Monday, January 31, 2005

I support the eradication of terrorism.
Too bad President Bush doesn't.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

I endeavor fruitlessly to make sense of an article from the January 26, 2005 Orange County (CA) Register: "Police Officers dress up as a hippie and a hare to bring crosswalk safety to motorists' attention in Laguna Beach." The photo shows a car encroaching upon a crosswalk, across which are strolling jauntily, on the left, a person dressed in a black cowboy hat with a zebra band, a purple coat with a lime shirt peeking out beneath, tight black toreador pants, and expensive running shoes, and accompanied on the right by a tall, erect, bipedal white rabbit wearing a red ribbon around its neck, and expensive running shoes (bipedal, so only the pair). I bet Alcoholics Anonymous membership went way up when that pair hit the street.

Since when did Salvador Dali become Laguna Beach Police advisor? How are the hippie and the hare supposed to make motorists aware of crosswalk safety? Is that a hippie? I never saw a hippie dressed like that. I thought hippies wore bellbottoms, not tight pants that reached halfway down the calf.
How can motorists tell that is supposed to be a hippie? If they cannot tell, will their attention be drawn to crosswalk safety?
Some of those fundamentalists in Orange County would probably step on the gas if they knew that was a hippie.

If I saw a six foot tall rabbit walking erect across a crosswalk, wearing track shoes and a red ribbon around its neck, I wouldn't become aware of crosswalk safety, I'd run over it (maybe back over it a couple times to make sure I had done a good job) and rush straight to my doctor to have my medication changed. And I don't even take any medication!
Maybe it would be better to rush to the police station and change the chief's medication.

But the question which is keeping me awake at nights is, What do they signify? Why a rabbit and a hippie? How does that combination connote crosswalk safety? Why not a hippie and a pooh-bear? A hippie and a giant walking popsicle? Look at Scout: being dressed as a ham didn't make her any safer at all, not a bit! Do you think drivers could be made aware of crosswalk safety by police officers dressed as, say, a cowboy in paisley chaps walking with a slightly cooked turnip? Or have the authorities, in their infinite wisdom, discerned that crosswalk safety can be inculcated most effectively by a misdressed hippie and a monstrous rabbit?

This is the kind of perspicacity that makes us all confident that we will win the war on terrorism! All we have to do is dress our warfighters as perhaps a hedgehog and a tailor and parade them in front of the bad guys, whereupon they will see the error of their ways and embrace democracy, motherhood, and apple pies.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Questions for an atheist
1. Do you accept that there are other forms of life besides human beings? For example, dogs, mosquitoes, deer, leeches, turtles, dolphins.
If your answer is yes, please proceed to Question 2.
If your answer is no, please proceed no further. Get your head out of the sand.

2. Do you accept that a leech or a mosquito, for example, would find it very difficult to understand human beings?
Explanation: I suppose that to a mosquito, a human being would live for an incomprehensibly long time; a mosquito would have no understanding of what I am doing here tapping out words on a computer, or how the computer operates. By the same token, we may not understand much about mosquitoes’ lives.
If your answer is yes, please proceed to Question 3.
If your answer is no, please proceed no further.

3. Do you accept that an earthworm living inside a flowerpot by your front door may be totally unaware of the existence of humanity?
Digression: I suppose that earthworm does not know much about the politics, wars, or empires we find so compelling. Suppose an earthworm were killed by a bomb during an air raid; what comprehension would it have about the cause of its death?

If your answer is yes, please proceed to Question 4.
If your answer is no, please proceed no further.

4. Do you believe that you are aware of all of the life forms in the entire universe?
If your answer is yes, please proceed no further.
If your answer is no, please proceed to Question 5.

5. Please tell me what a god is.
Do you agree with this supposition?
Supposition: what we call a god is a being with an incomprehensibly long life time, who understands things we cannot comprehend, and may be capable of feats beyond our understanding.
Consider: I touch a switch on the wall and light appears overhead; I pick up a wireless phone and talk with someone across the ocean; I wrap a sandwich in a transparent plastic bag and put it in the refrigerator. To a human being living in London three hundred years ago, such feats would have been incomprehensible.
If you agree with this supposition, with or without reservations, please go on to question 6.
If you do not agree with this supposition, please tell me what a god is.

