Monday, February 28, 2005

惠澂 came today, to give me five 紅豆杉fir saplings. He has dozens. I planted some last year, gave some to friends, and wanted more, so today he brought me five more. I planted three as soon as he left. At least it was only drizzling by then.

The other two firs I am holding for Qalux, who wants to plant them by his new house, but as he has not even begun construction, I decided to put them in larger pots for the time being. To top off the pots, I went to the irrigation ditch to dredge up some sludge. In the ditch I found a nice large turtle. Its shell is somewhat larger than a sheet of A4 paper. I was holding it and admiring its healthy, shiny shell, bright eyes, and red neck markings, when Yumin pranced over to see what I was up to. I held the turtle to him so he could have a look, too. He was puzzled. Then the turtle, from inside its shell, opened its mouth. You could practically hear Yumin exclaim "Gadzooks! It lives and breathes!" He was astonished, and went into his unknown-prey mode, which attracted Tlahuy. I soothed the turtle and lightly placed it back in the water. Tlahuy and Yumin watched in puzzlement. Yumin seemed to be telling Tlahuy, "No, it's not a rock, it opened its mouth, really!"

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

明 李流芳 遊虎丘小記

Monday, February 21, 2005


Sunday, February 20, 2005

beagle days
Intuition develops. Without knowing why, I suddenly walked over to the back door and looked out onto the back porch. Yumin was very quietly pulling the hose out of the bucket I keep full of water for them to drink. “YUMIN!” I shouted. He flinched so heartily that his ears flew up. Without looking back at me, he dropped the hose and very softly, very deliberately walked about two meters away from the bucket, where he sat down primly, still not looking at me. He sat for a moment, and then spotted an imaginary intruder. He leapt to his feet, and barking and howling, charged off into the bamboo.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

This is a true story. I have not invented a word of this.

In the early 80s, two wives in a small village in Hualien, on the eastern coast of Taiwan, were pregnant at the same time. The couples were such good friends that, following an ancient Chinese tradition, the parents 指腹為婚 agreed that if they had one boy and one girl, they would marry each other. Sure enough, in 1982 a boy, Chan, and a girl, Wenhui were born, and raised with the expectations that one day they would get married.

In 1986, when the children were about 4, an earthquake of such power struck Hualien that the village was buried. Chan threw himself on top of Wenhui to protect her, but rescuers dug out both unconscious and severely wounded, but still alive. Chan was sent down the coast to a hospital in Taitung; Wenhui's injuries were more serious, so she was sent to Taipei.

When Chan regained consciousness, the nurse told him that the entire village had been destroyed, including his parents: he was the only survivor. He was adopted by new parents, given a new name, and began life again. He didn't believe he was the only survivor. He felt, deep in his bones, that Wenhui was still alive. He had no way to find her. When he entered high school, he searched the lists of new high school students in Hualien, but did not see Wenhui's name.

When Wenhui regained consciousness, the nurse told her that the entire village had been destroyed: she was the only survivor, but fortunately her parents had been away, on the other side of Taiwan. The lucky family was reunited. They began life again, but stayed in Taipei, where Wenhui went to high school.

During the eleventh grade, both Chan and Wenhui chose to attend the same summer camp, because of its theme of herbal medicine. Eight hundred high school students were in the camp, so they were divided into groups of eight. Chan and Wenhui were in the same group. They hit it off immediately, even before they knew each other's names. Wenhui is a pretty common name, so Chan wasn't sure if it was his Wenhui. With his new name, Wenhui did not recognize Chan.

A skit was planned, in which Chan and Wenhui were chosen to perform as boyfriend and girlfriend. During the rehearsal, the girlfriend was supposed to tie an apron on her boyfriend, so Wenhui tied Chan's apron on, with the exact some movement and tie she had used when they had gone to kindergarten together. Chan knew immediately that, beyond a doubt, this was his Wenhui, so he said, "Wenhui, don't you recognize me?" Violins and roses, and they have been together ever since, through college and beyond.

For Valentine's Day, Chan gave Wenhui a yellow rock. When they were three, Wenhui had plucked it from the stream and given it to Chan. He has treasured it ever since.

Friday, February 18, 2005

問: 檳榔西施英文怎麼說?
答: 美國連檳榔都沒有,哪有檳榔西施?如果一定要翻,可以翻成betel beauty 吧.
問:Betel beauty?太抬舉。
答:那麼betel beetle 如何?

Tuesday, February 15, 2005





該區別就不區別。供養的養讀三聲、四聲,差很多。論語為政:子游問孝,子曰,今之孝者是謂能養(一ㄤˋ),至於犬馬,皆能有養(一ㄤˇ),不敬,何以別乎? 廣韻養韻(上聲),餘兩切,育也樂也飾也。又漾韻(去聲),餘亮切,供養。晚輩奉養長輩的養應讀四聲,養畜生的養才讀三聲。很多人偏念ㄒ一ㄝˋ脫、供一ㄤˇ。






"登天難 也不難
教公雞生蛋 也不難
教美國人學佛法 真是難!"

Saturday, February 12, 2005


Friday, February 11, 2005

You learn something every day.

I have a friend named Tohuy. I had thought that was a variation of thuy, fat, but it turns out that the Tayal name Tohuy comes from the Chinese 土匪 tufei, bandit.

Well, if you don't want to name your son Bandit, you could always name him after my neighbor Putaq. Putaq means vomit, barf.

No, I don't know why his parents named him that, but it's a pretty common name.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

It's finally here

Happy new year to one and all!

Why did the chicken cross the road?
到彼岸. 阿彌陀佛.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Thank heavens, the Monkey year is just about over.
I decided to spice lunch with the seeds of a flower that has bloomed, a fifteen minute walk through the jungle. I stuffed a plastic bag in my pocket, strapped on my laraw (番刀, headhunting knife), and headed out. Tlahuy rushed over as soon as I opened the door, but Yumin was making mischief in parts unknown. Shortly before we reached the flowers, Tlahuy suddenly tensed. His hackles rose and he growled at a thicket. I didn't see anything, but walked by very gingerly. I gathered my seeds and started home. We passed that thicket without incident, but twenty paces on, he suddenly started staring intently uphill. Now, there had been a dog or something, Tlahuy would have been on him immediately, but Tlahuy just stared uphill, his whole body tense. I noticed that the shrubbery had been pressed down by something large and heavy. As I stood there looking, something large and heavy moved in the bushes above us. I didn't see it clearly, but it was a boar, about the size of a golden retriever, which means it would weigh at least as much as me. It moved and sank deeper into the bushes, avoiding confrontation. What amuses me about the incident is how my laraw leapt into my hand the moment it moved. The scabbard is tight, to keep the knife from falling out in our rough terrain, but that laraw was ready in a nanosecond. I looked at my laraw with a puzzled smile ~ how did this get here?~, apologized to the boar, and turned homeward.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

At breakfast, a woman asked her husband, “I suppose you know what day it is?” Her husband cringed internally, but told his wife, “Of course I know what day it is," thinking, omidog, I forgot our anniversary again! On his lunch break, he ordered flowers, chocolate, and a beautiful blouse to be sent to home immediately.
When he got home, his wife said, "Oh my, thank you for the gifts! Those make this the most memorable Groundhog's Day ever!”

And a happy one to you, too.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

捷運上,一個三十幾歲的男的坐我旁邊,看起來是外勞,越南人吧。一坐下來就從外套口袋裡拿出一份用舊報紙包的東西,小心地打開,拿出了一張照片,一個穿ao dai (越南禮服)的婦女與兩個幼小的孩子,一站,兩站,到第三站才把照片放回舊報紙,收到口袋裡了。