Friday, January 30, 2004


我很久以前發現,我每一次踏出家門,蚊子的嗡嗡聲就有一點不太一樣。 我判斷,這一定是蚊語,牠們一定是在討論…討論甚麼呢? “地主來了!” “他剪頭髮了。” “他怎麼沒帶傘,難道看不出來要下雨嗎?” 牠們到底在討論甚麼呢? 我越想越好奇,終於下定決心,擺壇設幡,認真拜起公冶長,求他賜我聽懂蚊語的能力。 虔誠拜有感應,啟耳聵,出門一試,如願以償,聽懂了蚊子一看到我的那一句蚊語:”開飯囉!!”

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

A young man hove into view, wearing a yellow sweatshirt blazoned with the legend:
Now, to the inexperienced, this just may seem a mishmash of Roman letters, but my experienced eye immediately picked out the articles A and THE, indicating that this was once English, long since transmogrified. DF was easy, because we all know how similar D and O are.

Don't be misled by the allure of TROCHLED. This word, tripping merrily off the tongue, is one of those words which seems to exist, does not exist, but should exist, and would add spice and melody to everyone's conversation. “We were beroing along the gandersnaff when the stauropod trochled.” Beautiful, yes, and maybe, if they are lucky, people in the twenty-third century will talk like that, but for now, you are on the wrong path. That word is not what it is, it is what it appears to be, veiled in futility. For that matter, let me mention that over ninety percent of my students pronounce 'misled' as if it were the past tense of misle and rhymed with 'whistled.'

To be sure, I understand these things because I have the advantage of years of experience. Back when I was a tender teenager, new to Taiwan, I was enchanted by a little whitewashed cement building down near the east coast, proclaiming itself in wobbly, dripping letters on a hand painted sign: GARPON HOTEL. When I was down that way, I would sometimes detour just to admire that euphonious word, which, I imagined, might connote some abstruse concept in, in who knows, maybe the Amis or Puyuma aboriginal languages, since that is their territory. The HOTEL was the only English word to be seen for many miles in either direction.

Or so I thought, until I got used to reading Chinese signs. Glancing at the Chinese one day:花園大飯店: I suddenly realized that my Garpon Hotel was actually supposed to be the Garden Hotel.

So now you see the kind of training I have had. How are you coming? Have you deciphered that shirt yet? I am sure that by now you have correctly disentangled the words to read: A HERO OF THE TROUBLED TIME. Not so hard once you get used to it, right?

But I still think Garpon Hotel is more romantic.
I wore shoes today. When I was leaving for the city, it was seven degrees C and raining. I had been romping barefoot through the mud all morning, but decided that since I was going to be standing on a podium, I should consider putting on my shoes, if I could find them. Otherwise, through lack of practice, I might forget how to tie shoelaces.

Several years ago I bought an excellent pair of low-cut Lowa mountain shoes, and I have even worn them on occasion. The last such occasion was about two years ago, so I figured the time was ripe to try them out again.

I rummaged around, found the shoes, came up with some socks, put on my shoes, and stepped boldly out into the world, cautiously making my way down the steps through the ravine, feeling my unaccustomed way. Shoes really cut you off from the world around you.

Heading down to the bus, I bravely marched past the group of Tayal huddled around the fire by the betel stand. I heard a cackle and a call: “Yugan!? Is that you?”

I kept my head up bravely, “Yes, it's me. Happy year of the monkey, monkey.”

“What have you got on your feet?”


“Shoes? You have shoes?”

“Yes, I have a pair, can't you see?”

”We thought they looked like shoes, but we've never seen you wearing them before, so we thought you must have painted your feet.”

“Very funny, ha ha ha.”

I made it to the city, and made it through the whole evening, and back home again. From time to time my line of sight would dip and I would be startled by the sight of my encased feet. What happened? Where are my toes? You mean people wear these things every day?

It was an interesting experience, and I may repeat it some day. Probably not soon, though.

Monday, January 26, 2004

道法師說: 佛法叫做『開心果』
明心見性是真正的開心,而不是去改變業力。 解脫的人面臨任何的業都是自在的。

比照前引 呂氏春秋 慎大:

Friday, January 23, 2004

Kurt Vonnegut: "One kid said he had the key to all my books and he put it in a sentence. He said, 'Love may fail but courtesy will prevail.' Love does fail all the time, you know, and it makes people vicious."
Yikes, happy new year!
This is to wish you all a happy, healthy, wise new year, the year of the monkey. Which reminds me of a story my sister told me once, years ago, about a friend of hers who gave birth to a red headed boy who was of such, shall we say, extraordinary appearance that the first time the new mother saw her baby, rolling over sort of dreamy-like in her maternal bed, she yelped, YIKES! and opened her eyes wide, then shut them.

