Ho Wai-On 何蕙安 aka Ann-Kay Lin

On Miscellaneous (1)

Your DVD (09/05/2017)

Dear Wai-On,

... The ideogram representing sound-music is pronounced "on" in Japanese, which is apparently derived from the sound attached to the symbol when it was imported from China some fifteen hundred years ago (it was a complicated importing and adapting procedure, which took a couple of centuries). How serendipitous it would be if that were the ideogram with which you write your name!

Best wishes,


Audio-Video Folder (10/06/2017)

Hello Wai-on,

Your email just arrived just as I concluded several days of listening to and thinking about the materials in your audio-video folder. Before reading and responding to your response to my response to your thesis I would like to spend a day or two more trying to formulalate the many things I have to say, from my wholly layman i.e. uniformed and in that regard unqualified POV, about what I heard and saw in the folder. Quite challenging! I shall do my best. I hope you understand if we keep on hold the thesis discussion for a while longer, as I would prefer to find out my own thoughts without being influenced by other ongoing conversations that might prove distracting.

I'm much enjoying my outings along the various avenues you've opened up for me and look forward to more exchanges in the months ahead.



Part 2 of response (13/06/2017)

Dear Wai-on,

The Dream of the red Chamber! Of course. I’d forgotten I got this from you. But the book itself made an enormous impact on me. I had a sort of craze for it that lasted a couple of years. Through that book I discovered the translations of Arthur Waley, which also led me to classical Japanese literature such as the Tale of Genji. So your present fell on fruitful ground, for these things shaped the tastes which grew into the decision ten years later to go and study in Japan.

The reasons you mention for having gravitated to the middle classes in England are upsetting. My decision not to live in England had its origin in an incident at a bus stop in West Horsley, when I was about 12 or 13. As the bus stop was right outside the housing estate the people waiting there were of course all housing-estate people, and you heard it right off in their vowel sounds and dropped consonants. I said to myself: you don’t want to live in a country where you involuntarily start judging people on the basis of the way they talk. If you want to be a free person, you must move to a country where people’s speech is not tagged with markers of discrimination, for freedom from prejudice is among the most important freedoms you can wish for in life. In this country, there are no class tags, just regional differences.

I too am all in favour of an internet version. You will enjoy reading my comments on the contents of the folder, and I do hope that you will give time to thinking about the one important objection I have to what I consider to be the major weakness at the heart of your dramatic outline as it stands.

I’m also generally in favour of the Italian saying Che va piano va lontano, but there are times in life when Forza con brio! may be the better advice.




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John David Morley was an English writer and novelist, the youngest child of the artist and sculptor Patricia Morley (née Booth), and grandson of Victor Booth, who was a piano professor at the Royal Academy of Music.  He had written ten novels, including the bestseller Pictures from the Water Trade.  

John David Morley to Me