Tuesday, November 30, 2004

When I came back from the Jingpo gathering on Sunday, Yumin was nowhere to be seen. Sometimes he goes out beagling in the afternoon, but usually knows when I come home and rushes back. At dusk I went out to call him, but nothing, so after dinner, I got a flashlight and walked around calling, but still no beagle. I was getting worried. It was Sunday, and conceivably a sightseer had stolen him. People tell me that when I am not present, agile, wily Yumin is almost impossible to grab hold of, and anybody who took him home would quickly have cause to regret it. All beagles are howlers, and Yumin has those strong mountain lungs. Nonetheless, just last week two little boys in Taipei took their beagle out for a walk, and some bad man kidnapped the beagle, and held it for ransom!

Not much I could do, so I played the recorder instead. About ten, I went out to check, and there he was, squirming gleefully in the doghouse.

He's grounded. I have tied him up by the doghouse for three days, hoping that he will see the error of his ways.

我星期天回來,Yumin不在家,到處找,無迹,各隅喊,無應。半夜他才回來。禁足三天,綁狗屋邊,希望他好好反省一下。 希望不是養精蓄銳,解放後更皮。

Monday, November 29, 2004

The Jingpo (景頗)nationality may not be familiar to everybody now, but in the 19th century the British empire learned what ferocious fighters they are, as did the Japanese during World War II. The Brits know them as the Kachin(卡欽). They're a tribe on the borders of China, Thailand, and Burma. Around 1960, a hundred guerillas were brought to Taiwan to keep them out of trouble. Yesterday I went to their annual gathering. They all bring their swords, so I took along my Tayal headhunting knife (laraw behu).

I arrived about fifteen minutes late. Most of the Jingpo were dressed in modern clothes, but wore turbans, satchels, and swords. Several young people wore traditional outfits, the girls ornamented with silver. They wore very untraditional sneakers. The speakers had already begun. I slipped in and took a seat in the back row, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible. Kung, the previous president, spotted me and insisted that I sit on the stage and address the gathering. He picked up my pack with one hand and my left arm with the other and dragged me out of my seat. Most of the audience had turned around to watch: so much for inconspicuous.

I sat next to General Yang, their old commanding officer, who, although not Jingpo, speaks the language. Kung took the microphone: "You all remember our American friend, who attended our gathering before. He wrote articles about us in English." He held up copies of the publications I had sent him. "This is the first time anybody has ever introduced the Jingpo in Taiwan in English." Everybody clapped. So much for inconspicuous. He thrust the microphone in my hands.

"It is an honor to be here today, but I should not be talking. I would like to hear you talk, to hear about your experiences. Thank you.”

Kung and Yang looked at me. “Keep talking.”

"I've finished." Other speakers took the podium. Their talks revolved around two points. The first point can be concisely expressed as, SHUT UP! Each speaker explained very patiently and eloquently that it is polite, civilized, democratic, proper, meet, and right to listen to the person holding the floor, but it didn't seem to have much effect.

It didn't seem to have much effect until they moved to Point Two, which was their extreme dissatisfaction with the current administration. President Chen Shui-bian's administration, obsessed with setting up Taiwan as an independent nation, treats the Taiwan aborigines with harsh contempt, so their curt treatment of the Jingpo should hardly surprise anyone. The Taiwan aborigines were here four thousand years before the first Chinese set foot on the island; the Jingpo came within the last fifty years. The Taiwan aborigines make up a per cent or two of the population. The total number of Yunnan tribesmen in Taiwan, Jingpo + Wa + Dai + Kayin, cannot be more than 500, so the DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) administration does not deign to do anything for such a minuscule minority. Somebody was handing out copies of an official statement from the Ministry of the Interior that they refuse to recognize the existence of the Jingpo, because the tribe cannot document their existence to the administration's satisfaction! A speaker pointed out that under the communists, the Jingpo have their own autonomous region, while the DPP feels their existence is beneath notice. One of the men was asked by a DDP candidate, "Why aren't you dead yet?”

