago (about a century), motor vehicles took the place of
horse carriages. Then (only about half a century ago) came aeroplanes,
which completely redefined man's concept of time and distance.
The disruptions caused by the volcanic eruptions made me wonder.
No doubt, we are enjoying the benefits that progress,
civilization and convenience bring. But what if, one day, we were to return
to the minimal basics of survival, would we still be able to cope,
physically and mentally? For instance, as a drastic measure to cut carbon
emissions, scientists have proposed to reduce or even abandon air travel.
Obviously, those airline bosses who profit the most would readily disagree.
But how about the mass of frequent flyers?
Would they tolerate a life without flying?

Staring at my laptop, I imagined what would happen if a disaster of
a similar magnitude appeared on the internet. Would we correspond via
little stamps and envelopes? spend hours in the library looking up information?
depend on pigeons to bring our messages to someone far away?

No return.
Advancements in techology and civilization have ushered man's way of life
and values to a road of no return, forging right ahead to
the bright uncharted future or perhaps, plunging deep down into
the dark doomed abyss below....Science fictions and social scientists
have long forewarned of a future world in which man will be taken over
by machines and robots which possess the same or even higher intelligence
than their inventors.

Frankly speaking, isn't today's network of computers already dictating
our lives? directing our thoughts and behaviour?

Before the message 'system error' appears on our computer screens,
note down what you envisage the days without the net would be like:

Someone loses a lover, hence losing the only channel of communications
and confines himself to his lair, deaf and dumb; or like the university student
in the UK, who has become a netaholic and is desperately awaiting help.

Together, let's visualise the coming of this day and contribute to
this screenplay,whatever you conceive it to be, a warning, a comedy,
a tear-jerker, a farce, or if you wish, not a disaster.


BOOKMARKLET - How to install

For Safari, Firefox and Google Chrome: Make sure the "Bookmarks Toolbar" is visible. Drag this button up to your Bookmarks Toolbar.

Days without net

For Internet Explorer: Make sure your "Links Toobar" is visible. Click here to install the bookmarklet.


Safari, Firefox 和 Google Chrome 的用家: 首先要讓「書籤列」顯示在瀏覽器裡,然後直接把以下的按鈕拖到書籤列就可以了。


Internet Explorer 用家: 首先要讓「連結列」顯示在瀏覽器裡,然後直接把這個連結拖到連結列就可以了。


一零年四月十五日晚,完了英國曼徹斯特攝影展的開幕禮, 看過新聞, 改坐清晨五時火車到倫敦火車站, 分秒必爭, 以為保障飛倫敦的航道空氣清晰安全狀況; 徒然… 火車站已發放訊息, 倫敦機場國際航線已全部停飛… 之後一天復一天, 望天打掛, 全球數以萬萬計人因冰島火山灰之 “天災” 滯留不能上路(上飛).

這六天倫敦經驗, 給我上了課生活體驗營, 切切實實學了個課題: 人生無常.每天坐在朋友Studio, 靠著laptop 上網與香港聯絡溝通、工作、check機場情況.心裡沒有埋怨老天爺, 想得多了, 只覺得我們的科學文明發展, 已走到一個不歸之路.

不久前(大約一個世紀), 我們才剛有汽車代馬, 然後飛機航道(也祇是半個世紀)之便捷, 將人之距離和時間的概念重新定義, 這次突然而來的大自然現象, 只令我感嘆我們一直向前、文明、方便、享受之餘, 有否一個適應之能力, 一個人基本之生存活著的思維. 講得再遠, 我們減排碳救救地球之環保使命, 科學家提出, 減少飛行(以至停止飛行)之看法, 除了既得利者航運老闆不能接受外, 大眾其實又怎能適應返回當日的節奏和生活意識呢?想了又想, 如果一天我面前這電子網絡像今日飛機航道出現問題, 那情況會是怎樣; 回到我貼郵票書信往來, 到圖書館找資料, 或者用飛鴿將資料送到他方的她…

不歸. 科技和文明將人的生活, 價值觀帶上不歸路上, 一往直前, 前往光芒的未知未來, 又可能直往谷底十八層無間道裡去.科幻小說, 社會學者先知一早已寓言, 說人類發明了機械人, 到了一天終於被智慧等同或高於人類的它們所操控支配…

坦白說, 今天的電腦網絡, 不就是在左右我們, 支配著我們的意識形態. 趁這一刻電腦屏幕也未顯示出了問題符號前, 請你寫下你的想像, 甚麼是無網之災; 失去戀人, 沒了唯一的溝通方法, 最後足不出室, 聾了, 啞了. 又或者像英國那大學女生上了酗網癮而不能自救. 請共同幻想這天的到來, 一同編寫這個電影腳本. 一句警世的, 一句爛gag爆笑的, 一段動容的, 一則荒謬的. 甚至你認為, 無網不災…