The Affairs 《周刊编集》

August 3, 2018 2018年8月3日

In an age of distracted reading, when articles are regularly left unfinished, who doesn’t feel a bit nostalgic for the pre-digital days, when newspapers printed on actual paper were our main source of information?

Fines Lee misses those days too, and he especially misses “the reading experience you’d only get from the papers.” That’s why, after toying with the idea for five years, the Taiwanese media veteran founded The Affairs, a print-only monthly. Given that his peers around the world are moving away from traditional media toward new platforms, such a decision took courage.

Yet Lee is used to going against the herd. He started his media career two decades ago as an online news editor, then went on to found a blogging platform as well as an online magazine called The Big Issue Taiwan. Now, with The Affairs, he seems to have completed his trajectory from new media to old. As diverse as these experiences are, he says the skills from one arena carry over to the next, and that “traffic flow, page layout, and visuals” are still his bread and butter.


台湾媒体人李取中也怀念那些 “只能通过报纸得到的阅读体验”。斟酌了五年后,他提出自己的答案: 成立每月发行的The Affairs 周刊编集报刊。在现今全球同行纷纷转行到数字媒体的时代,成立报刊这个念头需要很大的勇气。

但是,李取中这些年已经习惯了逆风而行。从他 20 年前开启职业生涯的网站新闻编辑,后来成立博客网站、创办台湾版《大志》(The Big Issue Taiwan)杂志、到现在的《The Affairs 周刊编集》报刊,他一路从 “新” 探索到 “旧”。虽然平台不尽相同,但他说早年做网络媒体的经验积累,让他对阅读的 “动线规划、版面设计和视觉” 都有所要求,而这部分的擅长也被他带入了纸媒。

In 2017, when The Affairs published its first issue and tested the waters on the Taiwanese crowdfunding site, it attracted over NT $8.2 million (around US $270,000), far more than the campaign’s original goal. Clearly, Lee wasn’t the only one who longed for an old-fashioned newspaper in the era of new media.

“The advent of new media doesn’t necessarily mean the end of traditional media, but it does mean their role will change,” he says. “Print can’t just convey information—it also has to provide an aesthetic experience, with physicality, weight, and quality.”

This line sums up Lee’s goals for his paper. In addition to current affairs, each beautifully laid-out issue has sections on business, culture, design, exploration, opinion, and more. Alongside the text are commissioned works by well-known artists like Japanese illustrator Noritake and British photographer Benedict Redgrove.

2017 年中旬,《The Affairs 周刊编集》创刊号发布,并在年底于台湾众筹网站啧啧(zeczec)试水,两个月时间内获得多于目标好几倍的八百多万新台币(近 27 万美金),证明了在新媒体时代,渴望纸质报刊的不仅是他和编辑团队而已。

在这位见多识广的媒体人眼里,“新媒介的出现不一定会消灭旧媒介,只是角色需要调整,” 他说,“纸媒不能单纯扮演信息传递的角色,它背后传递的意义还有美感和体验,和物理性、重量和质感。”

这句话也总结了李取中对其报刊的标准。在每一期排版精炼的《The Affairs 周刊编集》上,除了时事,还有商业、文化、探索、评论等主题板块。字里行间也不乏知名艺术家的委约作品,比如日本插画家 Noritake 和英国摄影师 Benedict Redgrove

In issue 12, for instance, you can read an editor’s interview with Spanish illustrator Manuel Marsol, a personal essay about an international fling during the 2002 World Cup, and a long read from The Guardian about the recent history of Chinatowns around the world, among many other stories. Content is either written in-house, contributed freelance, or translated from publications abroad. Although the last of these takes up the largest chunk for now, the ideal quota, according to Lee, is one third for each.

Much thought has also given to Lee’s other criteria: physicality, weight, and quality. He and his team looked at a dozen different paper stocks before choosing a sustainable, FSC-certified white newsprint to fit with their social values. They also chose offset printing with an extra “roasting” procedure to increase ink absorption and bring visual depth to the words and images.