A young man, second generation Taiwan-Jingpo, dressed in a traditional outfit, unconsciously pulled his sword out of the scabbard every time the speaker detailed another government insult to Jingpo dignity. There are not many Jingpo in Taiwan, and they are old now, but no matter how friendly they are, these are not people I would rile. Ask SLORC, the Burmese military government, which dreads the Kachin Independence Army.

Finally the speeches were over, and we got down to the serious business of lunch. Eat, chat, toast. Someone handed me a bright red satchel to wear, slung across my chest. As you walk, the silver ornaments jingle and chink. A representative passed out membership address lists, nicely printed in a little booklet with the KIA (Kachin Independence Army) emblem on the cover. The men told me about their villages, far in the mountains of southwestern China, how they fought, and how they came to Taiwan in airplanes. They told me of the years without news from home, during the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, and finally being able to go home again. One man got off the plane, rode on a truck for twenty-four hours, and walked for nine hours to reach his hometown. As soon he stepped onto the streets of home for the first time in over twenty years, he spotted his own brother.

One of the men told me that several months ago he went to Burma and stayed with the KIA. Before I got a chance to ask for details, he was dragged away by the next table for more toasts. The more toasts that were drunk, the more uproarious the men became.

Before long, somebody started banging on the pot drum (a long-stemmed drum common to many nationalities in the mountains of Southeast Asia). The tables were cleared away, and swords were drawn. A few of the men had not brought their own swords, but there were spares on the table. The men display great joy in wearing and handling their swords. This year somebody brought a spear, which was passed from hand to hand with great relish. Several of the men detailed its use for my benefit, but actually, I think they just enjoyed stabbing about with the spear. They examined my Tayal knife with blissful expertise.

The first dance was led by the drum, cymbals, and a gong. The Jingpo lined up single file, follow the leader. For the next dance, Kung led the line. Kung sometimes comes across as officious and somewhat fussy, but as soon as the sword dance started, you could see why he was chosen president, and to this day dominates the new association president. His whole bearing changed. He stopped speaking Mandarin, and began exhorting and regaling the men in Jingpo, singing in a loud, hearty voice. I had never seen this side of him before, but beyond a doubt, this is a man you would follow into battle.

Maybe the Ministry of the Interior should acknowledge their existence just to keep them happy.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

A good line
… Cleveland, the Paris of northeastern Ohio…..
Herbert Gold

Saturday, November 27, 2004


Tuesday, November 23, 2004

好消息,好消息,大家告訴大家!! 我把兩岸問題解決了!

大陸要台灣回歸,李陳呂各想當國父(母),這個緊張局勢,一般美國人非常關心。在美國問起Taiwan 啦China啦,一般老百姓的反應是,"台灣? 我當然知道,我也認為這是一個值得深思熟慮的問題,至於我個人的看法呢,談到台灣嘛,雖然有點辣,而且有時候有些怪味道,不太敢嚐,不過Thai food很特別,很好吃,可是還是中國料理比較好吃,盡管吃了以後一個小時又餓了,而且加很多味精,吃了會頭痛,但是中國菜還是比泰國菜好吃。"

這番言論足以證明,世界輿論認為中國問題很頭痛。 其實這個問題很簡單,台灣跟大陸統一,可是條件是: 台灣是新中國的首都。如果真的堅持的話,就把國號改為:台灣人民共合國。台民幣上畫個台灣藍雀棲息萬里長城上。這樣問題就解決了,皆大歡喜。


Monday, November 22, 2004

It looked like rain, so yesterday at dusk I set fire to a pile of branches, bamboo, and deadwood. Yumin was so impressed and excited by the spectacle that he strolled into the doghouse and feel asleep, belly up, legs sprawled every which direction. Bengax doesn't like fire, especially since bamboo explodes with an alarming pop, so she kept her distance. I sat on a log and gazed into the fire. Loyal Tlahuy came to lie at my feet. Rain fell with dark.