6. Is it possible that somewhere in the universe, there are beings which live incomprehensibly longer than we do, and are capable of feats beyond our understanding?
Consider: Our sun, an average sized star, is a million times larger than our earth. There are a trillion stars in our galaxy, and there are billions of galaxies in the universe. What are the chances that only this minuscule speck we call earth harbors life?
Consider: Is it possible that such beings could exist near us, but in such a different mode of existence that we are no more capable of understanding them than an earthworm in a flowerpot of understanding computer software?
Digression: When I take my dogs for a walk, our experiences are totally different. We see, hear, smell, and feel different things. I may see a red car go by and note that Qoyaw is heading downtown with Mkuang; my dogs will not. They will note scents, sounds, electromagnetic fields, and who knows what else, that are imperceptible and incomprehensible to me. We walk together in different worlds.

If your answer is yes, qualified or unqualified, please go to question 7.
If your answer is no, please proceed no further.

7. For lack of understanding, could those beings be called gods?

If you still cannot accept the existence of gods, why not?

What I don't understand are the people who make a point of proclaiming their atheism. They are no different from people who make a big fuss that their god is the only god and demand we worship it.

Why do some atheists make such an issue about it? Are you the type to go to kindergartens to preach that Santa Claus does not exist? If it makes them happy, good enough. If Jesus or Allah or Vishnu or Spiderman make someone happy at their level, good enough for the time being. Better than people who insist that others accept atheism. If atheism defines your life, you are still placing gods at the center of your life. The existence or nonexistence of gods is central to you.
The lady protests too much, methinks.

I am not promoting the existence of any particular god. I simply suggest that there exist beings who, for lack of understanding, we call gods. I do not worship an Olympic gold medalist, even though I have never won a gold medal; I do not worship someone with a higher academic degree than me; I do not worship gods, but I do not deny their existence. They're there. Live with it. No big deal, one way or the other.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Pesky little Yumin usually runs wild. The day I buried Bengax, he spent practically the whole afternoon sitting by her grave, watching over it. Since then, he has spent a lot of time sitting there by her.

Tlahuy and Bengax were born in the same litter, and have been together ever since, so he is having some trouble adjusting, but he is better now. Some squirrels have helped him take his mind off things.

From time to time during the last couple months, I had noticed that Bengax was gazing at me with a very strange look in her eyes, not at all like a dog's eyes. I wondered what she was thinking. Maybe about mortality?

She may have known that she would not be with us long. She always craved attention, and could never get enough affection. Fortunately, even before Ping gave Tlahuy and Bengax to me when they were two months old, I was keenly aware that people live longer than dogs, so this day would come sooner or later. With that in mind, every day I try to make sure my dogs know I love them, and I want them to be happy (this could have something to do with why they are so spoiled). At least I can look at my five years with Bengax with no regrets, knowing that she was a happy dog.

In her short, furry life, Bengax made a lot of friends. A number of people have phoned to blubber, which is as nice a tribute as you could ask.


Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Bengax, good girl
Early this morning, Bengax snuck into a neighbor's vegetable patch. On her way out, her collar snagged, she panicked, and strangled herself.

By the time the neighbors found her and called me, she was already cold and stiff.

I buried her out back, by the doghouse.

She came on January 30, 1999, when she was about two months old.

Amitabha. Good girl.
a true story

“'不知道。'” 小平得意地回答。

Monday, January 17, 2005

Last night it was cold, 4C in Wulai. I extolled the virtues of a blanket warmer (烘被機)in an e-letter to my sister, saying that the blanket warmer is probably the greatest invention ever to come from Japan. You get this box about the size of a printer. You attach the hose to this big bag which you cover with blankets, and the box blows hot air into the bag, thereby drying and warming the blankets. It is perfect for a cold night; you can dive into a warm nest of blankets without having to shiver until you heat them up.

Her reply: “In fact, now that you mention it, the big bag of hot air that warms the blankets, I think I was married to one of them..."

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Pongan ku kahul yawei.... Raran ga, mwah qutux cyakun, talakay hobaq cyakun gasa, mita Uray~~~
“我聽老人家說,很久以前,有一隻巨大的烏鴉從北邊來,飛呀飛,飛到Uray看到溪上冒煙。其實,那是溫泉水從地上湧出來冒煙,但是烏鴉不知道,以為一定是有人炊爨的煙,有煙有住家,一定有人丟的剩菜垃圾可以撿來吃,甚至於巨烏想,還可以吃人! 沒想到,飛到溪上看,只有溪水冒煙,沒有東西吃。巨烏很失望,只好折回去。往北飛,飛到Tampya,就下了一顆蛋,就飛走了…你不相信的話,可以去看牠的蛋,喔,現在不行,牠的蛋就是忠治公園隆起的巃崗,去年政府把它剷平了。反正就是這樣,所以漢人把我們的地方叫做『烏來』。”