以第十二期举例,你可以读到来自编辑部对西班牙插画家 Manuel Marsol 的采访、专栏作家记录的 2002 年世界杯番外篇(关于他的朋友因日韩世界杯陷入跨国情缘的小故事)、还有英国《观察者日报》(The Guardian)授权的全球唐人街的演变报导。内容来源分为三种型态——采编、外稿和编译,虽然目前编译部分偏多,但李取中说理想上它们会各占三分之一。

李取中所强调的 “物理性、重量和质感” 标准也都经过认真考虑。从十多种纸张选择中,他和团队挑选了与自身的社会愿景呼应的 FSC 认证新闻高白纸;同时,他们也选择了商用轮转机,比普通印刷机多了一道烘烤的过程,提高油墨吸附度,以增加图片与文字的视觉深度。

With all this effort, what kind of experience are they looking to bring to readers?

Lee is aware that his paper—which, on full spread, is about four times the size of an A3 and 20 times the size of an iPhone 7—“is not like a magazine that you can bring anywhere. Reading it requires time, space and preparation.” In other words, a reader must devote attention—a modern luxury.

In this, The Affairs might actually have a leg up on digital media. One reader notes that he usually can’t finish an article on his phone, even if it’s just 2,000 to 3,000 words long, but he usually can in Lee’s paper, where articles usually range from 5,000 to 6,000 words. Another reader, who also supported the crowdfunding campaign, says she finds it “very different from any other newspaper [she’d] seen,” and doesn’t mind the large fraction of translated articles, which she considers a strength. “In a time of information overload, people have a greater need for someone to curate the content they get,” she says.


李取中知道,这份打开后几乎是 A3 纸四倍大、iPhone 手机 20 倍大的报纸  “不像杂志一样可以随身带着,而需要充裕的时间、空间和准备。”  换句话说,读者需要投入注意力集中在这个现代的奢侈品。

这一方面,他们也许比数字媒体做得更好,正如一个读者对他说的: 在手机上读文章,两三千字都不一定看得完,但在《The Affairs 周刊编集》上连篇幅有五六千字的长文也看得完。另外一个支持过众筹项目的读者也说: 这和过去认识的报纸很不一样。她并不介意其中非原创的部分,甚至觉得这是它的优点,“在信息爆炸的时代,大家更是需要一个好的平台帮你策划接收的内容”。

Beyond the quality of the paper stock, Lee also hopes The Affairs can play a social role that’s different from that of other media. “Traditional media emphasize the role of systems in people’s lives—nation, society, ethnicity, etc.,” he says. “I want to take readers out of those systems.” Instead, he hopes that the paper people will turn people’s attention toward “creative works of human culture, whether in film, publishing, art, etc., as well as the relationship between humans and nature, or between humans, plants, and animals.”

当然,除了“有质感的新世代报纸” 这个标签,李取中也希望《The Affairs 周刊编集》能扮演与传统媒体不同的角色。“传统媒体在观察事物的角度时会着重在体制上——国家、社会、民族等等——对人的影响。但我希望把人从体制中抽离。” 他希望读者能通过报纸的视角关注 “人类文化衍生出来的创作物,比如电影、出版、艺术等等,以及人与自然,人和动物、植物的关系。”


When can readers outside of Taiwan get to see how The Affairs views the world? Lee says that for now the paper’s goal is to increase its publication frequency from monthly to bi-weekly, so that the headlines are more up-to-date with world affairs. First, though, he wants the paper to “gain a strong foothold in Taiwan.”

Ultimately, this old media platform aspires to offer a new point of view. “If readers come away with a slightly different outlook on the world from reading our paper,” he says, “well, that’s exactly what we’re trying to achieve.”