There is a little irrigation ditch behind my place, now used for runoff. When I moved here, there was always water in the ditch, but now spas pipe off the water to heat up for their 'hot springs.' Cool weather has drawn customers, so the water level in the ditch is low. The bottom of the ditch has a layer of black sludge. I decided to scoop some up to put on tree roots and flower pots. My trowel hit something hard: a turtle nestled down for a long rest. Do Not Disturb.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

很久很久以前,一個小村坐落澗溪畔,豁岸峻峭,往返村民戰慄,ㄔ亍陡降,涉溪步步自危,攀藤扶葛而上,甚苦之。 一日天倏變,狂風驟雨,竹折樹仆,一巨樹方巧隕落溪谷上。翌日村夫二人沿樹過溪,稱讚方便未曾有。于是將樹二端以石墊高固定,剪枝修幹,成為全世界第一座橋樑。二夫滿意,稱快而回。

又逾一時,三夫由外地歸村,至岸,赫然橋樑,三夫懌悅,攜手攀橋。在橋上立足互賀,夫甲曰,"哇賽,這個橋好高!" 夫乙曰,”真的好高。" 夫丙語夫甲, "你吐一口痰,我數數看。"呸。"一、二,哇,好高!”

由此綿綿,年年代代,只要男人走過橋,一定要吐痰數高度,幾千年不易,成為男人的本能:遇橋必吐痰,對男人而言,是一股無法抗拒的驅力。 女人是無法了解的。

案: 一派歷史學者認為,人類數數的起源,就是應男人過橋吐痰的需要而產生的,可備一說。

Thursday, November 18, 2004






獸醫說:beagle 不皮不純。

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

15日的post論銀行廣告,Balahu回我一篇. Thanks for the permission to post this!




Tuesday, November 16, 2004

You could hear the bridges from way off. On every bridge were stationed soldiers who shot every branch or spray floating downstream, to foil the Viet Cong who attached explosives to the debris the river swept out of the jungle, in order to explode bridges and disrupt transportation. Many of the ARVN sharpshooters stood at their posts in their underpants, as the Mekong Delta is tropically hot. Some held their M16s casually in one hand, picking off branches with dead eye, never missing from thirty meters. Bullets are a lot cheaper than bridges.

Riding down the Mekong Delta, 1971

Monday, November 15, 2004


薪女性 新主張
結果廣告甚麼呢? 簡易貸款! 欠債哪是美麗新人生?
誠X銀行把女性上班族當笨蛋嗎? 走出廚房上班去,是為了貸款付6%利息把銀行養肥,這是哪一門解放?

備註:  誠X銀行古亭分行辦女性貸款的專員,是男性。

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Isn't progress wonderful?
Joan of Arc got burned at the stake for talking with disembodied voices. Now we'd just assume she was talking on a cell phone.

Saturday, November 13, 2004


Wednesday, November 10, 2004

You know how in the peat bogs of northern Europe they have found preserved bodies of Neolithic people? They are called bog people, and the definitive study on that is The Bog People by P V Glob.
Hi, what's that you're reading?
The Blog People by P V Gob, no, the Glob People by P B Vlob, no, the Pog Beople by P P Bog, no, no, it's the Bob Gleoble by P V Plob ~~~ look, why don't you just mind your own business!?

Monday, November 08, 2004

In the weeks preceding Halloween, Ebay had auctions not only for Halloween costumes, but Halloween costumes for adults. Halloween costumes for adults?? When people have brains like that, it is small wonder that Bush got reelected.

When I was in kindergarten, for Halloween they had us dress up in our costumes and parade through the school to show the big kids who it is done. I was a goat. Mom sewed a piece of light tan cloth into a rough approximation of a goat, and we made a paper mask for the face. I still vividly remember that she then took two sheets of typing paper from the desk drawer and rolled them into goat's horns! Magic!

I feel sorry for kids whose parents buy them costumes, and have never seen typing paper become goat's horns. They don't know what magic is.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

A friend showed me his new GPS, complete with maps of your present locality, anywhere you go. With a flourish, he turned it on ~~~ and it seems we are just a bit northwest of Denver, Colorado. Interesting. I had thought November in Colorado would be much cooler.

The GPS couldn't have made a mistake, could it!? I mean, those things are digital and electronic, they CAN'T be wrong!! Because it has an LCDisplay, too!

I think I'll stop in on Kathie.