+ 我覺得很妙,這故事顯然就是今族望文生義而編的,來湊合一個解釋說明『烏來』的意思。事實上,『烏來』是泰雅語Uray的譯音罷了。Uray是溫泉的意思。

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Recently I was mad about the Education Bureau. It alerted all teachers that we have to study 台語 during winter vacation. The course takes five days, total 30 hours.
Why should all teachers attend the course? ridiculous

教育改革一直說要尊重每一個孩子,要適性化教學. 天下雜誌 最近也不停的討論 未來的教育要更國際觀.
認識鄉土、認識我們的土地、培養我們的家鄉情懷 ,方式有很多 ,不應該被窄化成台語。

世界一直在變; 教育高喊要教師樣跟上時代潮流,培養學生競爭力,要有國際觀,但是 當局又用這麼制式 硬性規定我們教師。
整天在講 教育要多元化,提共更多的機會給學生 在嚐試中認識自己 發現自己,但是 又是這麼對待我們這些老師的呢? 課程可以開,甚至可以開更多的語言學習。為什麼一定要學台語 ?

寧願去外面花錢補習上英文 也不想留在學校上台語。

九年一貫可課程實施後,國數 節數已不足。每週又硬擠一天台語課,我不懂。
為什麼 會變成正式課程之一?

我不懂它的意義。 我真的不懂。
如果一個老師 不了解課程的教育目標,或是課程的意義,沒有了方向,他要如何帶領學生前進? 
更令人難過的事 連教育都泛政治化。
而所有的老師 卻在不自覺中 ,被某種意識形態 控制而不自知。

教育 不過是一種政治思想的灌輸罷了,而不是去接近真理、認識世界。
教育 讓人越來越笨了。

可能台語被賦予的意義,已經不是它的起源或來源,而是一種象徵 在地人的符號吧。我想。

其實教過台灣史都知道,真正的在地人是原住民。 只是平埔族已經漢化,一部分的文化也流失了。

老師是一群工具,而且是一群聽話的工具。被控制的一群人,人云亦云 。


我最愛的園地 變了
該哭的是 我

再來 看看這期天下雜誌的教育特輯,探討孩子該不該提早學英語。也許我不是專家。我不知道該不該提早學。雖然大家高唱不需提早學,我也服膺於他們的論述,但我想問問這些受訪的學者,那些英文很好的學者,他們是什麼時候開始學的。
盡信書 不如無書。

就像那些從傳統升學主義一路上來的既得利益者,高唱 開放教育 多元教育 一樣沒有任何說服力。
難怪教育改革失敗 …

觀看政治 ,整天藍綠對決、鬥爭,民眾 已經不知道為什麼而爭了 。
為了顏色吧 我想
民主政治 呵呵 素養還不夠

盲目 是現代人的特色

眾人皆醒 為我獨醉.......

部落閣主註: 此文所謂台語,指藏漢語系中國話福建南、廣東北、台灣的閩南話,而不是南島語系臺灣高山族、平埔族的原有台語。



Friday, January 14, 2005

"Do you know why they call it "PMS"? Because 'Mad Cow Disease' was taken." --Unknown, presumed dead.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Maybe I'm missing something

Something I don't understand about the debate concerning the death penalty. Here we are not discussing the rights or wrongs of the death penalty; what befuddles me is that it seems we are goaded to abolish the death penalty because it has been abolished in Europe. Does that mean that we are supposed to look to Europe for our moral standards? Europe? Morals?

Or does it mean that when even fetid Europe bans the death penalty, we had better shape up?

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


Monday, January 10, 2005

A simple rule
It is says Zen, it's not.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Two years ago, I had the opportunity to attend the annual gathering of the Jingpo (景頗 Kachin) tribe in Taiwan. At this year's gathering, I met the president of the Wa 佤association, another tribe from the border of China and Burma, and obtained an invitation to this year's Wa gathering, which was held this morning. In Taiwan, there are probably only about three hundred tribesmen from Southwestern China, mostly from the Jingpo, Wa, Dai, and Kayin tribes, so for me, attending their gatherings is a rare opportunity; the Dai and Kayin evidently do not hold gatherings.