那么其他华文读者什么时候能透过《The Affairs 周刊编集》看世界呢?李取中说,近期希望可以尽量加快速度,发行频率从每月调整到每两周,让头条消息可以更贴近世界的动脉。在那之前,他还是希望 “报纸能在台湾立足。”

这家 “旧” 媒体最终想宣扬的是一种新视角,“如果读者可以透过这份报纸,稍微对世界产生另一种观察,这就是我们希望达成的。”



Contributor: Jiang Yaling
Images Courtesy of The Affairs



供稿人: Jiang Yaling
图片由The Affairs 周刊编集》提供

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Please Mind the Gap 拍照请当心,注意脚下空隙

August 2, 2018 2018年8月2日

“Please mind the gap.”

It’s an announcement every urban commuter is surely familiar with. This phrase is also what inspired photographer Weilun Chong to create his eponymous photo series, Please Mind the Gap.

After attending university in Singapore, the Malaysian photographer decided to stay, and it’s there, in his adoptive city where he now works full-time as an advertising art director. A few years back, a serendipitous accident that happened on his way to work was what led to the project. “I nearly lost my phone through the gap between the train and the station platform one day,” he recalls. “That was when I glanced through the gaps towards the next carriage and came up with the idea.”

“The best part about the project was that it was something I could work on during my daily commute,” he adds. “It wouldn’t take up time I can spend with my wife outside of work.” At the time, Chong’s wife was close to delivering their firstborn, and so, working on a project that could fulfill his creative thirst while not intruding into family time was a heaven-send.

A month after inspiration struck, Chong took the first picture in the series. Ever since then he’s continued taking photos in Singapore and Hong Kong.


这句话,大概常坐地铁和公交通勤的人们,丝毫不会陌生。而 Weilun Chong 创作的同名摄影系列,也正是受到这句话启发而来。

生于马来西亚,在新加坡念完大学的 Weilun,如今已是全职广告艺术总监。这个个人项目始于好几年前,契机来得很巧——“有一天,我的手机差点掉进地铁站台的空隙,然后我就扫到了一眼车厢的空隙,拍摄车厢间隙的想法就形成了:‘我可以在每天上下班上下班的路上做这件事,也可以陪我妻子一起。’”当时,Weilun 即将和他的妻子迎来第一个孩子,而这个摄影主题,恰好可以让他兼顾家庭与摄影创作,“这可能是命中注定的。”


“Sometimes I spot an interesting character or anticipate a possible interesting scene. When I do, I approach the subject fast and inconspicuously, waiting to take the shot at the right moment,” he says. “Other times, if I have a bit more time, I’ll just take random snaps.” In the platform gap, as the doors are closing, with everyone calm or in a rush, fatigued or full of excitement, a moment is captured in time.

After all, each time we step onto the train platform, we begin a new journey. In his photography, Chong celebrates this, rightfully recognizing each of his subjects as the protagonists of their own stories.

“有时候我会看到一个有趣的角色,或者可以预料到一个有趣的场景,我会迅速且不引人注意地接近它,然后我就等着拍下那个瞬间。还有一些时候,如果我有更多的时间,我就会随机去拍。” Weilun 说。站台间隙中,车厢闭合时,每个人或紧张或从容、或疲惫或振作的神态,从此定格。


Contributor: Chen Yuan

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Painting with MS Paint 你还在“画图”吗?

August 1, 2018 2018年8月1日

Many people’s first experience with a digital creative tool was with MS Paint. The iconic program—pre-installed on every computer running a Windows operating system—was simple, lightweight, and perhaps most important of all, free. Today, with the prevalence of Photoshop, Illustrator, and the other multitudes of feature-packed graphics software, MS Paint has become a relic of the past. But in 2017, Microsoft’s decision to no longer support future development of MS Paint was, quite surprisingly, met with widespread outrage. Does the dated software truly have any value beyond nostalgia? Lin Xingyu, an 18-year-old illustrator from Guangzhou, China, believes it does.