The baby boy would now be in his twenties. Maybe somewhere this morning a newly wed bride fondly opens her eyes, and says YIKES!

The occassion behooves me to tell a story of appropriate dignity and good taste. It concerns a lady who had a little boy of, shall we say, extraordinary appearance, but as mothers are wont to do, she loved him and thought the world of her little boy. One day when she got on a bus, the bus driver said, YIKES!

"What do you mean, yikes?" the incensed mother asked.

The driver took up his courage and said, "Lady, that is one UGLY little boy."

The mother burst into tears and dragged her little son onto the bus. A kind old lady noticed her tears, and asked, "What is wrong, my dear?"

"The driver insulted me!"

"That is just terrible! Don't take that, you go right back up there and insult him back, and while you're doing that, I'll watch your monkey for you."

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Cmyan mukal soni!

Blaq kwara kawas na yungai!

Monday, January 19, 2004


“The world has become inaccessible, because we drive there.”
-Ivan Ilyich

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Let's hear it for yams!

Popeye the Sailor Man is 75 years old today. He debuted on September 17, 1929. Happy Birthday, Popeye!

(and who says I don't keep up on world events?)

Toot, toot!

Saturday, January 17, 2004


"Acting is not an important job in the scheme of things. Plumbing is."
-Spencer Tracy

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Uray『烏來』是泰雅語『溫泉』的意思。 時常有人問我,在烏來洗溫泉哪一家最好。如果要洗真正的溫泉水,而不是加熱的山泉水,還是溪邊最可靠。 兩三年前部落的人已經在說溫泉水分光了,不夠大家用。 兩年來開了那麼多家溫泉會館,哪來那麼多溫泉水? 所以有業者跟我說:八二。 八分加熱山泉水、兩分溫泉水。


河川地怎麼可以如此亂破壞,恐是拜前任鄉長密臘瓦旦所賜。 泰雅對長輩、長官極其恭順,唯有前任鄉長死後,無人為之說一句好話。對他的評語是:"祖先不高興,把他收走了。" 這個問題就譚到此為止。


不過,烏來的問題相當嚴重。 為什麼烏來人講到溫泉會館就艴然不悅,其來有自。

首先要了解,溫泉館這麼多,烏來人並沒有賺到甚麼錢。泰雅經營的只有幾家,如沙利達、烏來民宿藝術村等。大錢都是外面的投資人賺的。從外面來投資賺錢,所以對烏來既沒有感情或責任感,又不關心。錢賺了就好了,如果賺錢的代價是殄滅生態、破壞部落組織,他們在乎嗎? 這不是他們的家。

我們的家在這裡。 烏來這幾天才在擺自來水的水塔、水管。向來是自己找水源接管就可以了,烏來是水源區,多得是水。 現在不同。溫泉館需要大量的水,所以他們接大管子,把水引到溫泉館賣給客人,住家水就不夠用了。 甚至於,業者如果認為居民的水管太大,他們就拔掉,斷水源。(我自己有一次沒水,沿管去找,發現整個管子被溫泉館拉去佔用!)

原來充沛的水源被產業道路破壞、剩餘的溫泉業者霸佔,居民產生缺水問題。住家不能沒有水,因為水不夠用,現在部落有鄰居互相告到法院。同族在法院見,兩三年前是不可能發生的事情。 這是溫泉館帶來給烏來的。

讀者也許想,起碼溫泉館創造一些就業機會。恐怕不多吧。業者找員工的順序似乎是: 大陸人最優先,再來是平地人,實在沒有人才考慮到原住民。我知道有一家的招待請泰雅,還有一家接電話的是泰雅,但這似乎是例外。如果原住民在溫泉館工作,通常只有掃地、刷廁所的份。有的溫泉業者表明,幫客人叫計程車,絕對不叫原住民的司機。可能覺得客人太尊貴,原住民配不上為他們開車吧?




總是抱著那麼一絲的希望。臺灣的風潮流行一陣子就退。 泡湯熱過了,溫泉不好賺的時候,烏來還給居民,我們可以開始收爛攤。
如果過台北車站,一定要記得轉進去看看一樓文化藝廊鄭梅玉草編藝術展。 I've never seen anything like it.
Until March 11, 2004.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

昨晚上課時,想讓學生記住familiar一字跟 family 有關(因為同 family日日相聚而familiar ),就問,”你一生跟誰最熟?”第一排一個女生馬上回答:”護士!”