Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Shots are fired, bombs are exploded in Paris, in London, in Madrid, the world takes note, people march, candles are lit. Two thousand some people get slaughtered in Baga, Boko Haram butchers 86 people in Maiduguri, ho hum, those are in Nigeria, who cares, really? It’s not like anybody would change their FaceBook profile photo. Let’s see what the commentators have to say about the Super Bowl.

Je suis Nigeria? Not likely!

Monday, February 01, 2016

Interesting article about which states speak fastest, the least, and so forth.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Language is funny.
My Puyuma (Pinuyumayan) male friends address me as Ali, the proper way adult males address each other. But in Tayal, ‘ali means bamboo shoot, and at first it was confusing: why are they calling me bamboo shoot?
We were talking with Malivan, Puyuma tribe, about tradition and cultural transmission. He made a particularly good point, so Chao said, “Balay.”
He was a bit taken aback, and asked, “What did you say?”
She explained, “Balay is Tayal for truly, verily, well spoken.”
He smiled and said, “I thought you said Ngalay, Puyuma for spit, or nonsense.” 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

迷彩車 Taitung style camouflage.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Slaqi Ulay! 太棒了! 烏來下雪了!Incredible! Snow in Wulai!
被颱風摧殘不到半年後,烏來下雪了,真奇妙。Less than six months after a disastrous typhoon, it snows in Wulai. Bizarre, but welcome. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

眾所周知,由于臺灣社會、概念的變遷,二十年來出現了「外籍新娘」。有多少外籍新娘就有多少動聽的故事,有歡喜、有悲劇、有愛情、有憎恨、有和睦、有睽離。我一個鄰居每次開口,他的外籍新娘好像看著白馬王子,用愛慕的眼神看著他,十年來不變;我另一個鄰居常常被外籍新娘打,雖然婦比夫輕二十公斤、矮個頭,但是出手毒辣,又快又準。有的公婆把新娘當公主伺候,有的公婆將新娘當奴隸、野狗使喚。
外籍新娘必須完全入境隨俗,沒聽說過有任何一個家庭鼓勵新娘傳她的語言、習俗、想法,卻一律要求她們徹底融入中華文化的巨大川流。我認為很可惜,臺灣很喜歡說是「多元化的社會」,但是我看到的「多元化」是「與世界接軌」的同義詞,意思偏向沖淡固有文化傳統、盲目追從西方。如果重視外籍新娘的文化,可以讓我們社會更豐富;母親的血脈受尊重,孩子身心更健康;而且會培養出多少雙語的人才。(從小講兩三種語言的孩子平均智商很高。)
請想:如果義大利人移民美國拋棄自己文化,完全融入美國文化,我們現在就沒有pizzas可以吃,多可惜!(當然情形不完全相同,因為義大利移民美國比較少mail order brides或外籍新娘,比較多全家移民;但是新血總讓文化大放異彩。)
說穿了,外籍新娘本來就矮了一截,這大家都知道。比較少人知道的事情是,七八年前政府開始重視新住民的遭遇,開始注意新住民的適應、生活。我怎麼知道呢?因為我也算外籍配偶,常常被邀請參加國語、閩南語訓練班、烹飪班、剪裁班,甚至也被邀請參加土風舞班,合唱團,但是我回絕了,因為我知道沒有人想看到這種事情發生。我們外籍配偶常常被照顧,不定期電話訪問、登門探訪(有趣的是,有一次來訪的是我一位好友的女兒,我還記得她五、六歲的樣子,後來反而來看看我有沒有遇到家暴、虐待。放心,沒有!
還有一件事情一般民眾比較漠然不關心,是這次選舉選出了第一屆新住民立委!生于柬埔寨,嫁到彰化的林麗蟬投入社會服務多年,現在當選了不分區新住民第一屆立委!這位了不起的女士將善用立法委員的身分為外籍配偶謀取福利,真是大好消息。
For a wide variety of reasons, over the last twenty years a large number of men in Taiwan have been marrying brides from overseas, especially Thailand, Indonesia, Viet Nam, and mainland China. Their stories run the gamut from my friend whose wife, even after ten years’ marriage, looks at him like he’s a knight in shining armor, to another one of my friends whose wife beats him every time she feels like it. Some families treat their foreign brides like imported treasures, others like slaves or dogs.
These wives are expected to conform to local norms. I have never heard of a family encouraging their foreign wife to speak her own language or carry on her original customs. I think this is a great loss. If America had forced its Italian immigrants to forsake their old habits, where would we find pizza to eat? (The situation is not entirely identical, since most Italians immigrated with their entire family. But new blood always makes a culture vigorous, with the obvious exception of the scion of German and Scottish immigrants, Donald Trump. But let’s not get started on that sorry piece of lard.)
Everybody knows that foreign wives in Taiwan do not occupy a very high position. What is less well known is that over the last six or seven years, the government has been making an effort to take care of foreign spouses. I know this because I have been invited many times to take lessons in Mandarin and Minnan, to learn how to cook, to learn how to sew, and even to join a folk dance club and a choir. I didn’t, probably much to the relief of the concerned authorities. But I have been visited by social workers to make sure I am not having trouble adjusting or being abused.
Something that has gone almost entirely neglected in the election last Saturday was that the first Foreign Spouse Legislator was elected, Ms Lin Lichan who married in to Taiwan from Cambodia (sorry, I do not know her Cambodian name; the news didn’t bother to report it.) This is wonderful news. I am confident she will do all in her ability to help foreign spouses in Taiwan. Just don’t ask me to sing in a choir. 

(PS: I wish to apologize to all pigs for calling Trump a piece of lard.) 

Sunday, January 17, 2016


Got on board a westbound seven forty seven
Didn't think before deciding what to do
All that talk of 燒餅油條, 臭豆腐 and KTV
Rang true, sure rang true

Seems it always rains in northern Taiwan-oh
Seems I've often heard that kind of talk before
It always rains in Wulai, but girl, don't they warn ya
You’ll mold, man, you’ll mold

Off to work, umbrella overhead
Everything’s wet, I’m soaking wet
I'm getting fat, I'm overfed
I wanna get dry

It always rains in Taiwan-oh, but girl, don't they warn ya
You’ll mold, man, you’ll mold

Will you tell the folks back home I’m drying out?
Saw the sun for a few minutes yesterday
Please, don't tell 'em how wet I am
Don't tell 'em how wet I am
Gimme a break, gimme a break


Seems it always rains in northern Taiwan-oh
Seems I've often heard that kind of talk before
It always rains in Wulai, but girl, don't they warn ya
You’ll mold, man, you’ll mold~~