+ + +
“The Communists oppressed us, so we fled and took up our weapons. We fought against them until finally we were removed to Taiwan. About 175 of us came, but not 40 could speak Chinese. I could not speak a word of Chinese when I came, but they forced us to learn Mandarin. Everybody had to learn Mandarin. Otherwise, how could the army function? Our Wa language alone has three dialects, and I cannot understand Wa from other regions very well. Then there are Jingpo and Dai who speak totally different languages, there are hundreds of dialects of Chinese, and there are a dozen aborigine languages in Taiwan. So it was important for us to learn Mandarin. Off duty, we speak Wa, but on duty, it's Mandarin only.”
+ + +
“La Tum is my good friend, even though he is a Jingpo. Did you know that? The Jingpo nationality originated in the Wa, but they are all thieves, every one of them, so we disowned them. Isn't that right, La Tum?”
“You Wa were just jealous because our music is so beautiful.”
“If you are with the Jingpo, you have to be careful, because they will sell you into slavery.”
“You Wa wouldn't sell me into slavery?”
“No, we'd chop you up.”
+ + +
One of the men brought two photo albums of his trip to his hometown during the last lunar new year. His mother is still going strong at 90. Many of the women still wear their traditional long black skirts and turbans, but few men were turbans any more.
His photos showed the villagers parading out of the village to a flat level space, where they all danced as the men played 笙sheng, a musical instrument made from a gourd. Unlike most photos you see of this sort of festivity, there were no photographers or tourists in the background, and the entire village was dancing.
A dozen men gathered around to discuss the photos and explain the fine points to me. Their houses were originally made of adobe, but gradually they are adapting fired bricks. Their houses are simple, but they have constructed an splendid, ornate Buddhist temple.
+ + +
“Then I went into X's house” (a Wa name, which I didn't catch) “and there were four heads on the table.” Hearty laughter from the listeners.
”Of course that was a long time ago, that sort of thing doesn't happen any more.” Knowing chuckles from the listeners.
+ + +
“If you go to Wa territory” (again, I didn't catch the place name) “don't go around announcing that you have come from Taiwan. It's sensitive. Y was sentenced to seven years for consorting with Taiwan. He's served three years of his sentence so far.”
+ + +
“Wa are honest, hard working, loyal, and dependable. Not like the Jingpo. You can't trust the Jingpo. My good friend La Tum is Jingpo, aren't you?”
“Be careful with the Wa, they will chop you up.”
“No, we do not take Jingpo heads, only Han Chinese.”
“August and September are the season for headhunting.”
“I would not take a Jingpo head. Now General P or Colonel Y here,” motioning to two honored guests who had been their commanders, “their heads would be valuable. I bet each head would be worth twenty ounces of opium!”
Colonel Y laughed and pointed at me, saying, “Take his, he's American, an American head must be worth something!”
“No, only Han Chinese.”

Thursday, January 06, 2005

on 忠孝東路捷運市政府站外

I was waiting for a bus by one of Taipei's main streets. Over 6 (8?) lanes of heavy traffic, I heard, from the other side, a frantic voice, "MOTHER! Stop! Don't keep walking! We are right across the street from you!" I looked over, and there was a couple roughly my age, the man prancing and shouting into his cell phone so loud that I could hear him over the noise of the traffic and across the street. I looked around and saw a lady, probably about 75, walking straight forward with a cell phone pressed to her head. "MOTHER! Stop! Don't keep walking! Look to your left! MOTHER! Wait a minute! Stand right there!" She kept walking purposefully forward, cell phone at her ear. "Mother! Look to your left! We're across the street to your left!" She kept walking forward, but looked to her right. The couple were nearly frantic, but they couldn't get across the traffic on the road. "MOTHER! Stop right there, we're across the street to your left, just stand where you are, don't move another step, we'll be with you in a moment!" The lady turned right at the corner and wandered off.

I wanted to give the man a hug and say, "Brother, I know exactly how it is.”

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Once a couple of years ago it was about 7C. I decided that I would go for a swim, just to see what it is like to swim in that sort of weather, so I walked down to the stream and jumped in. I very quickly found out what it is like to swim in that sort of weather: VERY cold! So cold it almost hurt, but fortunately I couldn't breathe, so it didn't hurt too much. After a couple of turns around the stream, I suddenly had a revelation: I must have rocks in my head to swim in this kind of weather. With that, I climbed up on the bank, put on my clothes, and walked home again. I had almost stopped shivering by the time I got home.

Monday, January 03, 2005


夏天一放學就會直接衝往海水一泡 -真的只是泡泡而已






Sunday, January 02, 2005


阿雞非常興奮,打電話來說,『陶啊,陶啊,你看我們愛慕的副總統 呂秀蓮女士,她越來越穩重,智慧日日增長,愈來愈懂事,口德天天養益,陶啊,你看,整個中華民國九十四年,她沒有講過一句丟人現眼的話,也沒有鬧過笑話,也沒有任何的貽笑大方的舉止,她今年的表現,可圈可點,真是另人手舞足蹈!!』





『諾貝爾和平獎? 甚麼道理?』


Saturday, January 01, 2005

靜蓉 phoned from London to wish me a happy new year, which I pass on to everybody. Comparing notes, we found that it is 6C in London and 3C in Wulai, which means that Wulai is colder today than London. Cheers!