许多人第一次接触数码创作工具时,用的是绘图软件──画图(Microsoft Paint)。这个具代表性的程序预先被安装在每部使用微软操作系统的电脑里,简单、无足轻重,最重要的是免费。随着 Photoshop、Illustrator 和许多其他搭载各式功能的绘图软件变得普遍,画图软件已成为昨日黄花。然而,当微软于 2017 年决定不再支援开发画图,却意外地引起众怒。这个过时的软件真的有怀旧以外的价值?来自广州 18 岁的插画家 Lin Xingyu 确信如此。

Lin masterfully wields MS Paint as his medium of choice, creating tranquil illustrations that showcase the beautiful mundanities of his daily life. While he began playing around with the program when he was 11 years old, only five years later, at the age of 16, did he begin to see the program as a tool for creating art. “I watched some painting tutorials online, but I didn’t have any actual paint,” he recalls. “So I just followed along in MS Paint instead.”

Lin Xingyu 熟练地使用画图软件当他的创作媒介,画出带有平静氛围的插画,展示美好平凡的日常生活。Xingyu 11 岁就开始玩画图软件,但一直要到五年后,他 16 岁时,他才开始将画图软件看作创作工具。“我在网络上看过一些绘画教学,但是我那时没有真正的绘画颜料。” 他回忆道,“所以我就用画图软件替代。”

While other modern image-editing software offers more flexibility and functionality, the challenge of creating beautiful effects using the simple tools of MS Paint is a large part of the allure for Lin. This affinity for simplicity also lives at the core of his art.

“Small things like sunlight catching dust particles or refracting from a scratched glass window used to mesmerize me,” he says. “As I started drawing more, I started taking note of all these little things I found beautiful and looked for them in different places. Once you start looking, you can find a lot of beauty everywhere. I feel like these ordinary scenes have a special kind of beauty that a lot of people can relate to.”

虽然其他的图像编辑软件具有更多弹性和功能,但利用画图这类简单的工具创造出美丽的效果,对 Lin Xingyu 来说更有吸引力。这种单纯的喜爱是他的创作核心。

“在阳光下看微尘翻飞,或者透过满是刮痕的玻璃折射出来,这类小事很令我着迷。” Lin Xingyu 说,“当我画得越多,我就开始四处寻找那些令我觉得很美的小事,然后记下来。日常生活场景有种特殊美感,会让许多人觉得有共鸣。一旦你开始观察,天地之间都是美。”

Lin’s illustrations focus on ephemerality, or rather a desire to preserve fleeting moments of beauty. One commonality across his illustrations is that they tend to show the twilight hours between sunset and night. Using shades of oranges and purples, he depicts this daily moment of beauty with stunning vibrancy. In other works, the receding sunlight is depicted more subtly, indicated only by a tinge of pink on the horizon or by skyscrapers slowly lighting up in anticipation of the coming night.

Lin Xingyu 的插画着重在无常的事物,或是试图留住转瞬即逝的美。他的插画作品有个共通点,经常展现日落和夜晚之间的薄暮。他用鲜艳的橘色、紫色系描绘日常之美。在他其他的作品里,他仅用的粉色调来妆点地平线,或让摩天大楼在夜幕降临时慢慢点亮,以此来更巧妙地描绘出渐隐的日色。

“The end of the day is when people feel the best. It’s the time when we’re coming home from work or school, or already at home, making dinner for the night,” he explains. “I want to recreate these stress-free feelings in my illustrations and share them with people.”

Perhaps that’s what makes his works so charming, almost meditative: beyond their outward beauty, they’re a reminder that human experience is about more than the stresses of daily life. It’s worth taking a moment to stop and appreciate the beauty of the world around us.

“人们在白天结束的时候,感觉最好。大家从工作岗位或学校返家,或者已经在家做着晚饭。” 他解释道,“我想在插画里重现这种舒适无压力的感觉,然后分享给大家。”




Contributor: David Yen



供稿人: David Yen