/ 黎偉亮 (LAI Wai-leung)
***English version follows after the Chinese text.**
帶著滿腹狐疑，查問所為何事 － 算是一盤生意嗎？實踐宏願嗎？是意氣之爭嗎？盡皆不置可否。但隱隱然感到是一個使命。不得要領不打緊，未做過的事更應該嘗試，人生本該如此，就動手幹吧。經歴近兩個月不斷尋址、裝修、佈置、搜購器材，幹盡繁瑣事，竟也不知不覺間完成了。
（2015.08.15 FP 開幕日/FP Grand Opening Day）
Today, I’m not talking about coffee. I want to leave my words about “here” before its grand opening.
Place: a certain professor’s office inside the Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre, the City University of Hong Kong
Time: 3 months ago
Purpose: to create an “occupation point”
I came and joined with a full bosom of doubts and queries. What is this about? Is it a business? The realization of a grand dream? A measure-to-measure antagonism of boast and arrogance? None of the above quite describes what happens here. But vaguely I feel a mission of sorts. Perhaps it doesn’t need to be fully understood. And it is surely worth a try if it hasn’t been tried out. I guess life is supposed to be like that. Action matters more. In two months, hunting a premise, renovation, decoration, equipment acquisition and all kinds of big and small chores all completed like a swish.
And here I am, totally new to an factory building environment, not to say a workshop nested in such. It’s strangely pleasant. I’m being surrounded by a unique peace and calm, which I feel particularly during my short breaks between tasks. The whooshes of speeding and roaming vehicles creep in from afar through the windows, soft yet unrelenting, sometimes like a lullaby. And my eyelids are heavy, my consciousness fluctuates; remembrance of things long past or recent, strange or sensible, wash up in my mind; space becomes time, time in space … The sudden arrival of a phone call reconnects me with the world whereas I am still somewhat lost in the vastness of my mindscape as if a whole lifetime has gone by. I won’t compare that state of mind to Zhuangzi’s butterfly dreamscape. A quick glance of what’s outside the window: traffic is still streaming in agony and pedestrians scrambling to their feet. I thus wake up to the thought that the biggest hiding place is in the midst of a big city, and it tastes right.
Back to “here.”
Here. No daunting renovation. No marble floors. No crystal chandelier. No Italian mosaic.
Here. Grey walls. The most basic tables and chairs and other furniture (many picked up from dump sites. There is yet installations collected through donation, simplistic yet unique.
Here. No million-dollar view of the Victoria Harbour. No IFC or ICC. But through the window one is still able to see green hills spreading and a portion of the blue sky.
Here. No LED monitors or hi-end sound systems. No K-pop. No Premier League. Nor would you hear Joey Yung, Justin or Eason Chan. We’ve only got a quiet environment and blankness of space. You are to have absolute freedom here and titled to our library of books.
Here. Beverages are available except Pearl Milk Tea, Bluegirl, Macallan or iced coffee with tea and milk. But welcome to herbal fusion, health drinks and our thoughtfully brewed coffee.
Here, visitors are often our neigbours, but probably no i-bankers or business players. We’ve got a lot of young people here. They speak gently with a civilized tongue. They look soft but once you ignite the fire of what they want to do in their life, they become a different person. I, a barista without any knowledge of art, love to listen quietly as they share their thoughts honestly with one another. I genuinely feel the sincerity and honesty of mind. Their eyes speak dream and persistence, ideal and belief.
My words could be a bit exaggerating. But with them I truly feel no pretentiousness. Taking a broad view, if ever a visitor comes and runs into an old acquaintance or makes new friends of like minds for mutual provocation and the airing of grievances, that would be ideal. And even if they just come here for a casual visit, just to sit down to idle, to browse a book, or even to doze off for a moment of calm, that would make “here” worth it.
The original meaning of the Chinese name of “Floating Projects” is “occupation point.” Even the best defended occupation point may fall. It wouldn’t be nice to leave a curse at the inauguration of this project. But it is important that we try and have tried. There should be no regret for the effort we have put in together.
This is all I have to say, and can say, about “here.”
(English translation: Linda Lai)